Choosing the Right Carrier Oil for Botanicals
When using botanical oils for aromatherapy, cosmetic purposes or healing, it is important to blend them with a carrier oil or base oil. A good carrier oil blends well with the botanical ingredient and helps it to distribute evenly. Most carrier oils are cold-pressed vegetable oils, and there are hundreds of different options. Certain ones are better suited for use with certain botanicals and for certain functions.
There are several qualities which any good carrier oil must possess. It must be capable of blending with botanicals, have a light scent that does not modify the scent of the botanicals, and absorb well into the skin if being used topically. Oils to which many people are allergic, an example of which is peanut oil, are not commonly used as carrying oils.
Since there are hundreds of carrying oils that meet the criteria discussed above, you must use care to select the right one for your purpose. If you are creating a massage oil, sesame oil is a great carrier oil to use because it absorbs more slowly into the skin, is relatively thick and has a pleasant scent that blends well with many botanicals. Consider pomegranate oil if you are making a moisturizer or skin nourishing blend; it contains antioxidant compounds that help fight cancer, has a long shelf life and has virtually no odor. Almond oil is a great carrier oil to keep in your collection for all-purpose use. It is affordable and has a light scent and a medium viscosity.
When choosing the right carrier oil for a new botanical or set of botanicals, do not be afraid to try a few different options before settling on your favorite. The carrier oil plays a large role in determining the final scent and effectiveness of your product, and there are many great and not-so-great combinations to be discovered by experimentation. Just ensure that any oil that you use blends well with your other ingredients, does not contain allergens and absorbs into your skin easily.