Many things can affect the condition of your lips. Aging, stress, and weather can all take their toll, making lips dry and flaky.
You may want to use treatments with essential oils to soothe these effects, but it’s important to dilute these with a carrier oil beforehand.
A carrier oil will have been sourced from plant matter and is used as a base for essential oils.
As essential oils are so concentrated, they should not be applied alone. A carrier oil allows essential oils to be safely applied on the skin, particularly sensitive areas, like the lips.
Carrier oils don’t just make essential oils safe, they can be packed with nutrients that aid the lips. Some of these can prevent dehydration and dryness, while others can smooth and improve the lips’ appearance.
There are lots of different carrier oils to choose from, so to make it easier, we’ve listed some of the best carrier oils for lips below.
You’ll also learn how carrier oils can help your lips, some safe oil combinations to try, and how to apply lip oil treatments correctly.
How Can Carrier Oils Help Lips?
Before we get into the carrier oils themselves, here are some of the ways that carrier oils can help your lips.
Defense Against Weather
When you make carrier oil treatments part of your daily skincare regime and apply them to your lips, a barrier forms over the sensitive skin.
This barrier keeps the skin moisturized in both cold and hot weather. Temperature extremes are one of the worst things for the skin, but applying carrier oils to the lips can help act as a defense against weather effects.
Some carrier oils, like sweet almond and coconut, are very moisturizing. These will help your lips soak up all of the moisture, acting as a shield to prevent adverse weather conditions from affecting your lips.
Soothing Cold Sores
The herpes simplex virus, also known as a cold sore, is a frustrating condition that can strike at any time. Feeling stressed, unwell, too warm, or too cold, can lead to irritating sores around your lips.
As they are the result of a virus, carrier oils cannot cure cold sores, but they can soothe some of their symptoms.
Some examples, like sweet almond oil or castor oil, have anti-inflammatory characteristics that can have calming effects.
You can apply carrier oils around your cold sore to prevent your skin from flaking and cracking.
If you do live with cold sores, you won’t be free from them, but making carrier oil treatments a regular part of your routine can ease any symptoms when they occur.
Preventing Aging Effects
The skin loses its smooth texture and plumpness as we get older. As we lose collagen, the soft lips you once had in your youth may turn into dry, flaky lips before your eyes.
If this is the case, you may be tempted to book a lip filler appointment with your cosmetologist, but carrier oil treatments can help you save a lot more money!
Some examples, like avocado oil, may encourage collagen synthesis, preventing some of the effects of aging. These oils cost a lot less and they can help keep the lips smooth and hydrated.
The Best Carrier Oils For Lips
Now that you know a bit more about how carrier oils can help your lips, here are some of the best carrier oils to use in your lip treatments!
Coconut oil is thought to be one of the best carrier oils to apply on the lips. This oil is relatively affordable and easy to come by, but it also contains triglycerides.
These fatty acids can help hydrate the skin, so the lips look firm and plump.
The skin soaks up coconut oil well. This allows the oil to penetrate the skin’s uppermost layer, keeping it nourished with other fatty acids, like caprylic acid and capric acid.
It’s best to go for coconut MCT oils, as they are less comedogenic than regular coconut oil.
This means that the oil is less likely to clog your pores and cause spots. As it sinks into the skin quickly, coconut oil can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making it a good choice for mature skin.
Coconut oil is not suitable for anyone with nut allergies.
Argan oil is another great carrier oil for the lips. As it contains a large number of fatty acids, the oil penetrates the skin easily to nourish it from the inside out.
Argan oil soaks into the skin well, leaving a slight fragrance and a thin layer of oil behind.
One of the main parts of argan oil is linoleic acid. Also known as vitamin F, this acid keeps the skin plump and moisturized without feeling heavy.
Linoleic acid also protects the skin’s barrier, which is great for preventing pollutants, smoke, and UV rays from aging the skin.
Argan oil is a nice choice for mature lips and very dry lips that need some TLC, as it works well at reconstructing vital structures deep within the lips.
Argan oil isn’t suitable for anyone with nut allergies.
Grapeseed oil can be extracted by using solvents or cold pressing. If the oil is extracted using solvents, the product can be exposed to high temperatures which can oxidize the oil.
Grapeseed oil that has been cold pressed will not have been exposed to high temperatures or chemical solvents, making it a better choice for your skin.
As grapeseed oil is so thin, the skin can soak it up easily. The oil is packed with omega-chain acids and vitamin E, which all help to nourish the skin.
The thin oil can permeate the top layers of your skin easily, allowing all of the good elements to get through to the bottom skin layers.
Grapeseed oil is a good choice for soothing skin following damage, such as split lips, cold sores, or extreme weather effects.
