Your quick guide to carrier oils

Your quick guide to carrier oils

Oil pouring into a bowl


Aromatherapy uses carrier oils to dilute essential oils for topical use. Because pure essential oils are very potent and can cause irritation to your skin. 

We love using essential oils topically so carrier oils are very important for us. Learn more about using it topically here and find out what we think is the best topical method for you.

Carrier oils and essential oils both have beneficial properties. Carrier oils generally provide nourishment for your skin while essential oils provide therapeutic properties. Learn more about essential oils and why it's good for you here!

You can use carrier oils on their own or mixed with essential oils, to get the added benefits.


What should you consider before using a carrier oil?

Scent: A few carrier oils have a distinct scent. When added to an essential oil, it may alter the aroma. Do choose mild or no scent carrier oils if you do not desire this.

Colour: Carrier oils differ in colour. This may affect your clothing if the oils stain your clothes. We would recommend for you to choose colourless carrier oils to avoid this.

Absorption: Your skin can absorb some carrier oils better than others. It depends on the fat content or viscosity of the oil. We recommend carrier oils with higher absorption rates so that you get the benefits quicker, and reduce the greasiness on your skin.

Skin type: Depending on your skin type, some oils may irritate skin or worsen a skin condition such as acne. Some carrier oils come from nuts, so do take note of any possible allergies.


Next is to choose your carrier oils. So here are the top 10 carrier oils that everybody loves.

1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is made from the meat of mature coconuts. It’s available in refined or unrefined varieties. Coconut oil is also edible!

Unrefined coconut oil is a better choice to use as a carrier oil. It’s not processed with chemicals and retains its coconut aroma and flavour.

Refined coconut oil is processed to remove the coconut scent and flavour.

Coconut oil is great for massage or skin care because of its skin nourishing properties. [1]

Criteria Description
Scent Coconutty
Colour White to off-white
Absorption Slow
Skin type Great for dry and sensitive skin

Another variation of coconut oil is the fractionated coconut oil. This is what Calla Me uses for our stick balms because we know you'll love its properties. How are they different? Continue reading this article!


2. Jojoba oil
Jojoba nut

Jojoba oil comes from the seeds of the jojoba plant with a soft, nutty smell. Jojoba is thought to mimic sebum, the skin’s natural oil.

This is helpful for those with acne-prone skin as it helps reduce the sebum production. It also absorbs easily into the skin and doesn’t clog pores. This makes it a good carrier oil option for massage oils, facial moisturisers, and bath oils. [2]

Criteria Description
Scent Pleasant and soft
Colour Clear, golden yellow
Absorption Average
Skin type All skin types


3. Apricot kernel oil
Apricot halves and kernel

Apricot kernel oil is made from apricot seeds, also known as kernels. Apricot kernel oil has high fatty acids and vitamin E, its antioxidant properties. It absorbs easily into the skin and often helps calm irritated, itchy skin.

Apricot kernel oil is good for bath oils, massage oils and hair care. [3]

Criteria Description
Scent Slightly fatty, nutty and sweet
Colour Clear, light green to yellowish
Absorption Fast
Skin type All skin types



4. Sweet almond oil

Sweet almond oil is made from the kernels of sweet almonds with a strong, nutty smell. It is lightweight and absorbs easily into the skin.

Sweet almond oil has a strong smell. In fact, diluting essential oils with sweet almond oil could mask the smell of the essential oil.

But it's still one of the most popular carrier oils for skin care! Many use it in massage oils, bath oils, and soaps. [4]

Criteria Description
Scent Very pleasant, nutty and sweet
Colour Clear, colorless to light yellow liquid
Absorption Slow
Skin type All skin types


5. Olive oil
Green and black olives

Olive oil comes from pressed olives. Yes, it's the same olive oil that you have been eating! But for aromatherapy and skin care, we prefer extra virgin olive oil because it has a milder scent.

