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Difference Between Essential Oils And Carrier Oils | Essential Oils Vs Carrier Oils

Disclaimer - The information provided in this blog, including any linked materials herein, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. For accurate and personalized recommendations, please consult with your specialists.


You might have heard about both the essential oils and carrier oils, and may have used them as well. But are you sure about the differences between these oils. If not, then you have reached the right place. The reason oils are much sought after in holistic wellness is due to their versatile applications, ranging from skincare rituals to stress-relieving aromatherapy practices.

Understanding the process of how oils are created involves extraction methods such as cold pressing or steam distillation, preserving the natural essence of the plant.

In this article, we are going to discuss the key differences between an essential oils and carrier oils. Based on this, you can make an informed decision on which oil to how and how to use these oils. So, let's find out what's the difference between essential and carrier oils. 

What Is Essential Oil?

Essential oils, derived from plant extracts, are known for their concentrated nature. These oils capture the aromatic essence of the plant and are often used for various therapeutic and aromatic purposes. Some common essential oils include the soothing lavender oil, refreshing peppermint oil, and the versatile tea tree oil.

Lavender oil is known for its calming and sedative properties. The use of concentrated oils like eucalyptus or tea tree can have profound effects on respiratory health and overall well-being.

Essential oils boast a myriad of benefits, including the provision of essential fatty acids and contributing to overall skin care. When applied directly to the skin, they offer nourishment and support for various skin types. The unique combination of elements found in essential oils, including aromatic compounds and therapeutic constituents, contributes to their holistic healing capabilities.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and given their potency, it is crucial to dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin. This dilution is typically achieved by blending essential oils with carrier oils. It ensures the safe and effective topical application of these concentrated plant extracts. 

What Is Carrier Oil?

While essential oils take the spotlight for their potency, carrier oils play a crucial supporting role. Carrier oils are typically vegetable oils or plant-based oils that act as a base to dilute essential oils before application. 

A carrier oil is a base oil that is used to dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin or using them in various applications. Unlike essential oils, which are highly concentrated plant extracts, carrier oils are typically derived from vegetables or nuts and have a milder composition.

The primary purpose of carrier oils is to provide a safe and effective medium for the application of essential oils. Essential oils are potent and should not be applied directly to the skin due to the risk of irritation or adverse reactions. Carrier oils act as a neutral base, helping to dilute the concentration of essential oils and facilitating their safe topical use.

Some of the popular carrier oils include jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose oil, hazelnut oil, rosehip seed oil, and coconut oil. These oils not only serve as a dilution medium but also offer additional benefits for the skin, making them versatile components in skincare routines and holistic well-being practices.

Now that we know the key facts about both the oils, let's discuss some of the key differences between carrier oils and essential oils. 

Key Difference Between Essential Oils Vs Carrier Oils | Carrier Oil Vs Essential Oils

1. Source and Extraction

Essential Oils:

  • Derived from plant extracts through methods such as steam distillation or cold pressing.
  • Captures the aromatic essence and therapeutic properties of the plant.

Carrier Oils:

  • Typically extracted from vegetables, nuts, or seeds.
  • Obtained through processes like cold pressing, providing a neutral base.

2. Concentration and Potency

Essential Oils:

  • Highly concentrated, containing the essence of the plant in a potent form.
  • Generally require dilution before direct application to the skin.
  • While some essential oils can be applied directly, it's essential to know which ones require dilution with a carrier oil for safe and effective use.

Carrier Oils:

  • Less concentrated, serving as a dilution medium for essential oils.
  • Safe to apply directly to the skin without the need for dilution.

3. Aromatic Properties

Essential Oils:

  • Known for their strong and distinct aromas.
  • Used in aromatherapy to create therapeutic and pleasing scents.

Carrier Oils:

  • Have mild, neutral scents.
  • Primarily chosen for their supportive and diluting role rather than aromatic qualities.

4. Therapeutic Properties

Essential Oils:

  • Offer a wide range of therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and calming properties.
  • Used in holistic health practices for emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
  • Essential oils provide a myriad of therapeutic benefits, from calming lavender for relaxation to invigorating peppermint for an energy boost.

Carrier Oils:

  • Provide nourishment and hydration to the skin.
  • Support the application of essential oils, enhancing their therapeutic effects.

5. Safety and Application

Essential Oils:

  • It is important to dilute essential oils for safe topical application to avoid irritation.
  • Applied in small quantities due to their concentrated nature.

Carrier Oils:

  • Safe for direct application to the skin without dilution.
  • Act as a protective layer, preventing skin irritation when used in combination with essential oils.

Benefits Of Using Essential Oils

1. Aromatherapy and Emotional Well-Being

Essential oils are renowned for their aromatic properties, making them ideal for aromatherapy. Inhalation of these fragrant oils can positively impact mood, reduce stress, and promote relaxation.

