Carrier Oils A to Z

  carrier oils feature Carrier Oils A to Z


A carrier oil is any lipid-based substance used to dilute essential oils. The most popular varieties are pure vegetable oils, including grape seed, avocado, almond, avocado, sunflower and olive oils; however, most readily available carrier oils are unstable and go rancid quite easily. I prefer fractionated coconut oil because it is stable at all temperatures and in all environments.

It is  also non-aromatic and therefore does not alter the aromatic properties of essential oils. Many people mistakenly believe that using carrier oils somehow reduces the effectiveness of the essential oil, when in fact, there are many benefits from diluting oils. Dilution increases the surface area of absorption, enhances absorption through dry skin, and prevents sensitivities. It is never wrong to dilute, especially when using oils with a more potent chemistry. Determining when and how to dilute is a personal decision that should be based on usage preferences, oil chemistry, and personal sensitivity.  I have included some handy-dandy charts for you below.

Carrier oils are useful when working with essential oils because it is sometimes necessary to dilute a neat oil. One example is when applying to the skin.  Powerful, highly concentrated essential oils may cause skin irritations.  Another use for carrier oils blended with essential oils is that they are often applied during massage, acting as a needed lubricating agent when working larger areas and muscles. 

Another advantage of carrier oils is that they do not evaporate like essential oils, that tend to evaporate quicker when applied neat.  Carrier oils actually aid in absorption.

Incorporate carrier oils for massaging, making lotions, rubs, and creams for use on babies, children, elderly, and sensitive areas

Coconut Oil:

Coconut oil is extracted from the fruit of the palm tree. The large drupe, or fruit, has a hard endocarp. The endocarp and the seed are the two parts of the coconut which are of interest commercially. The seed contains the copra and the solid coconut oil; it is this oil which is used in the commercial product of coconut oil. How the coconut oil is extracted, is what differentiates virgin coconut oil from natural coconut oil, and the various processes it endures after extraction is what separate it from fractionated coconut oil.

Coconut oil, at its source, is a highly saturated, white, solid fat. This fat has a melting point of 25 degrees centigrade. The fleshy part of the coconut is extracted either by cold pressing it, or through solvent extraction. Virgin coconut oil is extracted without the use of heat: The heat changes the chemical composition, and the therapeutic properties, of the resulting oil. Coconut oil that has been extracted with the use of heat is not virgin coconut oil, although it is still essentially sold as “natural” coconut oil. Coconut oil which is extracted through solvent extraction involves the use of chemicals and, again, is not virgin coconut oil but can be described as “natural.”

Factionated coconut oil is a fraction of the whole oil: Certain components of the oil are separated or removed from the oil for a particular use. Different uses of fractionated coconut oil include industrial, medical applications and beauty products. 

Advantages of Fractionated Coconut Oil

With no double bonds, there is no oxidation.  Thus, fractionated coconut oil is a carrier that never goes rancid.  It basically has an indefinite shelf life and is in a perfectly clear liquid form. Other advantages of fractionated coconut oil are:

  • It is odorless and colorless.  It won’t stain and easily washes out of clothing and sheets.
  • It absorbs into the skin while reducing essential oil evaporation.
  • It is excellent on skin; a natural and very safe moisturizer, softener and safe, non-irritant lubricator. 
  • It leaves skins smooth with no greasy feeling.
  • Low production costs make it cost effective.
  • It can be mixed with other, more expensive, carriers to increase shelf life.  It can also be used it to create different cream textures.
  • It does not aggravate skin problems or clog pores.
  • It is fully digestible and considered an excellent and healthy cooking oil.
  • It is truly one of the best multi-purpose carrier oil products on the market.


Grapeseed Oil:

Grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for controlling moisture of the skin. Light and thin, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over skin when used as acarrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils. Grape seed oil is also used as a lubricant for shaving.

The properties of grape seed oil provide health benefits when consumed. A 1993 study supports the claim that grape seed oil increases high-density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol” levels and reduces LDL levels.

