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Essential Oils 101 - Why You Need Carrier Oils

You’ve just spent an hour in the shop, smelling the calming, energising and magical aromas of hundreds of essential oils, and you’ve finally narrowed it down to your top 3, when the shop assistant interrupts your sensory experience: ‘Which carrier oil would you like to go with those?’ At this point, you think: ‘The wonderful world of oils produced by nature is overwhelming enough - now I have to choose from an array of carrier oils!?

Don’t panic!  (Add some German Chamomile Oil to your basket).

Just breathe!  (Add a bottle of Clary Sage Oil to your basket).

We know you don’t have another hour, so just ‘take 5’ and read our breakdown of carrier oils. You’ll soon have all the know-how to ensure that Nature’s droplets work perfectly for you. 

What are carrier oils?

Unlike essential oils - which are distilled from the aromatic leaves, bark, and roots of plants - carrier oils (also known as base oils) are derived from the fatty portion of a plant -  usually the seeds, kernels or nuts. The method of production is either through distilling or cold pressing. Carrier oils are also unscented, or very lightly scented, and will not interfere with an essential oil’s therapeutic properties.

Carrier oils

Why are carrier oils necessary? 

Due to the potency and concentration of essential oils, carrier oils are their gentle sidekick, diluting the essential oils for any topical applications (skin creams or massage oils). They are the unsung heroes in the world of aromatherapy, simply ‘carrying’ the essential oil to your skin, thereby mitigating any side effects or skin irritations. (Carrier oils are not required for diffusers).

Carrier oils

How to choose the right carrier oil

With around 50 carrier oils on the market, how do you know which one to choose?  Several general factors play a role in the selection of carrier oils, but due to the wonderful versatility of these base oils, the final decision often comes down to preference and budget. 

Some general guidelines: 

#1. Consider the quality - you should only buy carrier oils that are cold-pressed, 100% pure, and additive/preservative-free. Buying organic oils gives you peace of mind that there are no pesticide residues. Organic carrier oils also undergo less processing than non-organic oils and are likely to have a higher omega, mineral and vitamin content. 

#2. Consider the type of application - a massage oil, bath oil, body lotion, facial serum, skin cream etc? Some carrier oils, like fractionated coconut oil, are absorbed more easily into the skin, whereas olive and grapeseed carrier oils are better used in massage or bath oils. 

#3. Consider the type of skin - Jojoba carrier oil replicates sebum layers, making it ideal for oily skin; avocado and argan carrier oils are best suited for dry skin, healing the damaged upper layer of the epidermis; almond oil and jojoba oil are recommended for sensitive skin or mature skin; and sunflowergrapeseed or hemp seed oils are well suited for normal skin. 

#4. Consider the color, aroma, viscosity and shelf life - some carrier oils are completely odorless while others have a mild nutty scent. Depending on the carrier oil, there will be color variations, with carrier oils also ranging in viscosity (choose between ‘thin,’ ‘medium,’ or ‘thick’, depending on the intended purpose). If tightly sealed and kept in a cool place, most carrier oils will have a shelf life of 1-2 years, with jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil outlasting their peers with a shelf life of 5 years or more. 

Carrier oils

Sanctus Essence - Our top 10 carrier oils

At Sanctus Essence we know that the world of carrier oils can be just as confusing as the world of essential oils, but we have made life a simpler by stocking our top 10 favorite and most versatile carrier oils to complement your essential oils repertoire: Almond, Argan, Avocado, Fractionated Coconut, Grapeseed, Hempseed, Jojoba, Olive, Sunflower and Tamanu. 

All our essential and carrier oils are USDA certified organic and we consult with a qualified and certified Aromatherapist to ensure that any information accompanying our products is honest and accurate. 

Contact us to find out more. 

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