Carrier oils, also known as base oils, are types of oil which are especially good at blending with essential oils and “carrying” them to your skin.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, distilled or cold pressed oils from aromatic plants, such as eucalyptus, lavender, or citrus trees.
They have been used throughout the ages for their beneficial properties: many are thought to aid stress relief, sleep problems, concentration and other problems.
Why do I need to use a carrier oil?
There are a multitude of ways in which essential oils can be used, including in diffusers or oil burners, in the bath, and in candle making, for example.
But one of the most popular ways of using them is to dilute them in a carrier oil, to create custom body oils or massage oils.
One of the main reasons a carrier oil must be used if you want to use essential oils on the body is that essential oils should never be used neat.
How to use base oils and carrier oils
Most plant-based oils can be used on skin. Once you have chosen the best carrier oil for your skin, rub it in as you would a moisturiser.
Usually, oils can be used more sparingly than moisturisers, as they are so rich.
Carrier oils can be used on their own, or with a few drops of essential oil (or a blend of essential oils) added for fragrant and aroma therapeutic purposes.
Start with a weak dilution and work your way up to the intensity of smell you want to achieve.
For example, to get a 2.5 percent dilution, you would add 15 drops of essential oil per six teaspoons of carrier oil.
If you want a really strong fragrance, you could make it as strong as a 10 percent dilution by adding 60 drops of essential oil per six teaspoons of carrier oil.
It is important to carry out a patch test first before using your solution in case your skin reacts to either the essential oil or the carrier oil.
The best carrier oils for your skin
Most vegetable oils – those made from plants – can be used on skin.
There are tons available, from those available in a supermarket, such as sesame oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, and olive oil, to more exotic ones, such as marula oil, vegetable glycerine, cacay oil, apricot kernel oil, hazelnut oil, hemp oil, neem oil and safflower oil!
The important thing when choosing a carrier oil is how rich it is.
For people with oily skin, some oils may be too rich and take a long time to sink in.
Conversely, someone with dry skin might prefer a thicker oil, to give them longer-lasting moisture.
It is also important to know whether or not your carrier oil has a smell – some are slightly nutty, others more fruity, while some have no smell.
You might also want to look at the storage instructions and shelf life of your oil, to see which one is best for your lifestyle.
All of the oils below are suitable for vegans.
Made from the Nigella sativa seed, Miaflora Blackseed Oil is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which can help the condition of skin and hair.
It also naturally contains thymoquinone, a compound that has antioxidant effects.
As you might expect from the fragrant seed commonly used in Indian cooking, this oil has a slightly spicy fragrance, but still blends well as a base with essential oils.