How to Choose a Carrier oil

Essential oils and carrier oils aka base oils go together like peanut butter and jelly! And just like you choose an essential oil for a particular concern, carrier oils have their own particular benefits too. Are you new to essential oils? Want to learn more about carrier oils? Do you want to start making your own beauty products with your essential oils but need help selecting a carrier oil that will work best with your skin type? Then you’re going to love learning about the most commonly available carrier oils and their claim to fame!

Your guide to choosing a carrier oil to use with essential oils

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A carrier oil or base oil, is a vegetable oil that is derived from the nut, seed, or kernel of the plant. It’s best to choose a vegetable oil that is cold pressed and organic if you can. Essential oils are lipid (fat) soluble, so they are easily absorbed into a vegetable based carrier oil. Essential oils are very small in molecular size and are extremely potent. You may only need one drop of essential oil, but need to cover a larger area on the body than you can spread one drop onto. Using a carrier oil allows you to cover more area. So for general dilution as long as you’re using a cold pressed vegetable oil, you’re good. You can also read a previous blog post about how to dilute essential oils. But, this post is going to go into detail on the benefits of the most commonly used carrier oils.

You might be wondering. What’s the Difference between Base Oils and Carrier Oils?

It’s kind of an interchangeable term, since they are both vegetable oils used to dilute and carry essential oils into the body. When you see the term base oil, it is usually in reference to creating a premixed blend of vegetable oils and essential oils. Some vegetable oils also need to be diluted and mixed with other base oils. You’ll see examples below in the various carrier oil descriptions.

The Viscosity of Carrier Oils.

Viscosity is a measurement of a liquids thickness. Some carrier oils are thicker than others. The thinner the carrier oil the faster and deeper it will absorb into the body. For example, if you are targeting sore muscles, you want to choose a lighter carrier oil that will penetrate deeper into the tissue. Do you want to inhale the essential oil longer?  Layer it over a base oil of coconut to create a barrier and keep the essential oil from evaporating quickly.

The Viscosity of butters and carrier oils to use with essential oils.

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One of the ways I love to use my essential oils is to make my own beauty products. I had wanted to get away from the traditional products I had been using, but I didn’t know where to start. So I did some research. First, I wanted to learn which essential oils would be best for my skin’s needs. Then I needed to learn which carrier oil would be best to use. I have acne prone skin so the thought of using vegetable oils on my face took a little getting used to. But, after discovering my moisturizer (that I thought was good, CeraVe) had parabens amongst other ingredients, I’d rather avoid, I took the plunge. I’ve been making my own serum in place of moisturizer for 6 months now and my skin has actually improved and become less oily!!! I know can you believe it? Read on to see which carrier oil is best for your skin type.

Common Carrier Oils and their Uses

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Common Carrier Oils and what they’re good for:

Sweet Almond Oil has a very pale yellow color and is obtained from the kernel. It contains glucosides, minerals, and vitamins. Rich in protein and good for all skin types. Sweet Almond oil helps relieve itching, soreness, dryness, and inflammation. It can be used 100% as a base oil.

Apricot Kernel Oil has a pale yellow color and is obtained from the kernel. It contains mineral and vitamins and is good for all skin types, especially prematurely aged, sensitive, inflamed, and dry skin. It can be used 100% as a base oil.

Avocado Oil is dark green in color and derived from the fleshy pulp surrounding the seed. It contains vitamins, protein, lecithin, and fatty acids. Avocado oil is useful for all skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin, or those with eczema. Use as an addition to another base oil, 10% dilution.

Borage Seed Oil is pale yellow in color and comes from the seeds. It contains gamma Linoleic acid, vitamins, and minerals. Good for regenerating and stimulating the skin and can be used with all skin types. Use as a 10% dilution in another base oil.

Evening Primrose is pale yellow and contains gamma linolenic acid, vitamins, and minerals. Excellent in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. Helps to prevent premature aging of the skin. Use a 10% dilution in another base oil.

Grapeseed Oil is almost colorless or pale green. It contains vitamins, minerals, and protein. Useful for all skin types and can be used 100% as a base oil.

