Coo Coo for Carriers

Jul 3, 12:13 AM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

For the past few years, everybody's been crazy over aromatherapy. Now that people are learning how to properly dilute essential oils, everybody's crazy for carrier oils. The more exotic, the better. As with essential oils, many neophytes are going to excess, buying dozens of carriers before understanding their properties, shelf lives and best uses.

The problem is, these budding aromatherapy enthusiasts don't understand that unlike essential oils, carrier oils go rancid. The majority of them go rancid pretty quickly, in 3 to 9 months' time.

Don't get me wrong, I celebrate those who are into exploring and experimenting with carrier oils, but just a few carriers go a long way. You need to make quite a few blends to use up, say, a 4 ounce bottle of babassu oil. I'm afraid that many neophytes are going to find a cabinet full of oxidized vegetable oils a year down the road, with nothing to show for it but an empty wallet.

My advice? Stick to perhaps 3 primary carrier oils for regular use, preferably the traditional old standbys like sweet almond, apricot kernel and jojoba oils. As you decide to experiment, add new carrier oils to your collection just one at a time, buying in the smallest quantity possible... perhaps 2 ounces at most. This way, you'll have enough of your new carrier to make 2-4 blends before it goes bad, and you'll get a feel for whether you like the oil or not. If so, make this carrier part of your regular stock and invest in a larger quantity the next time around. If not, you haven't lost anything and you've learned about a new vegetable oil base. The same guidelines apply for herbal infused oils.

Personally, I'd stay away from most of the new exotic carriers hitting the aromatherapy market. They're fairly expensive and you probably already have a vegetable oil on hand that will work just as nicely in your aromatherapy blend. Don't purchase anything unless you understand its properties and uses first... it's silly to run out and get something that everyone's crowing about on social media, only to find that your new carrier oil doesn't suit your skin type or application.

If you're as obsessed with aromatherapy as I am, you know it can become an expensive hobby. Use your pennies wisely!

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