A little story about 'oils'

I know, it can get confusing. The term ‘oil’ is used to describe a number of aromatic ingredients in aromatherapy, including ‘essential oil’ and ‘carrier oil’ (but also ‘fragrance oil’ – which is NOT an aromatherapy ingredient and a story for another day!).  

Essential oils and carrier oils are basic ingredients in one’s aromatherapy tool kit.  Here are some differences and similarities for you to consider. 

Essential oils are the highly concentrated, aromatic components extracted from flowers, wood, herbs, roots, seeds, grass, and citrus peels. The main method of extraction is by water distillation, but there are others such as cold expression of citrus peels.

Lavender Essential Oil

Carrier oils, on the other hand, are vegetable oils that have been extracted from the seeds, kernels, or nuts of a plant. The main method of extraction is by cold expression.

Avocado oil is an example of a carrier oil

One of the main differences: essential oils are highly volatile, meaning they deteriorate quickly when exposed to heat and/or sunlight — but equally important, ‘volatile’, means an essential oil will evaporate quickly when exposed to air. So don’t leave the cap off of your essential oil bottles :). 

Although most carrier oils are shelf-stable and not volatile, like essential oils, they are still very sensitive to heat (especially temperature fluctuations), sunlight and moisture —they will mold, go rancid and/or deteriorate, jeopardizing their healing properties. 

Two of the main similarities

1) Essential oils and carrier oils are both hydrophobic (i.e. not water soluble). This means if you add an essential oil to a water-base, such as a room spray, you will need to shake vigorously before each use. Think of an oil and vinegar salad dressing – unless you shake well before adding to your salad, you will get mostly oil and little vinegar when you pour. The same sort of thing happens when you add essential oil to water – the essential oils will float to the top, and when you spray you will get mostly water and little, if any, essential oil! And, since the spritzer tube-hole rests at the bottom of your bottle, you end up getting a more concentrated dose of essential oil with each succeeding spritz since you would have expressed most of the water with each preceding spritz if you haven’t shaken well before each use.   

2) Essential oils and carrier oils are both lipophilic or lipid-soluble. It therefore makes sense that these two ‘oils’ have a great enthusiasm for one another. In aromatherapy, we use a carrier oil whenever we want to apply essential oils topically. The term ‘carrier oil’ in this instance is descriptive – a carrier oil ‘carries’ your essential oil into your skin safely.  

To learn more about aromatherapy, please join in one of my upcoming workshops. Click here for the details. 

P.S. This article was featured in the January/February Edition of The Nose Knows. To read more, click here.

Country Christmas Store

I am very happy to be joining Sidney, Jayne and the whole crew at the Country Christmas Store again this year. This will be my third year!

Click for directions to the Country Christmas Store

Here’s what I’ll be featuring.

  • Aromatherapy Diffuser Jewelry: ‘Wear your aromatherapy in style’ with a piece of diffuser jewelry. LJ Turtle jewelry is simple to use, stylish, and aromatherapeutic. Choose from earrings, pendants and bracelets.  LJ Turtle diffuser jewelry helps you live an aromatherapy lifestyle – you will smell amazing and feel great. Bonus: Don’t forget to pick-up your FREE Aromatherapy Lifestyle Blend included with every piece of jewelry (see below for description).


  • Aromatherapy Lifestyle Blends: Choose from 3 of my most popular lifestyle blends. Joy supports a cheerful outlook, invigorates and uplifts our thinking and thought patterns. Winter Solstice is one of my ‘change of season blends’; use it to ‘warm’ you when it is chilly outside. And finally, use Four Thieves during the cold and flu season.  It is also a great daytime blend to help you stay focused.  These may be used with your diffuser jewelry or with a nebulizer.


  • Essential Oils: I’ll have a variety of single essential oils to choose from, for your DIY uses.

Click for directions to the Country Christmas Store


  • Smelly Dog Grooming Spray: Helps manage the smelliness of your best friend(s). This blend also doubles as a calming spray for anxious canines.  My grooming spray is an effective, easy-to-use, all-natural alternative to conventional pet-store products.  Piper was the black lab for which this spray gets its name (along with some help from an infamous Phoebe Buffay song).

Smelly Dog Woodsy


  • Let Me Be • Bug Spray: Let Me Be is a powerful blend of essential oils that have been found to be effective in ‘deterring’ the plethora of insects warm weather brings.  I call it an ‘outdoor meditation blend’ because it allows you to do just that – meditate in peace & calm, free of pests.

let me be C 2018
Let Me Be • Outdoor Meditation Spray


Click for directions to the Country Christmas Store



Good Vibrations Diffuser Blend

LJ Turtle Good Vibrations Diffuser blend was originally blended for a Reiki wellness practitioner to use in between clients.  She felt the space needed ‘cleansing’ as one client was leaving and another was arriving.

Good Vibrations also reflects my Ojibwa heritage – I intentionally used Canadian Black Spruce and Sage to do the heavy cleansing work.

Good Vibrations Catalogue MOnograph July 2018


Click here for my collection of Turtle Recovery Blends.

Available Saturdays at the Guelph Farmers’ Market

Aromatherapy Diffuser Earrings

Brand new selection of handcrafted in Guelph, Aromatherapy Diffuser Earrings.

Aromatherapy Diffuser Earrings • Lava Stones with Stainless Steel • Made in Guelph


Aromatherapy Diffuser Earrings • Clear Quartz & Lava Stones with Stainless Steel • Made in Guelph


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