Sep 14, 2015

How do I choose a carrier oil?

Dear Oily,

You’ve convinced me that I need carrier oils! But which carrier oils do I need? Must I buy ALL THE CARRIER OILS!? If not, which ones should I buy? How do I know which one to use? Where can I buy them? Do I have to buy super special ones?


Carrying On

Dear Carrying,

The best answer for your sanity and your wallet is, “Use whatever you have on hand!” Have a jar of organic coconut oil in the kitchen you use for cooking? Use that! Have you been applying rosehips oil to your face for skin care? Use that! Don’t go out and buy a dozen different bottles of carrier oil when
you may have everything you need in your home already.

Not helpful enough? Okay okay. To build your basic arsenal, I recommend choosing from the wide assortment of carriers three things to have on hand when you first get started with essential oils:
How to choose the right carrier oil | Hot Pink Crunch1. A solid carrier oil
You’ll need this for basic dilution, salves, lotions, and rubs

2. A liquid carrier oil
You’ll need this for basic dilution, serums, and roller-bottles

3. A non-oil carrier
You’ll need this for sprays

But there really isn’t a wrong answer when choosing a carrier oil unless you are allergic to one (my friend is allergic to coconut oil!) or it doesn’t react with your skin so well.

Scenario Breakdown!

If you need a little more guidance than, “Use whatever you have!”, here are some scenarios to show you how to think through the process of choosing a carrier. Notice how there area few things I consider in most of the scenarios that you should also consider when making your choice: consistency, texture, and absorption rate (or greasiness).

I just want to dilute an essential oil to apply to my sore muscles after a tough workout.
You really can use whatever you want with this one since the skin of our body isn’t quite as sensitive as our face. I would consider how greasy you want your body to feel afterwards. Some oils absorb more quickly into the skin than others, which is nice except that before you can even massage it in, it’s already been absorbed! Also, consider if you want a solid oil to slowly melt and rub into your skin or something that is already liquid.

I want to give a sensual massage.
I’d choose a carrier oil that stays liquid so you could put it in a pump bottle (keep it next to your bed) for this. Unless maybe you make a game out of heating up some solid carrier oil to make it liquid? O-la-la! How slippery and slidey do you want your partner to be for any after-massage shenanigans?

I want to apply it to my face as part of a skin care routine.
Consider what my friend over at Overthrow Martha has to say about choosing carrier oils for your face. Basically, don’t choose something that will make you break out. You may have to find this out by unfortunate trial and error.

I want to blend it with essential oils in a roller bottle.
Then you definitely want to use a liquid one because otherwise your roller bottle won’t roll. It’ll be sad. Remember to consider where you will be applying the roller-blend. If you will be using it on your face, refer to the previous scenario.

I want to use essential oils in a salve.
Think about mixing solid carrier oils with liquid ones to achieve your desired consistency. Also think about the time of year: I always use a greater ratio of solid to liquid in the summer months to keep the salve from turning into a puddle. I do the opposite in the winter to keep it soft!

I want to make a body or linen spray.
Try a non-oil carrier that won’t stain your fabrics and will help the scent linger. This could be as simple as using a dispersant of your choice and water!

I want to take essential oils internally on a spoon.
Consider taste and edibility of the oil as well as your gag reflex. Technically, you can safely ingest a spoonful of several carrier oils, but can you do so without gagging? Not me! Think about non-oil carriers in this scenario.

Choosing a Brand

What to look for when buying carrier oils | Hot Pink CrunchIf you insist on buying some carrier oils to supplement what you already have in your house, keep quality in mind. What’s the point of using pure, organic, essential oils to go more chemical free when you then mix them with a sub-par carrier oil, introducing chemicals and impurities into your body anyway?

There are several markers to look for in your carrier oils.


This means the plant material (from which the oil is generated) was grown without pesticides and chemicals.

Cold Pressed/Expeller Pressed

These oils are extracted/produced mechanically rather than chemically. They should not have been exposed to damaging heat that can deprive the oil of many of its beneficial qualities.


Once the oils have been extracted or produced, they are not refined/bleached/deodorized. These are oils that are usually from the first pressing of the source material.

Now go oil yourself up!