Top 19 Carrier Oils for Essential Oils

Searching for the right carrier oils for essential oils in your collection? Here you will find full descriptions of what carrier oils are, how to select them and how to mix them essential oils to get the results you need.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and too powerful in their natural state to be applied directly to delicate skin tissue. To derive all the benefits to the body that essential oils provide they need to meet the skin in a considerably diluted form.

So the primary use of carrier oils is to dilute concentrated essential oils to make them less concentrated and safe to apply to the skin. Because they are heavier (lower viscosity than essential oils), they also slow the evaporation of the much lighter essential oils.

Carrier oils for essential oils effectively transmit or ‘carry’ the essential oils into the body through contact with the skin, at a slow and safe pace. Depending on the type of plant they were extracted from, they have a variety of properties and associated healing and subtle aromatic benefits, which can be quite separate from the essential oils they are blended with.

They are considered base oils, taken from fatty oil in the seeds and the nuts of a variety of specific plants, usually through a cold-press process. Fatty acids in carrier oils are needed and sourced externally since we can’t produce them internally. When applied topically, carrier oils with natural fatty acids are very nourishing to our skin.

Essential oils can be blended with carrier oils to manifest the healing properties of both types of oil, and to disperse the unique aroma created from the blending between them. Certain carrier oils are odorless and the majority have a faintly sweet, nutty smell.

Through experimentation with the blending of carrier oils for essential oils, it will become apparent which blends of oil types and concentrations achieve the desired results. A selected carrier oil will impact the therapeutic qualities, aromatic effect and the storage qualities of the blend with essential oils.

Selecting Carrier Oils

Top 19 Carrier Oils for Essential Oils

More carrier oils waiting to be blended

Most people that have experience selecting carrier oils for essential oils will have 3 to 6 types of carrier oil on hand. They will have discovered that blending of carrier oils and essential oils work best when they take the time to research and buy the highest quality carrier oils their budget can handle. They will invariably source cold-pressed oils without any troublesome impurities. Refined oils go through a heating process and will not be as pure or long lasting as cold-pressed oils.

Here is a substantial list of the more popular carrier oils. Pay attention to their properties and you will save time in the oil blending experimenting process.

Almond Oil

  • Almond oil is one of the best all-purpose carrier oils to keep and is not very costly
  • The aroma of almond oil is a bit sweet and nutty. It is virtually clear with a yellow tinge, applies smoothly and can assist thicker carrier oils (such as coconut oil) to absorb more fully and easily into skin tissues
  • After application, it absorbs moderately quickly and causes the skin to have a very light oily texture
  • Emollient properties in almond oil help to improve skin complexion and it is good for all skin types
  • Almond oil is great for warming, and with spicy essential oils and is one of the best for  massage to relax and heat stiff muscles and joints.
  • One of the best carrier oils for essential oils blending.

Apricot Kernel Oil

  • Apricot kernel oil has a faint aroma  and is almost clear with a hint of yellow color with similar qualities to avocado oil
  • It feels a little oily and absorbs with medium speed compared to other carrier oils without leaving an oily residue
  • Apricot kernel oil is filled with vitamin A and vitamin E and minerals
  • Good massage blend for dry or aging skin.
  • Apricot kernel oil is moisturizing and releases respiratory and digestive congestion.  Works well with peppermint essential oil as a massage oil on the chest above the abdomen

Argan Oil

  • Argan oil is rare and costly due to the limited supply from the small region it comes from
  • A slightly nutty scent
  • It is a very luxurious oil and absorbs into the skin fairly quickly
  • Argan oil is high in vitamin E with antioxidants
  • Suitable for virtually all types of skin

Avocado Oil

  • An oil olive green in color, slightly sweet, with a nutty aroma
  • Contains proteins, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants that make the oil a strong moisturizer with thick consistency, that leaves feels waxy on the skin
  • It penetrates deeply into the skin and increase collagen that  makes skin supple
  • Helpful with very dry skin, and stress
  • When combined with lavender as a massage oil it relieves problematic sleep symptom symptoms.  
  • Should mix avocado oil with light oils for most applications

Castor Oil

  • Castor oil is a strong, thick oil which  means it is not the best carrier for essential oils
  • It performs best when diluted with another carrier oil
  • A very soothing oil that was historically used for medicinal purposes
  • It is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal

Cocoa Butter

  • Cocoa butter is a rich unrefined tan colored ‘oil’ which is very sweet, with a chocolate aroma
  • It is actually solid at room temperature, so must be mixed with other carrier oils to be workable
  • Lotions or blended oils containing cocoa butter are rich and exotic when mixed with essential oils