Hazelnut Oil is yellow and comes from the kernel. It contains vitamins, minerals, and protein. It has a slight astringent action and is good for all skin types. Can be used 100% as a base oil.

Jojoba Oil is yellow and derived from the bean. It contains protein and minerals. It’s a waxy substance that mimics collagen. Useful for all skin types, especially those with inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema,  or acne. As well as hair care. Highly penetrative. Use as a 10% dilution to another base oil.

Olive Oil is green and contains protein, minerals, and vitamins. It is soothing and useful for rheumatic conditions, hair care and cosmetics. Use as a 10% dilution with another base oil.

Safflower oil is pale yellow. It contains proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Useful for all skin types and can be used 100% as a base oil.

Sesame oil is dark yellow. It contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, lecithin, and amino acids. Useful for all skin types, especially those with psoriasis, eczema, rheumatism, and arthritis. Use a 10% dilution to another base oil.

Sunflower oil is pale yellow and contains vitamins and minerals. It can be used on all skin types and 100% as a base oil.

Wheatgerm oil is yellow/orange in color. It contains protein, vitamins, and minerals. Useful for all skin types, especially those with eczema, psoriasis, or prematurely aged skin. Use as a 10% dilution with another base oil.

Young Living’s V-6™ Vegetable Oil Complex is a blend of six organic vegetable oils – Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sesame Oil, Grapeseed oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Wheatgerm Oil, Sunflower Oil, and Olive Oil. This oil complex nourishes the skin, has a long shelf life, does not clog pores, and will not stain clothes. It can be used to dilute essential oils or can be used 100% as a base oil to create custom blends, formulas, and massage oils.

If you’d like to make up a batch of your own serum using essential oils and base oils. My recommendation is to start slow. Use just one essential oil at a time for at least two weeks before incorporating another oil. You want to be able to gage how well each essential oil is working. This will also help you to identify if a particular oil does not agree with your skin. For me, that oil is carrot seed essential oil. If you’re going to use multiple essential oils, stick to mixing singles and not blends.

General Guidelines for diluting essential oils

If you want to learn more about using essential oils, you need a reference guide! I send one out to everyone who enrolls with a Premium Starter Kit. Through the end of this month and possibly into April, depending on how long supplies last. I’m also giving away The Chemical Free Home Part Two, this book contains some great tips and recipes for how to use essential oils. As well as an amber glass bottle dropper with Young Living’s V- 6 carrier oil and an all access pass to Oil Moxie, our teams private resource site and FB group.

Are you already an oiler? What’s your favorite carrier oil? Do you love using essential oils in your DIY beauty recipes? If so, I’d love for you to share below!

Happy Oiling,

Become a wholesale member with Young Living's Premium Starter Kit.

Source: The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy

Source: The Chemical Free Home Part Two

Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my personal use. You can read the full disclaimer here.

How to Dilute Essential Oils for Children and Adults

Diluting Essential Oils

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So you’ve got your oils,  you’re excited to use them, but the thought of diluting your new essential oils makes your head spin. Does this sound like you? This is how most people feel starting out. I know I was intimidated at first. So I’m going to break it down for you. Lets take a minute to go over the basics.

What exactly is diluting?

When you see the term dilute, it simply means combine the essential oil with a vegetable carrier oil before applying to the skin. Going forward I’m just going to refer to it as a carrier oil. For example, 1 drop of lemon essential oil should be diluted with 1 drop of carrier oil, and 1 drop of peppermint essential oil should be diluted with 4 drops of carrier oil. How do I know this? I checked the product label on my bottles. Every bottle of Young Living essential oils will tell you whether or not it needs to be diluted and by how much. You do not have to memorize dilution ratios. Isn’t that great!

Diluting essential oils with a carrier oil is a great way to apply essential oils topically. Especially, for people with sensitive skin. Essential oils should always be diluted for infants, children, and the elderly whose skin is thinner.

Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil. Diluting helps to prolong the release of the essential oil, and prevents waste due to excessive application. Essential oils are volatile, meaning they turn from liquid to gas. So diluting essential oils with a carrier oil helps to hold the essential oil onto the skin, so more of the essential oil can be absorbed and carried throughout the body at the cellular level.

