home | basics | oils | wellbeing | beauty | recipes | books | articles | contact | links | therapies a-z
 

 home

 basics

 oils

 wellbeing

 beauty

 recipes

 books

 articles

 contact

 links

 therapies a-z

 health news

 

aromatherapy oils > carriers

Essential oils and other concentrates are too powerful to be applied to the body undiluted, and so carrier oils are used to dilute and to add other qualities for the treatment (e.g. massage, pain relief, etc.). Carrier oils are also referred to as base oils and the basics section discusses them further. The following is a list of the most commonly used carrier oils.

Almond (Sweet Almond)
Botanical Name: Prunus amygdalus var. dulcus
Aroma: Light aroma with slightly sweet and nutty edge.
Texture: Slightly oily and leaves a slight oily feeling on the skin. Absorbs well.
Color: Almost clear with a hint of yellow.
Notes: This oil is generally considered to be a good general purpose carrier oil. Usually inexpensive.

Apricot Kernel
Botanical Name: Prunus Armeniaca
Aroma: Faint
Texture: Slightly oily, absorbs fairly-quickly.
Color: Almost clear with a tinge of yellow.
Notes: Slightly oily texture makes it useful for massage blends.

Avocado
Botanical Name: Persea Americana
Aroma: Medium. Slightly sweet, fatty and nutty.
Texture: Quite thick, leaving a waxy or fatty feel to the skin.
Color: Strong olive green.
Notes: Should be used in a small dilution with another carrier or it may overpower subtle blends.

Borage
Botanical Name: Borago Officinalis
Aroma: Light and sweet.
Texture: Thin to medium, leaving a slightly oily feel to the skin.
Color: Light yellow.
Notes: Has a reputation for being beneficial to the skin and so is used in treating many skin conditions. Expensive and so normally blended in a small (5-10%) dilution with other carrier oils. Short shelf life.

Cocoa Butter
Botanical Name: Theobroma Cacao
Aroma: When unrefined it is very sweet and has a chocolate aroma - less pronounced in refined cocoa butter.
Texture: Solid and hard to work at room temperate - breaks up easily.
Color: Yellowish tan.
Notes: Should be blended with other oils to be made workable. Good for use in lotions and creams.
Evening Primrose
Botanical Name: Oenothera Biennis
Aroma: Light and sweet
Texture: Thin and leaves only a slight trace of oiliness on the skin.
Color: Medium yellow.
Notes: It has a reputation in treating several skin conditions, but is expensive and so is usually blended in a small (5-10%) dilution with other carrier oils. Short shelf life.
Grapeseed
Botanical Name: Vitus Vinifera
Aroma: Light and slightly sweet with slight nutty edge.
Texture: Thin and leaves a slight film on the skin.
Color: Almost clear but can have a very slight yellow or green hue.
Notes: This oil is usually solvent extracted and may have trace amounts of chemical solvent.

Hazelnut
Botanical Name: Corylus Avellana
Aroma: Light with sweet and nutty edge.
Texture: Thin and leaves slightly oily film on the skin.
Color: Light yellow.
Notes: Has a reputation as beneficial for oilier skin types.
Jojoba
Botanical Name: Simmondsia Chinensis
Aroma: Light aroma and less sweet than nut oils.
Texture: Light and absorbs well.
Color: Yellow.
Notes: Jojoba is actually a wax rather than an oil and is expensive, so is normally used in small dilutions (5-10%) with cheaper carrier oils. Long shelf life.
Kukui
Botanical Name: Aleurites Moluccana
Aroma: Light with nutty and sweet edge.
Texture: Thin and absorbs well, leaving very slight oily feeling on the skin.
Color: Clear with a yellow hue if held to light.
Notes: Has reputation in treating several skin conditions, but is expensive and has short shelf life.
Macadamia Nut
Botanical Name: Macadamia Integrifolia
Aroma: Fragrant aroma with sweet and nutty aspects.
Texture: Thick oil that leaves a film on the skin.
Color: Clear with slight yellow.
Notes: May overpower subtle blends if not mixed with other carriers.
Olive
Botanical Name: Olea Europaea
Aroma: Smells like olives.
Texture: Heavy and oily.
Color: Various shades of green.
Notes: Usually overpowers blends but can be added in small dilutions.
Peanut
Botanical Name: Arachis Hypogeae
Aroma: Very light aroma with nutty / fatty edge.
Texture: Thick and leaves a oily film on the skin.
Color: Almost clear.
Notes: Should not be avoided by anyone with and allergy to peanuts, and may contaminate the therapist or therapeutic setting, so is often avoided to reduce risks. It has some reputation as beneficial to those with arthritis and so is used with caution.
Pecan
Botanical Name: Carya Pecan
Aroma: Very light with fatty aroma.
Texture: Medium thickness and leaves slight oily film on the skin.
Color: Almost clear.
Notes: Short shelf life.
Rose Hip
Botanical Name: Rosa Mosqueta
Aroma: Light aroma with peaty / earthy edge.
Texture: Light and leaves slight oily film on skin.
Color: Almost clear.
Notes: has reputation in treating several skin conditions but is expensive and is used in slight dilutions (5-10%). Short shelf life.
Sesame
Botanical Name: Sesamum Indicum
Aroma: Medium aroma with fairly strong sesame /nutty edge. Can overpower blends if not diluted.
Texture: Quite thick and leaves an oily film on the skin.
Color: Very light yellow.
Notes: Can overpower blends if not diluted.
Shea Butter
Botanical Name: Butyrospermun Parkii
Aroma: Nutty and fatty.
Texture: Solid at room temperature. Leaves an oily and waxy film on the skin.
Color: White or cream.
Notes: Used in lotions and creams.
Sunflower
Botanical Name: Helianthus Annuus
Aroma: Faint with a sweet edge.
Texture: Very thin and leaves only a very slight oily film on skin.
Color: Almost clear with yellow hue.
Notes: Unrefined oil is preferred to avoid contaminants.

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on multiple sources and authors and so represents common knowledge and apparent agreement at this time. Only a qualified aromatherapist can provide final judgements about use of carriers or their combination in specific cases. The basics section provides further information about how to select and use carriers.