...and which one should I choose?
So you’ve read some articles, did your research, looked in your medicine cabinet and decided it’s time! It is time to move on from hard to pronounce ingredients and the feeling of “what exactly am I putting on my skin?” And we’re sooo glad you did. Maybe you even saw the statistic about women put an average of 168 chemicals on their body daily. There is also the chance that well, you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all this new information and wondering where do you even start on a mission as big as cleaning up your personal care routine?
Transitioning to a clean beauty routine is a process and at Maker & Merchant we are all about progress not perfection. You don’t have to throw out everything in your cabinet (really, please don’t do that- it’s wasteful!) to get on the chemical-free train. Mindful choices and empowerment through education will go a long way in your new personal care routine.
In the spirit of empowerment through education, Maker & Merchant is bringing it back to basics in a series of posts about clean beauty. Clean Beauty 101, if you will. We thought we’d get started on the Clean Beauty 101 series with a focus on carrier oils, and what are they? What do they do? Why use them?
Many people get introduced to a more natural way of personal care through aromatherapy, and carrier oils are a natural extension of that practice. In aromatherapy, there are several ways to use essential oils like inhalation, in massage, via skincare creations, candles, internally...the list goes on. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the topical application of essential oils - which as beautiful as they smell- should never be applied straight from the bottle without dilution first. Carrier oils, sometimes referred to as base oils, are used to dilute essential oils before applying to the skin. The carrier oil is literally carrying the essential oil into your skin and bloodstream as opposed to direct application- which can cause irritation and unpleasant reactions.
Think about the last time you had a massage. Your massage therapist may have asked you if you’d prefer aromatherapy to complement your experience with common choices like peppermint, lavender, or ylang-ylang. Your therapist likely placed a few drops of essential oil into their palm along with their carrier oil of choice to provide a pleasant and relaxing experience. Diluting the essential oil with the carrier oil is a necessary step to ensure the essential oil is absorbed without unfortunate skin upsets.
Of course, carrier oils can be used on their own without essential oils as well! Carrier oils are a natural, clean way to moisturize the skin and have many benefits as a sole ingredient. Carrier oils are created from the fatty parts of plants- mostly nuts, seeds, and kernels- and provide rich, plant-based moisture while being totally chemical-free. These plant-based oils are full of essential fatty acids, a necessary element for moisturized, healthy skin. Maker & Merchant favorites for all over body moisture are Sweet Almond Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, and Sesame Oil.
The options for carrier oils are plentiful, and each has its own unique benefits depending upon your needs. Some oils like Sesame Seed Oil are much more rich and hydrating, while others like Apricot Kernel Oil are thinner and more readily absorbed. It is not uncommon to own a handful of different oils to suit different applications. We’ve put together a handy guide below to help you determine which carrier oil is the right choice for you and your clean beauty routine!
Carrier Oil Guide
Always consult with a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. This information is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease. Use caution when trying new ingredients, and always do a patch test. Those with nut allergies and sensitivities should practice extra caution when using nut derived products.