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Carrier Oil Options from TJ's

Essential oils are often – though not always – used in combination with a carrier oil. Using essential oils and carrier oils in combination can increase the benefits received from both. If you’re new to essential oils, it’s a good idea to dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil before using topically, at least until you know how your body responds to a particular essential oil.

So, what exactly is the difference between an essential oil and a carrier oil?

Essential oils are aromatic in nature. They are made up of small, light, organic molecules (i.e., limonene, linalool, eucalyptol) that are volatile (easily evaporated at normal temperatures). Carrier oils generally have only a light aroma, if any. They are made up of large, heavy organic molecules (i.e., fatty acids) which are nonvolatile.

Carrier oils themselves have many health benefits, even without the addition of essential oils. But how does one decide which carrier oil to use? There are so many choices – including some that sound exotic and can be difficult to find. Baobab Seed oil, Moringa oil, Tamanu oil, Marula oil, to name a few…

Partly to simplify – but mostly because I’ll be doing a “Crew Tasting” on carrier oils at work tomorrow – I’ve chosen to include only those carrier oils that are available for purchase at Trader Joe’s. Chances are quite high that you have at least one of these carrier oils already in your house!

If you’re interested in learning more about these carrier oils, I’ve included a resource list at the end of this blog post.

Enjoy! And happy oiling!

Argan Oil

  • argan trees are native to Morocco

  • oil extracted from the seeds

  • very light, silky, smooth, with a nutty aroma

  • does not feel oily or greasy, does not clog pores

  • a good choice for a facial moisturizer

  • can be used as a face wash instead of soap

  • rich in antioxidants, in Vitamins A and E, and in oleic and linoleic fatty acids

  • one of the best oils to use for regenerating skin cells

  • well known for its anti-aging properties

  • excellent carrier oil for general skin care and massage oils, anti-aging salves and lotions

  • can help nourish and treat dry skin and hair, wrinkles, and skin inflammation

  • beneficial for healing inflammation and damage caused by UV rays of the sun

  • reduces the appearance of stretch marks and scars

  • promotes healthy cuticles and nails

  • promotes hair growth; repairs hair damage, split ends; reduces frizz; brings back glow and shine in hair

  • for an anti-aging moisturizer

  • apply 1 drop of oil on your fingertips and tap into the wrinkle-prone areas of your face, such as around the nose and the temple area

  • use the same gentle tapping motion and apply a drop under your eye area as well, every night before bed

  • for acne

  • combine 1-2 drops of oil with a drop of tea tree essential oil

  • dab onto problem areas

  • natural leave-in hair conditioner

  • depending on the length of your hair, use 1 to 3 drops

  • massage onto the scalp, and run hands through hair

  • finally, rub it in well at the end tips of hair

Avocado Oil

  • the oil is cold-pressed from the avocado fruit

  • fruit of the avocado tree is almost one-third oil

  • avocado trees typically grow in sunny, tropical, and Mediterranean climates

  • one of the thickest, most luxurious oils

  • delicate, fresh, and similar to the ripe fruit with an earthy, slightly nutty aroma

  • organic, unrefined avocado oil is rich in chlorophyll

  • has a distinctive dark green color

  • when the oil is refined, the chlorophyll is removed and the oil looks pale yellow

  • unrefined avocado oil has more to offer your skin

  • contains palmitoleic acid

  • a type of fatty acid, found naturally in human fatty tissues just under the skin

  • since avocado oil mimics this fat, the skin absorbs it in

  • provides excellent nourishment for older, mature skin that has thinned with age

  • contains high concentrations of oleic and linoleic fatty acids

  • rich in vitamins A, D & E

  • can be a good carrier oil for dry skin remedies and body creams

  • deeply moisturizing

  • a potent anti-inflammatory

  • can help skin retain its natural moisture and elasticity

  • good at penetrating the first few layers of skin to make it feel supple and nourished

  • for dry skin, use as a face cleanser

  • reduces the appearance of scars and stretch marks

  • may increase sebum production, so if skin is acne-prone, check with dermatologist before use

  • ideal for irritable skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema

  • due to its high viscosity, dries slowly making it a good carrier oil for massage

  • to thin it out a bit and make it more free flowing, can be blended with another carrier oil (such as olive oil or grapeseed oil)

  • green color may stain light-colored clothing or linens

Coconut Oil
  • cold-pressed from the meat of mature coconuts

  • available in refined or unrefined varieties

  • unrefined coconut oil comes from fresh coconut meat

  • not processed with chemicals and retains its coconut aroma and flavor

  • refined coconut oil comes from dried coconut meat (copra)

  • bleached and deodorized to remove contaminants

  • also removes the distinct coconut aroma and flavor

  • refined coconut oil isn’t all-natural

  • not recommended for use as a carrier oil

  • fractionated coconut oil is also processed

  • to keep it from solidifying at room temperature

  • more convenient, but also more processed

  • coconut oil is most effective

  • when it’s raw, unrefined, unfractionated, organic, and virgin

  • full of naturally present antioxidants, skin-nourishing saturated fatty acids and polyphenols

