Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
While it is easy and most familiar to use essential oils by adding them to a diffuser, it can also be just as or even more beneficial to use oils topically, depending on the results you want to see. This is where carrier oils are highly useful to have on hand.
What is a carrier oil? Carrier oils are vegetable oils with little-to-no scent that are used to dilute essential oils. They are not volatile like essential oils, and are shelf-stable. In carrying essential oils into your skin, carrier oils do dilute the potency of the oil. However, this does not mean that the oil is any less effective. Rather, it means that essential oils better absorb into your skin because the it does not evaporate as quickly. Dilution is also necessary for certain “hot” essential oils, and always a good idea when using any oils with children or for those with sensitive skin. When in doubt, always dilute.
Which carrier oil is best?
Researching carrier oils online can be overwhelming because there are so many different types you can use. Keep in mind that it is best to use a carrier oil that is 100 percent pure. This way, the essential oil’s chemical profile is preserved and the oil is easily dissolved. Otherwise, the carrier oil has the potential to change the results or specific benefits you desire.
Substances like butter, vegetable shortening, and petroleum jelly should not be used as carrier oils because they do not absorb into the skin at the needed level.
So what are some good carrier oils? We've complied a list of some of the best known carrier oils:
How and What to Dilute
Once you’ve found your carrier oil of choice, you can then begin to dilute essential oils according to the dilution ratio you need. The following dilution ratios should give you a good idea where to start:
For one teaspoon of carrier oil add:
One tablespoon of carrier oil:
One fluid ounce of carrier oil:
When it comes to using essential oils topically, doTERRA oils are organized into three specific categories. Neat, Dilute, and Sensitive. Oils that are in the Dilute category are those that are high in constituents that are particularly strong, such as phenols. Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme all belong in this designation.
For children and those with sensitive skin, the Sensitive category is especially important to pay attention to. Always dilute oils in this category when using them on your skin for the first time. Oils in the Sensitive category include:
The rest of the doTERRA oils are categorized as Neat if they are meant for topical application. If an oil is categorized as Neat, for most people these will not cause sensitivity. However, if you want to be safe when trying an oil for the first time, you can always test it by diluting it in a carrier oil and putting it on a small patch of your skin.