I've been posting a lot of recipes lately, and I hope you've been enjoying them. When a recipe has an oil, I give the one I used and sometimes recommend a few more oils. Sometimes I say that any carrier oil can be used. A few readers have asked what carrier oils are, so I decided to dedicate an entire post to them. I just picked up several new oils, so you'll be seeing new oils in the near future.
You can usually safely substitute one carrier oil for another oil with great results. Coconut oil is one that doesn't interchange well because it is solid at room temperature. Otherwise, you can pick the one that meets your needs or based on what you have on hand unless the recipe states otherwise. Some oils are better used mixed with other oils, such as avocado oil.
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What Are Carrier Oils
Carrier oils are vegetable oils made from the seed, nuts, or kernels of plants. They carry essential oils and other absolutes so you can apply them to your skin. You can't apply most essential oils directly to your skin, so you have to dilute them with a carrier oil. These oils are also used in sugar scrub recipes, lotions, balms, lip balms, and salves.
Carrier oils shouldn't have a strong smell, except for unrefined coconut oil. They will have a slight nutty aroma that doesn't affect your final product. If your oil has a strong odor, it could be rancid. Discard it and do not use it.
When you're shopping for an oil, make sure you buy cold pressed oil. Heat can damage the good qualities of the oil, so it's very important to get cold pressed oils.
List of Carrier Oils and Their Benefits
Almond oil (sweet almond oil) is moisturizing for your skin. It is very versatile, so it works in many types of recipes. It's high in vitamins A and E to nourish your skin. Do not use this oil if you have a nut allergy.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil is very gentle, so it's great for sensitive skin or recipes that you make for children. It's also very versatile, so it's a great substitute for almond oil. It's often used in lotion recipes and for hot oil treatments.
Avocado oil is high in essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins. It's great for sensitive skin or problem skin and eczema. Avocado is usually combine with other carrier oils and not used alone.
Castor oil is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. It's often used on irritated skin. It's usually combined with other oils and not used alone.
Coconut oil is one of my favorite oils because of the heavenly smell. It is also naturally antifungal and antibacterial, so it 's great for lip balms and lotions. It's solid at room temperature, so it will harden a recipe when added. It can be combined with other oils so the final result isn't so hard. Look for unrefined coconut oil, which is the kind that smells like coconut. Refining may use chemicals to extract more oil, and it also bleaches and deodorizes the oil. They may also add sodium hydroxide to extend it's shelf life.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is used to combat skin dryness and skin irritations. It's great for the skin and hair and is said to reduce the effects of aging. It's also great for eczema.
Flax Seed Oil
Flax seed oil is high in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. It's especially great for your hair because it promotes hair growth.
Grapeseed oil is a dry oil, so it isn't as oily on your skin. It's used in hair recipes and skin recipes. It's a natural astringent, so it's great for acne prone or oily skin.
Jojoba oil is a popular carrier oil because it's very close to the oils your body naturally produces. It absorbs in to your skin easily without being greasy. It can clog pores though, so it's best used with other oils.
Macadamia Nut Oil
Macadamia nut oil is a dry oil, so it absorbs quickly without leaving an oily residue. It's great for skin and hair.
Olive oil is readily available in nearly any supermarket, so it's a popular beauty recipe ingredient. It's great to use to infuse herbs. It has good fats for your skin and hair, but it will leave behind excess oil that doesn't soak in to your skin right away.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip seed oil is high in vitamins A and E for the skin. It also has essential fatty acids to promote elastin and collagen production. It's often used in creams and balms for stretch marks, burns, wrinkles, eczema, and sunburns.
Safflower oil is high in linoleic acid, so it's a great oil for acne prone skin. It's also often used for oil cleansing because it removes oil and dirt from the skin without drying your skin or hair. It lubricates the skin, which traps moisture next to your skin.
Sesame Seed Oil
Sesame seed oil is a light oil, so it's often used in massage oils. It moisturizes the skin without being overly oily.
Sunflower Oil is often used in recipes to treat psoriasis, eczema, dry skin, or damaged skin. It's a light oil, so it can also be used as a massage oil.
Carrier Oils: A beginner's guide to using over 40 carrier oils in bath and beauty recipes is now available! This book has more information about each of the oils listed here, plus it has many, many more oils. I give you the origins and compositions of each oil plus the unique benefits of the oils for your skin and hair.
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