What is a Carrier Oil and what are they used for?

What is a carrier oil and what is it used for text with oil pouring behind it.

What are carrier oils and what are they used for? Great question! If you have been around essential oils or are new to the wonderful world of essential oils, you have probably heard of the term “carrier oil”. Because essential oils are so incredibly concentrated some need to be diluted when used topically and this is where the carrier oil come into play. They are a fatty oil that you can use to dilute essential oils or help to spread them more easily over the skin. They can also be beneficial to those with sensitive skin, when using on kiddos and babies or just if the essential oils are strong.

This is not the only purpose to a carrier oil though. Carrier oils all have their own benefits as well and some are better used than others for certain things. That is what we will be learning about here.

Below you will find my favorite carrier oils, what they are good for and how to use them with essential oils.

A couple things before we get started. I am not a doctor, I am just a Mama who loves finding natural options for her family. My education on oils is how our family has used these over the years and the benefits we have seen. You are the gatekeeper of your home and know your family so please keep that in mind while following us on this journey. Also, when speaking about essential oils, we use Young Living in our family and have for over six years. These are the oils that I have researched and feel comfortable with for our family. Not all oils are created equal.

Thick Carrier oil with a white background and flowers

So, what is a carrier oil?

A carrier oil is basically a vegetable-based fatty oil. Using a carrier oil will not lessen the potency of your essential oil or make them any less effective.

When an essential oil is added to a carrier oil prior to applying topically, it will help your skin absorb them without any irritation and will also help to drive the oils into the skin to receive the benefits of them. And honestly, they can help to stretch your essential oils to last a bit longer as well.

Before we dive into the different carrier oils, let’s chat some basics of essential oil.

Essential oils are compounds that are found in leaves, stems, roots, flowers, bark, resin, seeds of plants or from peels from the fruit. They are then distilled either from steam distillation or cold-pressed to extract the essential oil.

They can be used to benefit the skin, your mood, add flavor to foods, used aromatically, or used medicinally to support your health.

There is a lot that goes into the distillation process but when appropriately extracted, essential oils become EXTREMELY potent. It is crucial to understand that a little goes a long way with the oils that we use. 

Just how potent are essential oils?

To break this down a little more, it takes approximately 1 pound of peppermint plant to make ONE 15ml bottle of peppermint essential oil. ONE drop of that peppermint essential oil is equivalent to about 30 cups of peppermint tea! And lemon essential oil; it takes approximately 75 lemons to make one 15 ml bottle of lemon essential oil? So fun, huh!

They are far more powerful than any herb and can cross the blood-brain barrier which is amazing and fantastic for the health of your body. But because of this it is very important to use caution when applying directly to the skin with some oils.

Now, honestly, I don’t always dilute my oils before applying, there are some like Frankincense, Lavender, Cypress, etc… that I will use “neat” meaning undiluted. I have also been using essential oils on our family for a very long time and we are very used to it. BUT there are also oils like Peppermint, Thieves, Oregano, Clove, etc… that I will ALWAYS dilute because they are a hotter or a spicy oil and can irritate the skin because of their potency. I also will dilute on my babies and kiddos more frequently too.

Basically, when in doubt though, use a carrier oil. You can’t go wrong.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.

Neutral Essential Oil Bottles vs Carrier Oil with white flowers

Essential Oil vs. Carrier Oil

So what is the difference between the two, they are both oils, right? Yes and no, so let’s break it down a bit.

Essential oils are volatile and they can easily be affected by heat, sunlight and oxygen. which can also affect the potency of the oil. You always want to be sure the cap is securely on your bottles. If not, they can and will evaporate; don’t ask me how I found that out, it was a sad day. You will also want to make sure they are stored out of direct sunlight.

Carrier oils are fatty oils and most have little to no scent depending on the oil. They gently absorb into the skin, carrying the essential oils with them. Use caution with carrier oils as some can stain clothing. 

Top EIGHT Carrier Oils

Fractionated Coconut Oil

  • This is one of the most popular and cost effective and one of my favorites, also referred to as FCO.
  • It is odorless, absorbs very well and can be hydrating to the skin.
  • FCO is light but may clog pores so this one is not advised to use on the face.
  • This one is most commonly used to help spread oils topically and in roller balls made for topical use and for perfumes.
  • FCO is different from regular coconut oil because it stays in liquid form.
  • It prevents oxidation which is effective for extending the shelf life.
  • FCO is tasteless and odorless.
  • It is very moisturizing to the skin and can also be used as a massage oil for the body.
  • Here is a great option for Fractionated Coconut Oil.