Coconut Oil

  • The medium chain fatty acids work as an antimicrobial agent to help kill bacteria and other viruses
  • All of the medicinal attributes of coconut oil produce moisturizing for skin and clear, supple complexion
  • Refined coconut oil has no scent but unrefined coconut oil smells deliciously of coconut
  • Most coconut oil solidifies at slightly above room temperature, so it’s best to use another liquid carrier oil in combination with this oil to keep it in a more fluid state
  • Suitable for all skin types, especially acne prone. It is widely used for lip lotions and other body care products

Evening Primrose Oil

  • Evening Primrose carrier oil has a light aroma, with a mid-yellow color
  • When applied to the skin it leaves just a hint of thin oiliness
  • Good for treatment of many skin conditions. It is expensive and is usually blended in a small (often 10%) dilution with other carrier oils. It goes rancid quickly
  • Evening Primrose oil is an elixir to the cardiovascular system
  • It blends well with rich, like Ylang Ylang as a relaxing massage treatment
Top 19 Carrier Oils for Essential Oils

Grapeseed Oil

  • Grapeseed oil has a faint green and yellow color with light viscosity and slightly sweet, mildly nutty smell
  • When applied it leaves a light shiny layer of oil on the skin
  • A strong anti-oxidant but not too strong for nearly all skin types

Hazelnut Oil

  • Hazelnut oil is faintly yellow with a light, nutty smell
  • When applied it leaves a light shiny layer of oil on the skin
  • Great for with people with naturally oily skin
  • Rich with nutrients
  • A good blended with cardamom oil

Jojoba Oil

  • Jojoba oil is yellow with a distinctive slightly sweet aroma
  • A smooth texture that leaves a thin layer of oil on skin
  • Is naturally semi-solid so often needs to be blended with a small amount of other carrier oil
  • A great skin and hair conditioner since it has similar properties to the collagen in skin oils
  • Great for acne prone skin because it reduces excess sebum

Macadamia Nut Oil

  • Macadamia nut oil is yellow in color with a stronger aroma than most other nut oils
  • Has a sweet and nutty aroma and a thick consistency that leaves  an oily layer on skin
  • When blended with other carrier oils it needs to be used in smaller amounts due to its relatively powerful qualities
  • Is more fatty than any other nut oils and blends well with flower essential oils

Neem Oil

  • Neem oil is thick (semi-solid) with a strong aroma which is not considered a good oil to use on its own as a carrier oil, so needs to be diluted with another oil if blending with essential oils
  • Is often used as an insect repellent since it has good insecticide qualities
  • Does not absorb well into the skin, but is very moisturizing and compatible with all skin types

Olive Oil

  • Olive oil has a rich and slightly green and yellow color, with the aroma of olives.
  • Not often used as a massage carrier oil since it’s smell is overpowering.
  • Used as a skincare alternative for people who have nut allergies.

Rose Hip Oil

  • Rose hip oil is clear with a soft and earthy smell
  • It leaves an extremely thin film of oil on the skin
  • Good for treating an array of skin problems.
  • Blended in small percentages with other carrier oils for essential oils due to the high cost

Safflower Oil

  • Safflower oil is clear in color, light in texture and aroma (neutral)
  • Contains higher levels of nutrients compared to nearly all other carrier oil
  • Great for skin, hair, acne and scars

Sesame Oil

  • Sesame oil is slightly thick, light yellow in color, with a distinctive sesame seed scent which can be too strong without being blended with other carrier oils
  • It leaves an oily layer on skin
  • Can’t be used as a massage oil carrier since it so thick and oily.
  • Healing for the skin and blends well with very strongly scented essential oils.

Shea Butter

  • Shea butter is  nutty near-white cream which is solid at room temperature, with a strong aroma.
  • Is often used with lotions and creams as a skin moisturizer
  • Very nourishing for skin.  
  • Readily takes on the aroma of most essential oils

Tamanu Oil

  • Tamanu oil is solid at room temperature with a very rich scent and is greenish in color.
  • It contains essential fatty acids which are good for restoring skin.
  • Good for acne prone skin.
  • One of the best carrier oils for essential oils that need a strong carrier oil partner.

Now it’s Your Turn…Start Blending with Your Favorite Carrier Oils for Essential Oils

There you have it…a rather long listing of the full array of carrier oils suitable for blending with one another and with all essential oils.

The resulting combinations are truly limitless as are the effects the resulting blends will have.

Be bold and feel free to creatively experiment with small quantities of carrier oils blended with your favorite essential oils.  When you are comfortable, move on to creating larger quantities and varieties.

Happy blending!