Carrier oils, also known as vegetable oils, are derived from the fatty segment of plants like the seeds, kernels or nuts. The term carrier oil comes from its purpose of helping essential oils to be easily absorbed in the skin.
They offer a different combination of therapeutic properties and characteristics such as color, viscosity, aroma, shelf life and penetration speed of essential oils. Additionally, because of their rich components like vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, they have valuable effects even when used on their own.
Carrier oils can be used for various purposes like cooking, cleaning, skin care, hair care, massages, aromatherapy, cosmetics, homemade beauty and cleaning products. However, the most valuable use of carrier oils is their usage in diluting essential oils as they are extremely concentrated and can be harmful when undiluted. Choosing a carrier oil is just as important as choosing an essential oil because it has its own properties.
Coconut, almond and olive oil are commonly used carrier oils with a longer shelf life. These oils, with the exception of coconut, are usually high in mono and polyunsaturated fats that keep them liquid at room temperature.
There are two types of carrier oils - one that can be used directly as a base oil and the other that has to be mixed with base oils of different categories. Some oils which cannot be used directly are evening primrose, wheatgerm, apricot kernel, grapeseed, hazelnut, avocado, macadamia. Approximately 10-20% of them can be used with a base oil like almond or olive to preserve the moisturising factor of the skin.
There are two ways of extracting such vegetable oils.
1. Cold press: This is the most recommended process as it keeps vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants of the oil in place.
2. Hot Extraction: This process strips the oil of major vitamins and minerals as they are extracted at 200 degree Celsius.
Further one should always take care of storing the oils in a correct way. It is recommended to keep the oils in a cool and dark place.
With well over 25 years in the industry, Dr. Blossom Kochhar is considered a pioneer as she has been practicing and researching the science of 'Aromatherapy and Herbalisim.' She is the founder of The Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies and has her own range of aromatherapy based skincare and beauty products known as 'Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic.'