From alleviating anxiety to easing pain, essential oils are quickly becoming a staple home remedy for many ailments and conditions. They’ve also gained huge popularity for their ability to improve mood and promote general well-being.
If you’re new to essential oils, there are two things you should know. First, essential oils are affordable, versatile and easy to use. Second, you won’t get the most out of them if you don’t know how to use them properly.
To tap into the full potential of essential oils and apply them safely, you need to pair these oils with the perfect carrier oil. Carrier oils work together with essential oils to highlight their best therapeutic properties. But, is coconut oil a carrier oil? Yes, of all the carrier oils, coconut oil is one of the best options available (olive oil is another commonly used carrier oil).
Coconut oil is pretty close to the perfect ingredient to blend with essential oils; the all-natural combination goes together like peanut butter and jelly. They tend to bring out the best in one another.
Here’s your four-step guide on how to dilute essential oils with coconut oil and which oils are best for you, plus our favorite tips on how to use the nourishing blend.
What Is a Carrier Oil?
A carrier oil is an oil that is used to dilute essential oils prior to application. They’re normally made from vegetables, nuts or seeds and are great to add to your self-care routine, because they help nourish and moisturize your skin and hair.
It’s important to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil when you’re going to apply them topically, because essential oils are extremely potent and can irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. When you don’t properly dilute these strong oils, you’re also at risk of developing systemic toxicity issues like hepatotoxicity and neurotoxicity. Carrier oils aren’t crucial if you’re diffusing essential oils, but they’re still recommended.
Because carrier oils are usually unscented or lightly scented, they don’t interfere with the therapeutic properties of essential oils. Carrier oils also have their own healing benefits.
Benefits of Coconut Carrier Oil
1. It Can Kill Pathogens
The fatty acids in coconut oil have the ability to kill numerous types of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Studies show that lauric acid, which makes up about 50% of the fatty acids within this carrier oil, is the most effective fatty acid for battling bacteria.
2. It Can Reduce Inflammation
Studies have shown that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing inflammation caused by conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and other skin conditions.
3. It’s An Effective Moisturizer
Coconut oil can also be used to treat dry skin and hair because it significantly improves their moisture content. That’s another reason why it’s a great natural remedy for eczema that causes dry, flaking skin.
4. It Can Help With Wound Healing
When you apply coconut oil to a wound, it accelerates the healing process by contributing antioxidants and increasing collagen levels.
Essential Oils for Self-Care
Not sure which essential oils you should blend with coconut carrier oil? Here are a few ideas for which ones to use and how they can best help you.
Best Essential Oils for Body and Skin Care
- Juniper Berry Oil: If you suffer from itchy, inflamed skin, you should try juniper berry essential oil. This oil also soothes and heals irritations from eczema, rashes and other skin issues. Along with treating skin conditions, juniper can treat acne and reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.
- Lemon Oil: Lemon essential oil is perfect for anyone who wants to thoroughly cleanse their skin. It has antiseptic properties that help treat and clear skin. And it also helps that lemon is an astringent, detoxifying and removing oil buildup in your skin.
- Lavender Oil: Lavender oil is also a popular option for skincare, helping to prevent acne breakouts and treat eczema and dry skin. Because lavender oil is loaded with antioxidants, it can be used to reduce wrinkles. There’s also evidence that it benefits hair health and digestion.
Best Essential Oils for Facial Skincare
- Cypress Oil: If you’re looking for an inexpensive under-eye treatment, you can use diluted cypress essential oil. Cypress oil has strong astringent properties which are ideal for those seeking anti-aging serums, as well as those who want to reduce bags and dark circles under their eyes.
- Peppermint Oil: Have acne-prone skin? Peppermint oil is an excellent way to treat it thanks to the oil’s antimicrobial, antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They allow peppermint oil to reduce acne-causing bacteria that live on your skin. Combined with coconut oil, it will help soothe any inflammation and irritation you have from pimples. Peppermint oil can ease sore muscles, too.
Best Essential Oils for Hair
- Tea Tree Oil: Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil is great to use to treat dandruff. It soothes your itchy scalp while removing whatever is causing your scalp to feel dry and flaking. Like coconut oil, tea tree is a great moisturizer, so the two work together to rehydrate your scalp and hair.
- Rosemary Oil: Need help growing out your hair? Add rosemary oil to your shampoo, deep conditioner or hair treatment. Rosemary stimulates hair growth and reduces hair loss by improving blood circulation to your hair follicles. It also may prevent your hair from turning grey, and can be used alongside tea tree oil to treat dandruff.
