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!
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.