Rosehip is a carrier oil that is sourced from the seeds and fruit of the rose plant. This oil is full of fatty acids, like linoleic acid. These work very well at moisturizing and hydrating the skin.
A study also found that rosehips could prevent the formation of MMP-1, a substance that destroys collagen within the body.
The oil also contains vitamins A and E; antioxidants that are known to fight sun damage. These properties make it a good choice for lips showing signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles.
Rosehip oil has a thick consistency, but it still sinks into the skin easily and doesn’t leave much residue behind. As it’s so dense, you’ll only need a small amount when applying it topically.
Sweet almond oil is a great choice for those that want to make a luxurious lip treatment. This dense oil is comforting, velvety, and has a light, sweet aroma.
As sweet almond oil is so thick, it’s great for conditioning lips that need some extra care. It contains vitamin E, which can keep your skin soft and smooth.
The fatty acids in the oil help your lips preserve moisture and can also heal damaged or flaky skin.
Sweet almond oil is dense, but if you prefer a thinner consistency, you can mix it with a runnier carrier oil, like grapeseed.
Sweet almond oil is not suitable for anyone that has nut allergies.
Tamanu oil is different from the other ones on this list, as it needs to be warmed before you use it. Tamanu oil is solid at room temperature, but heating it turns it into a liquid structure.
Tamanu oil is sourced from the East African Tamanu tree. It’s a nice carrier oil that’s rich in antioxidants, making it good for healing scars after cracked lips and cold sores.
It’s full of fatty acids and soaks into the skin easily, which allows these moisturizing effects to penetrate deep into the bottom skin layers.
A study also found that tamanu oil could absorb UV rays, preventing 85% of DNA damage caused by the sun’s UV radiation.
This suggests that the oil may prevent wrinkles formed by sun damage, though more studies are needed to confirm this.
Tamanu oil isn’t suitable for anyone with nut allergies.
Jojoba oil is a gentle carrier oil that acts as a humectant. This means that the oil pulls water to the skin’s uppermost layers, preventing it from drying out.
Jojoba oil has more of a waxy consistency. Instead of oil, its waxy feel allows the oil to form a comforting seal on the skin’s surface. This helps seal in all of its nourishing properties, keeping the lips soft and smooth.
Even though jojoba oil feels like a thick wax, it is still non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores. This is ideal for anyone with acne or oily skin, as the oil is less likely to cause spots around the mouth.
Avocados aren’t just good for your health, they are great for your skin too! The oil sourced from an avocado is thick and full of vitamins, so it’s a nice choice for the skin around the lips and mouth.
Avocado oil contains a variety of elements that are great for the skin. The fatty acids, protein, lecithin, and vitamins E, D, and A can keep the skin moisturized and protected against harmful UV rays.
A study also found that the oleic acid and fatty acids in avocado oil may encourage collagen formation. This may prevent wrinkles, lines, and other aging effects by forming new connective tissue.
Avocado is a very thick carrier oil, so it’s best to blend it with a thinner carrier oil to make it feel less sticky.
However, its thick consistency is also an advantage, as you won’t need to apply a lot of it to receive its skin-soothing effects.
Castor oil has a thick, rich consistency, so it will stick to wherever it is applied. It has nourishing and emollient effects that help to moisturize the skin.
If you warm castor oil up, the oil becomes thinner and soaks into the skin easily, allowing its moisturizing properties to penetrate deeper into the skin.
Castor oil is a great carrier oil for the lips, especially when it’s warmed up. The oil penetrates right down into the skin’s bottom layer, spreading its triglycerides to plump up your lips.
The fatty acids in the oil also act as an occlusive, preventing water from leaving your skin’s outer layer. When applied to the lips, these effects can keep your lips nourished and hydrated.
Castor oil is very thick, so you may want to dilute it with another oil, like coconut or jojoba oil.
Olive oil is often overlooked, but this staple kitchen ingredient has a lot of properties that rival trendier skincare oils.
Olive oil contains squalene, palmitic acid, and oleic acid. These all perform as emollients that can soften rough or dry skin.
Olive oil is also a good occlusive. When applied to the lips, the oil forms a seal that prevents moisture from escaping, keeping the skin plump and hydrated.
The vitamins in olive oil, like vitamin K and vitamin E, may also fight oxidative damage. These can fight free radicals to protect the skin from pollutants, like smoke or sun exposure.
Olive oil does have a noticeable aroma, but this works well with other essential oils, like lemon, sweet orange, or rosemary (see also “Using Rosemary Essential Oil For Hair“).
However, if you’re using a more delicate essential oil in your treatment, it’s best to opt for a less aromatic carrier oil.
How To Choose A Good Carrier Oil
There are lots of carrier oils to choose from, but you can follow a few rules to ensure you end up with a nice product:
Use Less Processed, High-Quality Products
Avoid oils that are derived from petroleum or animals, and go for one that has been sourced from plant matter, like nuts, seeds, or fruit.
