What are Carrier Oils?… refined or unrefined?

For many years I have shied away from using oils on my face, or anywhere near my face. This is due to the fact that my complexion tends to be very oily… or should I say – used to be. This all changed once I started using carrier oils. I’m not quite sure what made me take the leap, but I think it may have been due to incompetent ingredients in every moisturizer I’ve ever come across (except ilike products, but that came after my carrier oil revelation). Nothing ever helped my sensitive and extremely fussy complexion – until now.

However, before I go any further I should explain the purpose of carrier oils… ” Carrier oils are vegetable oils (drawn from the fatty areas of a plant, such as its seeds, nuts, or kernels) that are used as a base to dilute essential oils before they are applied to the skin. Carrier oils are used because most essential oils are thought to be too concentrated to apply directly to the skin. They’re called carrier oils because they carry the scent of the essential oil to the skin where it can be absorbed.” - ask.com

However, carrier oils themselves have therapeutic properties. There are quite a few carrier oils, but the following are some of the common oils: Apricot Kernel Oil (vitamin E), Sweet Almond Oil (vitamin E, A, B2 & B6), Coconut Oil (anti-microbial properties), Rosehip Oil (linoleic acid & GLA), Carrot Oil (beta-carotene), Borage Oil (gamma linolenic acid), Calendula Oil (anti-inflammatory properties), Grape Seed Oil (protein & GLA), Castor Oil (analgesic properties, fatty acids & glycerin), Hazelnut Oil (protein, minerals & essential fatty acids), Evening Primrose (linolenic acid & GLA-GAMA), Jojoba Oil (vitamin E) and Olive Oil (vitamins & essential fatty acids).

These oils (alone) can be used to add needed moisture to the skin, or you can mix-and-match them to create your own personal concoction.

Now for the most important question… refined or unrefined?

Unrefined – A process of mechanical extraction and screen filtering where no additional refining process has taken place. This ensures the finest quality product and makes the oil the most exquisite for food and cosmetic preparation. The unrefined process helps oil retain a rich, strong flavor and color that is true to its natural state. Unrefined oils are always darker in color and richer in scent.  - mountainroseherbs.com

Refined – A fully processed oil where it has been exposed to all methods of refinement including a flash fluctuation in temperature as high as 450 degrees and winterization as low as -30 degrees, deodorization, which removes the heavy and often unsettling odor in oil, and finally bleaching, where natural clays and other mediums are used to alter or remove an oils color, and scent. This makes for an economical oil in cosmetics and body care products, but it is not the healthiest as a food grade oil.   - mountainroseherbs.com

Basically, make sure you get the unrefined version, not refined. Which means that it has been minimally processed to retain the full array of skin supporting benefits.

So, after researching all (well, at least most) of the various carrier oils, I finally came across one that solved my oily issue… Jojoba oil. You can read about what this oil has done for me in my first post (cat: natural oils). Also, I hear that Hazelnut oil is lightweight and ideal for oily skin, due to its astringent qualities. Another interesting tidbit, most (if not all) of the carrier oils can be used for the hair, especially if you have dry/damaged hair from one-to-many chemical treatments. After prolonged usage you will notice a difference.

Hope this helps someone in need of some help :)

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