A guide to carrier oils

Let’s talk carrier oils! What are they, and why do we need them?!

A carrier oil is derived from the fatty portion of a plant – such as the seed, kernel or nut. Carrier oils are typically cold-pressed for the highest quality of oil.

While essential oils are volatile (and therefore will evaporate quickly if they are applied undiluted to the skin), carrier oils will not evaporate, and do not have a strong aroma.

A carrier oil does two important things:

  1. Helps to disperse the essential oil + keep skin from becoming irritated
  2. Prolongs the effect of the essential oil and “carries” it to the skin for better absorption

Some essential oils can be applied to the skin “neat” which means undiluted. Others are considered “hot” and need to be diluted with a carrier oil so as not to cause irritation. A good example of a hot oil would be cinnamon, or peppermint.

It is important to note that diluting an essential oil with a carrier oil will not reduce the therapeutic qualities of the essential oil!

9 Carrier Oils + their healing benefits

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Fractionated coconut oil

  • Is liquid at room temperature
  • Absorbs readily and isn’t greasy
  • Very moisturizing – leaves skin feeling soft and smooth
  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Has a long shelf life
  • No coconut aroma
  • A great carrier oil for roller bottles

Coconut Oil

  • Solid at room temperature
  • Has a distinct coconut aroma
  • Leaves a moisturizing, slightly oily feeling on the skin
  • Long shelf life
  • Has more nutrients than fractionated coconut oil
  • Contains caprylic acid and lauric acid
  • Because it is solid at room temperature, this is a good oil to use in massage bars or whipped body butter!

Jojoba oil

  • A favorite for facial oil blends
  • Also moisturizing when applied to hair
  • Medium consistency
  • Very well absorbed
  • Non-greasy and very similar to the skin’s natural oils
  • Good for ultra sensitive skin
  • Also suitable for all skin types & great for acne prone skin

Seabuckthorn Berry Seed Oil

  • Used for relief of chronic skin conditions – eczema, acne, dermatitis, dry skin [2]
  • Good for all skin types
  • Very healing
  • Contains Omega 3, 6, 9
  • As well as Omega-7, a fatty acid vital to collagen production
  • And vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C!
  • Has been used traditionally in the Himalayan Highlands for over 1300 years
  • A key ingredient in my favourite DIY glow face oil

Rose Hip Seed Oil  

  • Commonly used to treat skin conditions
  • Often blended with other oils (~10% dilution) because it is more costly
  • Rich in linoleic acid and pro-vitamin A
  • Higher concentrations of linoleic acid are known to have a greater potential to repair skin [1]
  • Also contains vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin D
  • Suitable for dry, aging skin, and damaged skin
  • Very quickly absorbed, no oily feeling left on skin
  • Sometimes called the “anti-aging oil” because it encourages healthy cellular regeneration

Avocado Oil

  • Extremely moisturizing
  • Has a stronger aroma – therefore best blended with other carrier oils
  • Sweet / nutty aroma & dark emerald green colour
  • Great for skin as well as hair
  • Contains omega 3, 6 & 9, vitamin E and potassium
  • Soothes inflammation, helps to heal stretch marks
  • Can be used to treat thickening of the skin (sclerosis), and may be useful for psoriasis [3]
  • Long shelf life (> 1 year)
  • More cost effective than some other oils
  • Suitable for dry, sensitive and normal skin types

Sweet almond oil

  • Has a slight nutty aroma
  • Absorbs fairly quickly, but will leave some oil on the skin
  • Moisturizing
  • High in vitamin E, oleic acid, and vitamin A
  • Helps to reduce inflammation, is a good natural remedy for eczema and psoriasis [4]
  • Works as an all-purpose carrier oil

Grapeseed oil

  • Contains linoleic acid (essential fatty acid)
  • Good all-purpose carrier oil
  • Will leave only a slight oily gloss on the skin
  • Soothes dry skin and irritation
  • Does not clog pores – suitable for all skin types and oily acne prone skin
  • Relatively short shelf life (6-12 months)

young living v6

V6 Enhanced Vegetable Oil Complex

  • Great for making custom massage oils or to dilute essential oils that may irritate the skin
  • A proprietary blend combining fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, wheat germ oil (contains a lot of vitamin E and acts as a natural preservative), sunflower oil, and olive oil
  • Very moisturizing

A guide to carrier oils + 8 must have carriers for all skin types! What carrier oil should you use for your aromatherapy blends? Find out here! Click through to read more, or pin to save for later!


[1] Vaughn, A.R., Clark, A.K., Sivamani, R.K. et al. Am J Clin Dermatol (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-017-0301-1

[2] Sea Buckthorn: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-765-sea%20buckthorn.aspx?activeingredientid=765&

[3] Avocado Oil: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD


[4] Dr Axe: How to Use Almond Oil for Your Skin & Overall Health. https://draxe.com/almond-oil/









My name is Jasmine! Im a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and absolute foodie from the Kawartha Lakes in Ontario Canada. Here on NourishMint Kitchen I share healthy recipes, tips for natural living, holistic health and mindfulness. You can expect to see lots of photos of lake life, delicious food, the outdoors and our black lab Otter here!

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