Carrier Oils & How To Use Them

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Carrier oils, also known as base oils, are oil derived from seeds, nuts, fruits, or plants. They are used to “carry” essential oils. Essential oils are primarily made from the distillation of aromatic leaves, flowers, barks, & roots of the plant and tend to be very powerful to be used alone. Carrier oils are used to dilute the essential oils to eliminate possible side effects, increase absorption, and ensure they stay longer because essential oils on their own are highly volatile.

TYPES OF CARRIER OILS & THEIR COMEDOGENIC RATING

The list is extensive but, we will highlight some in this post. Some of these oils are highly comedogenic (they clog pores), some are moderate, while some do not clog pores at all e.g hemp seed oil.

Comedogenic Scale

The scale uses a numbering system of 0 to 5. Here’s how the numbers rank on the scale:

  • 0 – won’t clog pores at all
  • 1 – very low likelihood of clogging pores
  • 2 – moderately low likelihood
  • 3 – moderate likelihood
  • 4 – fairly high likelihood
  • 5 – high likelihood of clogging pores

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a perfect choice for carrier oils. Although they are heavy, their fantastic benefits make them ideal for essential oils. Be sure to choose fractionated coconut oil which is liquid at room temperature, unlike regular coconut oil.

Best for dry skin.

Comedogenic rating: 4 – high likelihood of clogging pores.

Grapeseed Oil

The byproduct of the winemaking process. This lightweight oil is easily absorbed by the skin hence a good choice for a carrier oil.

Best for all skin types.

Comedogenic rating: 1 – very low likelihood of clogging pores.

Moringa Oil

Moringa oil helps to restore and defend the skin from pollutants and signs of aging. Due to the long shelf life of this non-greasy oil, it is often used as a carrier oil for massage oils & cosmetics.

Best for dry & combination skin.

Comedogenic rating: 3-4 – moderate/fairly high likelihood of clogging pores

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is a wax ester used in aromatherapy. It helps balance the skin and absorbs easily. This ability makes it a good choice as a carrier oil.

Best for all skin types including oily/acne-prone.

Comedogenic rating: 2 – moderately low likelihood of clogging pores.

Olive Oil

Though it can be heavy, oily, and strong-scented, Olive oil is a great carrier oil because it’s packed with fatty acids (used in moisturizers) & plant sterols (used in cleansers).

Best for dry & acne-prone skin.

Comedogenic rating: 2- moderately low likelihood of clogging pores.

Hemp Seed Oil

Derived from the hemp seed but contains no THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis), the hemp seed oil is an excellent carrier oil with antiaging properties.

Hemp seed oil is equally great for hair care. It naturally reduces scalp inflammation and acts as leave-in hair conditioner.

Best for all skin types including oily/acne-prone.

Comedogenic rating: 0 – won’t clog pores at all

Sunflower Oil

Used in massage oils & general skin care, sunflower oil is a perfect carrier oil that is highly absorbent, hydrating & softens the skin.

Best for all skin types

Comedogenic rating: 0-2 – moderately low likelihood of clogging pores.

Rosehip Oil

Rosehip is rich in essential linoleic acid that has been shown to have anti-viral, antibacterial & antifungal properties making it a perfect carrier for oils.

Best for all skin types including oily/acne-prone.

Comedogenic rating: 1 – very low likelihood of clogging pores.

HOW TO CHOOSE CARRIER OILS

Buy cold-pressed, pure, and preservative-free oils from a brand you trust. Cold-pressed oils are extracted without chemicals and heat so, they retain their nutrients. Also, consider your skin type, the odor of the oil, and absorption rate before choosing a carrier oil. Carrier oils are also safe to use alone.

HOW TO MIX CARRIER OILS

Because skincare is about finding out what works for you, if you feel that mixing a variety of carrier oils suits your need, you are free to do so. When mixing oils, dilute 2.5% – 10% essential oil with 97.5% – 90% carrier oil. For children, use not more than 1% essential oil to 99% carrier oil.

SUMMARY

Carrier oils are the safest way to use essential oils and because of their amazing benefits, you get more nutrients!

Always do a patch test before using a new skincare product liberally. Also, store carrier oils in a cool, dark place and keep them in a dark glass bottle to prevent rancidity.

 


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