When embarking into the world of essential oils you’ve probably heard the term “carrier oils”. Knowing the difference between carrier oils vs. essential oils is crucial because they both have different uses and properties even though they are most often used in conjunction with each other. Discovering the world of natural oils can be both exciting and intimidating, so to help, here are some basic tips on the differences.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are vegetable oils derived from the fatty part of a plant, such as the seed, nut, or kernel. They are important because they are key for diluting essential oils before they are applied to the skin. In fact, they are called carrier oils because they “carry” the essential oil onto the skin. These oils are typically heavier and either have no aroma or a very lightly sweet, nutty scent. Unlike essential oils, they do not evaporate or impart their aroma as heavily onto the body. They are most commonly used for topical application because they have moisturizing powers and carry nutrients from plants that are important for healthy skin such as fat soluble vitamins and minerals, although some can be ingested as is! The best types  are typically cold-pressed and should be stored in dark glass bottles with a tight lid. In a mixture, you typically need a large volume of carrier oils, where you only need one or two drops of essential oils because of their potency.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracted from the leaves, bark, roots and other aromatic sections of a plant and are thinner in viscosity. They have a heavy aroma and potency so a little goes a long way! Essential oils on their own are highly concentrated and can be irritating to the skin so it’s important to use a carrier oil to dilute it before applying; you should also apply a small amount of essential oil to the skin your first time using it to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction. A couple of small drops diluted in a carrier is usually more than enough to bestow the scent and therapeutic qualities. Essential oils do not spoil over time.

Carrier Oils vs. Essential Oils: The Takeaway

The main takeaway of the difference between carrier and essential oils is that carrier oils are used to dilute and transfer essential oils onto the skin, and the percentage of dilution can vary according to age. Carrier oils are the support system needed to help essential oils be used to their maximum efficiency. Now that you know the difference, you are more prepared set out on your own essential oils journey!

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