|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2007)|
The term carrier oil, as used here, is used in massage, aromatherapy, cosmetics. This oil is your common, every day vegetable oil. It can be something you purchase at your local grocery, to something as expensive as an oil imported from Nepal, India or Spain. A carrier oil is used to "carry" something else in it. Whether it be herbs infused in it, or essential oils disbursed in it, it is carrying something else. Hence the term, 'carrier' oil.
Most carrier oils do not have an aroma, though some, such as olive, can be strongly aromatic to mildly aromatic. Neither do they evaporate. The carrier oils used should be matched to the purpose of the application. Different oils have different properties. Almost all carrier oils are cold pressed. To remove protein from the oil, which is the allergenic part, the oil is forced through thick, canvas like material or through bentonite clay. So when an oil is 'refined' it is cleared of the protein. If it is 'unrefined' or 'golden' or some other term, it is not filtered and thus, the protein is not removed.
There is a range of different carrier oils, each with different properties. Some have therapeutic properties, some don't. Choosing an oil will depend on the application. For massage, viscosity, thickness, is a major consideration; for example, grapeseed oil is typically very thin, while olive oil is thicker. Sunflower, sweet almond and grapeseed oils have viscosities midway between these extremes. Carrier oils can be easily blended to combine their properties of viscosity, acceptability, lubrication, absorption and so forth.
Infused oils are a combination of a carrier oil and plant material and they can be either commercially or domestically prepared.
All carrier oils should be kept cool, and away from strong light, to retard rancidity. Refrigerating oils helps preserve their freshness but some oils should not be refrigerated (e.g. avocado). Very cold oils may appear cloudy, but regain their clear state on returning to room temperature.
Sources passionately disagree on the suitability of mineral oil as a carrier oil.  In the United States, food grade mineral oil is highly refined and purified to meet the requirements of the FDA.  Mineral Oil marked as "USP" also meets the standards of the US Pharmacopeia.
Carrier oils are generally pressed or cold pressed. Some of the most common oils are:
- Sweet almond oil
- Grape seed oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Evening primrose
- Canola (Rapeseed)
- Sunflower oil
- Jojoba oil
- Emu oil
- Castor oil
- Virgin Coconut oil
- Coconut oil
Safety aspects 
Peanuts are legumes, not "true" nuts, but they share with true nuts the risk of causing allergic reactions, even in minute amounts. Pure peanut and nut-derived oils are not usually allergenic, (as they do not typically contain the proteinaceous part of the plant), but avoiding them may be safer, as serious peanut and nut allergy is widespread, oil purity cannot be guaranteed, and other hypoallergenic oils are easily substituted.
If there is any risk of ingestion, mineral oil best avoided
- Thompson, Stuart. "Mineral Oil vs Plant Oil: A Modern Reappraisal". Gaia Research. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "About Mineral Oil". Herbal Luxuries Inc. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Code of Federal Regulations,Title 21, Volume 3 Sec. 172.878 White mineral oil.. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2012.
- Pharmacopeia.cn. "USP29: Mineral Oil". United States Pharmacopeia & National Formulary. Retrieved 16 November 2012.