How to Blend Carrier Oils & Essential Oils

Most essential oils will cause sensitivity and irritation when applied directly onto the skin as they are too concentrated and strong to be used topically on their own. This is where the role of carrier oils (such as coconut oil, jojoba, sunflower oil and etc) comes in. Essential oils are used with carrier oils to help dilute the potency of the essential oils and safely “carry” them directly onto the skin. Carrier oils contain various properties that are beneficial for the skin such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids and skin nourishing properties. Therefore, carrier oils can also be used alone without any dilution.

However, not all carrier oils are made equal as not everyone has the same skin type. For example, coconut oil and avocado oil are highly praised for its skin nourishing properties, but it is too thick and greasy for someone who has body acne. The high moisture levels will only clog the pores and aggravate the acne. Whereas jojoba oil and rosehip oil is a much better choice for those with body acne as it is lightweight, making it easily absorbed into the skin without clogging the pores. Another example would be sweet almond oil and argan oil is not ideal for someone with a nut allergy. Therefore, it is important to choose the ideal carrier oil that is suitable for your skin type.

Just like essential oils, carrier oils are extracted and made from plants. Carrier oils typically have little to no scent, making it ideal to be used with essential oils as they will not clash with the scent of essential oils. Make sure to perform a patch test with both the essential oils and carrier oils before proceeding. Although carrier oils typically don’t cause any negative reaction, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Apply a small amount of carrier oil to the inner part of your wrist (the part of your wrist where you can see the veins/under your palm) or the area below your ear. Cover the oil with a bandage and check after 24 hours. If there’s any negative reaction such as irritation or redness, avoid future usage. To do a patch test with the essential oil, make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil that is suitable for your skin and apply a small amount to the inner part of your wrist or inner part of your elbow (area with thinner skin) and check 24 hours later for any reactions.

As for the dilution rate, it usually starts with 2-2.5% for adults, meaning 3 drops of essential oils to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil of your choice. As for infants (6 months old – 2 years old), the dilution rate 0.5% meaning 1 drop of essential oil to 2 teaspoon of carrier oil. For children and the elderly, it is 1% dilution which is 3 drops of essential oil to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil. You can also consult a medical professional or an aroma therapist for the usage of the oils on young children and infants.

Combine the mixture into an empty glass bottle or container, preferably a dark colored glass container like the ones used for pure essential oils to prevent oxidation. Make sure to keep the bottle in a cool dark place, away from direct heat and sunlight. And voila, ready for use! The most common areas for topical application are usually the back of the neck, the bottoms of the feet, behind the ears and the wrist to double up as natural perfume.

The Different Types of Carrier Oils

Carrier oils play an important role in aromatherapy, they are crucial for the use of essential oils. Essential oils are oil-soluble meaning they are soluble in oil based products or products that contain oils such as moisturizers, lotions, carrier oils and your skin. However, the potent nature of essential oils makes them impossible to be used on the skin alone as they can cause burning sensations along with other forms of irritations. This is where carrier oils come in.

There are various different types of carrier oils that have different benefits and cater to different skin types:

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most common carrier oils for dry skin as it is thick, contains linoleic acid that will help trap water in the skin. You can also get in fractionated form, meaning it doesn’t solidify even if it gets cold. Individuals with oily skin should avoid using coconut oil as it can clog pores.

Jojoba Oil

For oily skin, it is best to stick with lightweight and non-comedogenic oils such as jojoba oil. It is one of the most common carrier oils next to coconut and also has little to no scent which makes it ideal, as it won’t clash with the scent of essential oils. Furthermore, you can even use it as a facial oil, hair oil and makeup remover.

Sweet Almond Oil

If you have a nut allergy, avoid using sweet almond oil. Others can enjoy the nutrients of sweet almond oil such as vitamin A, vitamin E and zinc. Although it is very moisturizing, those with oily skin may also benefit from this oil as the retinoids present in the vitamin A may boost skin cell turnover and manage breakouts.

Olive Oil

Speaking of moisturizing, it is not surprising olive oil is on this list. Similar to coconut oil, it helps to trap moisture into the skin, allowing skin to stay soft and hydrated. Not to mention it is rich in nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, squalene, oleic acid and more.

Argan Oil

This is another carrier oil to avoid for individuals with a nut allergy. For everyone else, it is a versatile, balancing and non-comedogenic oil that can be used on all skin types. The antioxidants present in argan oil not only combats oxidative stress, but also promotes wound healing and nourishes the skin without feeling too thick and heavy.

Grapeseed Oil

It is a popular ingredient in skincare and hair care products despite the lack of research about its benefits. The minimal research available shows that grapeseed oil has promising skin brightening and moisturizing abilities, and anti-microbial properties to eliminate bacteria and control breakouts. It does also appear to have scalp conditioning properties to help with dandruff and excess dead skin.

Just like essential oils or other products that you’re going to apply on your skin, carry out a patch test before using them. Apply a few drops on the inner forearm and wait a minimum of 12 hours to check for reactions. Another tip is to stick with cold pressed carrier oils as the nutrients of the oil are maintained while being less processed.