Carrier oil, also known as base oil or vegetable oil, is used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before they are applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy. They are so named because they carry the essential oil onto the skin.
Oily, Acne Prone
- Apricot Kernel
- Apricot Kernel
- Sweet Almond
- Apricot Kernel
- Kukui Nut
- Kukui Nut
- Rosehip Seed
- Sea Buckthorn
- Sweet Almond
- Kukui Nut
- Rosehip Seed
- Sea Buckthorn
Essential Fatty Acids
The human body can manufacture most fatty acids that we need for optimal health. Those fatty acids that we cannot manufacture and need to acquire from our diet are called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Essential Fatty Acids are necessary for human functions and healthy, youthful skin. Those that are lacking in the proper intake of Essential Fatty Acids may demonstrate seriously dry skin, or they may be prone to more serious skin conditions including Psoriasis and Eczema. Using carrier oils that are rich in essential fatty acids and including a diet rich in Essential Fatty Acids can significantly help nourish and improve the look and feel of the skin. Essential Fatty Acids are generally organized into two groups: Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids. The hardest to acquire EFAs are the Omega-3 group.
Alpha linolenic acid is the primary Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid found in plants. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are more beneficial than Alpha linolenic acid, but EPA Alpha linolenic acid but EPA and DHA are only present in fish oil.
Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids
Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid are examples of Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids found in plant oils. Omega-7 and Omega-9 Fatty Acids
Sweet Almond Oil (Persea Americana)
Sweet almond oil is one of the most popular massage oils among massage therapists. Extracted from almonds, sweet almond oil is pale yellow in colour. It is slightly oily, which allows hands to glide easily over skin. Sweet almond oil is absorbed fairly quickly, but not so quickly that you need to keep reapplying it. It usually does not irritate skin. It helps to relieve itching, irritation, and inflammation, and it also softens, soothes, and smooths dry skin. It is very lubricating and lingers on the skin, making it good for massage. People with nut allergies should not use almond oil.
Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca)
is proven to make hair softer, silkier and shinier. It is the ideal hair conditioner, and it can even help to treat split ends and tame frizzy hair. Argan oil is also commonly used as a styling agent. It makes hair more manageable and adds a healthy, attractive shine to any hair style. Argan oil can help stop hair loss, improve hair and scalp health and promote new hair growth for men and women. A simple treatment applied three times per week can help you see fewer hairs in the sink and more on your head. Unlike many styling agents which can cause long term damage to hair due to the chemicals included in the ingredients, argan oil enriches hair with nutrients and repairs damage. It is also a great product to use before straightening as it can help protect hair against heat damage. People suffering from dry skin or conditions such as eczema which can leave skin raw, flaky and itchy will benefit immensely from Argan oil. The vitamin E and fatty acids in Argan oil are excellent for repairing damaged skin and providing it with nutrients which will prevent further dryness and irritation. Argan oil also contains ingredients which soothe skin. Applying a small amount of oil directly to afflicted skin and massaging in gently can provide relief and encourage healing. Argan oil is rich in antioxidants so it has the ability to regress the signs of aging. Its restorative and anti- aging advantages have been the major reason of the increased demand of this product. When applied to the skin, Argan oil can eliminate wrinkles and other skin degenerations. The presence of unsaturated fatty acids and Squalene in the Argan oil makes it’s very effective in fighting free radicals that causes skin aging. Also beneficial for pregnant bellies, stretch marks and saggy skin.
This centuries old remedy comes from the bright yellow arnica flower which is found in the alpine meadows of Europe. It decreases inflammation and is an immune system booster. Tropical arnica soothes pain and restores joint function just as well as ibuprofen. It is also ideal for sprains, bruises, strains and in postoperative healing.
Avocado oil is pressed from the avocado fruit. Deep green in color, avocado oil is a heavier oil and is usually mixed with lighter massage oils such as sweet almond oil.
Avocado oil is roughly double the cost of sweet almond oil. This thick oil with a rich, olive-green colour is great for dry and wrinkled skin. It has an excellent shelf life because of its built-in antioxidants. People who are sensitive to latex may be sensitive to avocado oil. Good for sensitive, irritated skin, eczema, psoriasis, severely dry skin, wrinkles and aged skin.
High in vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E. Amino acids, sterols, pantothenic acid, lecithin.
Essential Fatty Acids: Linoleic, Linolenic, Oleic, Palmitic, Palmitoleic.
High viscosity, thick texture.
Good shelf life, up to 1 year.
Storage: Refrigeration after opening recommended but not required.
