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Carrier vs. Essential: Everything You Need to Know About Oils

Whether you’re a naturalista of the textured hair persuasion or a natural lifestyle kinda girl, you’ve had the oils conversation a time or two. In case you still have some lingering questions, here’s what you need to know:



Carrier oils are base/vegetable oils, usually derived from the fatty portion of a plant, like the nuts and/or seeds (coconutgrapeseedavocado). Each oil has its own therapeutic properties, and they’re used to dilute and carry more potent essential oils so they can be applied directly to the skin. Carrier oils are safe to be used on the hair and skin alone.

Below are a few commonly known carrier oils & their benefits:

  • sweet almond – nourishes dry hair & skin
  • apricot kernel – promotes skin toning & firming, excellent moisturizer
  • olive oil – penetrating oil with anti-inflammatory properties
  • jojoba – used to extend the shelf life of other carrier oils
  • rosehip – fosters healthy skin by promoting collagen and elastin levels; boosts cell turnover
  • sesame seed – skin conditioner, provides relief from eczema and/or psoriasis


Essential oils (EOs) are extracted directly from the tissues of plants and are extremely volatile. These oils oxidize rapidly when exposed to light and heat (hence the double-sealed brown bottles), and contain the pure aromatic essence of plants. Compared to carrier oils, EOs are more expensive and are VERY concentrated; a few drops go a long way.

Below are a few commonly known essentials oils & their benefits:

  • lavender – moisturizer and softener, provides relief from skin irritation…and the smell is DIVINE 🙂
  • peppermint – supports healthy digestion, cools and relaxes overworked muscles
  • rose – astringent properties, tones & lifts skin, helps bring balance and promotes harmony
  • lemon – antiseptic and astringent properties, skin brightener
  • tea tree – skin brightener, antiseptic, antifungal properties

Note: to be on the safe side, dilute your essential oils in the carrier oil of your choice to minimize skin irritation.

Carrier and essential oils can be your building blocks to a chemical-free lifestyle. Which ones are first on your list to research further and add to your personal care regimen?