Carrier Oil Storage: Is It Okay To Refrigerate Or Freeze Carrier Oils?

Carrier Oil Storage: Is It Okay To Refrigerate Or Freeze Carrier Oils?

I really love learning about and formulating with carrier oils! I have used a lot of carrier oils over the past seventeen years. I have lost count of how many I have used, but the last time I counted (which was 7 or 8 years ago) I had tried more than 120 different carrier oils (this number does not include the number of butters I have used). I have tried many other carrier oils since then. In my opinion, they are some of the best ingredients for skin care!

One question I get asked a lot about is carrier oil storage, in particular if carrier oils can be refrigerated or frozen. Some people refrigerate them and then they are concerned when some carrier oils change in appearance when cold. While other people like buying carrier oils in bulk and they wonder if they can be frozen.

These are some of the carrier oil storage questions I have answered over the years. So I have written an FAQ article covering many of the questions I typically am asked.

Can I Refrigerate Carrier Oils? Will Refrigerating Harm Them?

You can definitely refrigerate carrier oils. Refrigerating will not harm them: cold temperatures will help maintain shelf life.

For Best Results, Store Your Carrier Oils In A Cool, Non-Damp Place Such As A Fridge
It is best to refrigerate blueberry seed oil and other carrier oils, which helps extend their shelf lives.

Does This Mean I Have To Refrigerate All Of My Carrier Oils? Can I Store Them In My Bathroom?

It is a good idea to refrigerate carrier oils. But if you do not have room in your fridge to store all of your carrier oils, at least try to refrigerate the ones that have short shelf lives (6 months to a year) or that tend to go off quickly. For example, I highly recommend refrigerating carrier oils such as hemp, flax, grape seed, evening primrose, rose hip seed, and borage.

You can store carrier oils at room temperature. But if you keep them at room temperature, then make sure you store them in a cool, non-damp room. In addition, it is wise to buy only small amounts and use them up within their estimated shelf life. You may want to add an antioxidant to them to prevent rancidity, such as vitamin E or rosemary oil extract.

I personally keep most of my carrier oils in the fridge or freezer; I have a full size fridge devoted solely to my plant and formulating ingredients. I keep small bottles of oil (usually 1 to 2 ounces in size) that I am currently using at room temperature, in a cool, non-damp room. I store carrier oils in larger sizes in the fridge or freezer. I don’t recommend storing large amounts of carrier oils in the bathroom, because the temperature changes and humidity will affect shelf life.

Help! I Refrigerated My Carrier Oil And It Solidified. I Have Jojoba Oil. Is It Ruined?

Some (but not every) carrier oils partially or completely solidify when they are cold. If this happens, your carrier oil is completely fine. It is not ruined.

Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax. Jojoba oil tends to get cloudy or solidify when it is very cold. This is completely normal for jojoba oil.

If your carrier oil has solidified in the fridge, and you need to use it, then you can just let it come to room temperature. It should return to its normal liquid state; this is assuming the room’s temperature is not that cold. Or you can use a warm water bath if you need to use the carrier oil a bit sooner. Let the bottle sit at room temperature for a while, before placing in a warm (but not super hot) water bath.

Jojoba oil comparison: room temperature versus refrigerated
On the left hand side is room temperature jojoba oil. It is in its usual liquid state. On the right hand side is jojoba oil that has been refrigerated. It has solidified in the fridge.

I have also gotten this question in regard to delivery when it is cold outside. During the winter time, many people are concerned when some of their carrier oils arrive partially or fully solidified. If this happens, your carrier oils are fine. Let them come to room temperature or use a warm water bath.

Note: there are some carrier oils, like coconut oil, that are solid at room temperature (in other words, they are not liquid at room temperature like many other carrier oils). This is normal for coconut oil and a few other carrier oils.


I Bought A Lot Of Carrier Oils. Can I Freeze Them? Will They Be Okay?

It is okay to freeze carrier oils. I have been freezing carrier oils with no issues, since I started learning about herbalism, aromatherapy, and natural skin care formulation (I started studying these fields in 2001). In addition, some ingredient vendors, soapers, and other skin care formulators freeze excess amounts of carrier oils they have on stock too. Freezing does not hurt carrier oils.

How Do I Choose Between Refrigerating Or Freezing Carrier Oils?

If you buy a lot of carrier oils, I personally recommend keeping small bottles of carrier oils in the fridge. So anywhere from 1 ounce to 16 ounces, depending on how fast you use carrier oils up. I suggest repackaging excess amounts of carrier oils in 4 to 16 ounces bottles, and freezing the excess amounts. You can defrost the frozen carrier oils when you need them: either at room temperature or a warm water bath (let the bottles sit at room temperature for a while before placing in a warm water bath).

Can Herb Infused Oils Be Refrigerated Or Frozen Too?

Herb infused oils can be refrigerated and frozen. Be sure to strain the herbs out of the carrier oil before refrigerating and freezing. For more information on what herb infused oils are, check out my article on herbal definitions.

Once you strain herb infused oils, you can refrigerate or freeze them. Add an antioxidant too.
Add vitamin E or rosemary oil extract to help prevent rancidity in plantain infused oil, other herb infused oils, and carrier oils in general.

Resources:

For more information or if you have questions about aromatherapy, herbalism, formulating, perfumery, and eco living, please join Plant Alkemie’s Facebook group and Plant Alkemie’s Facebook business page.  And check out more articles here on Plant Alkemie’s website:  http://www.plantalkemie.com. You may also leave questions about carrier oil storage in the comments of this article.


*This article is copyrighted and it may not be used without permission.


8 comments

  1. Thank you. I had thought freezing was ok and now you’ve confirmed that. Great article Li

  2. Hi Li, Thank you very much for these guidelines.

    I have a question:

    Is there a certain percentage of fatty oil that you need to remove before freezing the bottle to prevent them from bursting, and are there certain types of plastic bottles that hold up better than others in the freezer/warm water baths?

    Thanks again!

    • Hi AK,

      If you freeze your carrier oils, it is a good idea to leave some space at the top of the bottle, to account for any possible expansion. Usually many of them don’t expand that much but anything is possible!

      I usually use PET (#1) or HDPE (#2) plastic. Most carrier oil vendors package in these plastics, but be sure to check the number at the bottom of the bottle.

      Hope that helps!

      Cheers,
      Li

  3. Mary Lou

    Great information! I had no idea we could freeze our carrier oils! Thank you so much!!

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