Essential Oils are highly concentrated, each drop is so powerful. It is important to use carrier oils for essential oils before applying them topically.
For everyday use, the best approach is to dilute essential oils before using them on the skin. This can help you avoid skin irritation, among other things.
Can Essential Oils be Used "Neat"?
Neat simply means applied directly to skin. The answer is yes, in rare cases and it must be a skin friendly oil (not a hot oil).
For example, lavender oil on a bee sting or minor burn directly on the affected area can be a quick remedy. People with sensitive skin need to use extra precaution too.
How to Use Essential Oils on Skin
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. One of the most popular ways to use them is by diffusing them into the air. This can be done with an essential oil diffuser. If you don't have a diffuser, you can put a few drops on a tissue or cloth and inhaling the scent.
Another popular way to use essential oils is by putting them in a bath. This can be done by mixing a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil, then add to a warm bath.
Essential oils can also be used topically. This can be done by adding a few drops of oil to a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil and applying it to the skin.
Find out our Fan Favorites! We asked our readers an oily question and they answered:
What is Your Favorite Carrier Oil to Use with Essential Oils?
Before we get into the results of the most popular oils, lets look a little more into carrier oils.
How Do Carrier Oils Work in Aromatherapy?
If you're interested in using essential oils to improve your wellbeing, you'll need to know about carrier oils. Unlike essential oils, carrier oils are fixed oils, they do not evaporate and therefore can be used as a base for aromatherapy.
The carrier oil is used to help “carry” the essential oil onto the skin.
Organic Carrier Oils vs Refined Carrier Oils
Carrier Oils are natural plant oils extracted from seeds, kernels, beans, nuts, etc. Always look for organic, cold pressed oil for the best therapeutic benefits.
Refined oils have gone through additional processing to deodorize, remove color, and extend shelf life but it also removes some of the therapeutic properties. They can still be used, they just many not be as effective in offering additional benefits to your essential oil blend.
Most fixed oils have little aroma so they work great with essential oils. There are many types of carrier oils that can be used with essential oils. We have a post highlighting 50 Carrier Oils. Plus we have a detailed guide that you can get for free (check it out at the bottom of the post).
Why Use Carrier Oils with Essential Oils?
Carrier oils are used as a base to dilute concentrated essential oils. By doing so, it makes the essential oil safe for topical use and in DIY recipes.
Here are some reasons to use carrier oils:
A Little Goes a Long Way
A large amount of plant material is needed to produce very little oil making essential oils extremely concentrated, so a little ready does go a long way.
Contrary to popular believe, more is not better and it does not increase your benefits. Over use may actually cause harm. It is best to use the smallest amount of drops necessary to achieve the desired benefit.
Prevents Skin Irritations
Some essential oils can irritate the skin when used without diluting. This is one reason it is best to get into the practice of only using your oils diluted with carrier oils.
Double the Therapeutic Benefits
Carrier oils on their own have many benefits, especially nourishing and moisturizing the skin. Be sure to know the shelf life of the carrier oil you are using to ensure best therapeutic effects.
Makes Application Easy
Diluting essential oils helps make the little amount of oil go a long way much easier. You can cover a larger area when using carrier oils.
Drop per drop, carrier oils cost less money. Using carrier oils with essential oils allows you to cover more area when applying to skin. This allows you to use less essential oil drops. Your essential oil bottles will last longer and that will save you money.
Top 5 Fan Favorite Carrier Oils for Essential Oils
Since it is best to first dilute essential oils before applying them topically, it is important to know what to carrier oil to use. The good news is there are many options available.
Fractionated coconut oil was the number one choice of our fans that voted. Many love that it absorbs well, is not greasy, can be used in just about any recipe, and that it doesn't stain. It is also very affordable and has a long shelf life.