Olive oils are high in fatty acids which make a great moisturiser for your skin. You can use it as facial cleansers, hair care, massage oils and soaps! [5]

Criteria Description
Scent Appealing, full-bodied
Colour Clear, golden yellow to light green
Absorption Slow
Skin type All skin types


6. Argan oil
Argan fruit

Argan oil is made from kernels found inside the fruit of argan trees, with a nutty aroma. Argan originates from Morocco and its oil is rich in vitamins A and E. It's also high in antioxidants and has moisturising properties.

Thus, argan oil makes a great choice of carrier oil for skincare and massage oils. It helps treat dry skin and hair and skin inflammation. [6]

Criteria Description
Scent Mild neutral
Colour Clear, pale to golden
Absorption Average
Skin type All skin types, good for dry skin


7. Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is not made from traditional roses, nor does it smell like a rose. They are made from the seeds of the Rosa rubiginosa bush or the Rosa moschata bush.

When these flowers die and drop their petals, the rosehip is left behind. It has a nutty, earthy scent. Rosehip oil is high in vitamins A, which helps fight aging, and vitamin C, which helps heal wounds.

Many use rosehip oil as a moisturiser or carrier oil to treat dry skin or massage oil. [7]

Criteria Description
Scent Warm earthy
Colour Clear light yellow to deep golden yellow
Absorption Very fast
Skin type All skin types


8. Black seed oil
Black seeds

Black seed oil is made from the Nigella sativa plant. It is rich with unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Though not as popular as others on this list, it's a great option for facial or skincare and massage oils. It soothes various skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. [8]

Criteria Description
Scent Fruity-woodsy musk
Colour Clear green to brown
Absorption Average
Skin type All skin types


9. Grape seed oil

Grape seed oil comes from the seeds of grapes, as a byproduct of the winemaking process. It has a neutral scent and is high in vitamin E. This heals skin conditions and, reduce wrinkles because of its antioxidant properties.

Grape seed oil is lightweight and absorbs easily into the skin. It makes a good carrier oil for essential oils and to make massage oils. [9]

Criteria Description
Scent Very mild and neutral
Colour Cloudy green
Absorption Fast
Skin type All skin types


10. Avocado oil
Avocado halves and pit

Avocado oil is made from the fruit itself. It has a nutty scent and is a thick, edible oil. Avocado oil is high in oleic acid, which helps dry and damaged skin.

But, it may increase sebum production which is an issue if you have acne-prone skin. If not, it makes a good carrier oil for moisturisers and creams to treat dry skin. [10]

Criteria Description
Scent Mild and nutty
Colour Clear, light green to darker green
Absorption Average
Skin type Not for acne-prone skin



As you may have noticed, some cooking oils may serve as a carrier oil for cosmetic purposes as well. If you're interested in that, you should choose one that is cold-pressed and organic.

Like blending essential oils, we can also mix carrier oils to combine their benefits. 

For example, an excellent and popular choice for massage oil is jojoba oil. It’s lightweight, nourishing, and absorbs into the skin easily.

Apricot kernel oil also absorbs easily into the skin. But it is better known for its high vitamin E content which acts as an antioxidant. This protects cells from damage and infections.

Seems like a good idea to combine the 2 carrier oils, so why not give it a try!

Learn more about the other ways that you can use essential oils here!


Which carrier oil does Calla Me use?

If you have been using our Calla Me Stick Balms, you'd noticed that we use fractionated coconut oil. Wait, isn't that the same as coconut oil?
Let's find out more!

Here's a precise definition of fractionated coconut oil:
Fractionated coconut oil is an oil made from regular coconut oil. Both of these oil are great sources of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which provides fatty acids that contain 6 to 12 carbon atoms. The difference lies in their fatty acid composition. Coconut oil has a 12-carbon lauric acid but most or all of this fatty acid is removed in fractionated coconut oil.

But here's a simpler definition:
Fractionated coconut oil is made from coconut oil and mainly consists of two medium-chain fatty acids. Which means, its a fraction of the coconut oil.

