Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils for use in aromatherapy massage and to make beauty preparations. Containing vitamins, proteins and minerals, they are highly effective moisturisers and provide many of the nutrients that the skin needs to keep it smooth and supple. Cold-pressed carrier oils are usually of a higher quality than heat- or solvent-extracted oils.


These viscous carrier oils can be used alone, or enriched with special oils to dilute essential oils for use in aromatherapy massage, cosmetics or in a fragrant bath.
Apricot kernel oil, extracted from the apricot kernel, is rich in minerals and vitamins. A natural moisturiser, it has a light texture and high penetrative qualities.
Sunflower oil is a lovely fine oil which I use in most of my blends for body massage. It contains vitamin E.
Soya oil, extracted from the soya bean plant, is light, nourishing and easily absorbed. It is especially suited to oily skin.
Sweet almond oil is extracted from the almond kernel and has soothing, softening properties. Always use the sweet, not bitter, variety. It has been popular throughout history and is suitable for babies.
Grapeseed oil, extracted from the seeds of muscat raisins by heat, is good for oily skin.


These special oils can be added to the all-purpose oils to improve penetration of the skin, nourish dry, dehydrated skin, or extend the life of an oil blend.
Carrot oil is rich in vitamins, especially A. Add only 10% to other carrier oils, otherwise its bright orange colour can temporarily stain the skin.
Sesame oil, extracted from the raw sesame seed, has a slightly nutty aroma and contains 85% unsaturated and 15% saturated fatty acids. It can be added to other oils to enrich them. Do not use the heavy-scented brown oil from the cooked seed.
Avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of the avocado. It is rich in vitamins A and B, and in lecithin, proteins and fatty acids. An excellent skin softener, it is easily absorbed.
Jojoba is a natural liquid wax from the kernels of an evergreen desert plant and it has a chemical composition resembling the skin's sebum. Its waxy structure and anti-bacterial properties give it a long shelf life. Readily absorbed by the skin, it has a non-greasy softening effect and is especially suitable for the face. It is also good for thickening creams.
Wheatgerm oil is rich and viscous, but its rather strong smell can be difficult to mask. Add 10-20% of wheatgerm oil to other carrier oils to guard against rancidity and prolong the life of a blend.


An oil blend is made by mixing a few drops of essential oil with one of the carrier oils. We all like different scents, and it is essential that the aroma of a blend appeals to you, or to your friend if you are blending oils before giving a massage. Create an individual prescription. First decide what effect you are hoping to achieve: do you want the aroma to sedate or revive, to energise or to calm? Do you want to use oils for their therapeutic properties or simply to pamper?
Make a list of essential oils suited to your requirements. Select two or three from your list - good blends usually combine all three notes: top (gives the initial scent), middle (rounds out the blend) and base (released last, this acts as a fixative). The general rule is that little is best: a weak blend of oils often smells better, and is therefore more effective, than a stronger blend. Follow the guide below to achieve the safest dilution of essential oils for a balanced fragrance and maximum therapeutic benefit.


Normal dilution of 2%:
ml carrier oil 2 = total drops essential oil
(eg 20 ml carrier oil 2 = 10 drops essential oil)


Essential Oils
5 drops sandalwood
3 drops lavender
2 drops orange
Carrier Oil
20 ml apricot kernel

TOTAL: 10 drops essential oil per 20 ml carrier oil

Low dilution of 1 % for sensitive skin
and for use during pregnancy:
ml carrier oil 4 = total drops essential oil
(eg 20 ml carrier oil 4 = 5 drops essential oil)


Essential Oils
3 drops rosemary
1 drop each of lemon-grass and juniper
Carrier Oil
20 ml sunflower oil

TOTAL: 5 drops essential oil per 20 ml carrier oil

Extremely low dilution for very
sensitive skin, children & babies:
Use just 1 drop essential oil per 10 ml carrier oil, or use sweet
almond oil by itself.


Oil blends are usually divided into normal and low dilutions. Aromartherapists refer to these dilutions as percentages, based on the amount of essential oil in carrier oil, and there is a simple way to work them out. To calculate how many drops of essential oil are needed to make a normal dilution of 2%, divide the number of millilitres of carrier oil by 2; for a low dilution of 1%, divide by 4. Most essential oil bottles come with a dropper for easy measuring. For a full body massage, 20 ml of oil is needed; for the face, 10 ml is enough. You can make larger quantities and store them.

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