Avocado oil

What is it? Avocado oil is a liquid monounsaturated carrier oil typically pressed from the flesh of the avocado (though I have seen some oils stating they are pressed from the seeds). It is mostly comprised of oleic and palmitic fatty acids; the palmitic acid content is higher than usual for liquid oils, resulting in a thicker, richer oil. It can be cloudy at room temperature, depending on if (and how extensively) the oil has been winterized.
INCI Persea Gratissima Oil
Appearance Deep green/yellow to pale yellow liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Rich, velvetty, can be sticky if applied undiluted to large areas of the skin
Scent Characteristic of carrier oils, though less refined versions may have a stronger scent
Absorbency Speed Slow
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Avocado oil is a beautiful, rich emollient that is recommended for dry and sensitive skin. I also enjoy using it in soap as a more luxurious additive oil.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? It’s up to you; more refined versions will have lighter colour, fainter scent, and are less likely to cloud in cooler temperatures
Strengths Rich emollient high in unsaponifiables; good for dry skin.
Weaknesses Some may find avocado oil too rich/heavy for their liking.
Alternatives & Substitutions If state (liquid/solid) doesn’t matter I’d try shea butter. Otherwise, try a blend of shea butter and a mid-weight liquid oil like rice bran or olive oil. I’d probably start with 25% shea butter, 75% liquid oil.
How to Work with It Include avocado in the oil phase of your formulas; it can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, avocado oil should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks There’s a fairly wide variety of processing methods for avocado oil, resulting in more than a simple refined/unrefined set of options. Be sure you’re reading all the documentation from your supplier before you purchase.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz) for skin care, 1L (33.8fl oz) for soap making.
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Avocado Oil

Walnut oil

What is it? Walnut oil is a liquid carrier oil pressed from the walnut. It is comprised mostly of linoleic and oleic fatty acids.
INCI Juglans Regia Seed Oil
Appearance Clear yellow oil
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, satiny oil
Scent The versions I’ve used have had a very “typical-of-carrier-oils” smell—that is, not nutty in the least. Walnut oil does have the potential to smell nutty if the walnuts are roasted before pressing, so check with your supplier!
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Walnut oil is a lovely emollient and is popular for use in massage oil blends. It is said to be good for irritated/inflamed skin due to anti-inflammatory properties.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I feel like the more important question for walnut oil is roasted or not—choose roasted if you want a nutty scent, and unroasted if you don’t want a nutty scent.
Strengths Lovely plant-based emollient oil with the potential to add a beautiful nutty scent to your products. It is also recommended for irritated skin.
Weaknesses Should be avoided by those with nut allergies.
Alternatives & Substitutions I’d start with other nut oils, like sweet almond oil. For those avoiding nuts, try safflower oil or apricot kernel oil.
How to Work with It Include walnut oil in the oil phase of your formulations. It can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, walnut oil should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks In aromatherapy walnut oil is said to help balance the nervous system.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Walnut oil

Raspberry Seed Oil

What is it? Raspberry seed oil is a liquid carrier oil pressed from the seeds of the raspberry. It is comprised almost entirely of linoleic, alpha-linolenic, and oleic acids. Its anti-inflammatory properties are “superior compared to those of other well-known oils such as virgin avocado oil, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, and wheat germ oil” (Oomah, et al 2000).
INCI Rubus Idaeus Seed Oil
Appearance Yellow liquid oil
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, lightweight oil
Scent Mild; fairly typical of carrier oils
Absorbency Speed Fast to average
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Due to its high price I typically reserve the use of raspberry seed oil for facial serums and other applications where it can be used in higher concentrations without any required heating. It is very rich in vitamin E and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I’ve only used refined, and I’ve liked it, but I’d love to try unrefined at some point!
Strengths Rich in vitamin E, fast absorbing, anti-inflammatory properties.
Weaknesses Fairly expensive.
Alternatives & Substitutions Rosehip oil would be a good alternative.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your formulas; avoid prolonged heating if possible.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, raspberry seed oil should last up to two years. I recommend storage in the fridge if possible.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks You’ll often read that raspberry seed oil has an SPF and can be used as a “natural sunscreen”. This comes from a study titled Characteristics of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) seed oil. Lotion Crafter addresses this well in their product description: “This was merely a study indicating some sunscreen potential, but it should, by no means, be relied upon without further independent testing. Red Raspberry Oil is a natural crop and, as such, its constituents can vary from batch to batch or harvest to harvest. As with any cosmetic raw material, any sunscreen benefits would have to be proven or disproven through sunscreen testing of any sunscreen formulation.” The way I see it, relying on any natural plant oil for SPF is like relying on a lottery ticket for my retirement fund. It would definitely be nice if that lottery ticket padded my retirement fund, but I’d be a fool to count on it and fail to save for my retirement because I bought a lottery ticket. Formula Botanica has written a great post on this topic as well.
Recommended starter amount 30mL (1fl oz) to 100mL (3.3fl oz)—let the price and your interest be your guide.
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Raspberry Seed Oil