It has been marketed as a coconut oil that can stay in liquid form at room temperature and in the fridge!

But what does it all mean for you?

Fractionated coconut oil is tasteless, colourless, odourless, and usually more expensive than regular coconut oil. They are also completely soluble with all essential oils and will not stain your clothes!

It preserves the fragrance of essential oils. But most importantly, it maintains the benefits and therapeutic properties of these essential oils.

As a carrier oil, fractionated coconut oil is ideal for dry skin by soothing your skin without clogging your pores. (Because of the lower fat content!)

So are there many versions of coconut oils? We know the normal coconut oil to be rather dense and usually solid, depending on temperature. But we all love the benefits and hope there are lighter alternatives to this.

The midway mark would be virgin coconut oil!

Virgin coconut oil is solid at lower room temperatures and is less processed than fractionated coconut oil. This means that it maintains the lauric acid and other long-chain fatty acids.

But because virgin coconut oil can be a solid, it is unsuitable as a facial oil. They are too heavy and are likely to clog your pores or cause breakouts.

Fractionated coconut oil however is more easily absorbed by the skin. Since they are all variations of coconut oil, they all are deeply moisturising and nourishing to the skin.

Even if virgin coconut oil and fractionated coconut oil are considered “less than” to the normal coconut oil, they still contain plenty of nutrients and antioxidants.

It is important to note that they are also naturally processed which means they are extracted without the use of chemicals.

Coconut oils are great as carrier oils or you can use them on their own. From using it in your kitchen to on your skin.

The different variations of coconut oils have their own benefit, try them all to see which is suitable for your needs!


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The article written represents the writers' opinions based on their findings. It is not meant to be expert/medical advice. Users are solely responsible for fully understanding the safety and risks of essential oils. 



[1] - Vala, G. S., & Kapadiya, P. K. (2014). Medicinal benefits of coconut oil. International Journal of Life Sciences Research, 2(4), 124-126.

[2] - Meier, L., Stange, R., Michalsen, A., & Uehleke, B. (2012). Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne–results of a prospective, observational pilot study. Complementary Medicine Research, 19(2), 75-79.

[3] - Stryjecka, M., Kiełtyka-Dadasiewicz, A., Michalak, M., Rachoń, L., & Głowacka, A. (2019). Chemical composition and antioxidant properties of oils from the seeds of five apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) cultivars. Journal of oleo science, ess19121.

[4] - Ahmad, Z. (2010). The uses and properties of almond oil. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 16(1), 10-12.

[5] - Gorzynik-Debicka, M., Przychodzen, P., Cappello, F., Kuban-Jankowska, A., Marino Gammazza, A., Knap, N., ... & Gorska-Ponikowska, M. (2018). Potential health benefits of olive oil and plant polyphenols. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(3), 686.

[6] - El Abbassi, A., Khalid, N., Zbakh, H., & Ahmad, A. (2014). Physicochemical characteristics, nutritional properties, and health benefits of argan oil: A review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 54(11), 1401-1414.

[7] - Ilyasoğlu, H. (2014). Characterization of rosehip (Rosa canina L.) seed and seed oil. International Journal of Food Properties, 17(7), 1591-1598.

[8] - Ahmad, A., Husain, A., Mujeeb, M., Khan, S. A., Najmi, A. K., Siddique, N. A., ... & Anwar, F. (2013). A review on therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa: A miracle herb. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine, 3(5), 337-352.

[9] - Gupta, M., Dey, S., Marbaniang, D., Pal, P., Ray, S., & Mazumder, B. (2020). Grape seed extract: Having a potential health benefits. Journal of food science and technology, 57(4), 1205-1215.

[10] - Duarte, P. F., Chaves, M. A., Borges, C. D., & Mendonça, C. R. B. (2016). Avocado: characteristics, health benefits and uses. Ciência Rural, 46(4), 747-754.



Jojoba Nut” by Katja Schulz is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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