Learning how to use carrier oils is necessary because you need them to dilute essential oils to reduce the chances of an adverse reaction on our skin. Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) might be the dominant carrier oil, but I thought I would share some lesser-know options you can use as an alternative, and you might even find yourself using different carrier oils for different purposed instead of automatically defaulting to FCO.

So why is FCO so popular?

  • Remains in liquid state (necessary for roller balls)
  • Long shelf life
  • Not overly greasy, doesn’t usually stain clothes
  • Odorless
  • Some claim it contains the perfect combination of triglycerides to increase essential oil penetration and distribution

The downside?

The fractionated process removes the lauric acid which is one of the most beneficial fats in coconut oil (so you lose some of the therapeutic benefits)

What other carrier oils can you use instead?

Jojoba (liquid wax):

  • My favorite alternative to FCO
  • Very moisturizing for skin
  • Contains myristic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent: perfect for muscle/tendon injury blends
  • Has very little aroma
  • Does not go rancid; can extend the shelf life of other oils


  • Healing properties: aids wound healing of severe cuts and burns
  • Can be an effective germicide for infection
  • Promotes new tissue formation: use in scar blends
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain relieving oil
  • Shelf life: about 1.5 years from pressing
  • Also try Rosehip oil as an alternative

Trauma Oil:

  • Herbally infused oil combining arnica, St. John’s wort, and calendula
  • Used for nerve pain and sharp trauma to the body: use in headache blends
  • Skin healing and nourishing (due to the calendula)
  • Use in all blends for injury, trauma, and healing
  • Shelf life: about 2 years


  • Highly penetrating, deeply nourishing, and softens dry skin
  • Known to restore and re-moisturize the epidermis: use in blends for eczema and psoriasis
  • High content of essential fatty acids
  • Can also alleviate pain from burns (regenerates tissue quickly)
  • Shelf life: at least 2 years

Kombo (butter):

  • Use with essential oils for calming swollen joints and sore muscles
  • Nourishes dry or irritated skin
  • High in myristoleic acid (treats pain in the muscles and joints)
  • It is oily and thick, adding an interesting texture to body butter blends
  • Shelf life: at least 2 years if stored in fridge
  • It’s greasy, so try melting it with Shea and Cocoa butters

Shea (butter):

  • Excellent moisturizer—use in blends for dermatitis, eczema, burns
  • Use in lip balms and salves
  • Use for sun-damaged skin
  • Look for raw, unrefined shea butter
  • Shelf life: About one year

Cocoa (butter):

  • Acts as a water repellent, highly protective of skin
  • Contains Vitamin E
  • Known to moisturize skin and decrease dryness
  • Has antioxidant properties, used to treat wrinkles
  • Shelf life: at least 2 years if stored in fridge

There are obviously many more carrier oils to try, and I’ve compiled a comprehensive list in my FREE Resource Library. Gain access by entering your email below: