A List of Carrier Oils and Base Products, their Uses and Qualities.

A List of Carrier Oils (also known as vegetable or base oils) their uses & qualities (in alphabetical order):

Carrier oils,  also known as base oils or vegetable oils, are pressed from nuts, seeds and fruits and are a great medium to use to blend essential oils with since they have their own nourishing properties to appreciate. They can be used on their own for massage and in the bath and are essential ingredients in skin care products. Essential oils should always be diluted before use on skin including in the bath, so these really are essential ingredients.

To help you choose which base oils to use, here is a list with some of their most useful properties.

  • Almond nut oil – Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil ~ a great general use oil, not too rich or light, and full of nutrients. Used as an emollients in skin and hair care, popular in taking care of the tips of your hair (mis with a little essential oil for added fragrance). Caution – avoid with nut allergies.
  • Apricot kernel oil – Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil ~ A very gentle light oil that I like to use with children, and people with sensitive skin. Lovely in baby massage.
  • Avocado oil – Persea Gratissima Oil ~ Very rich and nourishing but still absorbs well into skin, great for dry, cracked, flaky & mature skin. Has mild anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties.
  • Beeswax ~ an ingredient you will need to melt and mix with others to make use of, for example add to balms or creams for effecting the consistency. A small amount can bring a velvety feel and protect and nourish skin. Source wax as sheets or pellets for ease of use.
  • Black currant seed oil – Ribes Nigrum Seed Oil ~ Useful for regenerative care of dry, sensitive and mature skin. Calming for inflamed, irritated and stressed skin types. Recommended for oil and acne prone skin as it is light and absorbs swiftly. Smells delicately of blackcurrant. Caution: has a short shelf life, so check the best before and best mixed with more stable oils. Read more on using black currant seed as a face oil here: Face Oil Beauty Rituals
  • Borage / Star flower – Borago Officinalis Seed Oil ~ a lovely light oil that is particularly good for eczema and those with delicate, inflamed, allergy prone skin. Some clinical studies show it to be useful taken internally for helping skin hydration, and relief from itching. Caution: has a short shelf life, so check the best before and best mixed with more stable oils.
  • Calendula / Marigold oil (marigold flowers macerated in olive oil or alternative base) ~ another oil that is useful in scar care and helping skin to heal. Caution: avoid if allergies to the daisy family and can irritate eczema in rare cases.
  • Camellia seed oil (Tea seed oil) – Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil ~ a great skin moisturising and anti-wrinkle oil, also used for hair conditioning.
  • Coconut oil – Cocos Nucifera Oil ~ I love this oil as it is so versatile, it is great for skin, hair, and even in food. It is solid at room temperature, but very easily melts in warm hands, if it’s a hot day, or you live in a tropical country, it is likely to melt and be in a liquid state. It has a very greasy feel to it, which makes it perfect for use as a cleanser as it easily removes dirt, grime, and makeup. It’s particularly good for removing eye makeup as it’s so greasy, so there is no pull on the delicate skin around the eyes. Improves skin hydration. Shown to prevent loss of hair proteins and strengthen hair. If you don’t like the strong smell of coconut, you can choose a deodorised version.
  • Daisy oil (daisy flowers macerated in olive oil or alternative base) ~ daisy oils is very similar in action to arnica oil – the flowers are similar, but native in the UK so more abundantly available to make your own macerated oil. It’s great for bruises, bumps and aches and pains.
  • Evening Primrose oil – Oenothera Biennis Oil ~ recommended for oily skin due to its light, non-oily feel, and also in the care of dry, irritated, inflamed, allergy prone and acne prone skin. Caution: has a short shelf life, so check the best before and best mixed with more stable oils.
  • Macadamia nut oil – Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil ~ Very rich and nourishing but still absorbs well into skin, great for dry skin. Recommended in the care of acne prone skin due to anti-microbial action. If you buy the un-refined version the smell is incredibly delicious. Caution – avoid with nut allergies.
  • Olive oil, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil ~ although probably most commonly known as a food, olive oil is one of the most commonly used vegetable oils in cosmetics for cleansing of the face, body and hands.
  • Pomegranate seed oil – Punica Granatum Seed Oil ~ this is a thick slightly sticky feeling oil that is fabulous for plumping the skin, great for mature and stressed skin. Research shows it has anti-inflammatory anti oxidative, anti tumour and photo protective effects. Also shown to improve regeneration of injured skin. It decreases damaging effects caused by ultraviolet radiation. Recommended for care of dry and allergy prone skin, as well as burnt skin and for after sun exposure. Because of the texture, I recommend blending with other oils. Caution: has a short shelf life, so check the best before and best mixed with more stable oils.
  • Raspberry seed oil – Rubus Idaeus Seed Oil ~ recommended for irritated, inflamed, allergy prone, acne prone and mature skin. Smells delicately of cucumber. Caution: has a short shelf life, so check the best before and best mixed with more stable oils. Read more on using raspberry seed as a face oil here: Face Oil Beauty Rituals
  • Rosehip seed oil – Rosa Canina Fruit Oil ~ this is the best oil I know for using on scars and improving their appearance, a great oil to enrich any blend for skin care. It is valued for its use in care of acne prone skin, mature skin, irritated, inflamed, allergy prone  and hyperpigmentation.
  • Safflower oil – Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil ~ A gentle light oil suitable for sensitive skin with anti-inflammatory regenerative properties. Quickly absorbed, with out leaving an oily appearance. Suitable for oily acne prone skin with black heads. Also recommended for very dry skin, for relieving symptoms of irritated and inflamed skin. Caution: has a short shelf life, so check the best before and best mixed with more stable oils.
  • Sea buckthorn kernel oil – Hippophae Rhamnoides Seed Oil ~ Due to antimicrobial activity this oil is recommended for impure and acne prone skin. Acts as a skin penetrator enhancer. Studies show it to have anti-inflammatory, anti oxidative and regenerative effects which resulted in accelerated wound healing. Suitable for irritated and inflamed skin. Be careful if you end up with an oil from the fruit rather than the kernel, as this can literally turn your skin bright orange! And still be careful with the sea buckthorn kernel oil, as it can still give a colouration. I’ve been experimenting with this oil recently on my face, on its own as a night oil and as an ingredient in my creams, a little really makes the skin glow and feel lovely.  Caution: has a short shelf life, so check the best before and best mixed with more stable oils.
  • Shea butter – Butyrospermum Parkii Butter ~ pressed from the shea nut, this ingredient is rich and protective for the skin and often used on it’s own to soothe and protect hands when they are dry and cracked (gardeners will find this useful!). Also suits irritated and allergy prone skin. It’s great for bringing a creaminess to a product, for example in a cream or balm (you will need to melt it to blend it with other oils). It is sensitive to heat, so be careful it is not heated more than necessary when melting. I am constantly experimenting with this in my products as it is so valuable in its attributes, but the unrefined version has been described as smelling like goat, and it’s tricky to hide fragrance wise, it can also give a grainy texture in some products deepening on heat treatment – but worth experimenting with!