Best Essential Oils for Weight Loss
First, a couple of disclaimers.
Most important is the fact that – despite sensational headlines you may have seen – essential oils have not been proven to directly lead to weight loss or prevent obesity. The best weapons remain healthy eating, exercise and of course, avoiding the temptation of overeating.
However, studies have shown that, at least in animals, various EOs can have an impact on how much food is converted into body weight or body fat (known as the food efficiency rate). Apparently, proper use of essential oil also helps with many of the metabolic issues that lead to weight gain or the inability to maintain a healthy weight.
The other disclaimer may be obvious but should be made clear anyway: essential oils should not be ingested, even if you’re using them to help meet weight loss goals. They should only be applied to the skin or used in a diffuser for aromatherapy.
- Peppermint and Lemon Essential Oils: We’ve already mentioned these, but peppermint oil can also boost energy levels to help you make the most of your workouts. Even a few drops of energizing lemon or other citrus oils (like grapefruit essential oil) in an oil blend may accelerate the body’s fat burning processes, thanks to the interaction between the compound D-limonene and the body’s lymphatic system. Lemongrass oil is good for this as well.
Two other weight-related health benefits: citrus oils may inhibit some of the enzymes involved in the development of diabetes, and they promote skin regeneration and hydration which reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Ginger Oil: A key benefit of ginger essential oil is that it supports digestion and helps the body properly absorb nutrients. Ginger oil is also believed to enhance the immune system.
- Fennel seed oil: This is a natural diuretic which helps eliminate water weight, preventing bloating. It may also help reduce appetite.
- Cinnamon Oil: Cinnamon essential oil has been shown to help balance blood sugar levels, an important element in weight control and diabetes prevention. It helps to reduce sugar cravings, too, as does bergamot essential oil.
Again, you can’t rely solely on essential oils for weight loss. A healthy diet and exercise are also essential (if you’ll pardon the pun).
What You’ll Need to Dilute Your Essential Oil
- Essential oils of your choosing
- Organic extra virgin coconut oil
- Two glass bowls (one small and one large)
- Mixing spoon
How to Dilute Essential Oils with Coconut Oil in 4 Simple Steps
Step 1: Place two teaspoons of the carrier oil in a small glass bowl.
Step 2: If the coconut oil is solid, you’ll need to melt it. To do that, you can fill a medium glass bowl with a cup of warm water. The oil will start to melt at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so the water doesn’t need to be boiling for the oil to liquefy.
Slightly submerge the bowl containing the carrier oil into the bowl of warm water. Be sure that only the bottom of the bowl is in the water. As you’re holding the bowl in the water, gently stir the coconut oil until it melts.
Step 3: Add essential oil to the melted coconut oil to dilute it. Because the recommended dilution rate is 1%, 2% or 3%, this ratio will affect how many drops you’ll blend into the carrier oil.
If you want to use 1% dilution, which is universally recommended for facial, daily and long-term use, you’ll need to add three drops of essential oil. For 2% dilution, you can use six drops. Most people use 2% dilution when they’re using the oil in the bath or on their entire body. When using 3% dilution, nine drops are good, particularly for localized areas of discomfort.
For topical application on children, you should be extra cautious with the dilution rate and consult with a family doctor or medical professional before applying these oils. With kids age 3 to 24 months, use 0.25% dilution. For two to six-year-olds, the suggested dilution rate is 1%; for six to 15-year-olds, you can apply 1.5% dilution.
Step 4: Once you’ve added the necessary drops of essential oil, stir them with the coconut oil until they’re fully mixed together. The diluted product is now ready to use.
Additional Tips on How to Dilute Essential Oils with Coconut Oil
- There are two main types of coconut oil: refined and unrefined. Refined oil comes from dried coconut meat; it’s normally bleached and deodorized, and lacks the trademark coconut smell and flavor. You shouldn’t use this type of oil as a carrier oil. Instead, choose unrefined coconut oil for your carrier oil, because it’s not processed with chemicals and is made from fresh coconut meat.
- When using essential oils for the first time, place one drop of the diluted oil on a small area of your skin to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction. It’s best to wait 24 hours for results.
- If you plan to use essential oils on a child, remember that there are different dilution rates for children depending on their age. Store all essential oils properly because they can deteriorate and oxidize very easily.
- Be aware of expiration dates. You don’t want to use expired ingredients on your face and skin.
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