Oils that are labeled cold-pressed, virgin, or extra virgin are usually food products, as this shows that some skin-friendly properties are still present within the product.
Neutral Or Light Fragrance
It’s best to go for a carrier oil that doesn’t have an overwhelming fragrance. If the oil has a noticeable fragrance, it may overpower or change the scent of the essential oils you mix it with.
If your carrier oil does have a fragrance, it should enhance the essential oils you blend it with.
Plant-based, natural carrier oils are usually non-irritating to the scalp and skin, but it’s best to do a patch test to double-check.
If you are allergic to any ingredients, avoid any oils that are sourced from them. For instance, people with tree nut allergies should avoid argan, apricot kernel, and sweet almond oil.
The best carrier oil for you will also depend on how you want to use it. As we’re applying the carrier oil to the lips, think about whether you want a thick treatment with a rich consistency, or a lighter one that sinks into your lips easily.
Olive, castor, and sweet almond oil are nice for those that prefer heavier treatments, while jojoba, grapeseed, and rosehip oil are better for those that like lighter oils.
How To Use Carrier Oils
After you’ve picked your carrier oil and essential oil, you’ll need to decide how to blend the two ingredients.
The best carrier oil to essential oil ratio will depend on where you’re applying the treatment and how strong you want the fragrance to be.
As we’re applying the treatment to the lips, it’s important to use a weaker dilution rate. The skin on the lips is a lot more sensitive than other body parts, which is why we recommend a 0.5% dilution rate.
A 0.5% dilution rate is equivalent to three drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
This is gentle enough for the lips, but still allows the essential oils to effectively deliver their nourishing properties.
Carrier Oil And Essential Oil Blends For The Lips
Here are some examples of carrier oil and essential oil blends that can keep the lips moisturized.
Jojoba Oil And Orange Essential Oil
This fruity concoction uses jojoba oil to relieve dry skin and orange essential oil that has anti-inflammatory effects. This blend has a gorgeous citrus scent and is great for healing flaky lips.
Sweet Almond Oil And Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil smells amazing and has antibacterial effects to calm sores and cuts. This essential oil is also nice for plumping up the lips, as it naturally increases blood circulation to the area.
When it’s mixed with sweet almond oil, you have a soothing treatment that keeps lips nourished and full!
Avocado Oil And Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil has a pleasant fragrance that soothes the senses. It also has cooling effects that can calm irritated skin.
The essential oil works well with avocado oil, as it is full of fatty acids to nourish dry skin.
How To Use Lip Oil Correctly
The lips are more likely to get dry, compared to the rest of your skin, as they don’t have sebaceous oil glands. This means that the lips cannot moisturize themselves as well as the skin on your face.
As it’s harder to keep the lips hydrated, you’ll need to keep using products that keep them moisturized. You can use your carrier oil and essential oil blend to do this.
To use your lip oil treatment, start by using a lip scrub to remove the dead skin from your lips. If you don’t have one, you can use a soft toothbrush to do this, but remember to work gently to avoid damaging your skin.
Scrub your lips for 20-30 seconds, then gently wash and pat your lips dry. Once your lips are clean and scrub-free, apply your lip oil treatment.
As the lips are soft and free from dead skin, they will soak up the oil quickly, ensuring its nourishing properties sink through to the bottom skin layers.
You can also keep your lip oil treatment in a roll-on bottle so you can apply it throughout the day.
If you prefer, you can also apply an emollient, like petroleum jelly, after you apply your oil. This will form a barrier to keep the oil on your lips, preventing them from drying out.
Now you know some examples of carrier oils that can soothe dry lips!
Carrier oils are very important when using essential oils treatments, as they help make essential oils suitable for topical application.
There are lots of carrier oils that can aid your lips, but if you have allergies, make sure that your choice is suitable for your condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Oils Are Best For Lips?
If you’re applying an oil straight to the lips, you should go for a carrier oil, as essential oils are too harsh to be used without being diluted.
Carrier oils that have a lot of fatty acids, like coconut, avocado, and sweet almond oil, are nice as they can keep the lips nourished and moisturized.
Is Rosehip Oil Good For Your Lips?
Rosehip oil has nourishing properties that are great for the delicate skin on the lips. It acts as an emollient that keeps the lips hydrated and flake-free.
The oil also contains fatty acids to keep the skin nourished and moisturized, as well as vitamin A, to prevent sun damage.
Which Carrier Oil Is Least Greasy?
Grapeseed oil is a ‘dry oil’, which is lightweight and sinks into the skin easily. The oil isn’t as moisturizing as other richer oils, but it’s a nice carrier oil for oilier skin types, as it won’t leave a greasy residue behind (see also “Best Oil For Gua Sha Massage“).