Carrier and Essential Oils

Carrier and Essential Oils

Carrier and Essential Oils


Knowing the difference between various types of oils can help you choose the right ones for your needs, especially if you love mixing up your own natural hair products at home.

What’s the Difference? 

Carrier oils are derived from plants. They’re fatty in nature and usually come from the seeds or nuts. They don’t often have a strong scent. It’s perfectly fine to use carrier oils all by themselves, although blending them with other oils is also acceptable. These oils can go bad or rancid after a period of time. Although you may only use a small amount of a carrier oil depending on the specific use, you’ll still use much more of these oils at a time than essential ones.

Essential oils come from plants or fruits, too, but are concentrated, and much more fragranced because they’re derived from the aromatic parts of the plant, such as the flowers, leaves or peel. When mixing these into oil blends, you only use a small number of drops, anywhere from one to a dozen or so. Because you use such minimal amounts, even a small bottle of essential oil lasts a long time for the average consumer. These oils don’t go rancid, but may lose their effectiveness and aroma after a number of years.

While you’ll find some carrier oils stored in glass bottles, they’re usually sold in plastic containers. Essential oils are stored in glass due to their high concentration levels.

Examples of Carrier Oils

  • Olive
  • Coconut
  • Jojoba
  • Sweet almond
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower
  • Grapeseed
  • Sesame
  • Rose hip

Examples of Essential Oils 

  • Patchouli
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Jasmine
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea tree
  • Rose

Essential oils should always be diluted with carrier oils before use because carrier oils “carry” the properties of the essential oils to their destination. Using essential oils directly on skin can lead to irritation or problems that are more serious.  Different oils offer unique benefits, so finding a combination that works for you is simply a matter of researching various oils and learning how to safely and effectively mix them into a solution that you’re happy with.

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