Amber Glass Bottles with glass dropper tops.


What’s the first step?

Look up your concern in your reference guide. See which essential oil is recommended to use. Next, check that essential oil bottle label to see the recommended dilution ratio. Then consider the size of the area on your body you’ll be applying to. Are you trying to cover your lower back or just your wrist? The larger the area, the more carrier oil you’ll use. In my opinion, you can’t really over dilute, so as long as you’re doing the minimal amount suggested on the bottle label you should be good. And the more you use your oils the better you will be at knowing how much you need. It’s helpful to put some of your carrier oil in a glass dropper bottle. Having a glass bottle with a dropper top is the best way to get just one drop of carrier oil at a time. I suggest having a few glass dropper bottles on hand. You can usually find them at Whole Foods or you can purchase them from Amazon. Sometimes the reference guide will have recipes. This is why it’s good to have a few glass dropper top bottles so you can make your own pre diluted blends. When I’m following a recipe that calls for carrier oil in milliliters, I use a baby bottle to measure that amount of carrier oil. Luckily, I have them on hand. But, you can always pick one up at Target for cheap. Sometimes a recipe calls for a teaspoon or tablespoon of carrier oil and we all have those, right? Whether we cook or not 🙂

Bang for your Buck

Diluting your essential oils with a carrier oil also helps to stretch how long your bottle of essential oil lasts. Less is usually more with essential oils. Remember they are very concentrated.

Less vs. More

It’s  better to apply less essential oils more often, rather than more all at once. This will help to prevent skin irritation. Especially, when your body is just getting used to essential oils.

Did you know? 

When applied topically it takes 2-3 minutes for an essential oil to reach the bloodstream, 20 minutes to affect every cell in the body, and 2 1/2 hours to fully metabolize. Pretty amazing, huh!

Dilution Musts!

When diluting essential oils with a carrier oil, choose a carrier oil that is organic, cold pressed and plant based. Such as sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed, or Young Living’s V-6 which is a combination of oils. These are all oils that are derived from the fatty part of the plant, usually the nut, seed, or kernel. This is important because essential oils are lipid (fat) soluble, so they easily absorb into these oils.  Check out my other blog post to learn more about choosing a carrier oil. I especially go into detail on the skin care benefits of different carrier oils. If making your own beauty products using essential oils interests you as much as me, then you’re going to love this post!

Hot Oils

It’s also very important to dilute when using a “hot” oil. Examples of “hot” oils include cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, peppermint, oregano, thyme, Exodus II, and Thieves. If you experience a hot or burning sensation or if you develop a rash, add more carrier oil to the affected area as often as needed.

Diluting Essential Oils for Infants and Children 

There are many essential oils appropriate for use with infants and children. When using essential oils on infants and children it is important to dilute. I would suggest using a medium viscosity carrier oil like, jojoba or olive oil. Coconut oil is another good choice, these will slow the rate of absorption. Lavender is a gentle oil, and one of the only essential oils I will sometimes apply neat to my daughter. I actually use lavender everyday with my daughter. It’s part of our sleep through the night bedtime routine. Lavender is a great oil to use with kids.

Some essential oils, like YL’s Kids Scents Oil Collection are pre-diluted with carrier oil, and are intended for direct application. Again, the bottles product label will indicate dilution requirements.

Dilution Ratios for using essential oils with Infants and Children

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Infants and children have delicate skin. The bottoms of feet are usually less sensitive, making them a good choice for application.  If you’re interested in using essential oils with your child, I recommend getting a copy of the book Gentle Babies, by Debra Raybern. There is also a section dedicated to infants and children in the reference guide I give away to new members when they purchase the Premium Starter Kit. Please note, I only recommend using Young Living essential oils on babies and children. Their commitment to quality and purity are unmatched. Making them the only choice for my family.

So do you feel better about diluting essential oils? I hope so.  🙂

Thanks for reading, and Happy Oiling!

Essential oil starter kit with a diffuser on sale for more than half off.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my personal use. You can read the full disclaimer here.