  • wonderfully moisturizing, nourishing, and protective for skin

  • rich, but not heavy

  • an excellent antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial

  • exceptional for dry skin and treating skin conditions, including itching and redness

  • generally safe for very sensitive skin

  • has natural, deep-moisturizing properties

  • also exceptional for nourishing hair and nails

  • almost 50% content of lauric acid

  • means that coconut oil can retain a long shelf life

  • great for removing makeup

  • mixed info about whether coconut oil will clog pores

  • some sources suggest that it may clog pores because the molecules of this carrier are large and will sit on the surface of your skin

  • other sources suggest that it will not clog pores

  • perhaps this depends on the oil content of a person’s skin

Flaxseed Oil

  • also known as linseed oil

  • extracted from seeds of the flax plant

  • provides some incredible benefits

  • contains the highest concentration of alpha-linoleic acid amongst all vegetable-based carrier oils, making it a powerful anti-inflammatory

  • highly beneficial in treating inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema

  • beneficial for joint inflammation caused by conditions like rheumatoid arthritis

Grapeseed Oil

  • extracted from the seeds of grapes

  • a byproduct of the winemaking process

  • grape seeds are loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients

  • high in proteins and minerals

  • high in linoleic acid (a natural anti-inflammatory)

  • rich in vitamin E (a nutrient thought to heal the skin and reduce wrinkles)

  • has a neutral scent

  • lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin

  • does not make skin greasy

  • great for balancing, toning, and smoothing the skin

  • also beneficial for blemish-prone skin

  • a good carrier oil to use with essential oils to make body oils, massage oils, face serums

  • great carrier oil for rollerballs

  • has antiseptic properties and is a mild astringent

  • this makes it a good carrier oil for acne-prone skin or oily skin

  • moisturizes and nourishes hair without making it greasy

  • works well to combat dandruff

Jojoba Oil

  • jojoba is an evergreen shrub that grows in dry areas

  • the seeds look similar to coffee beans

  • when cold-pressed, the seeds yield up to 60% of themselves as liquid wax

  • technically, jojoba isn’t an oil, but a liquid wax

  • yet looks and feels like a carrier oil, with powerful moisturizing properties

  • a benefit of being a wax

  • resists oxidation and does not go rancid

  • this extends the shelf lives of essential oil blends

  • has a light nutty aroma

  • solidifies in cold temperatures, but returns to liquid form easily

  • thought to closely mimic sebum, the natural oil secretions of human skin

  • absorbs easily through the skin, and doesn’t clog pores

  • this makes it a good carrier oil option for massage oils, facial moisturizers, and bath oils

  • a natural anti-fungal

  • works well when combined with essential oils that also have anti-fungal properties and are used for topical fungal infections

  • removes makeup naturally from the face and eye area

  • nourishes the skin at the same time

  • soak a cotton ball with the oil and use it to remove makeup, dirt and grime

  • as a remedy for cracked feet and hands

  • soak hands and feet in warm water for 10 minutes (can add essential oils to enhance relaxation or invigorate)

  • dry with a towel

  • massage in the oil

Olive Oil

  • extracted from the fruit of the olive tree

  • best known as a healthy, edible oil with a fruity aroma

  • but it’s also used in aromatherapy as a carrier oil

  • unrefined extra virgin olive oil is preferred for aromatherapy and skin care preparations

  • no heat or chemicals are used in the extraction process

  • contains the highest concentration of oleic acid

  • a light oil with a fruity aroma that is not overpowering

  • the scent may interfere with the scent of some essential oils

  • use as a carrier oil for massage, facial cleansers, hair care, and homemade soaps

  • packed with fatty acids and plant sterols

  • which make it great for cleansing and moisturizing dry skin

  • non-greasy

  • can be used for almost any skin or hair type

  • does not clog skin pores or leave hair looking greasy

  • excellent for dandruff, frizzy hair

Sunflower Oil

  • an edible oil extracted from sunflower seeds

  • has a neutral odor

  • can act as a skin barrier against toxins and germs that cause infection

  • a great choice for irritated skin

  • softens and moisturizes skin, soothes irritation

  • can be added to massage oils

  • use for general skin care

Vitamin E Oil

  • a fat-soluble oil, easily absorbed by the skin

  • provides antioxidant properties to help smooth wrinkles and keep skin looking youthful

  • helps block free radicals

  • its chemical composition makes it ideal for mixing with essential oils

  • can prolong the shelf life of other carrier oils when combined

  • can feel thick and greasy

  • so best to use topically at night before bed

  • or combine with another carrier oil

  • if using the pure oil, it only takes a few drops massaged into the area of concern to see positive effects


  • Butje, Andrea. The Heart of Aromatherpy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils. (2017)

  • O’Sullivan, Jen. French Aromatherapy: Essential Oil Recipes & Usage Guidw (2018)






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