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Essential Oils

Babassu Carrier Oil – A Great Alternative for Coconut Oil

Babassu oil is taken from the extract of the Babassu palm. It is a rich, non-drying oil which is used in food and cosmetics and that has positive properties as a carrier oil too. If you’re looking for something that you can use to prepare massage treatments but you don't like traditional options such as coconut oil, then babassu carrier oil is a great option for you.

History of Babassu Carrier Oil

Babassu oil is a comparatively under-rated oil that didn't get much attention in the mainstream media until relatively recently. While other oils can claim that they were used throughout history in traditional or ancient forms of medicine, this South American plant went unnoticed, perhaps because there are so many other plants vying for attention. It bears many similarities to coconut oil, for example.

What has brought babassu oil to the attention of so many people recently is that it has potential as a biofuel and has even been used to power aircraft engines. 1 In everyday applications, it is also a great eco-friendly option for people looking to take care of their skin without expsoure to some of the harsher chemicals found in many cosmetic products.

Chemical Properties

Babassu oil is made up of a number of fatty acids, with the main component being lauric acid. It also contains a significant amount of myristic acid, as well as palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid. 2

Myristic acid is a surfactant, which means that it helps water mix with oil and dirt, allowing them to be rinsed away more readily, while oleic acid is well-known for its ability to reduce inflammation. 3 , 4

Uses for Babassu Carrier Oil

Babassu oil has a lot of similarities with coconut oil and can be used in many similar ways. Some of the best ways to use babassu carrier oil are highlighted below.

woman looking in the mirror at acne Fights Acne

Babassu oil is naturally antibacterial which means that it can help to stave off the effects of acne. It is a light oil that is easily absorbed and that will not clog your pores, so you can use it after cleansing and get fresh, smooth skin.

Soothes Psoriasis

The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil mean that it is great for managing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. 5 It can bring down inflammation and reduce soreness, as well as providing much-needed moisture for the skin.

sunburn Reduces Sunburn Soreness

Babassu oil is naturally cooling and soothing, so if you have had too much sun exposure it can be used as an after sun treatment to reduce pain. It's important to note that sunburn is a serious problem. Just five sunburn episodes in your life can increase your risk of skin cancer by 80 percent. 6 You can't reduce that risk with babassu oil, but you can reduce short-term pain.

Alleviates Dandruff

The moisturizing and anti-inflammatory nature of babassu oil can be beneficial for remedying dandruff. Research shows that massaging essential oils, such as eucalyptus, into your scalp diluted with a carrier oil can help to bring down the inflammation and itchiness that occurs in dandruff. 7

Because babassu oil is quite similar in many ways to coconut oil, it makes quite a good leave-in conditioner to make your hair look thicker and shinier and to help support better scalp health.

Acts as an Antifungal

Some people have had success with using babassu oil as an antifungal to treat conditions such as athlete's foot. The oil is thought to have antimicrobial properties, and since it is mild and also has a moisturizing effect, it may be better than other treatments which may dry out the skin.

Best Essential Oils to Pair with Babassu Carrier Oil

You can pair babassu with a wide range of essential oils. Just like coconut oil, babassu is solid at room temperature and will melt when it comes into contact with skin. This means that it makes a great body butter.

You may want to mix it with another thick oil such as shea butter to make a creamier treatment. You can combine it with lavender to make a relaxing massage product or with tea tree to make a remedy for skin infections. 8

Another essential oil that goes well with babassu is ylang-ylang. This makes a great stress-reducing blend to help you unwind at the end of the day. 9

You can be as creative or as simple as you like with essential oils. You can combine multiple to make a blend or just use a carrier oil to dilute a single treatment. The choice is yours. Babassu oil has a mild scent, so it is not going to interfere too much with the aromas of the oils.

Safety and Precautions

Whenever you work with essential oils, there is the risk of an adverse reaction if you have not used the oil before. Many people go through life unaware of allergies to more unusual substances. Because of this, it’s a good idea to do a spot test before you try using a new oil.

Rub a small amount of the preparation you want to try onto the inside of your forearm and wait several hours to see if you experience any itching, rash, or other side effects. If you do not have any issues, then you can use the solution/blend as normal.

Never apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin unless you have been told that it is safe to do so by an aromatherapy specialist. Many essential oils can damage the skin if applied undiluted. That is why carrier oils are used. All you need to get a therapeutic effect out of most essential oils is a few drops of oil. Standard dilutions can be as little as three to five drops per six tablespoons of carrier oil.


Babassu oil is an under-appreciated oil that deserves some attention. It is a great alternative to coconut oil that offers many of the same benefits and that has a gentle aroma. You can use it for creams, conditioners, body butter, and more. If you want a change from coconut butter but feel that other oils are too runny to work with, try babassu as the carrier oil in your next DIY blend.

Photo credits: GeorgeRudy/, FotoDuets/, PedroHelderPinheiro/

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