Soybean oil

What is it? Soybean oil (or soya bean oil) is a liquid carrier oil pressed from the seed of the soy plant. It is comprised mostly of linoleic and oleic acids.
INCI Glycine Soja Oil
Appearance Clear yellow liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth oil
Scent Typical of carrier oils
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point -20°C (-4°F)
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Soybean oil is a very versatile and inexpensive carrier oil. I like using it in soap, but it also works well in body butters, lotions, lip balms, massage oils, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
Do you need it? No.
Refined or unrefined? I’ve only used refined and I like it.
Strengths Inexpensive, versatile carrier oil.
Weaknesses Depending on your audience soy may not have the best reputation.
Alternatives & Substitutions I’d choose olive oil or rice bran oil in soap. In skin care, sweet almond oil or apricot kernel oil would work well.
How to Work with It Include soybean oil in the oil phase of your formulations. It can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, soybean oil should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Soybean oil can contain up to 3% soy lecithin.
Recommended starter amount 1L (33.8fl oz) for soap making. 100mL (3.3fl oz) for skin care.
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Soybean Oil

Kukui nut oil

What is it? Kukui nut oil is a liquid oil pressed from the seeds of the kukui nut (or candlenut) tree. It has a long history of use in Hawaii for skin care and as a light source (hence the name candlenut!).
INCI Aleurites Moluccanus Seed Oil
Appearance Clear yellow liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Rich, smooth oil
Scent Typical of plant oils
Absorbency Speed Average to slow
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Kukui nut oil is a beautiful, rich emollient. I love it in lip products and skin care products that are designed to be protective.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I’ve only ever used refined and it’s lovely.
Strengths Rich emollient that is excellent for irritated skin.
Weaknesses Can be harder to find, can be more expensive than other carrier oils.
Alternatives & Substitutions I’d try rice bran oil.
How to Work with It Include kukui nut oil in the oil phase of your formulations. It can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, kukui nut oil should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks The alternative name for the kukui nut tree—the candlenut tree—comes from a history of the nuts being burned as candles due to their high fat content!
Recommended starter amount 50mL (1.69fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Kukui nut oil

Tamanu oil

What is it? Tamanu oil (also known as calophyllum oil) is a liquid carrier oil pressed from the seeds of the tamanu tree from South East Asia. Tamanu oil is mostly comprised of oleic and linoleic acid, but does contain relatively high amounts of stearic and palmitic acid for a liquid oil, so it is prone to going cloudy in cooler temperatures.
INCI Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil
Appearance Green/brown cloudy liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, rich oil
Scent Nutty/woodsy
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point 15–20°C
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Tamanu oil is often recommended for the care of scars and other topical wounds (minor burns, scratches, etc.) as well as acne, psorasis, and eczema.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I’d recommend unrefined
Strengths Tamanu oil is a lovely emollient oil with rich skin feel as well as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
Weaknesses The scent and/or colour can be undesirable in some end products, not suitable for those with nut allergies.
Alternatives & Substitutions The fatty acid content is very unique, so it’s hard to suggest a substitution on that basis. To replace the nutty scent you could look at macadamia nut oil. Otherwise, you might try a combination of shea butter and olive oil to get a somewhat approximate blend of fatty acids. If the tamanu oil is included in a recipe for its skin benefits I would recommend researching other liquid oils that may suit your skin and its particular needs.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your formulations. Tamanu oil can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, tamanu oil should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Tamanu oil should be avoided by those with nut allergies.
Recommended starter amount 30mL (1fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Tamanu oil

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