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Basics: CARRIER OILS 101

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Needing to make more sense of carrier oils?

From grapeseed to jojoba, you can pretty much find a different carrier oil for every skin treatment. Carrier oils play an important role in applying essential oils topically to skin, and they each have unique properties and benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at carrier oils and why anyone who uses and loves essential oils should utilize them...


What are carrier oils?

Carrier oils are naturally derived from vegetarian sources like the seeds, kernels or nuts of plants and are the fatty, or "lipid" portion of the plant. They typically have a neutral scent and dilute concentrated essential oils so they can be safely applied to the skin. They also help to prolong the essential oils' scent and effectivity for a longer duration.

What are carrier oils not?

Vegetable shortening, margarine and animal products like butter are best left in the kitchen—they’re not intended or advised for topical use (well, actually, margarine and vegetable shortening are best left out altogether—but that's a conversation for another day!).

In that same vein, since whatever goes ON your body often ends up INSIDE your body, mineral oils and other petroleum by-product derivatives like petroleum jelly should also NEVER be used as carrier oils, as they are not beneficial in any way, shape or form.

How are carrier oils used?

Essential oils are volatile, which means they evaporate quickly and contain the natural scent and characteristics of the plant they’re derived from. This can at times make them too strong and result in skin irritation if applied undiluted. Conversely, carrier oils do not evaporate or have a strong scent, which makes them ideal for diluting essential oils—reducing the concentration of the essential oil without diminishing its properties. When you dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil, a larger surface area can be covered, such as the back, hips, or even the bottoms of the feet.

Carrier oils should be stored away from heat and direct sunlight to prevent the oil from going rancid quickly. Cold-pressed or cold expeller pressed oils are considered preferable because they are processed with minimal/no heat.



  • An ideal proprietary Young Living formula that combines fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil*, wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil

  • Wheat germ oil is high in vitamin E and acts as a natural preservative

  • Moisturizes and nourishes the skin

  • Anti-oxidant & highly nourishing

  • Made with the same extremely high Seed to Seal standards as Young Living's essential oils

  • Doesn’t clog pores or stain clothing

  • Odorless & colourless

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Has a very long shelf life

*May cause a reaction to those with nut allergies.


Grapeseed Oil

  • Light, thin consistency

  • Well suited for massages; leaves a light glossy film over the skin

  • Moisturizes skin

  • High in linoleic acid

  • Relatively short shelf life


Sweet Almond Oil**

  • Has a slightly sweet, nutty aroma

  • Medium consistency

  • Absorbs relatively quickly; leaves a slight hint of oil on the skin

  • Rich in vitamin E and oleic acid

 **May cause a reaction to those with nut allergies.


Jojoba Oil

  • Slightly nutty aroma

  • Medium consistency

  • Superior, non-greasy absorption; similar to the skin’s natural oils

  • Moisturizing for skin and hair

  • Long shelf life


Olive Oil

  • Popular, easy-to-find oil used in both topical and culinary applications

  • Thicker consistency; leaves an oily feel on the skin

  • Stronger aroma

  • Good source of oleic acid (omega fatty acid)

  • Relatively short shelf life


Fractionated Coconut Oil

  • Unlike coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil is liquid at room temperature

  • No noticeable aroma

  • Absorbs well; leaves skin feeling silky & moisturized; non-greasy

  • High in essential fatty acids

  • Long shelf life


Coconut Oil

  • Solid at room temperature

  • Creamy white color & distinct coconut aroma

  • Leaves a moisturizing, oily layer on top of the skin

  • High in essential fatty a

  • Long shelf life


Avocado Oil

  • A heavy, thick edible oil with a nutty aroma

  • High in oleic acid; a monounsaturated fatty acid

  • Contains Vitamin A, B, D, E, and Beta Carotene

  • Regenerating and rehydrating; good for dry or mature skin

  • Used in body creams, lotions, and massage oils

  • Dries slowly, can blend with Olive oil to make more free-flowing

  • Not ideal if dealing with acne


Shea Butter

  • Solid at room temperature

  • Nutty aroma

  • Cream coloured

  • Moisturizing to skin and hair; leaves behind a moisturizing, waxy-feeling layer


Carrier oils have a limited shelf life, meaning they will eventually go rancid (which is the very reason that many other essential oil brands claiming to be "pure" have such a limited shelf life—they are in actuality filled with carrier oils with the end goal to increase their profit-margin). Carrier oils should typically be used within six months, but some oils can stay usable for up to one year. To maximize shelf life, store oils in their original air-tight containers in a cool, dark place. They can also vary greatly in their consistency, absorbency, scent and shelf life. They can be blended to change or combine their properties, so you can mix and match until you find the blend that’s just right for you!



Here is a quick-reference chart to familiarize yourself with dilution ratios:


Happy Oiling!

~Lea Mallett

If you're new to essential oils and would like to place an order under me, visit:

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Happy to have you join my Crew! I have SO much to share with you once you're onboard with your first oils order! And best of all, you won't be on your own trying to learn it all.


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Unknown member
Jun 28, 2020

Thank you, Lea! This is great information to share with others!

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