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Understanding Carrier Oils

We often dilute our essential oils with carrier oils. In fact, there is only one essential oil that is safe to apply "neat" which means undiluted (lavender). All others should be diluted for your safety and protection. There are so many carrier oils. How do you choose the "right" carrier oil? We hope to offer you a bit of insight on potential choices for carrier oils. Think "carry" to your skin.

Carrier Oils: Vegetable carrier oils constitute the bulk of material used in aromatherapy. They are a vehicle for administering the essential oils or as lubricants.

Fixed Oils: Carrier oils are also known as fixed oils because they do not evaporate. Different chemical family than essential oils which is why their properties are so different.

Cold Pressed Oils: Carrier oils are processed at 60 degrees or less to maintain the natural characteristics of the oil.

Types of Carrier Oils:

Basic Oils: Use with or without essential oils. Pale, not too viscous and have very little smell. Examples include sweet almond, apricot kernel, grapeseed and sunflower.

Special Oils: These oils are more viscous, heaver and more expensive. Examples include avocado, sesame, rose hip and wheat germ. We rarely use avocado and wheatgerm on their own. We usually use them as part of a mix. (total 10-25%)

Macerated oils: These oils have additional therapeutic properties because of the way they are produced. Plant material is added to selected fixed oil, agitated and left for a month plus to percolate. The benefits of the plants become the properties of the oil.


Almond Oil: Almond oil is emollient, nourishing for the skin, and may soothe inflammation. In addition, it may relieve itching in eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, dry scaly skin. Absorbed slowly.

Grapeseed: This gentle oil is emollient, leaves skin with a smooth and satin finish without feeling greasy. Hot processed but rescued before refining. Anti-microbial.

Sunflower: A "lighter" oil. We like it for hair products or to lighten the feel in a lotion/cream. In our opinion, sunflower oil is a very calming oil. We note it to be very soothing.

Apricot Kernel Oil: Our favorite uses include adding AKO to products that may assist with itching, eczema or wrinkles. It has antiseptic, antibacterial and is key to softening the skin. It naturally promotes a more radiant skin.

Jojoba: Jojoba may help with inflammation, psoriasis and itching. We like it because it has the closest pH to the natural pH of the skin. It is ultimately very healing and key to soothing and freshening the skin.

Wheatgerm: Wheatgerm oil is very heavy. It is high in vitamins which are kind to the skin. There is thought it may help with anti-aging. It is very softening, may be anti-inflammatory and is high in anti-oxidants. We don't buy wheatgerm oil in large quantities because it tends to go rancid more quickly than some of the others.

Avocado: Avocado oil is very high in vitamins, protein and beta carotene. It is moisturizing, nourishing and the antioxidants/vitamins may help heal dry/flakey skin. Try avocado oil on sunburned skin.

Calendula: Calendula is a macerated oil. It is our "go to" for any skin condition including a "little" with diaper rash. The calendula plant, known as the "pot marigold" is the finest flower when looking for something to care for skin. The benefits of this little orange yellow flower are immense for skin care.

Coconut Oil: The one thing people don't know about coconut oil is that it can be drying. Many people use it for moisture but it can also have the opposite effect. We like it as one of several moisturizing ingredients in our recipes and for us, that combination seems to provide a better outcome if moisturizing is key. Some additional benefits of coconut oil include that it is anti-bacterial, it may plump the skin thus reducing fine lines and for some, it may diminish inflammation.

Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is an oil we use in most of our soaps. Olive oil's main benefit is moisturizing. It also boasts antioxidant properties which protect skin cells against environmental damage. It is rich in vitamins D, E, A and K. We use it as a base for the majority of our macerated oils. It is anti-inflammatory and may aid in wound healing because of the triterpenes which are present in olive oil.

We hope you've learned a bit about all of the potential benefits of carrier oils. There are many avenues available to choose from. Each oil feels different on the skin and not all oils are ideal for every facial skin type. We love them all and utilize each of them in different products here on the farm.


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