Aromatherapy 101: Understanding The Meaning of Carrier/Base Oils

by xin on January 6, 2012

Hello peeps! In the coming months, I will be featuring some of the basics of aromatherapy, such as base oils, essential oils, and my experiment with oils. Hopefully will help those who are interested to get their hands on with mixing their own oils too ;)

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Today, I will be introducing some of the carrier/base oils, and also their characteristics. I won’t go too technical as I believe simpler words are easier for the mass understanding.

However, do take note that I am definitely no expert in this, all the information here will be based on my research, experiment and understanding.

What’s a carrier/base oil?

Usually, a carrier/base oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the fatty portion of a plant. There are also certain carrier oils extracted from animal, but they are not widely used in aromatherapy purpose.

In simple words, carrier/base oils will be what you need to dilute the essential oils. Most of the essential oils should not be applied neat to the skin as they can cause skin irritation, or burn in severe cases. Think of carrier oil as the medium to transport the essential oils to your skin.

Most of the carrier oils carry very light scent, and mostly are nutty. The examples are grapeseed oil, jojoba oil or apricot kernel oil. These are the light scented base oils and clear or light yellow in color. Grapeseed and jojoba oil are the popular carrier oils in aromatherapy because of their moisturizing properties, almost odorless and colorless, hence they click with most essential oils.

Generally, most of the carrier oils have a shelf life of a year or so, they can go rancid fast if you are unlucky to have bought a lower grade oil. And they will have to be stored in cool places and no direct exposure to sun light.

How do I select my base oils?

I don’t really have a rule per se, but these are a few things that I keep in my mind:

  • What type of oil am I making? Face, hair or body oil?
  • Do I want a light or thick oil?
  • The cost of the oil.
  • What essential oils I have and what is the best base oil for them?
  • Do I want to use the base oil alone or mix with essential oils?

There you go, this is not a perfect guide to finding your base oil but it’s what I usually think about when I am selecting base oils.

In the next post, I will be introducing a few types of more popular base oils for face/hair/body, and also their characteristics.

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

nikki January 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

Thanks for sharing li’l Sister…I am actually looking for an oil that’s light..non-greasy and moisturizes and absorbs into the skin like a flash! :D
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yoga1 January 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Nikki,
I have used a product by ElanVeda, their Skin Renue rocks it out of the park. Made from a quite a few different essential oils the product feels oily, but quickly absorbs into your skin. I was amazed how soft my skin was after using.

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dom January 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

:) great post! Thanks for the education.

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Vivi January 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Do you put your carrier oils inside the fridge? heard some people do it to extend the shelf life. I miss DIY-ing. :(
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Amira April 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I love oil especially rest time it gives me relaxing and a peace of mind. I was greatly confused how does it work for me.But the answer is in this post i search for it..and I am amazed and understand whats the benefits of it.
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