Although grape seeds contain antioxidants and other biologically active compounds, the cold-pressed grape seed oil contains negligible amounts due to their insolubility in lipids. For instance, sufficiently high amounts of resveratrol occur in grape seed for it to be extracted commercially, yet it is almost entirely absent in the grape seed oil. 

 Advantages of grapeseed oil are:

  • It offers regenerative and restructuring characteristics that offer quality skin moisturizing.
  • It is considered an excellent lubricant for massage and shaving.
  • It leaves a glossy film that protects essential oils from evaporation.  Saturation takes longer than some other carriers. 
  • Some claim it has astringent qualities that tighten and tone the skin.
  • It does not aggravate acne or clog pores.


Sunflower Seed Oil:

Sunflower seed are widely regarded as one of nature’s most potent all-in-one sources for a variety of nutrients that the body needs and is used for a wide range of health purposes with heart disease and strengthening the immune system topping the list. Is sunflower seed oil any different?

There are generally two types of sunflower oil – those with a high percentage of linoleic acid and those with a high percentage oleic acid. These differ in the amount of unsaturated fats that they contain. According to the Sunflower Society, linoleic has 11% saturated fats (the bad trans fats) whereas the premium high oleic sunflower oil has just 9%.

The majority of sunflower oil is refined industrially and warm-pressed. Cold pressing sunflower oil is becoming more prominent and is labeled “Extra Virgin”, the same as the label for premium olive oil. Cold pressed sunflower oil is considered to have a better taste than that of the refined variant, while also keeping more of its nutrients and having a higher level of monounsaturated fats.

Sunflower oil, as well as being extremely healthy, is also versatile. It is commonly used in cosmetic formulations due to its high Vitamin E level and emollient (moisturizing) properties. Most oils benefit the skin by retaining moisture, but sunflower oil is special in that it can also leave a protective layer on the skin that leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth AND protected. 

Advantages of Sunflower Oil: 

  • Sunflower oil is light and fine in texture.
  • Sunflower oil has very mild odor.
  • Sunflower oil is well absorbed by scalp skin and hair.
  • Sunflower oil is suitable for the diluting of essential oils.
  • Sunflower oil can be used for any type of hair

Olive Oil:

Olive oil is universally known a one of the most quality culinary oils. It has a multitude of uses however, including a quality carrier oil.  Depending on the press, it has a full-bodied flavor and a strong aroma, and can also have a golden brown or green color.  If it is a color and odor that is pleasing then enjoy its healthful benefits to the skin and hair.

Other advantages of olive oil:

  • It has a high vitamin and mineral count.
  • It is a quality lubricant.
  • It has approximately a one-year shelf life.
  • It is an excellent conditioner for hair.



Dilution means to make something less concentrated or to weaken. In the case of essential oils, we want to dilute the essential oils by adding them to a carrier, such as vegetable based oil, lotion or cream. 

Essential oils are highly concentrated. There are a lot of plant essence in each drop. Dilution is important to prevent contact sensitivity and skin irritation.
Essential oils are drawn to fats. When you dilute with a carrier, the essential oil bonds with the fat in the oil and slowly absorb into the fat on your skin. 

Essential oils can be added to carrier oils or a carrier oil can be applied first to an area, followed by an essential oil, this process is referred to as dilution.  It is usually specified in terms of either a percentage or a number of drops to be added to an amount of carrier oil.  

Mixture amount chart

dilution chart Carrier Oils A to Z


Conversion chart


Conversion Chart Carrier Oils A to Z


Blending Chart


topmiddlebasechart Carrier Oils A to Z

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Medical Disclaimer:

Nothing in this post is to be construed as medical advice, simply a sharing of things that have worked for me & my family. If you have any symptoms of serious illness, taking medication, pregnant or nursing, or have never worked with herbal materials or essential oils before, please consider consulting a medical professional before use. I am unable to offer advise for your particular medical situation; please ask your Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or Naturopath for further guidance.  The statements made here have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

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About Simply Living Simply

I am a "red-neck country wife" to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way!
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  1. Fabulous article, thank you, can you describe the difference between regular EV coconut oil and factionated coconut oil?


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