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Guide To Carrier Oils & Mixing Them With Essential Oils

Guide To Carrier Oils & Mixing Them With Essential Oils

Using essential oils directly on your skin can be very harmful.

This guide is going to show you the best ways to mix your essential oils and apply them topically. Remember that essential oils are very potent and should be used with caution.  You need to respect the power of essential oils.

It’s not uncommon for people to use carrier oils to dilute your essential oils when applied topically. Meaning they don’t just put drops of essential oil on their skin without using a carrier oil.

Beware that using essential oils on your skin without diluting them causes harmful or severe irritation and even sensitization.


Sensitization can happen if you apply essential oils to your skin directly. Even essential oils that are thought to be some of the safest like lavender and tea tree oil shouldn’t be applied directly to your skin.

If you apply them to your skin directly your body could react negatively to them. For instance, if you’re in a lot of back pain don’t apply peppermint essential oil directly to your back. Sensitization could occur and this means you could have a skin allergy, rash, respiratory issues, and even go into an anaphylactic shock. Just because you have done it before and didn’t have a reaction to it, don’t keep doing it. Sensitization is for life and whenever you develop it can take several months for your body to recover from it.

For more information on sensitization check out this article by Plant Therapy at:

Also, here is another good article that discusses sensitization at:

Essential Oils That Could Cause Sensitization

This is not a complete list, but a list of essential oils that you want to use with great precaution:

  • Anise
  • Bay Laurel
  • Benzoin
  • Cassia
  • Catnip
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Fennel
  • Lemongrass
  • Litsea Cubeba
  • Melissa
  • Oakmoss
  • Peru Balsam
  • Pine
  • Star Anise
  • Tagetes

Essential Oils That Could Cause Dermal Irritation

Dermal irritation is when the skin becomes affected and becomes irritated for up to 4 hours. It is reversible, but the following essential oils should be used cautiously:

  • Allspice
  • Bay Laurel
  • Benzoin
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon (Bark and Leaves)
  • Clove
  • Fennel
  • Fir Needle
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Sage (Dalmatian)
  • Spruce
  • Tagetes
  • Thyme

So, hopefully, I didn’t scare you away with information on sensitization and dermal irritation.  It’s just very important that you know the precautions you need to take with essential oils.  The fewer people that don’t end up having to go to the emergency room the better.  Now, I am going to talk about how you should properly dilute your essential oils with carrier oils.

Diluting Essential Oils With Carrier Oils

A lot of people get confused when it’s time to dilute their essential oils for topical use. The best practice is to use 2% dilution with your essential oils. For children I would recommend using 1% dilution. It may seem like it’s very weak only using 2%, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Here is how you should dilute your essential oils with carrier oils:

For a teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil add this much essential oil:

  • 1 drop – 1%.
  • 2 drops – 2%.
  • 5 drops – 5%.

For a tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil add this much essential oil:

  • 3 drops – 1%.
  • 6 drops – 2%.
  • 15 drops – 5%.

For an ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil add this much essential oil:

  • 6 drops – 1%.
  • 12 drops – 2%.
  • 30 drops – 5%.

8 Different Carrier Oils

As mentioned above you need a carrier oil to mix your essential oils. However, there are so many carrier oils to choose from it can become difficult deciding which carrier oil to mix with your oils. Down below are some of the most popular carrier oils:

Almond Oil

Almond oil does have a very faint nutty smell. It’s not overpowering or anything, though.

Almond oil is typically cheaper than other carrier oils. It’s an easily absorbed carrier oil that is jam-packed with vitamins including A, B, and E. Typically, almond oil is great for being applied to your face. It helps moisturize your skin and improves your complexion. This carrier oil will restore that “glow” to your face.

Word of warning: those that are allergic to peanuts should avoid almond oil.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil doesn’t really have much of a smell. What is great about this essential oil is it has an indefinite shelf life.

It’s a carrier oil that is made from jojoba beats. Jojoba Oil is a little more expensive than almond oil, typically. It is easily absorbed by the skin and it mimics collagen.

It’s a great carrier oil for those that have sensitive skin. Those that are prone to hypersensitivity, eczema, psoriasis, and acne will certainly want to get jojoba oil.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is a lightweight carrier oil and has a light sweet smell to it. I do want to warn you that apricot kernel oil can leave stains on your clothes so make sure you’re cautious when using it.

This oil comes from the kernels of the apricot plant, as its name suggest. It has a light pale yellow color to it. It’s great for aging skin and that is why you see it listed as one of the ingredients in a lot of anti-aging products.

It’s another carrier oil that is used for sensitive skin. This oil can help with inflamed skin. Apricot kernel oil has oleic and linoleic acid, vitamin A and E.

