20 Awesome Aromatherapy Carrier Oils

How to choose the best carrier oil for your skin type


Aromatherapy carrier oils are widely used in bath and body products because most essential oils are thought to be too potent to use undiluted.

A little basic knowledge can really help you choose the best carrier oil for your aromatherapy recipes. Each carrier oil has its own distinct qualities, so each oil is best suited for certain skin types or conditions such as acne, dryness or eczema.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Choosing the best carrier oil for your skin is often a matter of trial and error. They won't hurt you, so it's okay to play!


Here's a quick guide to choosing the best carrier oils for your skin type or for any skin problems you might have. It also shows best aromatherapy carrier oils for hair types and problems, followed by detailed information on each oil listed.


Best Aromatherapy Carrier Oils for Skin

Oily, Acne-prone

Grapeseed, Jojoba, Neem


Dry, Aging, Damaged

Sweet Almond, Avocado, Borage, Calendula, Jojoba, Kukui Nut, Olive, Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn, St. John's Wort


Normal

Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Jojoba, Sunflower


Sensitive

Apricot Kernel, Avocado, Calendula, Grapeseed, Kukui Nut, Rice Bran


Eczema, Psoriasis

Calendula, Sweet Almond, Avocado, Evening Primrose, Jojoba, Kukui Nut, Neem, Olive, Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn


Scars, Stretch Marks

Calendula, Jojoba, Kukui Nut, Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn


Burns, Bruises, Cuts, Scrapes & Stings

Arnica, Comfrey, Rosemary, St. John's Wort



Best Aromatherapy Carrier Oils for Hair

Dry, Damaged

Coconut, Jojoba, Kukui Nut, Rosemary


Dandruff

Jojoba, Neem, Rosemary


Hair Loss

Jojoba, Neem, Rosemary


Learn More About Aromatherapy Carrier Oils

Below are a few notes on some aromatherapy carrier oils frequently used in making bath and body products. It's perfectly safe (and often a good idea) to use a mix of carrier oils to take advantage of their particular properties.

Click on the links to jump to each of the oils, or scroll down the page to browse through them.



Almond Oil

Especially good for dry, irritated and aging skin, but suitable for all skin types.

Soothing, nourishing and reconditioning for skin.

High in protein, Vitamin D and GLA acids.

Not the best absorption into skin, leaves a slight film on skin.

Popular all-purpose aromatherapy carrier oil.

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

May stain sheets if used for massage.

Buy almond oil from Mountain Rose Herbs (I recommend them for quality and price) or Amazon.


Apricot Kernel Oil

Good for all skin types, including sensitive and aging skin, babies and children.

Nourishing, soothing.

High in fatty acids and vitamins A, C and E.

Light texture, quick absorption.

Golden color, slight nutty scent.

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

Buy apricot kernel oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Arnica Infused Oil

Olive oil infused with Arnica.

Traditionally used as an herbal remedy for inflammation, bruises and joint pain.

Takes several hours to work in support of strains and bruises.

Absorbs quickly into the skin and fast-acting.

Not suitable for internal use. Do not apply to open wounds.

Good shelf life (six months to a year.) Refrigerate after opening.

Buy arnica infused oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Avocado Oil

Good for sensitive, irritated skin, as well as skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and severely dry or aged skin.

Deeply nourishing and soothing.

High in vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E. Also contains amino acids, sterols, pantothenic acid, lecithin, and other essential fatty acids.

Green color, slightly thick consistency. Leaves a sticky, waxy feel on skin.

Dilute to a maximum of 10% of a recipe due to its oily residue.

Good shelf life (six months to a year.) Refrigerate after opening.

Buy avocado oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Borage Seed Oil

Good for dry, damaged, aging and sunburned skin.

One of the richest known sources of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

Supports mobility of joints and tissues - good for pain relief.

Stronger color and odor than many aromatherapy carrier oils.

Usually diluted to a maximum of 10% of a recipe due to its high price and oily residue.

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

Not recommended for use during pregnancy.

Buy borage oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Calendula Infused Oil

Olive oil infused with calendula flowers.

Good for all skin types, including sensitive skin and babies.

Considered an excellent base for salves, facial creams, cosmetics and body care products.

Astringent, gentle and cooling for skin.

Good for wounds and skin trauma; supports increased circulation to the skin.

Helps protect against sun, wind, salt and other skin damage.

Good shelf life (6 months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

Buy calendula infused oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Coconut Oil

Good for dry, damaged hair. Good for use in lip balms. Creates a moisture barrier.

Some anecdotal evidence that it increases acne breakouts over time.

Check for possible allergic reaction before applying directly to the face.

Solid at room temperature; liquid when heated.

Rich in minerals, vitamins and GLA acids.

Buy virgin, unrefined to get the most benefits.

Virgin, unrefined coconut oil has a strong coconut aroma; dilute if concerned about altering the scent of your recipe. Refined coconut oil has very little scent.

Creates a smooth, protective barrier on the skin.

Excellent shelf life, does not need refrigeration.

Buy coconut oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Comfrey Infused Oil

Olive oil infused with comfrey leaves and roots.

Moisturizing, astringent, eases skin irritation.

Usually used for healing salves and skin treatments. Helps stop bleeding, speeds healing.

Long history as a natural remedy; used since the time of the Roman empire to treat wounds.

Good shelf life (6 months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

External use only, do not apply to open wounds. Do not use while nursing.

Buy comfrey oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Evening Primrose Oil

Good for eczema and psoriasis. Soothes inflammation.

Rich in gamma linoleic acid, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

Dilute to a maximum of 10% of a recipe due to its oily residue.

Quick to go rancid; shelf life is short, only three to six months. Refrigerate after opening.

