WHAT ARE CARRIER OILS? | Essential Oils Safety Tips

You’ve probably heard that you should use Carrier Oils when topically applying essential oils, but WHY?

I usually use my essential oils "neat." This means I apply them topically to my skin, without adding anything else. My skin doesn't mind that at all, *in most cases.* But a lot of people have more sensitive skin, so it's important to know how to topically apply oils in a way that doesn't ever irritate. 

WHAT IS A CARRIER OIL?

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A carrier oil is an oily oil. These oil are derived from the fatty portion of a nut, seed, fruit or kernel of a vegetable or other plant using one of two main methods of extraction: maceration or cold-pressing. Carrier oils come from things like Coconuts, Almonds, Olives, Grapeseeds, etc. 

[Side Note: To extract Essential Oils, the most common process is steam distillation- suspending botanicals (usually leaves, stems, flowers, etc) over boiling water to draw out the oils into the steam, which is captured in a vessel.]

Carrier oils have much bigger molecules... like WAY bigger. When you apply a mixture of Essential oil + Carrier oil to your skin, the larger molecules absorb much more slowly. The essential oil molecules have to bounce around between the carrier oil molecules to get through and into your skin.... BASICALLY THIS SLOWS DOWN THE PROCESS OF ABSORPTION. 

WHT SHOULD YOU CARE? :) 

Well, slowing the process allows your skin more time to absorb and react to the Essential Oils. This = less opportunity for irritation. YAY!

When should you DEFINITELY use a Carrier Oil?

On kids - their skin is much more sensitive. Check specific recommendations for whichever oil you're using before you apply to a child. 

Applying "Hot" Oil - these are oily that warm your skin, like Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger... Also herbs like peppermint, spearmint, etc. which cool rapidly, can cause discomfort when used "neat."

For covering a large area - Duh! ;) You can spread out your essential oils much farther when you mix them with a carrier oil. 

For LONG LASTING vs. FAST effect - Sometimes you want the effect of an oil to linger (think muscle soothing) but sometimes you want a punch of oily effects immediately! Using a carrier oil slows effects, but makes them linger longer. 

As a facial serum - Most of y'all know I make my own facial serums, and I LOVE them. The essential oils are soothing, smoothing, rejuvenating, calming and so many other wonderful things. The carrier oil helps seal in the moisture that's left after washing your face, leaving your skin feeling happy and hydrated!

HOW SHOULD YOU DILUTE?

Try 1 drop of oil for a quarter-sized dollop of carrier oil. You can increase you EO from there if you want a more potent effect and aren't feeling any irritation. 

WHAT KIND OF CARRIER SHOULD I USE?

You can really have fun with this! My faves are grapeseed and coconut oil. I find that they don't leave my skin feeling greasy afterward. I also like Young Livings V6 carrier oil blend. Lots of people use olive oil, pumpkinseed oil, and the list goes on. Do some patch testing and some googling and see what works best with your unique skin. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT CARRIER OILS? OR ANYTHING TO SHARE THAT I LEFT OUT HERE? Share with us in the comments below!