Borage Seed Oil (Borago officinalis)
This oil is one of the richest sources of gamma linoleic acid (GLA). This is a fatty acid which the body converts to prostaglandin. Prostaglandin, in turn acts as a blood thinner. To prevent oxidation of this valuable component the oil should be stored in a cool dark place. It is easily destroyed by heat, light, humidity, and exposure to oxygen. It is beneficial for psoriasis, eczema, and prematurely aged skin; good for regenerating and stimulating skin cell activity.
Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia cerifera)
Candelilla wax is extracted from the leaves of a plant native to the southwestern United States and to Mexico. It contains extraordinary film forming and protecting properties, is an effective emollient and adds a nice gloss to lip balms. Some cosmetic manufacturers use Carnauba wax as a beeswax alternative but it originates from Palm trees in Brazil. I do not support it’s use.
Candelilla wax costs 7-8 times more than beeswax but makes available an ethical, vegan and cruelty free alternative for those avoiding animal products.
Castor oil softens and soothes dry and irritated skin and helps to kill pathogens that can cause skin problems. The oil locks in moisture and contains numerous minerals, vitamins and fatty acids important for great skin health.
Raw unrefined Cocoa butter is very rich and has a distinct chocolate aroma. It is solid at room temperature and has a heavy texture, so it needs to be blended with other oils or used only for very small areas.
Coconut oil In its refined state, this oil is a stable, inexpensive, and widely used vegetable fat that is saturated, or solid at room temperature. You have to be careful because it is marketed commercially in all types of moisturisers, but it can be drying to the skin.
Cranberry Seed Oil (Vaccinium Macrocarpon)
Cranberry Seed Oil contains a perfectly balanced blend of Omega 3. Omega 6 and Omega 9, essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential to the body and affect the health of the brain, heart and skin tissue. Cranberry Seed Oil helps the skin absorb these acids.
Evening Primrose Oil is an oil that comes from the evening primrose plant. This oil contains linolenic acid, gamma linolenic acid, and vitamin E.
- Good for acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, wrinkles, dry or aged skin.
- Rich in fatty acids: gamma linoleic acid, omega 6, Linoleic, Oleic, Palmitic, Stearic.
- Contains anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties.
- Low viscosity, medium to light texture.
- Storage: Shelf life 3-6 months, prone to rancidity. Refrigerate after opening.
Grapeseed Oil (Vitis vinifera)Grape seed contains vitamins, minerals, protein, linoleic acid and is cholesterol free. It is suitable for use with all skin types and penetrates the skin easily. It also helps to tighten and tone the skin. This oil is more expensive because of the difficulty of pressing any quantity from the tiny grape seed. However, many aromatherapists use this oil, along with almond, regularly. It has a nice “slip,” or lubricant quality, and no scent, so it carries delicate, floral essential oils without altering their fragrance. It is high in Vitamin E, which makes it very stable.
- Good for oily, acne-prone skin, sensitive skin.
- Non-allergenic, astringent oil.
- Low viscosity, thin, very light texture, easily absorbed.
- Fatty Acids: Linoleic, Linolenic, Oleic, Palmitic, Stearic.
- Excellent for blending with thicker oils to lower their viscosity, lighten texture and help increase absorption.
- Good shelf life, up to 2 years.
- Storage: Stores well, avoid light and excessive heat.
Jojoba oil is actually a wax extracted from the seed of the jojoba plant. Jojoba oil is a good option for most people prone to back acne because it is thought to have antibacterial properties and contains long chain wax esters that closely resembles skin sebum.
Jojoba has a very long shelf life, so it’s a good choice if you don’t use it regularly.
It is very well-absorbed, which makes it a favorite carrier oil for aromatherapy. Jojoba is usually not irritating to skin. It is more pricey than sweet almond oil.
- Good for all skin types, oily, acne-prone, combination, sensitive, dry or aged skin.
- Deeply moisturizing. Rich in Vitamin E.
- Fatty Acids: Erucic, Gadoleic, Oleic.
- Reduces appearance of pores over time.
- Reduces superficial wrinkles and stretch marks.
- Very similar to skin’s natural oils.
- Balances sebaceous glands and natural oil (sebum) production.
- Technically a wax, not an oil.
- Low viscosity, thin, light texture, easily absorbed, non-greasy, non-tacky.
- Does not clog pores.
- Storage: Stores well, stable shelf life. Not prone to rancidity. Used to extend shelf life of other oils.
Monoi de Tahiti
Monoi oil is an expensive but luxurious product made from coconut oil. It has wonderful moisturising properties.
Monoi oil is rich in methyl salicylate, which is a skin-soothing agent. It’s naturally concentrated, penetrates the skin and re-hydrates the epidermis layers while also shielding skin from the elements! Beneficial for rash, dryness, hair and scalp.
