Evening Primrose Oil – Relaxing and Gentle Carrier Oil

primrose carrier oil-2

Evening primrose oil is a good carrier oil option for people with dry or mature skin. It contains a large amount of gamma-Linolenic (GLA) essential fatty acids, and it can be combined with other carrier oils to make a good massage oil. If you are looking for a light, refreshing oil that you can use for cosmetics, massage, and perfumes, then evening primrose oil is a good choice.

History of Evening Primrose Carrier Oil

Evening primrose oil comes from the evening primrose, or Oenothera biennis, plant. It gets its name from the Greek word for wine because the ancient Greeks believed it relieved hangovers.

Native Americans used the leaves and bark of the plant as a sedative, as well as to help with liver complaints. In more recent times, alternative and complementary medicine practitioners use it to help remedy aches and pain, as well as PMS and menopause symptoms.1

Chemical Properties

Evening primrose oil is rich in a number of important fatty acids. For instance, it contains high concentrations of linoleic acid, as well as gamma linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid.2 These fatty acids are useful as anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and analgesics.

Uses for Evening Primrose Oil

patient with eczemaRemedies Eczema and Other Skin Conditions

GLA, one of the active ingredients in evening primrose oil, can help neutralize free radicals, consequently protecting the skin from oxidation. GLA can also help smooth the skin and moisturize those dry and painful patches.3

Moisturizes Skin and Reduces Signs of Aging

Another useful feature of GLA is that it can be a powerful moisturizer.4 Applying oils rich in GLA to your skin doesn’t just reduce dryness (and therefore alleviate a lot of painful conditions), it can also help to plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The end result is moist, healthy, and youthful looking skin.

woman with long healthy hairImproves Hair Health

There have been many studies into the clinical effectiveness of evening primrose for various applications. Those studies back up the idea that evening primrose oil has value for improving the health of skin and hair.5 Evening primrose oil is a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary for good hair growth and overall health. If you have thin, dull-looking hair, then using evening primrose oil could help with that.

Relieves Pain

Evening primrose oil contains anti-inflammatory agents, GLA among them. This means that supplementing with evening primrose orally can help reduce pain and stiffness. Using the oil for massage can also help reduce pain and improve mobility.6

woman getting a massage with oilBest Essential Oils to Pair with Evening Primrose Carrier Oil

Evening primrose oil is good for the skin, and it blends well with oils such as rose and lavender, which means that it is ideal for making relaxing, soothing perfumes and massage oils. It has a faint and lightly sweet aroma, so you can pair it with gentler, milder scents instead of having to use something with an overpowering minty or spicy aroma to get past the scent of the oil.

Some mild, sweet essential oils that pair well with evening primrose oil include ylang-ylang, bergamot, neroli, and jasmine. While it is possible to use evening primrose with tea tree, patchouli, and other more powerful scents, it makes more sense to pick sweet or fruity oils that complement evening primrose rather than overpowering its scent with a strong essential oil.

When using it as a carrier oil, a lot of people like to combine evening primrose oil with a slightly thicker oil to produce a better massage oil. However, evening primrose by itself is a nice choice if you are making an aromatherapy oil based perfume.

Safety and Precautions

Evening primrose oil is a well-tolerated oil that is generally accepted as being safe for most people to use, even for as long as up to one year. Some people do experience side effects, but these are generally mild.

Side effects could include an upset stomach, nausea, and a headache. Use of evening primrose oil is not recommended for pregnant women.7

Evening primrose oil can be used as a carrier oil to dilute other essential oils. Typical dilutions usually include two percent of the active essential oil. This means roughly two drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil. Some essential oils can be used at concentrations of up to 10 percent, but you should seek advice from an aromatherapy specialist before making such a strong blend.


Evening primrose oil is one of the most popular carrier oils on the market, and it is easy to understand why. It is light and soothing on the skin, and it can combine well with thicker oils to make a good massage or skin care treatment. It has a pleasant aroma, and it has plenty of benefits on its own and paired with other oils. If you’re looking for a relaxing and gentle carrier oil, try giving evening primrose oil a try.

Photo credits: TYLim/shutterstock.com, Juta/shutterstock.com, wavebreakmedia/shutterstock.com, MadeleineSteinbach/shutterstock.com

Krista Burton

By Krista Burton

Krista is an aromatherapy enthusiast who enjoys writing and researching about all the new aromatherapy trends. When she’s not busy writing and researching you can find her dreaming about being on the beach.

Favorite MONQ blend: Ocean

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers.

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