Learn about some of the most popular carrier oils to use with your essential oils!

Medical Disclaimer

In our last post we discussed some of the most popular essential oils and some of their benefits. You can find our post on some popular essential oils here! It is only fair that we discuss the jelly to the peanut butter, the cheese to the macaroni, the milk to the cookies…carrier oils! What are carrier oils? What are their purpose and how to do use them in conjunction to our great smelling essential oils?

What are Carrier Oils?


a bottle of olive oil

Carrier oils, also known as base oils, are specific types of oils that can be used with essential oils. Carrier oils dilute the potency of the essential oils, and extend the goodness of essential oils.  They are usually scent-less and keep the integrity of the essential oil intact so their use can go farther and the essential oils become safe to use topically.

As mentioned in our Essential Oils post, some oils come diluted already in a carrier oil, while some essential oils are safe to use in without a carrier oil in certain conditions. To determine if your oil already has a carrier oil (pure essential oils will not be diluted already), you’ll have to check the ingredients and if not, also check if you need to dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil. Usually, if you are going to use the essential oils topically, they should be diluted. This is the type of application we will be discussing in this post. Other types of uses, such as in a diffuser or in candles, etc, will have different qualifications dependent on their function. Usually, diffusers do not require a carrier oil. Check the brand and instructions on your diffuser to find out.

woman hand holding a small bottle of oil

Do I Need a Carrier Oil?

Some essential oils are safe to use without a carrier oil in certain conditions. However, it is highly advised that applying pure essential oils to your skin should only be performed by an experienced practitioner. It is important to note that using essential oils without a carrier oil should be carefully considered and applied carefully as improper use can cause severe skin irritation. Only apply 1-2 drops in a centralized area and be sure to monitor for any symptoms. Some essential oils that potentially can be used without a carrier oil in certain conditions are tea tree oil, lavender oil, rose, sandalwood, helichrysum, eucalyptus, Roman chamomile, and bay laurel oil. Reflexology and Acupuncture also use undiluted oils sometimes. Usually undiluted (neat) essential oils are used for acute conditions, such as acne, migraines, bug bites, cold sores, minor burns and skin trauma like bruises or scrapes. Again, if you are unsure, seek the advise of a professional. Many professionals advise against the use of undiluted essential oils entirely. You can learn more about essential oils safety from the critically-acclaimed book “Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals” by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. Buy it on Amazon! 

Other applications require the use of a carrier oil. But what type should you use? Could any old oil in the cupboard work?

10 Popular Carrier Oils

There are many different types of carrier oils you can use with essential oils. When searching for a carrier oil to use with your essential oils, make sure you buy cold-pressed carrier oils. Cold-pressed oils are not harmed by heat or other chemical extractions, leaving the goodness of the oil intact. Optimally, look words like “Organic”, “Non-gmo” “Therapeutic-grade” and “Unrefined” on your carrier oil bottle.

Here are some popular carrier oils that can be used to dilute essential oils to alter their absorption rate:


Coconut oil:

A fan favorite, the uses of coconut oil are endless. You can use coconut oil for cooking, as a moisturizer, to improve your dental health, and more.  It is full of antioxidants, has a long shelf life and has little to no aroma. Look for unrefined fractionated coconut oil to mix with your essential oils. Fractionated coconut oil remains in liquid form at room temperature. Likewise, you can use unrefined coconut oil that is solid at room temperature to make balms or creams.

Sweet Almond Oil:

Sweet almond oil is lovely to use as a carrier oil. It is full of vitamin E and is hypoallergenic and non greasy. Great as a massage oil and nourishing the skin!

Jojoba Oil:

Another oil that can be used as a base oil is Jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is actually derived from plant wax and not really an oil. It is full of Vitamin E and B, is antifungal, odorless, and has emollient properties which is great for unclogging pores.

Olive Oil:

This timeless staple of kitchen als makes a great carrier oil. Commonly used in cooking, olive oil is full of fatty acids and anti-inflammatory compounds, which makes it also great for your skin. Olive oil has been used to treat skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and even acne.

Argan Oil:

Argan oil has anti-aging properties and has lots of vitamin A and E, which means this carrier oil is excellent for skin treatments to help regenerate skin cells.

Moringa Oil:

An oil derived from what is known as the “Miracle tree”, it has powerful anti inflammatory properties and is full of fatty acids, and vitamin A. It has been used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis, can be used as an excellent hair conditioner, and has been known to speed up wound healing.

Avocado Oil:

More than just for making guacamole, you can use avocado oil as a carrier oil. With its antioxidants and vitamin A, E, and D, avocado oil is great for massage therapy due to its slow absorption into the skin.

Neem Oil: According to Upnature,  “neem oil contains over a hundred biologically active compounds including nimbidin & nimbin compounds, omega-6 fatty acids and azadirachtin, a compound that acts as a natural powerful insect repellent. Neem oil is an excellent carrier oil for everything from treating hair and skin conditions, to eliminating parasites and serving as an insecticide, to improving oral health and even treating your pets!”

Rosehip Oil:

Rosehip oil is high in Vitamin C and is great for treating skin conditions like eczema and stretch-marks. Use this carrier oil if you have normal to oily skin, as it is fast absorbing and won’t leave behind any greasy feeling!

Castor Oil:

Castor oil has been used for centuries for a variety of ailments. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Castor oil has been known to help with circulation problems, digestive issues, scalp issues, and help detoxify the body.

There are tons of other carrier oils you can use with essential oils:

Emu oil, Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Magnesium Oil (not actually an oil),  Flaxseed oil, Broccoli seed oil, Arnica oil, Babassu oil, Black Seed Oil, Hemp seed oil, Wheat germ oil, Hazelnut oil and Tamanu oil.

drops of oil dropping on hand from bottle


Diluting Essential Oils in Carrier Oils

But how do we dilute our essential oils in carrier oil? There are different percentages of dilution, with 2-2.5% being the most common and safe for topical essential oil use for adults. 1% is typically used for children ages two through six. Anything higher than 2.5%, between 3%-25% have specific uses, usually for acute conditions. Even lower percentages (such as .25%) can be used on children aged 3 months to 2 years, however you should do your research when using essential oils on children before application.

A good recipe for 2% dilution would be 6 drops of essential oil per 2 tsp of carrier oil. Store in a cool, dry place and in a bottle that is child-proof and away from direct sunlight.

Plant Therapy also has a great article on dilution if you want some more information on why we dilute and different dilution ratios with helpful conversions.

That’s it for now! Hopefully you learned a little bit about carrier oils and how they can be used with your essential oils for topical application. There are so many uses for essential oils, which we are excited to talk about in our next post!


Did you like this article about carrier oils? What’s your favorite type of carrier oil and how do you use it? Share in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!