Carrier Oils

These are macerations of oils, or sometimes they are cold pressed. Whilst they do not have the potency of an essential oil they do nevertheless have their own properties and can be extremely useful to add to your treatments.  Each oil looks very different and has a different texture and consistency to it too. Calendula is bright sunshine yellow. Tamanu is a slightly unpleasant dark murky green. Sea Buckthorn is a sharp bright orange.  You will want to consider this when using for massage, and when you add to a cream or lotion it will change the appearance of that too. We are not quite  talking as drastic a mistake as massaging with beetroot juice, but even so there may be staining concerns.  They will not only enhance the properties of your essential oils but carrier oils improve creams and lotions no end. They thicken the structure of the cream and add a luscious silkiness to it. Best of all is how much cheaper they are than essential oils so you can add a brilliant new dimension to a cream without spending much money at all. As a guide for measuring, you probably need about a teaspoon of carrier to each 4 drops of essential oil. There is no need to increase the amount of essential oil by very much just because you add more carrier. Remember it is the essential oils that do the heavy lifting, the  carrier is nothing more than the cart to transport them. Mess around with the carrier to get your consistency right and make sure that you have enough oil for each treatment.

A note of caution is the fact many of these oils are cold pressed from nuts. Since it seems nut allergies are on the rise (or at least awareness of them seems to be, anyway) you should consider this each time you make a treatment for someone.  Be aware the kernel of a fruit can cause the same reactions as can the seed, so peach kernel, camellia, jojoba, tamanu and apricot kernel should be added to your use-with- caution list. Carrier oils tend to come in between 100-500ml bottles.  The temptation might be to buy a larger bottle for economy, but ensure you will use it enough.  Carrier oils mostly start to go rancid between 6-12 months because they oxidise pretty quickly.  All that being said, don’t feel you have to rush out and buy any of these. The vegetables oils, grapeseed or olive oils you have on the shelf to cook with at home are wonderful in their own rights. Olive oil is thicker and so feels delicious for the person receiving the massage, but you will feel you have worked harder at the end of it. Grapeseed is one of the thinnest oils, gives good slip on the skin and helps essential oils to absorb into the skin quickly.  Remember the most important uses of these carrier oils, over and above their properties, are to dilute the essential oils to a dose which your skin can easily handle, to help them absorb through the skin easily and to break them down small enough for your liver and kidneys to be able to assimilate them when it comes to eliminating waste. 

Here are some oils you may enjoy experimenting with:

Almond Oil

(Nut*) – This is a fab oil to add to blends that feel too thin. It is a thick robust oil and you only need about a teaspoonful to make the mix thick and luxurious to use. It is very smoothing and plumping to the skin so is delicious to add to face masks too.

Apricot Kernel

(Nut*) – This is a medium consistency oil with a very pale peach-y hue. It would be my choice to treat any problem where there is inflammation. So, perhaps a swollen ankle, or very fiercely red skin might be good examples. It is soothing and reduces inflammation very quickly.


I would use this for eczema as it has a high gamma linolenic acid content. It is also extremely effective at cleansing the liver (which is also a concern with eczema. Borage is a thin and colourless oil.


A cheaper alternative to the essential oil this is a very caring skin healer. See details for the essential oil and also the extra article on calendula that shows how to use this oil to help radiation burns after cancer treatments. Of all skin healers, this is my favourite.


This thin, colourless oil is cold pressed from the seed. It is bursting with Omega 6. This is a naturally occurring fatty acid that the body uses to regenerate tissues. I love this oil for mature skins because it refines them, softens them and helps the body to bring younger, newer skin cells to the surface. This is an emollient oil, and it helps the skin to retain moisture. Use, then, to thicken moisturisers. This will work best if used in conjunction with regular facial massage to reveal fresher skin cells too. Use also for hair treatments, nails and cuticles too.


(Nut*) – This one is a book in its own right, there are so many uses. Use for very dry and brittle hair to add moisture. Excellent for sports massage because it helps the body to burn energy far more efficiently. I use it mostly for carrying oils when I want an antibacterial kick though. Coconut is antibacterial and antifungal.

Evening Primrose

Ooo this is deliciously thick unguent oil. The bright yellow hue betrays how laden it is with GLA. This component is wonderfully healing to the skin. It is a useful carrier to use in your treatments of eczema and psoriasis but also for gynaecological care too. I would

not suggest massage for broken skin conditions such as eczema, not least because it is likely to be embarrassing to the patient, but a cream or lotion with this added can be beautiful.


(*Nut) One of the nut oils, obviously, it oozes vitamin E so is a fabulous skin food. By far its best action is the way it will exfoliate the skin. Use it as your facial massage and after a moment or two you will feel grittiness under your fingers as the dead skin cells slough off.


Now this is one of my favourite carriers because if you know where to look it can be a delicious bargain. Check out Asian grocery stores and even the Indian aisles in supermarkets. It is a wonderful nourishment for the hair and is used extensively for daily treatments in Ayurvedic medicine. It carries the same properties as jasmine essential oil so use it for preparations where there may be scarring, for gynaecological complaints that may include the need for a uterine tonic. I would avoid using if for oily skins/ acne though, simply because this golden yellow oil is so very thick it is just too heavy for the already greasy complexions.


This oil is cold pressed from the seed. It is a very good skin stabilizer. Treat both oily and dry skins with jojoba because it helps to balance sebum production, turning the tap on or off as needed. This is another good carrier to moisturise cuticles. It is especially helpful with false nails because it nourishes the nail beds too, which might otherwise become damaged.

Peach Kernel

(Nut*)– This is the perfect match to go with Neroli essential oil when you are treating more mature skins. It helps to plump the skin and smooth lines. It has high concentrations of vitamins A & E and because it is a very thin and light oil, is better for skins that are prone to blocked pores too.


Again we have a skin regeneration product here. Use on damaged complexions, rosacea and acnes, for instance. I also find it useful after a wound has healed to avoid scarring. This is a gentle oil and so would be my oil of choice for children, rather than jasmine which has a bit too much sass for kids, somehow.

Sea Buckthorn

This is a super-oil. It is on my bucket list to find these growing naturally and squeeze the oil straight from the berry into my hand. Use for any problem where there is congestion, phlegm, catarrh, constipation,  even impacted skin…that list is endless. It is a fiercely efficient skin healer, by that I mean it heals quickly, but is not gentle, so avoid on skins that are sore. It has very low skin protection from the sun too, so is useful for moisturisers whilst you are on holiday. (It is not strong enough to replace a sunscreen though.) It is too strong to use as a massage oil on its own and will severely stain the skin. Use not more than a teaspoon in a mix or just a few drops into a cream or lotion. 


(Nut*) This dark green oil has more clinical than beauty applications. It is anti-inflammatory, antineuralgic and is skin healing too. Again, this is too thick and green to be the only oil in your massage treatment, perhaps blend with grapeseed.


(Nut*) – The very best walnut oil is Topaz blue, but it is rare to find this. Mostly yours will be fairly translucent, and that quality is fine to use. This is a Where to apply essential oils  As explained, oils absorb through the skin, into the blood stream. This means they can get to the spot that needs them wherever your place them onto the skin.  It makes sense though, that the closer to the site of pain you can get, the more effective your therapy will be. I also find it helpful to apply the oils on two other spots. Turn your hand palm up and you will notice blue veins in your wrist. This is an excellent blood supply close to the surface and so works very well for fast administration of oils. 

For infection issues, coughs, colds etc I also rub down the side of the neck where the lymphatic system drains, just below the collar bone.  The lymphatic system has several functions but notably here it combats   infection   and   removes   waste   cells   and products from the system.