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The Difference between Essential Oils and Carrier Oils – 4 Really Good Things to Know
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Essential and carrier oils are well known to promote healthy, thick, and strong hair. But how are these two types of oils different? What exactly are essential oils? How can we use them and what role do carrier oils play?
If you’re not sure what the answers to these questions are, don’t worry! We’re here to explain the difference between these two kinds of oils and how you can use them to get silky, luscious hair. Keep reading!
4 Ways Essential Oils Are Different from Carrier Oils
The main and perhaps most important way in which an essential oil differs from a carrier oil is that an essential oil cannot be used directly on your skin or hair. But their differences go much deeper than this.
Difference 1 – Application
It is a great idea to use essential oils for hair growth but you cannot use them on their own. They are highly potent because they are basically undiluted plant oil extracts.
You might have heard of peppermint oil, bergamot oil, and cinnamon oil – these are all essential oils. Using them on their own on skin and hair can cause issues like inflammation, a stinging sensation, and even hair fall. That’s where carrier oils come in.
Carrier oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil are not that strong in composition and can be applied directly to your skin and hair. The ideal thing to do here is to mix a few drops of essential oil with a few spoons of carrier oil, and then apply it to your hair!
Difference 2 – Fragrance
Carrier oils mostly have little to no fragrance, most of them smell slightly sweet with a hint of nuttiness. This makes them ideal to use for people who have sensitive noses and cannot tolerate highly fragrant substances. If you have a sensitive nose then you likely can happily use a carrier oil for hair care and not have to worry about irritation.
Meanwhile, essential oils generally have their own distinctive smell, since they are pure extracts from different plants. Some, like ylang-ylang, orange, and bergamot, are actually quite popular because of their fragrance. But, don’t sniff these oils too closely or for too long, they can affect both your nervous and respiratory systems.
Difference 3 – Cost
Although some carrier oils are comparatively expensive when cold-pressed, carrier oils are in general quite affordable. On the other hand, you’ll find that essential oils are priced much higher than carrier oils, for much lesser quantities.
That seems unfair, but it is because essential oils are potent, rich, and take time and effort to distill. Plus, you won’t be using as much essential oil as you will use a carrier oil, so a little bottle of about 20 ml should last several months. When it comes to essential oil, remember it’s always quality over quantity!
Difference 4 – Purpose
Both essential and carrier oils serve their own purposes for skin and hair, as well as additional health benefits. Essential oils are famously used in aromatherapy, and specific ones can be added to room diffusers to spread the fragrance and help you relax.
Peppermint oil offers the benefit of helping cure irritable bowel syndrome, while tea tree oil is known to dry out active acne and reduce dandruff on the scalp. Lavender oil is known to relieve stress, while chamomile oil helps cope with anxiety. Lemon oil is antibacterial and astringent, helping to minimize oil build-up on the scalp and maintain scalp health.
There are so many choices you can pick from to find the best essential oil to suit your purposes!
Meanwhile, carrier oils on their own are amazing too. Use olive oil for glowing skin and shiny hair. Grapeseed oil is known to boost hair growth. It also has many other health benefits, including – it is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and protects the heart.
When used with tiny amounts of essential oils, the effects of both the essential and carrier oil are boosted.
Check out: Ingredients 101: The Benefits of Grapeseed Oil for Hair Growth
Pro tip: If you want to choose the right carrier oil for essential oils, think of the purpose you want it to serve. Use jojoba oil as a carrier if you want to bring out the fragrance of the essential oil, for instance. Evening primrose oil, meanwhile, is an ideal carrier oil for sensitive skin types.
There are so many combinations you can make out of carrier oils and essential oils. Find out what suits you the best according to your hair type.
Now that you know how carrier oils and essential oils differ and complement each other, which ones will you be trying out?