Carrier Oil vs Essential Oil - What's the Difference? A Quick Guide

Do you know the difference between carrier oils and essential oils? Many people don't, but it's an important distinction to understand. Carrier oils are vegetable-based oils that are used to dilute essential oils before they're applied to the skin. Essential oils, on the other hand, are concentrated plant extracts that contain the desired therapeutic properties of the plants from which they're derived. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between carrier oils and essential oils, and we'll also take a look at some of the most popular carrier and essential oils on the market.

Carrier Oil vs Essential Oil - What's the Difference? A Quick Guide by Loving Essential Oils

A Quick Guide: Carrier Oil vs Essential Oil - What's the difference? When it comes to the world of oils, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between essential oils and carrier oils. In short, carrier oils are the base oils used in aromatherapy, while essential oils are the pure, concentrated extracts of plants.

When you hear the words "essential oil," what comes to mind? Chances are, you think of aromatherapy and healthy living. But what is an essential oil, anyway? And what's the difference between an essential oil and a carrier oil?

The popularity of essential oils has led to an increased interest in carrier oils. In this post I share their similarities and differences, as well as how they can BOTH benefit your health and wellness.

What is a Carrier Oil?

Carrier oils are used in aromatherapy as a base to dilute essential oils before they are applied topically to the skin. They help "carry" the essential oils onto the skin. They are also used to make aromatherapy blends and DIY essential oil recipes.

Carrier oils have beneficial properties of their own. Some people use carrier oils as a moisturizer for the skin.

What is an Essential Oil?

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that contain the desired therapeutic properties of the plants from which they're derived. Essential oils contain a higher percentage of aromatic compounds than carrier oils, that is why they smell so wonderful.

Essential oils are also more potent, which means that a smaller amount is needed for therapeutic purposes and why they should be diluted before application to the skin.

What is the Difference Between Essential Oils and Carrier Oils - A Quick Guide by Loving Essential Oils

Carrier Oil vs Essential Oil - What's the Difference?

Here is a chart to highlight the differences between carrier oils and essential oils:

Carrier Oils

Essential Oils

Natural oils made from the fatty part of a plant, usually from the seeds, nuts, or kernels Concentrated oils made from a variety of plant and tree parts, like leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, bark, wood, resin, and fruit
Most common extraction method is cold pressed Most common extraction method is steam distillation (citrus oils are usually cold pressed)
Fixed oils; they don't evaporate Volatile oils; they evaporate quickly
Can apply liberally to the skin as is (no dilution needed), or can be used as a base to dilute essential oils Too strong to apply to the skin, should be diluted in a carrier oil before applying topically to the skin
Bland, little to no aroma Highly aromatic
They nourish and moisturize the skin, as well as protect it They offer therapeutic properties and unique aromatherapy benefits

 

The term "carrier" can also refer to any substance used to dilute essential oils. These commonly include creams, unscented lotions, butters, and aloe vera gel. So, the next time you’re wondering about the difference between carrier oils and essential oils, now you know!

What are Some Examples of Carrier Oils?

Carrier oils are created from a wide variety of plant sources including nuts, seeds and vegetables. There are many different types of carrier oils that can be used with or without your essential oils.

Carrier oils can be used with essential oils to dilute them, making them less potent and safer to use on the skin. They also help the essential oils to be better absorbed by the skin.

Skin is your body's largest organ so it is important to keep it healthy. The nourishing and moisturizing properties of carrier oils can help you accomplish this.

Here are a few favorite carrier oils:

Each of these carrier oils has its own unique properties and benefits. Click on the links above to learn more about what each has to offer.

What are Some Examples of Essential Oils?

Here are some examples of essential oils:

What are the Benefits of Using Carrier Oils with Essential Oils?

When using essential oils, it is best to use the smallest amount of drops necessary to achieve the desired benefits. Diluting them with a carrier oil helps achieve this without lessening the effect of the essential oil.

In fact, using them together actually saves money, prevents wasting precious oils and allows more time for the essential oil to absorb into the skin. It also makes the essential oil application process easier because you can cover a larger area. Read more about carrier oil and essential oils.

How to Improve Carrier Oil Shelf Life?

To preserve your carrier oils shelf life, store your carrier oils in a cool dark place away from direct sunlight or heat sources like radiators or fireplaces. Also, make sure to close any bottles tightly with the lids secure so air doesn't get in which will cause oxidation and spoilage to occur faster.

Conclusion on Carrier Oils vs Essential Oils

Carrier oils are oils that are used to dilute essential oils before application to the skin. They are usually plant-based oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil, and are chosen for their skin-nourishing properties. They can be used alone or in combination with other oils.

Essential oils are concentrated, aromatic extracts from plants that are highly concentrated. They should be diluted first with a carrier oil before applying on the skin. Some of the most popular essential oils include lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

Where to Buy Essential Oils?

I am frequently asked what essential oil brand we use at Loving Essential Oils.  We are not exclusive to one company and actually enjoy trying a variety of brands and essential oils. When buying oils it is important to buy only 100% pure essential oils from a reputable company.

Don't just buy on price alone, research the company if you are not familiar with them. Here are several reputable brands we use:

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Carrier Oils vs Essential Oils - What's the Difference? A Quick Guide by Loving Essential Oils

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