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September 1

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8 Carrier Oils from the Rose Family

Carrier oils from the rose family of plants, Rosaceae, include fruits from trees, thorny shrubs and low-growing berries. 

Two distinct groups of oils

Within this one plant family we have two distinct groups of oils. The stone fruits and the berries.

Almond, peach, plum and apricot kernel oil all fall into the category of stone fruits and have oleic acid as the dominant fatty acid in the profile.

And we have the shrubs including blackberry, raspberry, rosehips and even strawberry seed oil. These oils tend to have linoleic acid as the dominant fatty acid in the profile. 

There are outliers as well like apple and pear seed oil and cherry kernel oil.

The stone fruit oils

Rose family carrier oils that fall into the stone fruit category share similar characteristics. These oils are pale gold to clear, have either no scent of a faint marzipan scent when unrefined. And, as mentioned above, oleic acid is the dominant fatty acid in the profile. 

Note: The high oleic acid in the stone fruit oils gives them a longer shelf life than the linoleic dominant oils from the berries. 

Almond oil

Almond oil, also called sweet almond oil, is mild with little to no scent and is typically clear to pale yellow in color. It is well tolerated by most skin types and makes a gentle base for aromatherapy blends, baby products and skin care formulas. Use as a carrier oil for essential oils and aromatherapy blends, as a base for face and body care formulas or alone as a body oil. 

Dominant fatty acid: Oleic acid

INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil

almond oil in beaker with alminds

Apricot kernel oil 

Apricot kernel oil is mild with minimal to no scent. It is well tolerated by most skin types including those with nut allergies that might be sensitive to other carrier oils like almond. The oil is usually pale gold in color. Use as a base oil for face and body care formulas or as a carrier oil for aromatherapy blends. Alone as a face and body oil apricot kernel oil is emollient and nourishing. 

Dominant fatty acid: Oleic acid

INCI: Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil

Peach kernel oil

Peach kernel oil has a lovely soft skin feel and mild to no scent and is typically pale gold in color. Peach kernel oil is a lovely all around carrier oil and skincare oil to keep on hand. Use it as a base for facial oils and oil serums, body oils and massage oils, as a carrier for essential oil blends and alone as a face and body oil. 

Dominant fatty acid: Oleic acid

INCI: Prunus persica (Peach) Kernel Oil

Plum kernel oil

Plum kernel oil is typically a rich gold in color with a light to medium marzipan scent though refined and deodorized versions can be odorless. Use plum kernel oil alone as a face oil or as a base for facial oil and oil serums and body oils. 

Dominant fatty acid: Oleic acid

INCI: Prunus domestica (Plum) Kernel Oil

The berry fruit oils 

Like the stone fruit oils, oils from shrubs in the rose family tend to have similar characteristics. These oils are typically high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and rich in antioxidants and other vitamins and nutrients in the unsaponifiables portion. The berry oils when unrefined and lightly refined tend to have a lot of pigments in the oils and can range from neutral and lightly scented to lightly fruity and even pungent. 

Producing enough tiny strawberry, raspberry or blackberry seeds to press for oil would not be a sustainable practice. But as the seeds are a bi-product of the food industry that would otherwise likely be discarded, many fruit seed oils are sustainable and even fall into the category of zero waste and up-cycled ingredients

Rosehip seed oil

Rosehip seed oil has a long and well deserved reputation as an oil for skincare. The color can vary significantly from pale gold to deep red depending on how refined the oil is and other factors. As a facial oil rosehip seed oil is wonderful for dry and mature skin to nourish, protect and restore. It is also known to help repair and minimize scaring and scar tissue. 

Dominant fatty acid: Linoleic acid

INCI: Rosa rubignosa (Rosehip) Seed Oil

Raspberry seed oil 

Raspberry seed oil has a light skin feel and absorbs quickly. The oil is typically gold to brownish depending on how refined it is. Use it alone as a facial oil for normal to mature skin or as the base for a facial oil formula or oil serum. 

Dominant fatty acid: Linoleic acid

INCI: Rubus idaeus (raspberry) seed oil

Blackberry seed oil

Blackberry seed oil has a very similar fatty acid profile to raspberry seed oil with a slightly higher percentage of linoleic acid. It is typically dark very dark green in color making it too pigmented to use alone as a facial oil. It's perfectly safe but will leave too much pigment on the skin to make it a good stand alone oil. Instead, add blackberry seed oil to facial oil formulations and oil serums.

Dominant fatty acid: Linoleic acid

INCI: Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry) Seed Oil

blackberry seed oil in beaker with fresh blackberries

Strawberry seed oil

Strawberry seed oil is a light oil that absorbs well. It is new to the market so can be difficult to source. Strawberry seed oil is high in the two essential fatty acids (EFA) and is a wonderful skincare oil. The oil ranges from very pale green to dark brown depending on the source and refining process. Some versions have a faint fruity scent. 

Dominant fatty acid: Linoleic acid

INCI: Fragaria ananassa (Strawberry) Seed Oil

What are some of your favorite carrier oils? Leave a comment below


Tags

botanical oils, carrier oils, rose family, skincare


About the author 

Olivia Parker

I'm Olivia Parker, Susan's business partner, and daughter. While my mom has a keen interest and expertise in the oils and plants I look to the trends and developments in the health and skincare space to understand what budding and experienced formulators need to stay competitive in the cosmetic and skincare worlds.

  • I just picked some Rose hips today. I plan to use them to make an infused oil using Sweet Almond oil. Would the Linoleic oil also be high in the infused oil?

    • Hi Sylvia – an infused oil has a fatty acid profile, including the linoleic acid of the oil you are infusing into – which is not the same as pressing the rose hip seeds for their oil. Using almond oil you will have a high oleic acid infusion a=with a smaller percentage of linoleic acid.

  • I have been enjoying the almond oil as a skin care base for years. Never realize the family it is from. I’m looking forward to trying some of the other oils. Thank you for the info!!

  • I adore plum kernel oil in facial and body oil formulations and on its own. If it’s a good batch, the marzipan scent is really potent and lovely

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