What in the world is a carrier oil?

If you’re new to essential oils or have heard about them at all, chances are you’ve heard the term “carrier oil”.  You might be wondering, what the heck is that anyway?


What is a carrier oil?

Lemme ‘splain.

A carrier oil is simply an oil that dilutes potent essential oils so they are less abrasive to the skin when applied topically or to the system when taken internally.

For example – peppermint oil is a “hot” oil.  It will burn your skin if applied directly or “neat” as it’s often referred to.  But mixed with a carrier oil before applying allows you to receive the benefits of the oil without burning your skin.

Every essential oil is different and many require a different dilution ratio.  If the oil directions say to mix 1 drop of oil with 4 drops of a carrier oil then you’ll know that this oil needs to be heavily diluted.  I use these little disposable droppers when I need to be exact in my measurements.

Every brand of oil will also have different instructions for dilution so it’s important to read the instructions on the labs. Personally, I use Young Living essential oils.  I chose this company for several reasons, two of which being their experience within the essential oil market (over 20 years) and the fact that they own their own farms so they are in control of their product from seed to seal. As explained on their website, this is their explanation of carrier oils:

“A carrier oil is a vegetable oil—such as coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil—that can be used to dilute essential oils. Young Living’s V-6™ Vegetable Oil Complex is an excellent carrier oil for all applications.

Carrier oils ensure that essential oils applied topically are comfortable to the skin. Dilution with a carrier oil does not dilute the effect of the essential oil. In fact, it prevents waste due to excessive application. Look for dilution ratios on Young Living essential oil bottles.

Vegetable shortening, butter, margarine, or petroleum derivatives (such as mineral oil, baby oil, and petroleum jelly) should never be used as carrier oils.”

Types of Carrier Oils

Some of the most popular carrier oils are:

  1. Olive Oil
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. V-6 Vegetable Oil
  4. Grapeseed Oil
  5. Almond Oil

Most are readily available at local health-food stores or online on sites like Amazon.com.  I just ran up to my local Walmart and grabbed a jar of organic coconut oil when I got started.  It lasted for a really long time and was easy to use.  In its regular state, coconut oil is a solid, but when it is warmed simply by the heat from your body temperature, it turns to a liquid.

So mixing oils is super each with coconut oil.  I just scoop out a bit with a spoon into my palm, it immediately begins to liquify because of my body heat and I add however many drops of the oil I’m using to my palm.  From there I can just rub the oil onto the affected area and I’m done!

For example, when my little girl complains of her throat hurting, she holds out her hand and I put a little carrier oil (usually coconut or almond oil), 2 drops of Lemon oil and 2 drops of Purification oil and she rubs it on her jaw line and throat.  That usually does the trick.

When my husband complains of a stomach ache, I put a little carrier oil in his palm and a few drops of Digize Oil Blend and he rubs it around the belly button.

Which one should I use?

Depending on your purpose, you might choose different oils for different things.  Some carrier oils are not great for using on your face since they can block pores and cause outbreaks.  Check out the info below for information on carrier oils and their comedogenic ratings (acne causing).


If you’re just starting out, I would recommend starting with coconut or almond oil.  Both are easily accessible, easy to work with, and pretty inexpensive.  If you’re going to be using oils for your beauty regimen and frequently using them on your face, you will want to invest in sunflower, mineral, or hemp seed oil as those are very low on the acne causing scale.

I don’t have any oils yet, where do I get some?

If you’re ready to get started with making better choices for the wellness of your family, essential oils are a perfect start.  The best place to start is with a starter kit.  It will have everything you need to get a good handle on using essential oils.  And when you get your kit through a Lemon Dropper, you get a ton of extra perks.

Using essential oils can be overwhelming and using them safely is extremely important, so we want to make sure we give you a ton of information, safety instructions, and ways to get help when you need it.  You’ll be given access to our free online classes, the Happy Oiler handbook, and our members only Facebook discussion groups.

You can get started right HERE.



2 thoughts on “What in the world is a carrier oil?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s