2. Skin Care and Hydration

Many essential oils possess skin-nourishing properties. They can be added to skincare routines to address specific skin concerns and promote a healthy complexion. Though, before applying essential oils to the skin it is important to dilute it. 

3. Anti-Inflammatory and Antimicrobial Properties

Essential oils such as tea tree oil and lavender oil exhibit anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial characteristics. These properties make them effective in soothing skin irritations and combating bacteria.

4. Relief from Aches and Pains

Certain essential oils, like peppermint and eucalyptus, are known for their analgesic properties. Applying diluted essential oils to sore muscles or joints may provide relief from discomfort.

5. Improved Sleep Quality

Lavender essential oil is renowned for its calming effects, promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality. Diffusing lavender oil in the bedroom can create a soothing environment conducive to restful sleep.

6. Boosted Immune System

Some essential oils, such as eucalyptus and tea tree, have immune-boosting properties. Regular use may contribute to overall immune system support.

7. Natural Insect Repellent

Essential oils like citronella and lemongrass are effective natural repellents against insects. They offer a chemical-free alternative for warding off mosquitoes and other pests.

8. Stress Reduction and Relaxation

Aromatherapy with essential oils like chamomile or frankincense can induce a sense of calm and relaxation. Diffusing these oils or adding them to a bath can be effective stress-relievers.

9. Enhanced Focus and Concentration

Certain essential oils, such as peppermint and rosemary, are believed to improve cognitive function. Diffusing these oils in workspaces may enhance focus and concentration.

10. Customizable Holistic Health

The versatility of essential oils allows users to tailor their holistic health approach. Blending different oils enables the creation of personalized solutions for specific needs. You can also make essential oil blends by mixing different oils.

Understanding how much essential oil to use is crucial; a general rule is to start with a few drops and adjust based on personal preference and skin sensitivity. When it comes to essential oil, careful consideration of its concentration and proper dilution with a carrier oil is essential for safe application.

Benefits Of Using Carrier Oils

1. Skin Hydration and Nourishment

Carrier oils have beneficial properties beyond being a dilution medium. Carrier oils are safe to apply on skin. Carrier oils contain fatty acids and nutrients, providing deep hydration to the skin. Regular use helps maintain skin elasticity and a healthy, radiant complexion. 

2. Safe Dilution for Essential Oils

Carrier oils are commonly used with essential oils for diluting it as essential oils are concentrated plant extracts. Act as a safe and effective medium for diluting potent essential oils before topical application. Carrier oils ensure that essential oils are applied to the skin in a gentle and well-tolerated manner. Although carrier oils are typically used for dilution, some, like jojoba oil, offer additional benefits for the skin even when used on their own.

3. Gentle Makeup Remover

Carrier oils, like jojoba oil and sweet almond oil, can effectively remove makeup without harsh chemicals. They leave the skin moisturized and nourished after makeup removal.

4. Hair Care and Scalp Health

Many types of carrier oils, including coconut oil and argan oil, are beneficial for hair health. Regular application can moisturize the scalp, reduce dandruff, and promote overall hair strength. Carrier oils for hair growth are used very commonly. 

5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Some carrier oils, such as sweet almond oil and jojoba oil, possess anti-inflammatory properties. They can soothe irritated skin and alleviate conditions like eczema or dermatitis.

6. Improved Absorption of Essential Oils

Carrier oils enhance the absorption of essential oils into the skin. This ensures that the therapeutic benefits of essential oils are effectively delivered to the targeted areas.

7. Supports Massage Therapy

Carrier oils provide a smooth glide during massage sessions. They enhance the massage experience and contribute to relaxation and muscle relief. You can dilute essential oils and carrier oils to use in the form of massage oil and apply directly on the skin to enjoy its benefits. 

8. Prevention of Skin Irritation

When applied before essential oils, carrier oils act as a protective barrier, preventing skin irritation. This is especially beneficial for individuals with sensitive skin.

9. Versatility in DIY Skincare

Carrier oils serve as a versatile ingredient in DIY skincare formulations. They can be customized with essential oils and other natural ingredients for tailored skincare solutions.

10. Long Shelf Life and Stability

Carrier oils generally have a longer shelf life compared to essential oils. Their stability makes them reliable components in skincare routines without concerns about rapid deterioration.


In wrapping up our exploration of essential and carrier oils, it becomes evident that these natural wonders hold immense potential for enhancing our well-being. Essential oils, with their concentrated plant extracts, offer a spectrum of therapeutic benefits, from soothing the mind to nurturing the skin.

On the other hand, carrier oils, derived from vegetables and nuts, act as trustworthy companions, providing a safe avenue for the application of essential oils.

From the calming aroma of lavender to the versatile properties of jojoba oil, the possibilities are abundant. Whether you opt for the concentrated potency of essential oils or the nourishing support of carrier oils, both play integral roles in promoting holistic health.

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