Every recipe for a natural skincare product—such as a lotion, bath oil, body oil, or lip balm—calls for a carrier oil because it is the foundational ingredient that helps carry essential oils to the skin. Carrier oils or base oils also contribute their own therapeutic qualities to skincare products. Whether you are educating yourself about natural skincare products in general or planning on making your own DIY concoctions with essential oils, it is helpful to know a little bit about carrier oils.
Carrier oils are made from the fatty portion of plants and have a mild aroma if they have one at all. The beneficial fats in carrier oils prevent essential oils from evaporating and help skin to absorb their aromatic and therapeutic qualities. Another important purpose of carrier oils is that they dilute essential oils. Essential oils are made by distilling the aromatic portions of botanicals such as leaves, roots and bark. Undiluted, they can cause severe irritation and other strong reactions. Carrier oils prevent this from happening.
Both essential oils and carrier oils have limited shelf lives. While essential oils oxidize over time and lose their beneficial properties, carrier oils will eventually go rancid. When choosing carrier oils it is important to learn about its shelf life along with its other characteristics. Each carrier oil has its own unique character, and which one is used will make a difference in the overall shelf life, aroma, color, and therapeutic quality of the final skincare product.
There are a variety of carrier oils to choose from, including coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, grape seed oil and hemp seed oil. Coconut oil is one of the most popular carrier oils because it has a long shelf life and easily penetrates skin. The molecules in coconut oil are very small which helps skin to readily absorb it. It is also well-known for being an excellent moisturizer and is believed to have other beneficial properties such as being antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal.
We love hemp seed oil because it is one of the most nourishing carrier oils since it is rich in fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. Along with being a great moisturizer that keeps skin supple and youthful, it can relieve minor abrasions, psoriasis and eczema. It can also treat and prevent acne. It is excellent for making cosmetic grade skincare products.
Do you have a favorite carrier oil? Are you planning on using a carrier oil to make a massage oil or skincare product? Share you opinion or DIY skincare recipe in the comments!