What are Carriers?

How important are essential oil carriers?

What are carriers? Do essential oil carriers have any therapeutic properties? Is it important to choose non-toxic, fragrance free carriers?

What are carriers? The product in which you add the essential oil before applying it to the body. Carriers are necessary, as essential oils cannot be used undiluted as by themselves they would be too powerful and expensive to use. Plus you need some lubrication added with the essential oil to be able to massage it into the body.

What are carriers? Essential oil carries can be vegetable oils, lotions, bath gels, hair care products (like shampoo, conditioners, spritz) and many other products.

You want to be careful in what you choose though. You don’t want to be using an essential oil for its health benefit and counteract the benefits by the harmful effects of the essential oil carriers you are using.

Some products you may be using for a essential oil carriers could contain harmful toxic ingredients and others may just inhibit the action of the essential oil. So it is just as important to investigate and do some research on the carrier products as it is to know about the essential oil. You want a carrier that will benefit your health just as the essential oil.

So what are carriers? Let’s look at some of the different properties of some of the products you can use for essential oil carriers and things you should be looking for in your essential oil carriers.

What are carriers? How about personal care products? If you are looking for cosmetics and personal-care products to add your essential oils to you will want to find ones that are safe, non-toxic, good for your skin and are fragrance free.

You may not know this but most personal-care products like lotions, face creams, soaps, shampoo, conditioner and most of the other commercial personal-care products you can buy at your store can be harmful to your health or your skin because of some of the ingredients that are so commonly used.

So you need to learn what to look out for in the ingredients list (you can click here to find out about some of those commonly used ingredients) or you buy from a company that you know can be trusted for their safe products. You can always make your own, I can help you out with a few recipes and sources for the ingredients.

What are carriers? How about household products? Essential oils can be used for a number of things around the house, but you also need to be aware of what ingredients are in these. Even when buying a household cleaning product that says it is natural or from a natural food store, be sure to read the labels.

Now that we’ve talked a little about what to look out for in other products you can use for carriers lets talk about the many different oils that are available to use with your essential oils and look at the properties and benefits of each of these.

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Carrier Oils, Mineral Oils, and Essential Oils

What are carriers? The most used carrier is Carrier oils also known as base or vegetable oils that are obtained from seeds, nuts and vegetables. Many carrier oils have their own therapeutic properties.

The oils you choose for your carrier should be cold pressed, and not the normal triple-refined oils sold commercially, or solvent extracted with petrol (this over refinement bleaches out color, natural odor, and all flavor).

Mineral oils (like baby oil) should never be used as they inhibit the action of the essential oil as they do not penetrate the skin. They coat your skin with a film to lock in moisture, but in doing so also trap in toxins and waste and hinders the skins normal respiration by keeping oxygen out, so they not only hinder the absorbtion of the essential oil but are not good for you.

First lets make sure we know the differences between the following three "oils":

Carrier oils: Fixed or fatty oils and go rancid through oxidation

Mineral oils: Derived from petroleum and are not suitable to use, they will leave a residue on skin and hair

Essential oils: Are volatile and lose their chemical constituents through evaporation when exposed to air

A comparison between carrier oils and mineral oils:

CARRIER OILS - Extracted from vegetables,nuts and seeds, etc. (avocado, carrot, olive, almond, hazelnut, walnut, sesame, sunflower seeds, etc.)
MINERAL OILS - Extracted from petroleum

CARRIER - Derived from natural plants
MINERAL - Derived from fossil fuel

CARRIER - Cultivated in soil
MINERAL - Occur in rock formations

CARRIER - Plant origin and therefore contain nutrients such as vitamins,minerals, protein, gamma linolenic acid, lecithin,essential fatty acids, oleic acid, tocopherol, linoleic and linolenic acid, etc.
MINERAL - Chemical origin and therefore nutrient depleted

CARRIER - Penetrates well
MINERAL - Does not penetrate, coats skin blocking natural respiration

CARRIER - Does not leave a residue on the skin
MINERAL - Leaves a residue on the skin

CARRIER - Dissolve fat-soluble vitamins
MINERAL - Drag fat-soluble vitamins and certain minerals, which are extracted in faeces

CARRIER - Suitable for human absorption
MINERAL - Not suitable for human absorption

CARRIER - Goes rancid
MINERAL - Does not go rancid

CARRIER - Has a limited shelf life
MINERAL - Has an extended shelf life

CARRIER - Are costly (especially cold pressed)
MINERAL - Are not costly

A comparison between carrier oils and essential oils:


CARRIER OIL - Mostly fragrance free
ESSENTIAL OIL - Various fragrances

CARRIER OIL - Contains vitamins, minerals,protein, gamma linolenic acid, lecithin, essential fatty acids, oleic acid, tocopherol, linoleic and linolenic acid, etc.
ESSENTIAL OIL - chemical constituents and plant hormones (terpenes,esters, aldehydes, ketones,alcohols, oxides, phenols,acids, etc.)

CARRIER OIL - Generally not contra indicated
ESSENTIAL OIL - Mostly contra indicated except in an allergic response

CARRIER OIL - Fixed oil
ESSENTIAL OIL - Volatitle oil

CARRIER OIL - Go rancid through oxidation
ESSENTIAL OIL - Evaporate when exposed to air

CARRIER OIL - Certain oils are anti-oxidants: inhibits oxidation, thus preventing rancidity, carrot oil (vitamin A), wheatgerm (Vitamin E) and grapeseed oil (pycnogenol)
ESSENTIAL OIL - Certain oils are fixative: slow down evaporation of odorous material and hold the scent (benzoin, myrrh, patchouli and vetiver)

CARRIER OIL - May be used undiluted (essential oils are added to enhance therapeutic properties
ESSENTIAL OIL - Are used diluted

CARRIER OIL - Used in milliliters or ounces
ESSENTIAL OIL - Used in drops

CARRIER OIL- Extracted from nuts, seeds, fruits,and vegetables
ESSENTIAL OIL- Extracted from flowers, leaves, twigs, grass, bark, citrus rind, herbs and spices

CARRIER OIL- Mostly cold pressed, which is preferred to heat extracted and refined oils. Certain oils like grapeseed are solvent extracted
ESSENTIAL OIL - Steam distilled, solvent extraction(absolutes, resinoids), expression, percolation, enfleurage and maceration

CARRIER OIL - Stored in plastic containers
ESSENTIAL OIL - Stored in metal or UV protected glass containers

What are carriers? As you can see essential oil carriers can be a number of different types of products, but you want to do your research and choose your essential oil carriers with care!

You now know the answer, What are carriers? You now know what to look for when searching for a carrier for your essential oils.

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Lets go from What are Carriers and examine some of the Carrier Oils that are available for your use

Be sure to find out which essenital oil will give you the benefits you are looking for to add to your carrier.

Check out some of the recipes for personal care and other products you can make yourself.

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