Many people do not realize that essential oils are normally diluted in a carrier oil, due to the potency of an essential oil neat. It is common practice in the UK and the USA to use essential oils in an essential oil mix of a carrier oil. In France, essential oils are often used neat and administered in various ways, including by mouth, rectum or vagina but it is not common to do so (and not without considerable experience and knowledge) in the UK and the USA.
Therefore, the most common method of using essential oils in the UK and the USA is through the addition of a carrier oil. Carrier oils may take the following forms:
- vegetable oil (although not to be confused with those oils used for culinary purposes. NEVER substitute one for the other!)
- bubble bath
-water (although essential oils are not water soluble, so some aromatherapists don’t use this method)
- white lotion base (cleansing milk, moisurizing base, body lotion, foot cream).
There are many forms of vegetable oils but, for aromatherapy use, vegetable oils should be cold pressed. Vegetable oils hold therapeutic properties too, in addition to the properties held by essential oils, so hot pressed vegetable oils will not maintain the same properties as a cold pressed vegetable oil. Examples of vegetable oils include:
- sweet almond oil
- apricot kernel oil
- jojoba oil
- sunflower oil
- evening primrose
and many more, some of which I will profile in my aromatherapy blog later.
Carrier oils have to be effectively combined with essential oils to make a synergistic essential oil blend; creating an effective essential oil blend takes practice and experimentation. However, it is quite simple to make simple essential oil blends for yourself of bubble bath, shampoo, lotions and oils if you take the time to study and practice!
If you want to read more on using carrier oils in essential oil blends, read my suite101 article – using carrier oils in aromatherapy blends. Also refer to the following books for a more comprehensive definition of what a carrier oil is, and, is not:
Price, Len 1999 Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy Massage UK:Riverhead
Price, Shirley 2000 Aromatherapy Workbook UK:Thorsons