What Are Carrier Oils?

First time hearing the term carrier oils? Just as you thought you knew everything there is known about essential oils, then there come carrier oils. Don’t worry, we got you! In this post, we will explain all the necessary details you need to know when selecting a carrier oil for yourself. Let’s dive in…


Similar to essential oils, carrier oils are derived from plants and are used to dilute pure essential oil so that they can be “carried” onto your skin. Often pure essential oils such as Dr MySalyanie 100% pure essential oils are too concentrated and potent to be directly applied onto the skin. If done without dilution, the pure oils can cause adverse side effects such as irritation or inflammation of the skin.

Most carrier oils are mildly scented or have no scent at all and will not change the chemical properties or therapeutic effects of essential oils.


There are so many types of carrier oils. These vegetable oils are extracted from different parts of a plant such as a nut, flesh, or kernel. Below are some of the more common carrier oils.

Do note that this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point for beginners.

Coconut Oil

  • Made from the meat of coconut fruit. There are two types of coconut oil which are refined and unrefined coconut oil.
  • Unrefined: Obtained from fresh coconut meat and not mixed with chemicals. Retains its natural smell and taste.
  • Refined: Obtained from dried coconut meat that has been bleached and deodorized to remove the aroma and flavor. This version of coconut oil is not recommended to use as carrier oils.
  • Comedogenic Rating: 4 (unrefined) ; 2-3 (refined).
  • Rich in polyphenols and nourishing fatty acids. Therefore, suitable for massage oils/ skincare oils as it leaves your skin feeling moisturized & glowing.
  • Has long shelf life.

Grapeseed Oil

  • Obtained from the seed of grapes.
  • Rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid. Highly moisturizing.
  • Neutral scent
  • Comedogenic Rating: 1
  • Lightweight and thin consistency. Absorbs easily into the skin. Leaves a light glossy sheen on the skin.
  • Short shelf life.

Argan Oil

  • Extracted front the seeds of an argan fruit found on the tree.
  • Has a nutty scent.
  • Highly rich in vitamin A, E, and monounsaturated acids.
  • Comedogenic Rating: 0
  • Suitable for most skin types of especially acne-prone skin types…
  • Suitable for dry skin and hair.
  • Good for skincare and massage oils.

Jojoba Oil

  • Technically, it’s a moisturizing wax instead of oil. Sebum-like consistency (skin’s natural oil). Therefore, it is not greasy when applied to the skin.
  • Has a nutty scent.
  • Comedogenic Rating: 2
  • Moisturizes skin and hair
  • Soothes sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and eczema.
  • Do not clog pores. Suitable for massage oils, bath oils, or facial skincare.
  • Long shelf life.

Olive Oil

  • Obtained by pressing oils out of olives.
  • Most commonly used and easy to find oil.
  • Rich in omega fatty acids and plant sterols, making it perfect for moisturizing the skin and hair.
  • A strong sweet olive aroma that may mask the scent of pure essential oils
  • Comedogenic Rating: 2
  • Heavier consistency and leaves a more oily feeling on the skin after applying.

Apricot Oil

  • Usually extracted from the kernel of the apricot fruit.
  • Rich in fatty acids & vitamin E.
  • Has a sweet nutty scent
  • Comedogenic Rating: 2
  • Absorbs fast and easily into the skin
  • Suitable for itchy, irritated, and sensitive skin. Suitable for massage oils, bath oils, hair oils, and eye skincare

Sunflower Oil

  • Obtained from the seed of sunflower…
  • Rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid. Highly moisturizing and helps to soften the skin.
  • Neutral scent
  • Comedogenic Rating: 0-2
  • Blocks toxins and germs from penetrating the skin. Suitable for irritated and sensitive skin.
  • Short shelf life.

Avocado Oil

  • Obtained from the pulp of avocado fruit…
  • Rich in vitamin E and linoleic acid. Highly moisturizing and helps to soften the skin.
  • Nutty scent
  • Comedogenic Rating: 3
  • Heavy and thick consistency
  • Blocks toxins and germs from penetrating the skin. Suitable for irritated and sensitive skin.
  • Short shelf life

Sweet Almond Oil

  • The strong nutty aroma may mask the scent of pure essential oils.
  • Rich in oleic acid and vitamin E
  • Comedogenic Rating: 2
  • Lightweight and medium consistency. Slow absorption into the skin. Good for all skin types
  • Great moisturizing property. Suitable for bath oils, massage oils, and skincare.
  • Not suitable for those with nut allergies.


Selecting a carrier oil is not all that hard, all you have to do is first know how and where you want to use these oils. Then just research the viscosity, properties, and actions (absorption/aroma) of these carrier oils. When choosing a carrier oil for yourself,  the main thing to follow is that you should search for one that is most suitable for your skin type. It’s always best to do a patch test on your skin before applying the oil to a large area of skin. This is to ensure that you are not allergic to the carrier oil.

You should also look into the shelf life and odor of the oil that you find most pleasing. Best to use unscented carrier oils to ensure that there are no contrasting smells once it’s mixed with the pure essential oils. Other useful tips include:

  • Organic, cold-pressed, pure, unrefined oils with no additives would be the most effective and suitable to be used as carrier oils.
  • Select less heavy oils to use for massages whereas heavier oils that are richer in fatty acids and vitamins are much more suitable to be applied on the face (nourishes, moisturizes the skin, and reduces wrinkles).
  • Use Comedogenic Rating to determine suitable carrier oil for you. This rating scale refers to the ability of the oil to clog pores. 0 (non – comedogenic) to 5 (Highly comedogenic).
  • Best to mix 100% pure oils that have strong aromas with unscented carrier oils.
  • When applying on the body, best to prepare a mixture that is 2% essential oils and 98% carrier oils whereas use 1% essential oil and 99% carrier oils when applying on to the face.
  • Dilute pure essential oils when applying on kids/infants.

At the end of the day, it is all about trial and error. Mix and match your essential oils with different carrier oils to find the best one for you and your skin type. Do more research if you have highly sensitive skin or contact us if you have any doubts and we will be happy to help! If you have any other tips on carrier oils that you would like to share, do comment down below!

Do check out our other blog posts for more information on essential oils.

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