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Get To Know Your Carrier Oils and Butters

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Organic and unrefined carrier oils and butters will give you the best quality for skin preparations.

Avocado Oil (Laurus persea or Persea gratissima)

Avocado oil is expressed from dried avocado flesh. It is highly penetrating, deeply nourishing, and softens dry skin. It is known to restore and re-moisturize the skin. Repeated applications of moisturizing butters, oils or lotions made with avocado oil reveal an increase of hydration of the upper layers of the skin and an improvement of the skin’s elastic properties.

Avocado oil prevents chapping, cracks and stretch marks, promotes cell regeneration to damaged skin, and is used for skin inflammation and arthritis pain blends. It also adds a beautiful deep olive green color to essential oil blends. It has a mild aroma, a bit like olive oil.

Avocado Oil Shelf Life:

Avocado has at least a one-year shelf life (some say up to two years). If stored in the refrigerator, the oil will form deposits and congeal. It is common for the oil to be cloudy when cold, to solidify, and to have deposits at the bottom of the bottle. As avocado oil gets older, the color will turn from olive green to brown.

Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

This oil is made by cold pressing the fruit of the amazing African Baobab tree. The tree has a massive, thick, unusual trunk, and branches that look like roots. It is often called the "upside-down tree." The tree produces large, white, aromatic flowers. The fruit is large, egg-shaped and has a hard outer shell covered in a dry white powder. Baobab has a lovely nutty aroma.

Like avocado oil, baobab oil is highly penetrating, deeply nourishing and softens dry skin. It is known to restore and re-moisturize the epidermis. Baobab oil has a high content of essential fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, linolenic). Oleic acid is a good skin-penetration enhancer. linoleic and linolenic fatty acids help to maintain the health of the cell membrane.

Baobab is used as a cell regenerator for healing scars and it alleviates pain from burns and regenerates epithelial tissue quickly. It is used for eczema and psoriasis.

Baobab Shelf Life:

Baobab should be a golden yellow color. It has a shelf life of at least two years.

Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao)

Cocoa butter is a solid fat. It is expressed from the fermented, washed, dried and roasted seed of the cocoa tree. Cocoa butter is highly protective of our skin and acts as a water repellent. It contains about 5 IU of vitamin E per 1 ounce (28 gm).

It is known to soften and lubricate the skin, reduces cutaneous dryness, and to improve skin flexibility. Cocoa butter is particularly praised for its antioxidant properties and is used to treat wrinkles around the eyes and corners of the mouth.

In a blend, it adds a smooth thick consistency and the delicious aroma of chocolate!

Cocoa Butter Shelf Life:

About a two-year shelf life, but if stored cold it can last longer.

Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera)

Coconut oil is cold-pressed from the flesh found inside the shell. It is an excellent carrier oil for itchy, sensitive skin, and does not clog pores. It is resistant to rancidity. It can be moisturizing and serves as a protective layer, helping to retain the moisture in your skin. Coconut oil is mild and generally safe for people with inflamed, irritated and sensitive skin. It has a strong coconut aroma.

Note: some people find coconut oil drying on their skin, others find it to be very soothing. Each person will respond to oils and butters differently depending on their unique skin.

Coconut Oil Shelf Life:

Coconut oil is resistant to rancidity and has a two-year shelf life. It is a highly saturated fat. Virgin coconut oil is cold-pressed, pure and unrefined. Fractionated coconut oil is highly refined and often has no aroma.

Jojoba Wax (Jojoba Oil) (Simmondsia chinensis)

Jojoba is also called an oil, but it's actually a liquid wax made from pressing the bean from the jojoba bush. It is highly penetrating and the molecular structure closely resembles our skin's natural sebum. It has a great texture for massage and is very moisturizing for the skin. It can be used instead of a moisturizing cream. Jojoba wax contains myristic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent, making it an excellent carrier for all muscle, tendon and ligament injury blends. It is antioxidant, does not go rancid, and can extend the shelf life of other oils. It is cold-pressed from the seeds and has very little aroma.

Jojoba Wax Shelf Life:

Jojoba wax does not go rancid.

Kombo Butter (Pycnanthus anglensis)

Kombo is a deep blue and cocoa brown color, with a stunning, fruity, rich aroma. It is used with essential oils for calming swollen joints and sore muscles. It is also used to nourish dry or irritated skin conditions. Kombo butter is high in Myristoleic acid. Myristoleic acid is used to treat pain in the muscles and joints. It is oily and thick adding great texture to your body butter blends.

Kombo Butter Shelf Life:

This is a stable butter with a minimum two-year shelf life if stored in the refrigerator.

Palm Kernel Oil (Virgin) (Elaeis guineensis)

Palm kernel oil is cold-pressed from the kernels of the palm fruit. Palm kernel oil is very similar to coconut oil in that it has a high percentage of lauric acid. Thanks to the lauric acid, it lends a smooth texture to body butters, soaps, and salves. It's also high in myristic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent making it an excellent carrier for all muscle, tendon and ligament injury blends. It resembles coconut oil in its properties. It has a caramel aroma and light brown color.

Palm Kernel Oil Shelf Life:

Palm Kernel should last two years from pressing.

Shea Butter (Vitellaria paradoxa/Butyrospermum parkii)

Shea butter is obtained by either cold pressing the fruits (seeds) of the Karite tree or grilled to open up its properties, pounded into a powder and boiled. Shea is known to alleviate dryness (excellent moisturizer), dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and burns. It is used as a lip balm, salve base, and moisturizer for all dry skin conditions. Use for sun-damaged skin and for the long-term health of the skin.

Be sure to buy raw, organic, unrefined shea butter. The refining process uses hexane solvent and strips the butter of its natural vitamins and healing properties. The unrefined butter has a nutty, rich aroma.

Shea Butter Shelf Life:

It is good for about one year.

Tamanu Oil (Calophyllum inophyllum)

Tamanu Oil, extracted from the fruit of Calophyllum inophyllum, is renowned for its remarkable healing properties. It greatly aids wound healing of severe cuts and burns. It acts as an effective germicide to kill or prevent infection. It promotes new tissue formation, accelerating healing and healthy skin growth for wounds and scars (cicatrisant). It is also a great anti-inflammatory and analgesic oil. It is a traditional medicinal oil of the Polynesian Islands.

The tree produces small fruits in small bunches. When ripe, it tastes similar to apples. Inside the fruit is a smooth, spherical nut with a thin shell around a pale yellow kernel.

The harvested fruits are slightly crushed to extract the nuts. The nuts are then sun-dried for eight weeks. During this time, the nuts turn brown and lose a third of their original weight. Inside, their oil content becomes very high. Tamanu oil does not exist in the fruit when it falls from the tree, but forms during the drying period.

Once dried, the oil is extracted from the nuts by cold pressing and is then filtered. It has a very strong, nutty aroma.

Tamanu Oil Shelf Life:

About four years from pressing.

Trauma Oil

This is an herbally-infused oil blend that combines arnica oils, St. John’s wort oil and calendula oil. The arnica oil offers analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and tissue healing actions. The St. John’s wort oil is used for all kinds of nerve pain and trauma to the body. Calendula oil is skin healing and nourishing. This is an excellent carrier for all blends, made for injury, trauma, and healing. This blend has a slight olive oil aroma. Do not apply to broken skin.

Trauma Oil Shelf Life:

From the time the oil is produced, it has a shelf life that matches that of the carrier. With freshly pressed olive oil, the shelf life is about two years.

Reference: Bujte, Andrea, (2019) Aromahead Institute

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