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Carrier Oil: How to Choose the Best Oil for Your Sugar Scrub

Have you ever wondered whether there’s a secret to choosing the best carrier oil for your sugar scrub?

I’ve been studying botanical skincare formulas for years. 

And I’ve read my fair share of flummery. 

As if we only have to follow a recipe exactly as written, and our skin problems will be solved, too.

Unfortunately, skin is a little more complicated than that. We all have different skin types thanks to genetics, diet, stress, and sun exposure. And our type can change over time. 

But in my experiments and observations, I’ve found it’s easy to tailor a homemade sugar scrub for your skin by swapping out the oil. Here are three carrier oils for the most common skin types—normal, dry, oily, and combination.

Let’s get started.

What is a carrier oil?

A carrier oil is another way to say base oil; plant-based fats that moisturize your skin.

Base oils are also used to dilute plant extractions, like essential oils, and make them suitable for applying to your skin.

When combined with water, a carrier oil may be used to create emulsions—oils suspended in water—to create a creamy texture, such as in lotion.

A carrier oil nourishes your skin when added to your DIY sugar scrub. And acts as a delivery agent for herbs.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission on your purchase.

How should carrier oils be stored?

Carrier oils used in skincare should almost always be cold-pressed to maximize their benefits.

Cold-pressed means the oil has been extracted without excessive heat, which can damage the oil or cause it to become rancid.

They should be stored in airtight glass bottles, ideally dark, to prevent oxidation and contamination caused by light, heat, air, and microbes. 

Storing carrier oils in the refrigerator or in a dark location can also keep them fresh and extend their shelf life.

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how to choose the best carrier oil for your sugar scrubs

What is the best carrier oil for sugar scrubs?

Most liquid oils are absorbed and offer restorative benefits, too. So, just like choosing the best sugar for your scrub, deciding which carrier oil to use starts with the skin concern you have in mind.

Second, think about the scent and how it pairs with the other ingredients in your scrub.

Finally, pay attention to any food or plant allergies. If you’re allergic to olives or olive oil, for example, you should avoid adding it to your scrub and irritating your skin. When in doubt, test a small area on your skin before introducing new ingredients. 

While there are many oils to choose from, these three are a wonderful place to start:

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is made from dried or pressed coconut meat and is one of the most popular oils for making a sugar scrub. 

Rich in vitamins A and K, coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. Furthermore, it helps remove dead skin cells and easily soaks into the skin, making it an ideal natural moisturizer.

The sweet fragrance of coconut goes well with almost any other scent, especially a mint or eucalyptus and can also be paired with either a coarse or fine sugar

Skin types: Normal, Dry

Aroma: Coconut

Shelf-life 2-5 years

2. Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of winemaking—extracted from the seeds of wine grapes.

Filled with vitamin E, grapeseed oil has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory qualities. In many cases, because of its high linoleic acid content, grapeseed oil can help reduce oily skin and unclog pores, improve moisture, and fight acne. These qualities make grapeseed oil the perfect carrier oil for a homemade face scrub. 

Skin Types: Oily, Mature, Combination

Aroma: Mild, Sweet

Shelf-life: 6-12 months

3. Olive Oil

Many people choose olive oil for their DIY sugar scrub because it’s easily accessible in their pantry. 

However, there are many other benefits to using olive oil besides convenience. 

Olive oil is a natural emollient that hydrates and softens rough, dry skin. Rich in vitamins E and K, it’s also a natural antioxidant that helps reduce signs of aging and inflammation. You can use olive oil for any DIY sugar scrub, and it pairs well with most essential oil scents.

Skin Types: Dry, Mature, Combination

Aroma: Strong, Herbal, Nutty, or Fruity

Shelf-life: 1-2 years

A good carrier oil is about more than the ingredients…

A carrier oil in your sugar scrub makes it easier to spread the exfoliant on your skin. And there are many other oils you can use: almondjojoba, and argan oil, to name a few. 

Beyond selecting an oil for your skin type, look for organic and sustainable brands with ethical sourcing.

Cold-pressed oils are typically more environmentally friendly because they don’t require chemicals or excessive energy to produce. And the less processed an oil, the greater the healthful benefits, too.

Download the carrier oil quick reference guide, so you’ll always know which oil is best for your sugar scrub.

download the carrier oil quick guide

So, what are you waiting for? 

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know by tapping the heart below or leaving a comment. Or, buy something from amazon by using my affiliate links (it doesn’t matter what you buy and it doesn’t cost anything extra.) Thank you!


1 Comment

  1. Kudos to the author for sharing this wonderful recipe. It’s a great way to indulge in self-care while knowing exactly what goes into the products we use on our skin.

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