Here are the top 5 fan favorites listed in order of popularity, plus I included some of their reasons why they love to use the oil:
1. Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO)
I recently watched a video on the FCO and did not know it is great not only as a carrier but to clean most things including makeup. I am sooooo in love with the Fractionated Coconut Oil! Such an amazing carrier with so many uses. -Nerina E, Australia
In roller blends I love to use fractionated coconut oil. -Liz R, FL
I prefer using FCO because of its multiple benefits for promoting health and good skin. You simply can’t go wrong in using it. I’ve got sensitive skin and have had to quit using many of the other oils for skin application due to breakouts, including oiliness as I do not have dry skin. -Leslie A, FL
Soothing and non-greasy feeling, fractionated coconut oil has been my go to for most blends. -Brittany M, TN
I love using coconut oil in general, but fractionated coconut oil works better for me when making rollers and different recipes. It does not have a strong smell, it leaves my skin feeling soft, and it is clear in color. -Amanda R, CA
I like using fractionated coconut oil because it absorbs quickly in the skin, leaving no lingering residue. It is also unscented, so it does not compete with the oils scent. It has a lower price point than other carrier oils, more cost effective! -Dawn, MI
2. Jojoba Oil
I love using Jojoba oil as my carrier oil, especially for my face as it doesn’t clog pores like some of the other carrier oils. It has a light pleasant smell so it doesn’t take away the smell of the essential oils. -Angie T, CO
Jojoba oil is a great carrier oil. It is not pore clogging and is a great moisturizer for dry, thirsty skin. It accepts other oils well and sinks into the skin quickly. Jojoba oil is an excellent carrier oil choice. -Michele M, CA
Jojoba leaves your skin silky smooth. I use it with eucalyptus oil and massage it into legs and feet. Not greasy like some other carriers. -Julie F, MI
I love jojoba oil due to its long shelf life, lightweight skin feel, and lack of smell. I can use it on my face as well without breaking out which makes it a perfect carrier oil for skin care recipes. It’s a rich oil so a little goes a long way, making it a better value than it appears on first glance. -Sherrie K, MN
I love using jojoba as a carrier oil because it's not only great for the skin, it is also great for split ends or dry hair. My go to for my hair is a blend of orange & vanilla. I put it on my dry ends and it helps smooth them out before my next haircut and the uplifting citrus with soft vanilla keeps me going through the work day. -Amber W, NY
3. Sweet Almond Oil
I really like all listed just depends on what recipe I need it for. Almond oil is the one that I am using because it is what I have on hand currently. Absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a greasy feeling. -Carol A, KS
I like sweet almond oil, it absorbs into my skin quickly. -Dorene D, CO
I use the non scented sweet almond oil so the true oil aroma comes through, I also like the fact that my skin absorbs it easily and it is non greasy. -Cheryl G, OH
Sweet almond oil feels great on my skin and has no scent. -Barbara D, SC
It is great for my skin not irritating just a natural feeling! -Mable H
4. Virgin Coconut Oil
Organic virgin coconut oil, nothing beats the way It feels on the body, like instant healing. Its clean and free from chemicals which feels good to my soul. Oh, and the smell is wonderful, it takes you to a very positive place in the mind. -Christine S, MI
Coconut oil for the clean, fresh smell and its variety of uses. -Rebekah R, OH
Virgin coconut oil makes my skin smooth. -Dawn M, NY
5. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is light, non-comedogenic, and great for those prone to oily skin. -Stacy H, KS
I like that grapeseed oil comes from the pressed seeds of grapes and I noticed my skin is softer and more evenly toned when I use it regularly. I like it in my massage oil blends. -Jenna L, CA
More Carrier Oil Options
Some others carrier oils our fans liked included V6 Oil (name brand blend of oils), Apricot Kernel Oil, Rosehip Oil, Avocado Oil, Argan Oil, and Olive Oil.
I have drier skin and avocado oil leaves my skin feeling moisturized but not oily. The scent is light also so it doesn't interfere with the essential oils. -Katrina S, WA
I use rosehip oil for my face but fractionated coconut for everything else and my kids. -Shawna B, NY
Olive oil, I always have it on hand, as do most people. -Kimberly P, ID
I like the way apricot kernel oil feels on my skin and moisturizes very well. -Heather, OH
Skin soaks argan oil up, no residue. No greasy feeling. -Tom K, OH
I love V-6 carrier oil because it moisturizes and nourishes the skin. -Marie N, MS