What grade (or type) of carrier oils do we use when formulating?

Generally speaking, you want to purchase and use cosmetic grade carrier oils in your formulations. Cosmetic grade carrier oils are processed with the end goal of creating cosmetics/skincare, and while they are technically a lower grade than food grade, it’s not just a matter of the oil being a lower grade (or lesser quality). Different oils may be processed differently—nut oils, for instance, are often roasted for use in food oil but aren’t in cosmetic grade oils. This creates a more pronounced flavour and scent that is desirable in cooking, but less desirable in cosmetics. Cosmetic grade carrier oils are almost always less expensive than their food-grade counterparts.

When it comes to some of the more common oils, it can be easier to purchase food-grade, and that can be ok. I have used food-grade olive oil (pomace grade, not extra virgin!), canola oil, tallow, and lard almost exclusively in my years as a maker.

If you already have a food-grade version of a carrier oil on hand I wouldn’t go out and purchase a separate cosmetic-grade bottle of that oil unless the cooking grade oil was very expensive. Do not use a beautiful extra virgin olive oil to make soap with (well, you can, but in my opinion, it would be a massive waste)!

Posted in: Ingredients

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