Carrier Oils and Essential Oils

How to Use Carrier Oils with Essential Oils

When I first started using my essential oils I really did not know much about how carrier oils worked.  I would hear terms like neat, dilution ratios, diluting versus not diluting and V6 vegetable oil.  It took me a bit to figure it out.  I hope this post is helpful as I share the ‘how-to’s’ of using carrier oils with your essential oils.


Carrier Oils and Essential Oils


What is a Carrier Oil

A carrier oil is a base oil that is light and neutral. It is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts.  Good choices of a carrier oil would be…the Young Living V6 vegetable oil (my favorite), organic coconut oil, grape seed oil or olive oil.

Dilution of Essential Oils

The process of an essential oil being added to a carrier oil, is referred to as dilution.  It is usually specified in terms of either a percentage or a number of drops to be added to an amount of carrier oil.   Each essential oil bottle will have the recommended dilution ratio printed on it.  For example, when applying oils to infants and small children, it is recommended to dilute 1-2 drops of pure essential oil with 1/2-1 teaspoon (tsp.) of a pure vegetable oil (V6 Oil) or carrier oil.

Reasons, tips and ways you would use a carrier oil…

  1. To dilute stronger oils that may irritate the skin.
  2. Use the carrier oil first and then put your essential oil on top of it.
  3. Having the base oil (carrier oil) on first allows you to spread just a tiny bit of the essential oil over a larger area and it actually helps “carry” it into the body.
  4. Using a carrier oil can also stretch your bottle of oil, to make it last longer.
  5. Carrier oils do not evaporate as quickly as the essential oil, that tends to evaporate quicker when applied neat (with no carrier oil.)
  6. Carrier oils actually aid in absorption.
  7. The best times to incorporate a carrier oil is for massaging, making or adding to lotions, using on babies, children, elderly, and sensitive areas.
  8. Essential oils never go rancid. Essential oils “oxidize” and lose their therapeutic benefits, but they don’t go rancid.  However, some carrier oils do with time and therefore have a shorter shelf life.  You want to keep this in mind and not dilute too much at one time.  Just what you might use over a short time period.

Using Essential Oils in the Bath

If using the oils in the bath, always use a bath gel base or epsom salts as a dispersing agent for the oils.  So you would just put the bath gel or epsom salts in your hand or a cup and then the few drops of the oil in the gel or salts before putting it in the tub.  Oil and water, don’t mix, so the oils could otherwise hang out on top of the water and possibly irritate the skin.

Common carrier oils

Coconut oil – There is whole coconut oil (solid at room temperature) and fractionated coconut oil (perfectly clear liquid).  Coconut oil is great for the skin, fully digestible and considered a healthy cooking oil.  You can soften the whole coconut oil in a pan of warm water and then save in a glass baby food jar or anything glass.  The fractionated will remain in liquid form.

Grape Seed oil – Is great as a massage oil, lotion base and lip balm.  It is relatively odorless, clear with a very light yellowish-green tinge and has a slightly sweet taste. It has regenerative and restructuring characteristics that make it great for a skin moisturizer.  It does have a glossy film that protects essential oils from evaporating and saturation takes longer than some other carriers.

Olive oil – Most know it for use in cooking.  It has great health benefits to the skin and hair as well.   It has a high vitamin and mineral count and a shelf life of one year.

Young Living’s V6 Vegetable Oil Complex – It is a combination of antioxidant vegetable oils.  This oil complex nourishes the skin, has a long shelf life, doesn’t clog pores, and will not stain clothes.  The ingredients are Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Almond Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil and Olive Oil.

My carrier oil tips

I always keep my old oil bottles.  They are great for sharing an oil with someone and for making up small dilution batches.  So for example an oil I use frequently is Peace and Calming.  I have an old 5ml bottle that has about 20-25 drops of pure Peace and Calming in it and the rest I filled up with Young Living’s V6 vegetable oil complex. This just makes it last longer and the essential oil is still beneficial.

I change what I dilute all the time based on how much I have left until my next order and our current usage.  Some oils I have found I don’t like diluted.  For me it has come down to a personal preference.  You can do what works for you.  Remember that ONE drop of essential oil can cover every cell in our body with 40,000 molecules.  Start slow, sometimes less is more when it comes to using oils!

To learn more safety tips when using essential oils, visit my Oil Safety page!

Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Products and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Read the full disclaimer here.