Carrier, Essential, and Infused Oils

Watch the video recording of "Enhanced Aromatherapy Formulation: Synergy with infused oils, carrier oils, and essential oils"

Things to Consider with Carrier Oils:

  • Benefits of the oil Specific constituents Therapeutic actions
  • Possible allergies
  • Shelf life
  • Skin type Environmental factors Personal preference
  • Texture of the finished product

Learning Outcome Review common carrier oils Review the differences of between essential oils and carrier oils Review methods for making infused oils Review dilution guidelines for topical application Review common topical applications Discuss the phases of emulsion formulation Discuss anhydrous formulation Demonstration of formulae

Common Carrier Oils Used in Aromatherapy

  • Almond (Prunus amygdalis var dulcis) oil
  • Apricot Kernel (Prunus armeniaca) oil
  • Avocado (Persea americana) oil
  • Camellia (Camellia japonica) oil
  • Grapeseed (Vitis vinifera) oil
  • Hazelnut (Corylus avellana) oil
  • Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) oil
  • Olive (Olea europaea) oil
  • Safflower (Carthamus tinctorium) oil
  • Sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil
  • Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) oil
  • Wheat germ (Triticum sativum) oil
  • Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) butter
  • Coconut (Cocos nucifera) oil
  • Mango (Mangifera indica) butter
  • Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) butter
  • Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) oil
  • Borage (Borago officinalis) oil
  • Rose hip (Rosa rubiginosa) oil

Some of the benefits of Carrier Oils:

  • Fatty acids
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Fat-soluble vitamins
  • Phospholipids
  • Phytosterols
  • Therapeutic actions of their own

Anti-inflammatory Antioxidant Emollient Protectant

Differences Between Essential Oils and Carrier Oils

Essential Oil

  • Produced by specialized cells in many parts of plants
  • Small range of constituents- Hydrocarbons only
  • Steam distilled or cold pressed
  • Volatile

Carrier Oil

  • Cold pressed only
  • Extracted from kernel, nut, seed, and sometimes flesh
  • Not volatile
  • Range of constituents- Acids, Cholesterols, Essential Oils, Proteins

Infused Oil

Why use infused oil?

  • Benefits of both the specific carrier oil and the herb
  • Extracts additional constituents not found in essential oils
  • Multiple herbs can be used for synergy

Methods of Making Infused Oils

  • Dried (1/2oz) or fresh (1oz) herb to 8oz carrier oil Solar method: Jar the herbs and oil and set in warm space for several days to a few weeks Water bath method: Use a double boiler on low heat and steep 30 minutes Crock pot method: Jar the herbs and oil and place in a crock pot with ½ inch of water and steep on the lowest setting for 2 hours
  • Strain through muslin

Things to Consider With Infused Oil: Allergies, Benefits of carrier oil, Benefits of herbs, Shelf life of the carrier oil, Vitamin E to slow rancidity

Diluting for Topical Use

Why Dilute for Topical Use?

  • Allergic response
  • Constitution
  • Medical conditions
  • Medication interactions
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Systemic toxicity

Topical Use Dilution Examples

Generalized dilution ratio

  • Facial application .25-2% Facial creams or oils Lip balm
  • Full body application 1.5-5% Massage Body lotion or oil
  • Acute injury 3-15% Pain Wound care
  • Spot treatments 10-25% or more Localized rash Bites Nail fungus

Examples of Topical Use Products

The purpose of the product and the type of product should be considered and can guide dilution rates.

Things to Consider With Topical Use

Essential oil contraindications Specific essential oils might require a lower concentration Children, the elderly, and those of lower constitution may need more dilution Frequency of use Duration of Use Less is more

Bath Salts

  • Relaxation
  • Pain

Body Oils

  • Hydration
  • Soothing
  • Nourishing

Cold or Hot Compresses

  • Itch
  • Pain
  • Swelling


  • Warming
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain


  • Antiseptic
  • Healing
  • Soothing
  • Chest rub

Spot Treatments

  • Antiseptic
  • Relaxation
  • Roll-ons

Tube Balms

  • Antiseptic balm
  • Lip balm
  • Bite balm


Aromatherapy Formulations

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