on Carrier Oils
"Carrier Oil" is a general term referring to the
medium in which essential oils are diluted (and they
should always be diluted, usually at a ratio of 20
drops to 2 ounces of carrier oil). Carrier oils should
not be confused with Essential Oils - carrier mediums
are generally unscented, and can also be substances
such as lotions, talc, clays, alcohol or even plain
distilled water, often used as a base for a linen or
The table below makes some comparisons among various
Base and Carrier
Emís Place Website
Obtained from the small tree,
Prunus amygdalus, contains protein and is rich
in minerals and vitamins. Ability to soften skin
and especially beneficial for eczema. Excellent
penetrating properties and good for all skin types.
Relieves itching, dryness, and inflammation.
Conditions and provides stable lather to natural
soaps. Anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, and
anti-irritant. May be used as 100% base oil.
ALOE VERA GEL
A gel compound expressed from the leaf
of the aloe plant, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe peryi.
Contains enzymes, proteins, minerals and
vitamins that activate the skinís self-healing
power. Tightens, stimulates and rejuvenates skin
and is especially beneficial for burns or sunburned
skin. Refreshing moisturizer with sunscreen
properties. Used medicinally for more than three
thousand years. Reputed to regenerate damaged
tissue and contains the 22 amino acids essential
for protein production. Anti-inflammatory. Use
alone or as a carrier for other base or essential
APRICOT KERNEL OIL
Golden colored oil is extracted from
apricot kernels of Prunus armeniaca, and
contains minerals and vitamins. Skin-softening
properties useful for all skin types, especially
prematurely aged, inflamed, sensitive or dry skin.
Conditions and provides stable lather to natural
soaps. May be used as 100% base oil.
Derived from the pulpy green fruit of
the avocado, genus Persea, and contains
protein, amino acids, lecithin and vitamins A, D,
and E. The restorative and nourishing properties
are good for all skin types, helping to soften body
tissue and heal scaly skin and scalp. Rich in
unsaponifiables, makes an enriching soap for
sensitive skin. Use in addition to base oil.
Obtained from the honeycomb of the
Apis mellifera, and other
Both yellow and white beeswax is used as a
thickener or emulsifier for oil and water.
From the seed of the castor bean
plant, Ricinus communis. Thick and medicinal
in nature. Moisturizing quality acts as humectant
by attracting and retaining skin moisture. Adds
conditioning and stable lather to soap. Has
stronger smell than other vegetable oils. Use
detoxified castor oil as raw castor oil contains a
poisonous protein. Use in addition to base oil.
Solid fat expressed from the seed of
the cocoa plant, Theobroma cocao, native to
Mexico and Theobroma leiocarpum, native to
Brazil. Moisturizing emollient not easily
absorbed by the skin and provides a protective
layer that melts at body temperature. Good quality
cocoa butter has the distinctive odor of cocoa.
Hard bar soap with stable lather.
White, semi-solid fat is expressed
from the coconut meat kernels of the coconut palm,
Cocos nucifera. Lays down a protective
layer. Its saturated nature resists rancidity and
creates hard bar soaps with creamy, fluffy
cleansing lather. Popular ingredient of natural bar
soaps. Too much tends to be drying so usually
blended with other oils.
EVENING PRIMROSE OIL
Derived from the seeds of the
Oenothera biennis, which has a high content of
linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. This
beneficial oil is used for inflammatory conditions.
Useful for acne, arthritis, dermatitis, infantile
eczema, premenstrual tension and psoriasis.
Reputedly lowers cholesterol, high blood pressure
and nervousness. Also removes tangles and repairs
damaged hair while providing a non-greasy luster.
Sweet, syrupy, colorless liquid
naturally derived from vegetable oils or is a
by-product of commercial soap making. (Cold pressed
soaps retain natural glycerin.) Soothing skin
emollient, lubricant, and humectant which helps
skin retain moisture. One of the 22 essential amino
acids, and restores the skin's pH balance.
Pale green in color, expressed from
the seeds of grapes, Vitis vinifera. Light
and odorless, contains vitamins, minerals, and
protein. Ultra-fine oil absorbs easily through the
skin and makes a good massage oil ingredient.
Protects skin cells, tightens and tones.
Anti-oxidant. May be used as 100% base oil.
Derived from various hazelnut trees,
genus Corylus avellana. This moisturizing
oil has minerals, vitamins and protein, and is
slightly astringent with a mild nutty fragrance.
Good for damaged skin, provides a stable lather and
is highly unsaturated. May be used as 100% base
Extracted from the beanlike seed of
the desert shrub, Simondsia chinensis and
widely used by native Americans. One of the best
all-around natural oils that is a liquid wax ester.
Mixes naturally with our skinís fluids because it
contains large quantities of an ester almost
identical human sebum, the skinís natural
restorative fluid. Contains anti-oxidants, minerals
and vitamins, including vitamin E. Helps make skin
soft and silky, and is excellent for inflamed skin,
acne, dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. Excellent for
hair care and reputed to be a natural wrinkle
remover. Acts as an emollient and humectant. It
retains skin moisture and does not block the skinís
natural functions while performing is own. Good for
massage, jojoba by itself will not stain linens. It
does not turn rancid and extends the shelf life of
blended oils. In its pure form, jojoba makes a
natural suntan lotion with a sun protection factor
of 4. Provides a stable conditioning lather to bar
soaps. Use in aromatherapy as a carrier for
essential oils. Use as 100% base oil or blend with
KUKUI NUT OIL
Cold pressed from the nut of the Kukui
tree, Aleurites moluccana, the official
state tree of Hawaii and used for hundreds of years
by the Hawaiian people. Stabilized with
antioxidants Ė vitamins A, C and E. Easily
absorbed, has excellent penetrating and smoothing
powers and soothes dry skin, acne, psoriasis,
eczema, sunburns and skin irritations. Outstanding
greaseless emollient high in essential fatty acids.
Helps skin maintain its natural water loss barrier
and has an uplifting fragrance. A luxury for the
soapmaker, adds richness to bar soaps. Use alone or
mix with other ingredients.
MACADAMIA NUT OIL
Cold pressed from the nut of the
macadamia tree, Macadamia integrifolia.
Outstanding emollient contains a high concentration
of palmitoleic fatty acid, also contained in the
human sebum that naturally declines with age. This
edible oil is gaining popularity as a gourmet salad
and cooking oil. May be supplemented with natural
vitamin E as an antioxidant. Non-irritating to the
eyes. Stable oil with longer shelf life than many
other oils. Like kukui nut oil, is a luxury for the
soapmaker. Mixes well with other ingredients.
Cream colored semi-solid, bland fat
extracted from the seed kernel of the tropical
It has good softening effects on the skin and
reduces degeneration of the skin cells.
The leaves, bark and seed of the neem
tree, Azadriachta indica , are used to treat
a variety of skin disorders. Promoting
antibacterial and antiviral activity, this oil has
antiseptic properties and is good for dandruff,
oily skin, and skin diseases such as scabies. It is
also an ingredient in mosquito repellants.
Contributes a stable, conditioning lather and
hardness to bar soaps. Use in addition to base oil.
High quality yellow to pale green oil
comes in several grades with corresponding odor
strengths and is obtained from ripe olives, Olea
europaea. Retains moisture to the skin by
forming a breathable layer, and like jojoba oil,
shea butter and kukui nut oil it does not block the
skinís natural functions while performing is own.
Provides disinfectant, antiwrinkle and wound
healing properties. Superior to mineral oils in
penetration power. Creates a long lasting,
non-drying mild soap with creamy lather, and no
other soapmaking oil contributes its unique set of
characteristics. Can be used as 100% base oil,
although some people may find certain grades
unpleasantly strong smelling.
This yellowish-brown, buttery solid
oil at room temperature is obtained from the fruit
pulp of the oil palm, Elaeis species.
Popular natural bar soap ingredient often used with
olive and coconut oils. Used as a tallow
substitute, shortening and in making soaps and
ointments. Moisturizing effect when used in
moderation and can be drying when used in excess.
Makes a long-lasting lather that cleans well and
enhances hardness for a longer lasting bar soap.
Tallow substitute for animal rights advocates. Use
in addition to base oil.
PALM KERNEL OIL
White to yellowish fat from the fruit
kernel of oil palm trees, Elaeis species,
especially African palms and has a sweet, nutty
flavor. Resembles coconut oil more than palm oil.
Rich in vitamin A. Used as an emulsifier and
texturizer. Also used as a bar soap ingredient
often with olive and coconut oils. Moisturizing
effect when used in moderation and can be drying
when used in excess. Very mild, long-lasting lather
cleans well and enhances hardness for a longer
lasting bar soap. Use in addition to base oil.
Light to greenish yellow, made by
pressing shelled peanuts, Arachis hypogeae.
Rich in vitamin E, this non-drying, conditioning
oil is readily absorbed by the skin. Highly
unsaturated, creates a soft conditioning bar soap
with weak lather. Use in addition to base oil.
ROSE HIP SEED OIL
Trade name for Rosa Mosqueta, from the
Rosa species. Rose hips are the fruit of the
rose and high in vitamin C and essential fatty
acids. Hydrates the skin and makes an excellent
skin and hair care treatment. Useful for all skin
types. Can be used alone or in addition to base
Derived from the seeds of the plant,
Carthamus tinctorius. Provides moisturizing
and skin softening properties. Vulnerable to
spoilage, so use with other natural preserving
ingredients to extend shelf life. Use in addition
to base oil.
Yellowish cream colored natural fat
expressed from the fruit pits of the karite tree,
Butyrosperum parkii. Also known as African
karite butter. Softening, nourishing and rich in
vitamins. Very mild, rich textured emollient also
being used for wrinkle reduction. Research is also
being conducted in England to look at its
anti-inflammatory potential for rheumatism and
nasal congestion. It is rumored that this
ingredient could move from an emollient to an
"active ingredient" status in the future. Becoming
more popular, look for more products that will be
containing this ingredient. Can be melted with
small amounts of natural oils to create "butters"
of various consistencies which are suitable as both
hair and body butters. Provides a stable
conditioning lather and hardness to bar soaps.
Pale yellow to brownish green oil is
extracted from seeds of the soybean plant,
Glycerin soja. Primary ingredient in vegetable
shortening. Mild, soft bars with stable lather. Use
in addition to base oil.
Thin, light pale yellow oil obtained
by milling the seeds of large sunflowers,
Helianthus annuus. Holds in moisture by laying
down a slightly oily protective "skin" after
drying. Contains vitamin E, although has a shorter
shelf life than some oils so use with other natural
preserving ingredients. Provides stable,
conditioning lather to bar soaps. Use in addition
to base oil.
WHEAT GERM OIL
Extracted from the germ of the wheat
kernel, Triticum vulgare, natureís richest
source of vitamin E Ė a natural preservative. Has
antioxidant properties and is high in lecithin and
vitamins A, D, and E. Particularly valuable for
treating dry and aging skin, stretch marks and
scarring. Adds moisture and a luxurious, creamy
lather to bar soaps.
Top of Page
Back to Resources