Buy evening primrose oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Grapeseed Oil

Good for oily, acne-prone skin. Considered non-allergenic: good for sensitive skin types.

Astringent.

One of the lightest, most easily absorbed aromatherapy carrier oils available.

Very popular for use as a base oil for lotions and body, bath and massage oils.

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

Buy grapeseed oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Jojoba Oil

Good for all skin types, including dry or mature skin, as well as oily, acne-prone skin.

Deeply moisturizing. Rich in Vitamin E.

Reduces appearance of pores over time.

Reduces appearance of superficial wrinkles and stretch marks.

Closest in properties to skin's own natural oils; helps balance skin's oil production.

Readily absorbed without making the skin feel greasy or tacky. Does not clog pores.

Very popular for use in facial products, cosmetics and lotions.

Good for dandruff, athlete's foot.

Highly stable, excellent shelf life. Often used to extend the shelf life of other oils.

Buy jojoba oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Kukui Nut Oil

Especially good for dry, mature and damaged skin but suitable for all skin types.

Deeply moisturizing, soothing and nourishing. Rich in Vitamins A, C & E.

Penetrates skin layers to hydrate and lock in moisture.

Helps protect against sun, wind, salt and other skin damage.

Used to help heal burns including sunburn, windburn, radiation burns and heat induced burns.

Quickly absorbed with no oily film.

Good shelf life (about a year) if refrigerated after opening.

Buy kukui nut oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.


Neem Oil

Good for oily, acne-prone skin, dry, aging and damaged skin, and for eczema and psoriasis.

Helpful for dandruff and hair loss.

Exceptionally rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, antioxidants.

Helps protect the skin from environmental damage.

Supports collagen production; smooth wrinkles and fine lines.

Anti-inflammatory; helps relieve redness and irritation.

Helps reduce acne by removing bacteria from the skin, preventing more break-outs. Won't clog pores.

Good for acne scars.

Can be used in facial masks to draw out impurities and tighten pores.

Strong (not super-pleasant) odor, often diluted to bring the smell down.

Solid at room temperature.

Helps deter mosquitoes, fleas, flies, ticks, bedbugs, mites and lice.

Good shelf life (about  a year) if stored in a cool, dark location.

Buy neem oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Olive Oil

Good aromatherapy  carrier oil for dry, irritated skin.

Affordable, readily available (check your grocery store.)

Strong, rich aroma, golden green color. Not great for bath oils because it can change the scent of the blend.

Makes lotions feel slightly 'tacky'. (I don't love it in lotion recipes even though it is great for skin.)

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening. Do not expose to extended periods of light.

Buy olive oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Rice Bran Oil

Particularly good aromatherapy carrier oil for delicate, sensitive, dry and aging skin (and babies.)

Believed to protect against UV rays.

Considered non-allergenic.

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

Buy rice bran oil from Amazon.


Rosehip Oil

Particularly good for dry, weathered, sunburned skin, as well as eczema and aging skin.

Extremely high in essential fatty acids.

Contains Trans-Retinoic Acid, a similar to the active ingredient of Retin-A (a popular wrinkle cream)

Good remedy for burns and sunburn, scars, stretch marks, wrinkles and premature aging.

Soaks easily into the skin with no greasy residue.

Usually diluted to a maximum of 10% of a recipe.

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

May aggravate acne at high concentrations.

Buy rosehip oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Rosemary Infused Oil

Olive oil infused with rosemary.

Helpful for dry, damaged hair, dandruff and hair loss; helps stimulate hair follicles.

Good for bruises, cuts, scrapes and stings. Helps speed healing of wounds and bruises.

Anti-inflammatory; helpful for healthy circulation and joint pain.

Good shelf life (about 6 months to  year) if refrigerated.

Buy rosemary infused oil at Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Sea Buckthorn Oil

Good for dry, weathered, sunburned skin, as well as eczema.

Rich in essential fatty acids, carotenes, tocopherols, and phytosterols.

Reputed to be one of the best aromatherapy carrier oils for natural antioxidants.

Known remedy for wounds, burns and sunburn, scars, stretch marks and wrinkles.

Believed to protect against UV rays.

Usually diluted to a maximum of 10% of a recipe.

Good shelf life (six months to a year.) Store at room temperature.

If undiluted it will stain skin, surfaces and clothing. Use caution, spread evenly and dilute.

Buy sea buckthorn oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


St. John's Wort Infused Oil

Olive oil infused with St. John's Wort.

Soothes and nourishes dry, damaged and aging skin.

Good for bruises, cuts, scrapes and stings; assists healing by stimulating circulation.

Rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants.

Traditionally considered anti-inflammatory and analgesic; relieves pain, redness and irritation. Helpful for muscle and joint pain.

Buy St. John's Wort oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.


Sunflower Oil

Good aromatherapy carrier oil for normal to dry skin types.

Rich in oleic acids, vitamins A, D, and E, lecithin and unsaturated fatty acids.

Deeply nourishing and conditioning for the skin.

A good all-purpose oil for bath and body recipes.

Easily absorbed, leaves very little oily residue.

Good shelf life (six months to a year) if refrigerated after opening.

Buy sunflower oil from Mountain Rose or Amazon.

Learn How to Mix Essential Oils!

So now that you know which aromatherapy carrier oils you want to try, what next?

Which essential oils do you mix them with? How do you know what to choose or how much to use?

What about safety?

Luckily, I have the answers for you! I wrote an eBook called 6 Secrets for Mixing Essential Oils, which teaches you how to classify essential oils into categories so you know what to blend together to create delicious, restoring scents. It also gives you safety information for 34 of the most popular essential oils. And lots more!

Click the link to learn how to mix essential oils.

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