Grapeseed Oil

  • This one has great skin benefits and may be used on all skin types.
  • It is great for a massage oil as well because of its light texture.
  • Because of its light texture, it will leave little residue.
  • Grapeseed oil has anti-aging properties and can help with fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Here is a great option for Grapeseed oil.

Rosehip Oil

  • Rosehip oil is loaded with fatty acids and antioxidants.
  • This is an amazing option for cellular and tissue regeneration to the skin.
  • It must be kept refrigerated to lengthen its shelf life once opened.
  • Rosehip oil easily absorbs into the skin and can protect the skin.
  • It is a great addition to your daily moisturizer.
  • This carrier oil contains properties that can help the body produce more collagen which makes it a great option for mature skin.
  • Here is a great option for Rosehip Oil.

Sweet Almond Oil

  • This carrier oil soothes, protects and nourishes dry skin.
  • It has a pale, yellow color that may stain fabrics so be aware of that.
  • It has a light texture with no aroma.
  • Sweet Almond oil can cause skin irritation to anyone with a nut allergy.
  • It is loaded with Vitamin E and A which will work to help keep your skin cells healthy.
  • Here is a great option for Sweet Almond Oil

Pinterest Image - What is a Carrier Oil and what are they good for? Bottles of oil with spices and herbs.

Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil is great not only for cooking but to have on hand for mixing in to make salves and lotions.
  • It solidifies at 75 degrees so you will not want to use this in roller bottles.
  • It is great to use to cover a large area of skin. 
  • Coconut Oil is also my favorite base to use to make a teething balm for babies.
  • It is antibacterial making it great for cuts, rashes and skin infections. 
  • Here is a great option for Coconut Oil.

Jojoba Oil

  • This is one of my favorites. It is non-greasy and doesn’t clog pores.
  • Jojoba oil works amazing as a skin moisturizer and in facial products.
  • The consistency is most similar to your skins natural oil and it supports the skins natural pH balance.
  • It is a great option for those with sensitive skin.
  • Jojoba oil contains vitamins such as vitamins E and B and is an antioxidant to the skin.
  • Beneficial to those with acne, eczema and psoriasis.
  • There are so many more benefits to this one as well.
  • Here is a great option for Jojoba Oil.

Olive Oil

  • While this one isn’t as popular it is good to know about.
  • It is heavy to the skin, has a strong scent and can also stain clothing.
  • It is excellent for hair.
  • Since it is such a thick oil, it doesn’t absorb well through the skin but that makes it helpful for healing dry skin.
  • It is high in antioxidants. 
  • It is perfect to have on hand in case you happen to get essential oil residue in the eye. At some point you or your kiddo will probably rub your face or eye after applying an oil not thinking about it. If you have irritation from this you can simply take a tiny amount and massage it into your closed eye and it will help to neutralize the essential oil and remove the irritation.
  • Here is a great option for Olive Oil.


  • This is a blend specific to Young Living and is another one of my favorites.
  • It is a blend of several types of carrier oils: Fractionated Coconut oil, Sesame Seed oil, Grapeseed oil, Sweet Almond oil, Wheat germ oil, Sunflower Seed oil, and Extra Virgin Olive oil.
  • You get all of the benefits of these carrier oils in one.
  • It is colorless and odorless.
  • It works with your skin to improve the natural skin barrier.
  • V6 is very compatible with the skins natural pH levels.
  • It helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Here is where you can get V6.

Carrier Oil Bottle with a Cork with a Flower

So how do I use Carrier oils with essential oil?

You can make a roller by diluting 15-30 drops or more depending on the purpose in a 10ml roller bottle and then you simply top off with your carrier oil of choice.

You can also apply a quarter size amount of carrier oil to the palm of your hand and drop one or two drops and massage into the desired area.

A balm or salve can be made with a carrier oil and a lotion or body butter to create a thicker consistency that will spread evenly over the skin.

Any essential oil especially that is labeled “hot” should not be used directly on the skin. Oils that are known as “neat” are ok to apply directly to the skin. If you are new to using essential oils, you can still dilute if needed. Remember, diluting in a carrier oil does not make the essential oil less effective. The carrier oil will help it to penetrate the skin and spread further on the skin.

Your options really are endless. Carrier oils are very beneficial to have on hand depending on your needs. 

If you are new to essential oils, these are the oils our family has used for years. Remember not all oils are created equal. You want to make sure what you are using on your skin, that will be absorbed into your blood stream is quality and possesses the correct constituents for health and healing.

I’d love for you to follow along on more of our day to day on Instagram @naturallychaoticlifestyle!

Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!

Recommended Articles


  1. This is great info! I’ve always wanted to try Jojoba oil and now I have a reason!

  2. Thank you for this insight into carrier oils! I’ll feel more confident making my own natural remedies with them now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *