Skip to Content

BASICS: What in the World is a Carrier Oil?


Those of us who are familiar with using oils sometimes forget that not everyone knows the ins and outs of working with oils, and the concept of something like a “carrier oil” can sound confusing. The good news is, it’s really very simple! Carrier oils are simply high quality oils that can be used to “carry” essential oils into your body to help you use them.

We recommend using high-quality organic olive or coconut oil as your carrier oil. These oils are also extremely moisturizing and are good for our bodies in other ways, so they’re great skin care, too! Which oil you use really depends on your preference, but in the colder months remember that olive oil tends to stay in its liquid form while coconut oil hardens, so it might be more difficult to mix your oils into coconut oil during the winter.

Wondering what all those ratios mean? You might see 1:4 or another ratio on an oil or in a recipe. This one’s very simple as well — it just means you use one drop of the oil for every four drops of your carrier oil. The amount of essential oil always comes first, and it will often be smaller than the amount of carrier oil as well.

If you see the instruction, “apply neat,” it means that you don’t need to use a carrier oil at all — the oil can be applied directly to the skin. When you’re using oils on children, however, it’s still a good idea to go ahead and use a carrier oil the first time to be extra careful about the reaction on their more sensitive skin.

Mixing your carrier oil with essential oil doesn’t take any fancy supplies — you can even do it in the palm of your hand! Just be sure to add carrier oil first, and then drop in the smaller amount of essential oil. Then simply apply as directed, and wait for the amazing benefits and calming of essential oils!

Founder Dr. Jessica Dietrich-Marsh

The body is perfectly made to self-heal. We support that natural ability by listening and responding. In April 2017, Dr. Jessica Dietrich-Marsh celebrated 22 years of assisting patients in healing naturally through... More Info