The Secret to Selecting and Using the Right Carrier Oil
Carrier oils are much like the oils you cook with, only used for cosmetic purposes. The term “carrier” is used to describe the fact that they are often used to “carry” (meaning dilute) essential oils. Since essential oils are too concentrated to safely apply to the skin, the carrier oils act as a safe solubilizing material. The therapeutic value of both the carrier oils and the essential oils combined can make for fun and useful do-it-yourself projects. Here are just a few examples of DIY products combining essential oils with carrier oils:
- Therapeutic massage oils
- Face and body moisturizers
- Oil-based natural perfumes
- Topical joint pain treatments
- Relaxing and moisturizing bath oils
NOW® Solutions Carrier Oils. NOW® carrier oils come in 8 different varieties: Avocado, castor, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, apricot kernel, jojoba and shea. All of these carrier oils are vegetable-derived, cruelty-free certified, and quality assured through both extensive internal quality testing as well as adherence to a rigorous, internationally certified quality standard known as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). These oils all come in UV-protected containers to preserve freshness. Each oil has a different fatty acid profile, imparting various characteristics useful for different skin types and purposes.
The formula for safe dilution. Using safe and clean cosmetics can go a long way in protecting and preserving your precious exterior. A great way to customize skincare to match your skin type is by combining select carrier oils with a combination of essential oils. While not all essential oils are appropriate for topical application, as a general rule of thumb, use a 2-3% dilution for the body and a 1% dilution or less for the face. If you are not experienced, start with gentle essential oils such as lavender, Balsam Fir, Pine needle, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Tangerine, Sweet orange, Chamomile, Helichrysum, Neroli, Clary Sage, Myrrh, Ginger and Patchouli. Some essential oils can be irritating even at 1% dilution.
Highlighting Three Unique NOW® Solutions Natural Carrier Oils
1. NOW® Castor Oil
Castor oil is one of the best-known emollients. Emollients penetrate the skin quickly, leaving it soft and supple. Castor oil’s emollient properties render it helpful for thick calluses, scars, dry eyes and skin problems like eczema. Some complementary doctors recommend castor oil as “false tears” for dry eyes or Meibomian gland dysfunction. It is important to note that castor oil is not sterile, and therefore there is a theoretical risk of eye infection. This practice is best done under the advisement of a skilled practitioner. The castor oil pack, originated by Edgar Cayce, Famed Psychic, known as “The Bedside Healer,” is also used for a range of healing purposes such as constipation, cysts, fibroids or pain. It involves applying castor oil topically with the use of flannel and heat. Its effects are attributed to a unique fatty acid called ricinoleic acid that is similar in structure to ProstaGlandin E1, an anti-inflammatory molecule. Food-grade castor oil also has a history as a laxative and to bring on labour. Wow!
2. NOW® Sweet Almond Oil
This is NOW®‘s most popular carrier oil. Rich in vitamin E and squalene (an antioxidant and emollient) it makes for a great skin conditioner. Squalene is an excellent moisturizer and lubricant; it softens and soothes the skin while replenishing skin lipids (fats). In fact, human sebum (the fat naturally produced in our skin) is made up of 25% squalene. This makes sweet almond oil ideal for dry, chapped, scaly, irritated or mature skin.
3. NOW® Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil was traditionally held in high regard by Native Americans. Jojoba can reduce water loss from the skin while providing softness and suppleness. Most unique to jojoba is the fact that it is a liquid wax, not an oil. Jojoba is often described as being similar to our skin’s naturally produced sebum. While great for any skin type, it is often recommended for acne-prone and dry or mature skin. It has an impressive shelf-life for DIY cosmetics.