Carrier or base oils are vegetable fatty oils that are acting as a carrier agents for essential oils. They come from the fatty parts of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or nuts. Carrier oils allow the small molecules of essential oils to be spread equally all over the skin controlling the speed of absorption. Essential oils are highly penetrating and too much of essential oil to be absorbed can cause skin sensitization. Also it’s good to remember that there are “hot” essential oils such as clove, ginger, cinnamon which when used neat on a skin most likely will cause skin irritation. For these reasons it is highly advised to use carrier oils to dilute the essential oils and provide a safe application in order to use the maximum benefits of essential oils. “Hot” essential oils require even higher dilution rate than others.
Carrier oils play an important role in aromatherapy not only because they help with safe application of essential oils but also because they, on their own, have therapeutic benefits. Carrier oils contain fat soluble vitamins, minerals and other valuable nutrients. Here you want to look for the carrier oils that are cold-pressed, unrefined and organic oils. Most of the vegetable oils that are sold in a grocery stores are processed by using heat. The high temperature of the processing method can harm the nutrients of the oil. Refining process alone with aroma may take the natural vitamins of the oils. This would lower its therapeutic value and as a result will lower its value in aromatherapy.
Carrier oils tend to go rancid over certain period of time. It is good to know a shelf life of an oil when purchasing ( varies from oil to oil ) and of course storing oils may prolong or shorten the shelf life of a carrier oil ( should be stored in a dark cool place ).
Carriers: almond oil, apricot kernel oil, argan oil, avocado oil, baobab oil, borage seed oil, camellia seed oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, cranberry seed oil, evening primerose oil, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba wax, kombo butter, kukui nut oil, macadamia oil, mango kernel oil, marula oil, meadowfoam oil, olive oil, palm kernel oil, peanut oil, pecan oil, pomegranate seed oil, rose hip oil, shea butter, seabuckthorn berry oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, tamanu oil, trauma oil, watermelon seed oil, wheatgerm oil.