These oils range from heavy, dark green to a light, pale golden color.
Olive oil soap cleans your skin without stripping away the natural oils — so you don’t end up dry and flaky after it’s use. Olive oil also allows the skin to sweat and shed cells naturally; commercial soaps that contain synthetic cleaners and fragrances can block your pores and cause irritation. Glycerin, a by product of the soap-making process, is retained in natural olive oil soaps. Glycerin is highly moisturizing –it is a humectant which means it absorbs moisture from the air to your skin. Commercial soap producers usually remove the glycerin from their soap as the monetary value is higher when sold separately.
The squalene in olive oil increases your skin’s elasticity, leaving it firmly toned with a bright, youthful glow.
Oliv-Emulse is totally safe and hypoallergenic (clinically tested on humans). Olive Oil is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, and these have the ability to neutralise damaging free radicals. Due to its natural Olive origins, Oliv-Emulse penetrates quickly and exhibits a very high moisturising effect combined with a deliciously smooth skin feel and elegant texture. Moisturisers made with Oliv-Emulse are not only smooth and silky, but are suited to those with severe sensitivities to cosmetic ingredients.
Oliv-Wax is an highly lipophilic (oil loving) active emollient, very similar to human sebum. Oliv-Wax is a multipurpose emollient totally 100% obtained from ultra-refined Pure Olive Oil. It is an excellent stabiliser and co-emulsifier for high quality cosmetics as it contains up to 60% vegetal lipids (100% Olive). Oliv-Wax has a long shelf life, stable for up to 5 years, so virtually no oxidation issues.
Oliv-Wax exhibits excellent spread ability, contributing a light touch and gentle skin feeling properties both in hair and skin care products. Oliv-Wax is also suitable as a co-conditioning agent, improving both the silkiness and the overall manageability of hair.
Oliv-Wax is considered as a moisturising agent, showing outstanding moisturising properties and a unique silky texture even when used at low dosage level (1 – 3%). Oliv-Wax is highly stable to oxidation and has a long shelf life, the melt point is approximately 55° C which allows substitution for waxy products such as beeswax.
It is high in GLA, and helps reduce the signs of ageing, especially the fine lines around the eyes (crows feet) and lines around the mouth, the drying effects of the sun and climate, as well as assisting with both accidental and surgical scars.
It helps the skin heal and regenerate and prevents the formation of keloid scar tissue (thickening of the skin when forming scar tissue) and is helpful in healing burns, scars and stretch marks. It has exceptional emollient properties, while also acting as an antioxidant.
Shea Nut Butter helps restore elasticity to skin. The moisturising effect of this natural skin care product provides the skin a more youthful tone and glow, gives relief to dry skin, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Shea butter contains the antioxidants, vitamins A and E both of which enhances skin cell regeneration and promote blood circulation below the skin’s surface. Cinnamic acid in the oil provides vital protection against harmful UV rays. Its rich emollient quality makes it excellent for very dry skin. SPF 6-8. Shea contains a natural latex, so people with latex allergies should do a patch test before using it.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil is a very valuable oil for skin care due to its cell structure and being perfectly compatible for human skin. The composition of hemp seed oil has been shown to produce beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Provides moisture balancing properties, helps to heal skin lesions and acne. Hemp seed oil alone contains anti-oxidants, carotene, phyto-sterols, phospholipids, as well as a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulphur, potassium, iron, zinc. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E. Healthy and youthful skin contains natural lipids (fats) called Ceramides. They are part of the surface skin structure that keeps it moisturized. Insufficiency of Ceramides causes dryness, irritation, and sensitive more malleable to environmental damage and aging. Hemp Seed Oil is made up of 80% of essential fatty acids (Omega 3,6, and 9), which is higher than any other plant on Earth. The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 so closely matches the skin lipids, that unlike other oils that simply coat the skin Hemp Seed Oil penetrates the cells and lubricate the surface between them. In other words it not only prevents moisture loss on a physiological level, it is proven to have anti-aging qualities and helps regenerate the skin’s protective layer. Hemp Seed Oil energizes and revitalizes the skin, soothes acne and eczema and nourishes straw-like hair and brittle nails.
- Darmstadt GL, Mao-Qiang M, Chi E, Saha SK, Ziboh VA, Black RE, Santosham M, Elias PM. Impact of topical oils on the skin barrier: possible implications for neonatal health in developing countries. Acta Paediatr. (2002) 91;5: 546-54.
- Hemp Seed Oil. http://www.innocentoils.com/index3Why.html
- Shea butter. http://www.hybridrastamama.com/2012/06/natural-oils-as-sun-protection.htm