CLICK HERE to see the range of organically sourced oils I supply here with details on their uses and properties.

For more help choosing base oils, see my blog on ‘What quality of base oils to choose‘.

For a full comprehensive scientific resource on ingredients of natural origins, I highly recommend this book which is a constant support of reference for all of my skin care blending needs: Modern Cosmetics – INGREDIENTS OF NATURAL ORIGIN
A SCIENTIFIC VIEW , VOLUME 1

This list will continue to expand, if there are any oils that do not yet appear or that you would like more details on, please contact me or make a ‘comment’ and I will add them. I can also recommend oils for specific symptoms or conditions.

The Art of Blending Essential Oils

My main purpose with this blog is to help you to develop your own relationship with using essential oils and experimenting with blending is one of the most fun aspects of this, there is constant opportunity to learn, be creative and experiment.

Introduction – choosing ingredients.

Creating a blend can be a lot like cooking, I like using this analogy as most people are familiar with making things in their kitchen and blending essential oils is very similar in lots of ways. Instead of using the dried herb or seeds to season your meal, you’re using the oil, that has been pressed or distilled from the plant, to enhance your bath oil or face cream etc. One of the main reasons I choose and use essential oils on a day to day basis is to nourish and support my body, often the same reason I choose to eat certain foods (although I have to admit -sometimes I eat for comfort or distraction but that’s another story).  Ultimately, my intention when cooking or blending essential oils, is to make something that supports my body, wether it’s specific symptoms I’m addressing or I just want to enjoy the oils in a nurturing, confirming way through out my day.

Inspiration

Honey And Rose Panna Cotta with subtle flavours of rose and cardamom. Photo care of Unimed Living
Honey & Rose Panna Cotta with subtle flavours of rose and cardamom. Photo care of Unimed Living

Food often inspires me when I’m creating blends too and this recipe for Honey & Rose Panna Cotta is a great example, as after my mouth stopped watering, I made a blend of almond oil with rose and cardamom essential oils. It gives a middle eastern feel, very soothing, refreshing, deeply nurturing and nourishing in the bath, or as a massage oil.

Click here > for the Panna Cotta recipe and more inspirations.

