Carrier Oil Glossary

Pure, natural, active, botanical oils.

They have wonderful skin loving properties.

Yesterday I started this chapter by looking at plant oils, today I going to continue looking at the wonderful properties these botanical oils have to offer.


Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera Biennis)
All parts of the plant can be used including the mucilaginous root, however it is the tiny seeds that are processed to yield a yellow oil, that is quite unstable when exposed to light and air. A popular oil in natural skin care formulations, it is important to avoid the refined, discoloured version often to be found on sale.

Benefits: This carrier oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids; it is one of the main sources of gamma linolenic acid, thus making it an essential ingredient for putting in skin creams. It has excellent results with dry skin complaints and eczema, and it makes an exceptional addition in body oils for women, helping to relieve premenstrual pain.

Grape Seed Oil (Vitis Vineifera)
Source: Extracted from the seeds which contain between 5 and 20% of lipids depending on the variety. A great deal of pressure and heat is needed to generate the oil, a lot of refining is undertaken to make it an acceptable oil to use in skin care applications.

Properties: This carrier oil is sourced in its natural state as a potent antioxidant,t but due to the refining process it has little benefit on the skin. It is often to be found in massage body oils, as it is relatively cheap.

Benefits: Used in massage for its slippage properties.

Hazelnut Oil (Corylus Avellana)
Source: Hazelnut is made from the fruit of the tree. It is important to know, that refining is common with this oil and often low grade nuts are used, which may be oily or worm ridden, so sourcing good quality oil is essential, although not easy.

Properties: This carrier oil is similar to Sweet Almond in composition and stability; it contains vitamins A, B and E.

Benefits: Its skin penetrating properties make it ideal for dehydrated skin conditions. Studies show it has a sun filtering effect. Combined with sesame and Calendula officinalis herbal oil, it makes an excellent after sun product and is a good inclusion for spray body oils, as it penetrates the dermis without leaving the skin feeling greasy.

Hemp Oil (Cannabis Sativa)
Source: Cannabis oil is often touted for its healing abilities. However this carrier oil actually has no psychotropic use and contains no actives of that nature. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly the varieties grown for oil yield little or no resin and secondly the seed used is sterilized to stop germination prior to cold pressing.

Properties: This oil is rich in Omega 3 and GLA and is very similar to olive oil and quite rich in its consistency. I recommend blending it with lighter oils, such as apricot kernel for topical use.

Benefits: It makes a great hot oil treatment on dry brittle hair, especially when combined with Jojoba oil.

Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis)
Source: A thick pale yellow liquid, it is a truly oil bearing oil, the seeds yield up to 60% of itself as oil. In its crude form it is a liquid wax and not actually oil at all.

Properties: The substance best termed as wax, hardly contains any triglycerides, it is a combination of esters and fatty alcohols. Jojoba oil has an exceptionally long shelf life.

Benefits: This is a perfect oil for the skin, it closely resembles sebum, which is secreted by human skin. Therefore it is ideal for sebum control of oily skin. Its anti inflammatory properties, means it can be used for acne sufferers, in combination with other essential oils. It is also an excellent lubricant and hair conditioner.

This is another oil that I use a lot in my formulas, which you can read about it in the article jojoba oil benefits for skincare.

Kukui Nut Oil (Aleurites Moluccana)
Source: Produced in Hawaii and Tahiti, this oil hails from the nut of the kukui tree.

Properties: Research has shown that Kukui is one of the best polyunsaturated oils, unique in its properties for the preparation of skin and hair care products.

Benefits: Kukui oil is a good inclusion for body oils because it is high in essential fatty acids and ideal for those who have very dry skin, or who suffer from that after shower itch. It is also an excellent treatment for psoriasis, as it slows down water loss, softens skin and is quickly absorbed. Eczema sufferers can also benefit from kukui oil in a milk or cream base lotion.

Macadamia Nut Oil (Macadamia Integrifolia)
Source: This oil is cold pressed from the nut.

Properties: The carrier oil has a very high content of palmitoleic acid, rare in vegetable oil sources and usually only found in fish.

Benefits: Palmotelic acid is vital to delaying skin and cell ageing. During menopause, the skin has a sharp reduction in fatty acid which is why it is a valuable inclusion for face and body oils for women. It is easily emulsified and freely soluble in most oils, thus sinking into the skin rapidly and providing a good workable film, the overall profile is not far off human sebum.

Macadamia is best described as nourishing; it not only supports moisture in the skin but also protects cell lipids from oxidation. Follow the link for further information on macadamia nut oils incredible benefits.

Olive Oil (Olea Europaea)
Source: The best variety is extra virgin oil, obtained from the first pressing of olive skins.

Properties: Rich in Oleic acid and Linoleic acid.

Benefits: Olive oil has anti inflammatory properties and can be used on burns, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.

Palm and Palm Kernel Oil
(Elaeis Guineensis)
Source: The palm grows fleshy, oval shaped fruits from where the oil is extracted. The colour varies from yellow to reddish depending on the carotenes present. This oil is big business and most of it goes into the body care and detergent industry.

Properties: Rich in palmitic acid and stearic acid.

Benefits: Palm oil has some important regenerative properties due to its content of carotenoids, which promote vitamin A activity in the skin and aid cellular regeneration. It is rich in essential fatty acids and has a restructuring activity that reinforces its protective barrier and helps to maintain healthy skin.

Sesame Seed Oil (Sesamum Indicum)
Source: Extracted from the seeds of the plant, it is a genuine seed oil that yields over 50% its weight in oil. Most of this oil is hot pressed and refined, but it is possible to source the cold pressed oil.

Properties: High in essential fatty and polyunsaturated acids, it is a very stable oil, this is due to its unusual specific compounds, sesamine and sesamoline. Together with beta sistosterol it makes one of the purest body oils, that contains some excellent skin restructuring properties, helping to reinforce the integrity of the skin.

Benefits: It mops up free radicals, making it a practical oil for anti-ageing creams and nourishing face masks.

Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annus)
Source: The oil is yielded from the seed and gives about 30% its weight in oil. However its important not to confuse oil used on the body with sunflower cooking oils!

Properties: Some seeds are high in Oleic acid and others in Linoleic.

Benefits: One of nature’s most useful plants, Sunflower oil can be very beneficial in skin care as it resembles human sebum and is a neutral oil, in the sense that it mirrors the skins lipids. It makes a good oil to dilute more expensive materials. It’s a great natural oil that works well when added to a body oil formula, as it has quite a drying affect on the skin.

Tamuna Oil (Calophyllum Inophyllum)
Source: Cold pressed from the kernel, it produces a rich, deep, browny green oil native to Tahiti. Tamuna oil has a rich luscious smell and yields a lovely scented body oil.

Properties: It’s very diverse and contains palmitic, Stearic and Oleic Acid, as well as Terpenoids, Phenolic Compounds and Benzoic Acid, making it efficient in the treatment of more serious skin conditions, such as burns and wounds.

Benefits: We absolutely love the heady scent of this oil and the other bonus is its healing properties, due to its strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.


2 thoughts on “Carrier Oil Glossary

  1. Becky Thompson says:

    This is a great comprehensive list! Thank you for publishing this information. I am looking for more information on what the actual molecules look like and how quickly they absorb into the skin compared to one another. Do you have that?

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