Most importantly, apricot kernel oil doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy or sticky after using it. Lastly, it can be mixed with other carrier oils, too.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil comes in form of unrefined and refined. You want to make sure you get refined for a carrier oil. Unrefined coconut oil would scoop out like butter and won’t work.

Coconut oil contains fatty acids with having a lot of powerful medicinal properties. The list of health benefits from coconut oil used topically is countless. For instance, it helps with dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, skin infections, keep hair silky and smooth, etc.

This oil will not clog the pores. It doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy and the skin absorbs the oil very quickly. However, I should note that coconut oil is a little more expensive than some other carrier oils.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a heavy oil that has a sweet scent. Watch out with olive oil though because it can often be adulterated.

This is the same cooking oil you have in your cabinet for cooking. Olive oil does have a lot of vitamins, proteins, and minerals. This can help restore the natural glow of your skin and rejuvenate your hairs shine and smoothness. I wouldn’t suggest using it all the time, but if you need to apply some essential oil topically it can be used in an emergency.

Also, you can mix olive oil with any other carrier oils you wish to mix it with. I would recommend using a small amount of olive oil when mixing with other carrier oils, though.

Argan Oil

Argan oil has a very sweet smell to it. The best way to describe the smell of argan oil is “nutty”.

Argan oil is a very gentle carrier oil. It has a lot of properties which help restore skin cells, softens wrinkles, improves skin elasticity, etc. Argan oil comes from argan trees of Morocco. This is a nutrient-rich tree which oils helps soften and heal your skin naturally.

Lastly, it’s known as “Hollywood’s best-kept secret” and has been used for:

  • Treat fizzy, brittle, and dry hair.
  • Treat dark circles under eyes.
  • Reduce the appearance of scars.
  • Reduce muscle pain.
  • Reduce blemishes on your face.

Rosehip Oil

Rosehip is a hedgerow shrub and it’s named might fool you. Despite the name “rosehip”, it doesn’t smell anything like roses. Instead, it’s an earthy scent.

A lot of people think of rosehip as an anti-aging carrier oil. It’s in a ton of different anti-aging products. Rosehip is loaded with Vitamin C and essential fatty acids. This makes it a great carrier oil for protecting and regenerating new skin cells.

Rosehip does absorb in the skin very quickly. It turns fatty acids into prostaglandins. This is why it’s such an excellent carrier oil for tissue regeneration.

However, you might want to purchase a smaller sized carrier oil to start, because there are some that don’t like the earthy scent that this carrier oil smells like.

Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil has an earthy scent. It’s been nicknamed “the healthiest oil on the planet”.

Black seed oil contains a very high amount of fatty acids. The amount of fatty acids is between 70% to 80%. It’s a great carrier oil for pain relief, inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial substances. Therefore, think of your essential oils that are for pain relief and immunity when you’re using black seed oil.

Since black seed oil has such an earthy scent it’s best to mix it with essential oils like juniper berry, atlas cedar, cypress, sandalwood, spruce, and fir balsam. This is great aroma for those essential oils have a woody and strong scent/  They mix quite nicely with black seed oil.

What To Look For When Picking Out A Carrier Oil

Cold pressed

Your carrier oil should be cold pressed. This means when it was manufactured they should use a method called “cold press extraction”. This means the oil has been pressed without heat and the fatty parts were extracted properly. So, look out for carrier oils that have been “heat pressed” because these are of low quality.

100% Pure & Unrefined

Just like essential oils you want the carrier oils to be pure. Meaning the carrier oil shouldn’t be adulterated with any chemicals. The carrier oil should be organic and look for the words “USDA” on the bottle. Unrefined oils are richer in nutrients, color, and have a stronger scent.

Pump or Glass Dropper

When you’re mixing your carrier oils with your essential oils it can be hard to get the mixture right if you don’t have a glass dropper or pump. This keeps you from wasting the carrier oil, too. Also, it’s recommended that the dropper or pump isn’t made from rubber because rubber can break down when it contacts the carrier oil.


Obviously, make sure you get as much carrier oil for your money as you can. The sizes that carrier oil is often sold in is between 60 ml and 473 ml (2 oz to 16 oz). You should consider how much carrier oil is in the bottle if you’re considering multiple brands of carrier oil.

Many Different Uses

Your carrier oil should not be limited. Meaning, It should have more than one use. For instance, you shouldn’t just be able to use it topically. You should have the flexibility to cook with it. It should offer benefits to your hair and skin.

Nutrient Rich

A good quality carrier oil will be loaded with minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. For example, Vitamin E that is in your carrier oil extends the shelf life of your oil. Other Vitamins like Vitamin A, E and K are great for fighting free radicals to boost your immunity. Monounsaturated fatty acids are very good for your hair.

