With so many carrier oils available, sometimes the hardest part of a project is finding the right one. But if you break down the oils into types, you can narrow down your search. All carrier oils belong to the class of oils called lipid oils. And these oils are all made up of different combinations of fatty acids.
There are four main types of carrier oils. And once you get the feel for these different members of the lipid oil group, choosing carrier oils gets a whole lot easier.
The four main groups are:
- Monounsaturated oils
- Polyunsaturated oils
- Linoleic, Alpha-linolenic acid oils
- Highly Saturated Oils
Carrier oils high in monounsaturated fatty acids are typically stable making them ideal for infusing herbs and other botanicals. These oils are also typically emollient, perfect for nourishing damaged and dry skin. So which oils fall into this category? Well, there are lots, but here are a few familiar, and maybe a few exotic ones to get you started.
Examples of Monounsaturated Carrier Oils
- Camellia seed oil
- Olive oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Hazelnut oil
- Apricot seed oil
- Almond oil
- Avocado oil
- Moringa oil
- Marula oil
When to Use Monounsaturated Oils
Let’s say that you want to make some beautiful infused herbal oils for your body butter. Because infusing takes time and or heat, you want to stick with the monounsaturated carrier oils like olive, macadamia and avocado. That way the infused oil will last and you can make several batches of your body butter or oil.
Oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids absorb well into the skin. So these carrier oils are perfect for lighter skin applications.
Want to make a delicate facial oil to nourish the skin and that will be absorbed fairly quickly in the morning before you apply your make up? This is an instance you want to choose the lighter polyunsaturated oils. These carrier oils are high in the polyunsaturated fatty acids that these are taken up by the skin easily. Raspberry, grape seed, passion fruit seed oils will make a great start to your facial oil serum.
Examples of Polyunsaturated Carrier Oils
- Grapeseed oil
- Passion fruit seed oil
- Cucumber seed oil
- Watermelon seed oil
- Sunflower seed oil
- Raspberry seed oil
Avoid Polyunsaturated Oils for Infusing
You don’t want to use these oils for infusing however because they go rancid more rapidly than the more stable monounsaturated oils.
Linoleic, Alpha-linolenic acid oils
This group of carrier oils are super nutritious. These oils help with inflammation and nourish the skin and body. Add these to your facial oil blends and body oil blends to add superior nourishment.
Oils high in Linoleic and Alpha-linolenic acid
- Chia seed oil
- Camleina seed oil
- Rose hip seed oil
- Flax seed oil
- Blueberry seed oil
- Cranberry seed oil
- Kiwi seed oil
- Fukui nut oil
- Sacha inchi oil
When to Use these Oils
These highly nutritious carrier oils are perfect for adding to facial oils and serums. You can use them straight on the skin as well for skincare but as they are often more expensive, adding a small amount to a blend of other oils is all you need to get the lovely benefits.
Highly Saturated Oils
The last group of oils is one you are probably familiar with. The highly saturated oils. These are the butters and oils that remain solid at room temperature. They come from tropical regions around the globe and are super protective creating a barrier between the skin and the elements. To use the saturated butters as carrier oils you can melt them over heat and add essential oils or other compounds.
These oils are solid at cool temperatures
- Shea butter
- Mango butter
- Cocoa butter
- Coconut oil
- Kokomo butter
Using Saturated Oils
You can use saturated oils for infusing, though they need melting first. They are the most stable of all oils. These are ideal for body butters, salves and thicker emollient creams.