A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts.
If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils, absolutes, CO2s and other concentrated aromatics can cause severe irritation or reactions in some individuals. Carrier oils, however, are used to dilute essential and other oils prior to application making them very soothing to apply and they carry the essential oil onto the skin.
There's a variety of carrier oils that offer different combinations of therapeutic properties and characteristics. More and more are being discovered and rediscovered all the time! The choice of carrier oil you use should depend on the therapeutic benefit desired...Not to mention the incredible uses they have for dry damaged hair, skin, scalp, cuticles, feet/heels, nails, etc. The list is virtually endless!
Natural lotions, creams, body oils, bath oils, lip balms and other moisturizing skin care products are also made using these carrier oils. From a simple essential oil/carrier oil blend to a more complex natural lotion, your choice of carrier oil can make a difference in the therapeutic properties, color, overall aroma and shelf life of your final product.