Carrier Oils Sets

Are you completely lost with all the options you have for carrier oil for your essential oils? Here are some awesome sets which you can try out with your essential oils:

Plant Guru

What I like about Plant Guru is their essential oils are on the cheaper side. This can also be said about their carrier oils. You get 4 4 ounce bottles of cold-pressed oils, 100% natural carrier oils for under $20. The carrier oils that are included are almond, avocado, grapeseed, and coconut. This will give you a chance to try out their different carrier oils without having to spend a lot of money.

Another thing I like about Plant Guru’s carrier oils is they are laboratory tested (by a third-party). The cap lifts up and you can pour the carrier oil out that way. That is the only thing I would change about this gift set by Plant Guru, though. However, for the price, I really can’t complain.

Now Foods

NOW Foods make a lot of different health products. I like their essential oils and carrier oils because they are of high quality and pretty cheap. You got 5 4 ounce bottles of 100% pure carrier oils for under $30. The carrier oils that are included are almond, avocado, grapeseed, and apricot oil. Also, you do get a bottle of vegetable glycerine which is very warming to the skin and is frequently used in lotions and soaps.

Another thing I like about Now Foods is they have been in business for 50+ years. They are one company that does some of the most extensive testings in the industry. Like the carrier oils from Plant Guru, you lift the cap up to poor the carrier oil out. The price is pretty good so I would recommend you check it out.

Premium Nature

Premium Nature has a carrier oil gift set that is an “Amazon’s Choice”. Which means it’s very popular with people on Amazon. People are really happy with this carrier oils set and have ranked it 4.7 stars out of 5. You get 5 4 oz bottles of cold pressed oils, and they are 100% pure. The carrier oils that are included are grapeseed, coconut, avocado, castor, and almond.

Like Now Foods and Plant’ Guru’s gift set the cap lifts off so you can pour the carrier oil out. The price tag for these is under $25, too. I can’t think of one single reason why anyone wouldn’t purchase carrier oils at this price tag, though.

Hopefully, this guide on carrier oils has helped you when mixing your essential oils. If you have any questions that are not mentioned in this article or comments please leave a comment down below.

9 thoughts on “Guide To Carrier Oils & Mixing Them With Essential Oils

  1. So, if the essential oil doesn’t cause sensitization, can you use it without a carrier oil? I have been diluting my tea tree oil with coconut oil. Tea tree oil has a strong scent. I just use a little bit.

    1. Hey Melina,

      It’s best to dilute the essential oils when applying them to your body. However, if you are putting them under your feet or with your hands I typically don’t use a carrier oil on them. Sensitization is a very serious condition and just think of the trouble you are going to have to go through as your body heals for months. Best to be smart than sorry for months to come.

      I agree that tea tree oil is very strong. Typically it’s one of the milder ones in terms of harshness on the body, though.

  2. I’m a big fan and essential oil user. Yes, some essential oil are very strong. I only dare to use the one that is therapeutic grade on my skin and yes most of the time I do dilute it if it’s on my face or more sensitive skin. I will sometimes use sunflower oil if I ran out of jojoba or rose-hip oil. I will not dilute it if it’s on my foot though.

    I also think over time, our skin will become stronger in taking undiluted therapeutic essential oil, but for gentler ones like lavender and frankincense.

    1. Hey Alicia,

      You are correct some essential oils are very strong. This is why we must respect the power of essential oils. Sure, they can be used to heal a lot of different problems. But, too much of a good thing can raise some serious health concerns. The essential oil does need to be pure. Some companies like Green Health have diluted their essential oils which is a big mistake. It’s actually pretty sad that the essential oil industry isn’t regulated very well.

  3. I am a certified aromatherapist for almost two decades. It’s true it is as important as eating healthy food and lots of water. 🙂 I appreciate the accurate information you have provided and the resources you are suggesting are great quality and excellent recommendations. It is important to share the benefits with the risks. Dilution is so good to know!

  4. I actually do use coconut oil to dilute rosemary essential oil. I use this on my scalp. Should I continue to do this, or is it fine then to leave the coconut oil out? I didn’t see rosemary on your list, so I am assuming I would be fine.

    1. Hey Matts Mom,

      It’s good that you use coconut to dilute rosemary. I would always use a carrier oil. The risk is always there to have to deal with sensitization. However, since you are using rosemary on your scalp you might want to try mixing it with your shampoo. I do this with several essential oils. Peppermint along with rosemary is one of my favorite oils to mix in with my shampoo.

  5. My girlfriend is a huge fan of essential oils and I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any detrimental effects from their use. Thankfully she’s very careful about applying them. She had a rash for about 1 week because she was using grapefruit essential oil. We were really starting to get worried about it!

  6. A really interesting article, I generally use essential oils in a burner and diffuser but have wondered about topical use. Your advice about those which can cause sensitivity are particularly helpful, thank you.

    However, how do you do a skin patch test though?

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