Carrier Oils vs. Others


The one thing that gets us excited over the moon is seeing scientific facts to back up basic beauty claims. With one of us being a marketer, it’s easy to overlook the glossy packaging and publicity pitches and get to the heart of a body treatment oil. Our faithful 5 readers did ask us, what the heck is the difference between an essential oil and a carrier one?

It’s simply an oil that carries an essential oil deeper into the skin. Carrier oils are often vegetable oils, derived from the fatty portion of a plant (usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts).

Essential oils are volatile components concentrated in the plant. This oil is the source of the smell and taste of plants, flowers and fruit. Because highly concentrated essential oils are so potent, if they are used undiluted, they may incur irritation on sensitive skins. Thus, a carrier oil is added to diluted the harshness of our favourite essential oils. Keep in mind, carrier oils – think sweet almond, grape seed, avocado, olive, sesame, evening primrose, jojoba, macadamia nut, and coconut oils – do offer therapeutic benefits in addition to the essential and/or botanical oils in your choice of huile. Inert they are not. Very much nutritious like your preferred essential/botanical oils.

Carrier oils may go rancid over time, but essential oils do not. Instead, essential oils "oxidize" and lose their therapeutic benefits. Most carrier oils have a faintly sweet, nutty aroma. If you come across a body treatment that has a strong, bitter aroma, the carrier oil likely has gone rancid.

There you have it. The mystery of nature debunked one oil at a time.