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Carrier Oils Vs. Essential Oils

By Savvybrown @savvybrownblog

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend, and they were telling me how they love to add almond oil to their bath. When I asked whether they used an almond essential oil or a carrier oil they were confused. It hit me that a lot of us are probably confused about the difference, but it’s actually pretty simple….

Carrier Oils vs. Essential Oils

Carrier Oils or base oils are derived from the fatty portion of plants, nuts and seeds. They are primarily used for cooking as well as as a solution to dilute other stronger, more potent oils (like essential oils) in. Characteristically, carrier oils are
rather bland and viscous (thick in consistency), with little to no aroma. That’s another reason why they mix well with more pungent, fragrant oils. Carrier oils can be stored at room temperature and in clear or dark bottles.

Commonly used carrier oils are:

  • Sweet almond
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Aloe Vera
  • Jojoba
  • Coconut

Carrier Oils vs. Essential Oils
Essential Oils or volatile oils are aromatic are derived directly from various plants through a distillation process. The distallation process is usually with water or steam and makes use of the petals, leaves, bark, stem, and even roots of various plants. Essential oils are not fragrances or perfumes. (Perfumes are made by reproducing a scent found in nature in a lab.) In aromatherapy essential oils can be inhaled or applied to the skin for a myriad of psychological as well as physical health benefits. When applied topically, a few drops of essential oil are added to a carrier oil in order to safely deliver the essential oils properties to the skin. Essential oils can also be mixed with water, where the water will act as the “base” or carrier in that instance, as is the case with aromatherapy baths and foot soaks. Most essential oils are stored in dark glass bottles and many times in temperature controlled environments in order to protect the oils from sunlight and temperature changes adversely affecting the oils.

Commonly used essential oils are:

  • Peppermint
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Sweet Orange
  • Lemongrass

IMPORTANT: Undiluted essential oils should NEVER be applied directly onto the skin. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can be irritating to skin if applied directly.

For examples of uses of both essential and carrier oils, check out the following body care recipes*:

*Wanna make your own? Well check out the oils in the Savvy Shop including this great essential oil sampler to get started!

What are your favorite essential and carrier oils?


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