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