Preparation

I love putting together blends of oils and I also love cooking, but I don’t always have as much time as I would like, and I can allow it to feel like just another task I have to fit into my day. So, for moments like this, I like to have some pre-made blends that I can use so that I’m not making things in a rush, or with out the quality and integrity I know I can bring when I make the space to do so with out any pressure. Just like when I don’t feel like cooking, I have lots of soups or curries in the freezer I can eat, so I still get a lovingly prepared meal, when I most need it.

Blending rules

The rules are there are no rules! -Well, that’s not quite true, because essential oils are incredibly potent, so you do need to observe any cautions  or maximum doses they may have, (see List of Essential Oils for cautions).

Your essential essence…

Whether I’m making something for a specific medical condition or just a lovely bath blend, I like to go with what ever I feel. I have noticed that different people have their own style when blending and when watching them I have been surprised at the combinations they come up with, things I would never have tried myself, yet they work perfectly. Each person can bring their own unique essence to a blend,  a little bit like with cooking; if a group of 100 people made a lasagne, not one of the meals would turn out exactly the same, they would each have their own way of doing it, from ingredients to presentation and all the details in-between. In the same way, if I asked someone  (even a qualified aromatherapist) to make a blend for a cold or for eczema, they would each end up making a unique product. Even if they did happen to choose the exact same oils, they could still have a different ratio, a different base and different method of application, each person brings their own essence and style to the blend.

The oils are so versatile, with many varied properties and effects, so there is certainly no right or wrong oil in any circumstance (apart from using an oil when there is a caution). Some oils have a more intense scent than others so you might choose a lower ratio to allow more delicate oils to come through, but then the scent could still work with even ratios, it would just have a different character and balance -for details on balancing the blend see my blog post on Top, Middle and Base notes.

Good practice

As you play around and get to know essential oils, your style, what you like and what works for you, I recommend that you record your recipes. I have a little ‘blending’ note book to write everything in, and I make sure I record the number of drops and the rest of the ingredients. This is because you might end up with something you really love, or a blend that someone asks you to re-create, then you have all the details handy to make it up again. I’m speaking from experience of course which is why I have developed a slightly more organised way of working. It means if I decide I want something to be a little more lavender, I can refer back to how many drops I used, and increase them.

I am also a big fan of the ‘Jamie Oliver’ style of making recipes, a shake of this, and a splodge of that as I have sometimes found myself stuck using the same oils and techniques in the past. Just watch out for essential oils that have maximum blend strength cautions and most of all, have fun!

Useful blogs for blending:

How many drops should I use? -this blog will help you to choose the appropriate blend strength depending on the purpose of your product.

Blending Essential Oils using Top, Middle and Base Notes – this blog will help you understand the practise of making a well balanced blend.

List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions. -this blog will help you to choose which essential oils to use, depending on the purpose of your product.

How to Blend Essential Oils using Top, Middle and Base Notes.

Many people like to put a blend together by using a top, middle & base note. This is typical in perfumery, but also popular in aromatherapy, as people like to get a ‘well rounded’ scent. It basically means that the blend is put together with a range of oils or scents that will come into play at different times -at the beginning, middle and end. It’s not something I consciously try to do, as I like to focus on the purpose of the blend and choose oils for their qualities, but it can be a useful guide especially when you are building confidence and experimenting.

Top notes you will smell immediately, I like to think of them with their molecules widely spaced and jumping around a lot, so when you take the lid off a bottle of perfume, they are straight out of the bottle and are the first to enter the nasal passage and be recognised by the sensory nerves. Examples would be oils like lemon, lime and other citrus oils.

Middle notes will come through after a little time, I like to think of their molecules as more evenly spaced and a little more stable. A middle note would often be floral oils such as lavender and rose and herby oils like basil and thyme. Put simply, something in-between a top and base note.

Base notes may not be immediately apparent.  As their molecules don’t move around very much it takes time before you are able to recognise the aroma. They have the benefit of lingering long after the top note has disappeared and often at the end of the day, if you still smell perfume on your skin then you are just left with the base notes. Examples would be woody oils like sandalwood and myrrh. If you smell these from the bottle the scent is very subtle, if it comes out of a cold place you often can’t smell a thing but when it’s warmed on the skin it begins to take shape.

Don’t feel like you have to make the blend tick all the boxes to get it right, you don’t want it to reign in your creativity, so if you feel like putting 3 middle notes together or just base and top notes, then go for it, the blend will have it’s own unique quality.

Useful blogs for blending tips:

The Art of Blending Essential Oils – an expansion on how to out blends of essential oils together.

How many drops should I use? -this blog will help you to choose the appropriate blend strength and number of drops to use depending on the purpose of your product.

List of the most popular Essential Oils, their Uses and Cautions. -this blog will help you to choose which essential oils to use, depending on the purpose of your product, including which ones to avoid.