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What Is a Carrier Oil: A Complete Breakdown

5 mins

Andela Patrnogic

We all know about essential oils, but what is a carrier oil? How do you use it? We’re about to break it all down for you and give you all the details you need.

If you're familiar with essential oils, you know how refreshing, soothing, and beneficial they can be for your physical and mental health, but what is a carrier oil?

Since the time of ancient Greece and Rome, carrier oils were used in massages, baths, cosmetics, and medicine. The term “carrier oil” is generally used in aromatherapy and cosmetic recipes for natural hair and skincare. But what else is there to know about carrier oil?

Today, we will discuss what a carrier oil is, how to use it, and how it can enhance your essential oils to the next level. 

Table of content:

  • What Is a Carrier Oil?
  • How Do I Use Carrier Oils?
  • What Are the Different Kinds of Carrier Oils?
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Rosehip Oil
  • How Do I Pick Which Carrier Oil to Use?

What Is a Carrier Oil?

Carrier oils are fatty oils derived from plants used as a base oil to dilute essential oils and make them safe for topical use. These oils, typically odorless or very mildly scented, have additional benefits. Depending on the one that you choose, they can help nourish your skin while carrying your essential oils.

Carrier oils, unlike essential oils, do not evaporate, so they can hydrate your skin and help your essential oils last a lot longer than they would on their own. As many carrier oils have their own therapeutic properties, they can be used as body oils or mixed with massage oil, balms, creams, lotions, or added to your diffuser.

coconut oil, coconut oil bowl

How Do I Use Carrier Oils?

Depending on how sensitive or dry your skin is, there are numerous dilution methods to mix your essential oil blends and carrier oils.

For example, a 1% dilution is recommended for your face as it is more sensitive than your body. Start with a lower percentage dilution if you are prone to sensitive skin.

For use on the rest of your body, you can go up to a 5% dilution, as the skin on your body is less sensitive than your face and can withstand a higher concentration.

It’s important to note that no matter your skin type, you should always start with a lower percentage dilution of essential oils in your carrier oil to ensure that your skin can tolerate it without becoming red or irritated.

Patch testing is strongly recommended with any carrier oil to ensure that it agrees with your skin and won’t cause any irritation or rash. Apply a small amount on your skin and put an adhesive bandage on it to ensure it does not get rubbed off. Wait 24 hours, and check your skin for any irritation.

If your patch test was successful and your skin tolerated the carrier oil, congratulations! You are ready to start mixing your carrier and essential oils for smooth skin and relaxing aromatherapy.

What Are the Different Kinds of Carrier Oils?

carrier oils

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is a fan favorite amongst the most popular carrier oils. Why? Because it’s PACKED with benefits not only for your essential oils, but for skin health as well.

Jojoba oil is super hydrating for your skin and promotes long-lasting moisture by getting absorbed deep into your skin. Jojoba oil is also non-greasy, so that you can have all the benefits of hydrated skin without the feeling of excessive oiliness.

Jojoba oil can make a great carrier oil for your essential oils by helping them last longer and maintain their medicinal aroma.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil is another common carrier oil that has become a go-to. Sweet almond oil is incredibly hydrating and has proven itself to be especially helpful for those with very dry or flaky skin.

Additionally, sweet almond oil contains a fair amount of protein, which can help to soothe tired and aching muscles. This can be especially helpful when combined with essential oil that helps ease tension and promote relaxation.

Sweet almond oil should not be used if you have an allergy or sensitivity to nuts.

If you’re interested in the difference between sweet almond oil and almond oil, you can read all about it here.

Avocado Oil

Avocados are rich in essential fatty acids. This means that avocado oil absorbs essential oils easily and maintains their integrity on your skin. They’re delicious and nutritious and make a great carrier oil for your favorite essential oils.

avocado oil

In addition, avocado oil nourishes and hydrates your hair, so combining it with hair-friendly essential oils, like rosemary, can give your hair the boost of shine and moisture it's been waiting for.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another versatile oil with many benefits. Coconut oil is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants used to protect your skin and body from free radical damage and promote healthy aging.

Coconut oil can make a great carrier oil as it is rich and nourishing for your skin. Also, it can be found in liquid or solid versions, which can be helpful in the application process, depending on your preference.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is an excellent rejuvenating oil for dull skin in need of a pick-me-up. Apricot oil is packed with anti-inflammatory properties, which can be very beneficial for skin redness and irritation.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil may also help improve your skin’s elasticity, improving the appearance of firm, supple skin. It has a light nutty aroma and makes a great oil to combine with your essential oils for massages to promote relaxation and restoration.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is another hydrating oil that you can benefit from when using it as a carrier oil. High in antioxidants, sesame oil can be used to carry your favorite essential oils, but it may also help protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure.

Additionally, sesame oil is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and may be beneficial for promoting wound healing.

Argan Oil

Argan oil, known as "liquid gold," has been used for centuries for cooking, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for its wide variety of benefits for your skin.

Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, which can help to reduce the appearance of wounds and scars on your skin. Additionally, the antioxidants found in argan oil can help to promote healthy skin aging.

The fatty acids found in argan oil, including oleic and linoleic acids, can help to increase your skin’s natural moisture levels and promote the appearance of soft, supple-looking skin.

Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil, also called rosehip seed oil, is a carrier oil rich in essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, waiting to benefit your skin.

Rosehip oil promotes your skin’s natural hydration and keeps your skin moisturized to prevent dry spots. Rosehip oil is also rich in vitamin A which can promote healthy cell regeneration and minimize the appearance of aging.

rosehip oil

How Do I Pick Which Carrier Oil to Use?

WOW! That was a lot of oils and a lot of benefits. It may seem like a daunting task to decide which carrier oil is best for you, but the good news is that there is (almost) no wrong answer!

Patch testing is a great way to find out which oils are compatible with your skin and don’t cause any irritation. After that, it is just a matter of deciding which carrier oil has the benefits you are most interested in and which has the best (or mildest) scent!

It’s important to note that while different carrier oils do not contain fragrances, many of them do have natural aromas from the plants they are derived from.

Some aromas are stronger than others, so you may want to test a few to determine which scent is most tolerable and enjoyable to you.

Consider the scent of your carrier oil when you decide what you will be using your carrier oil for. If you are combining it with strong-smelling essential oils for a specific purpose, consider a carrier oil with a mild scent like jojoba oil.

carrier oil, best oil

If you want additional aromas added to your aromatherapy blend, you might enjoy using rosehip oil or sweet almond oil as your carrier for their sweet and relaxing scents.


Carrier oils can help hold your essential oils on your skin and maximize the effects of their benefits. They also offer their own unique qualities and benefits for your health and skin. Be sure to store your carrier oils in a cool, dark place and stored at room temperature to prolong their shelf life.

At WOW Skin Science, our job is to make understanding your skin and how to take care of it easy and simple, while attaining your healthiest skin look yet.

We want you to feel comfortable knowing that we only carry all-natural, holistic solutions for your mind, body, and soul.



Patch Testing - American Academy of Dermatology Association

Therapeutic efficacy of rose oil: A comprehensive review of clinical evidence - PMC

Sesame Oil for Wound Healing - National Library of Medicine
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