Carrier oils are essential oils that are safe to use on the skin and hair and can be used to dilute other essential oils. Certain essential oils like tea tree oil or peppermint oil have beneficial antibacterial properties but can irritate the skin if applied topically. Such oils need a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil that help dilute their potency.
While there are many choices for carrier oils, it is best to understand the features of the oil to know which one is suitable for you. Some may have a strong aroma and others may have a short shelf life. We have compiled a list of carrier oils for you so that you can choose the one most suitable for you, whether it is for aromatherapy, skincare, or for a nourishing body massage.
Top Carrier Oils
The top carrier oils include fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil. Let us look at their unique features.
Coconut oil comes in many forms such as cold-pressed, virgin, and refined but not all kinds are suitable as carrier oil. It is best to use fractionated coconut oil as a carrier oil. Fractionated coconut oil is produced by a heating process, which isolates medium-chain triglycerides from other fatty acids of the oil. The resultant oil is a clear, odorless emollient liquid that is easily absorbed by the skin. Unlike virgin coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil does not leave a greasy feeling on the skin and can be used in roll-on blends or as a carrier oil quite easily. The other factor that works in its favor is that it has a long shelf life and does not go rancid easily.  
Jojoba oil is not an oil but essentially a liquid wax that mimics the natural oils in our skin. This oil is easily absorbed by the skin and does not clog the pores. This is one of the reasons why jojoba oil acts as an excellent carrier oil for skin care as well as for massages. You can also use it for hair care by adding it to other essential oils, bath oils, your chosen shampoo, and conditioner. For more information, you can read 12 Amazing Benefits Of Jojoba Oil For Skin & Hair. 
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is a popular carrier oil as it has natural moisturizing properties that are suitable for all skin types. It can be blended with other oils to treat dry skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. You can use this oil as a carrier oil for aromatherapy purposes or as a bath or massage oil. If you are using it for massage, it may be useful to know that the oil can stain linens. Also, since it is made from almonds, it may be safer for people with nut allergies to check with their doctor before using it.  
Grapeseed oil is one of the lightest carrier oils. It has a silky texture, making it a perfect choice for skincare. It is also non-comedogenic, which means that it will not clog pores. You can use grapeseed oil as a carrier oil for massage oil blends as it has a smooth finish and does not feel greasy. 
Apricot Kernel Oil
If you have sensitive skin, apricot kernel oil is a good choice for a carrier oil. It is rich in gamma linoleic acid or GLA as well as vitamins E and A, all of which help restore the vitality of the skin. You can use it for hair care too, but make sure you take caution if you have a nut allergy.  
Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, argan oil has long been associated with making the skin radiant and youthful. It works well as a carrier oil as it has a light texture and deep conditioning properties. It can be safely used by people with sensitive skin or those who are prone to acne and breakouts. Like apricot kernel oil, it should be used with caution by individuals with nut allergies. 
One of the best carrier oils for skincare, rosehip oil is known to promote collagen levels and elasticity in the skin. Its cell regeneration properties make it a popular choice for face oils, body oils, and as an addition to soaps or lotions. However, rosehip oil goes rancid much quicker than other oils and should be used within 6-9 months.  
Olive oil can be used as a carrier oil for aromatherapy or skincare but keep in mind that its strong fruity scent may interfere with the fragrance of other essential oils. 
How To Use Carrier Oils?
You should advise caution when using any oil blend for the first time. It is best to do a test patch on the inside of your wrist to check if the oil blend or carrier oil is suitable for you. To use carrier oils safely, it is recommended that you use the dilution method as stated by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) or your dermatologist. 
Using Carrier Oils For Facial Skin
Facial oil blends are only recommended for adults and not children as they have sensitive skin. For facial oils, here are the dilution guidelines by NAHA:
- For adults with sensitive skin: 0.5-1 percent dilution/3-6 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
- For those with normal skin: 1-2.5 percent dilution/6-15 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
Using Carrier Oils For Body Massage
These are the NAHA suggestions for aromatherapy body and massage oils.
- For infants/children: 0.5-1 percent dilution/3-6 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
- If you want a 2.5 percent dilution rate, use 15 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
- For a 3 percent dilution, use 20 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
- For a 5 percent dilution, use 30 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
- If you are looking for a stronger 10 percent dilution rate, use 60 drops per ounce of carrier oil.
These dilution rates can also be used by adults for aromatherapy creams and lotions to improve overall skin health. It can also be used for wound healing or scar reduction.