I tend to stick to three base oils for making herbinfused oils. I sometimes add additional fine oil to the final product, but for the actual herbal infusion, I tend to keep it simple. I may add in small amounts of fine oils to my infused oil. Usually only small amounts of fine oils are needed to imbue your oil with their properties.
The oils I use for my herbal infusions are olive oil, coconut oil, and/or jojoba a oil. These oils tend to be stable and have a long shelf life. With the exception of jojoba oil, they are also some of the lower cost oils.
I always choose to go with an organic olive oil. The brand I choose will usually vary with what I can find locally. Olive oil has a shelf life of around 2 years. This is usually more than long enough for most oils and salves that you might be making from oils.
Again, I choose organic here. It has a good longevity of stability of around 4 years or so. With Coconut oil there will usually be three forms of it to choose from: unrefined, refined, and fractionated. I typically choose a refined coconut oil. My reason for this choice is that it doesn't smell heavily like coconut, which is a deterrent for some people - although I will say that very sensitive people will often feel that even refined coconut oil smells too strongly. Unrefined is another choice. This will smell heavily like coconut oil and tend to have just a slightly lower melting point. I strongly dislike fractionated coconut oil. This is an oil that has undergone processes to keep it in a liquid form. Coconut oil gets solid in the cold. This is just how it is. I feel that the fractionated form has just had too much done to it to change it. It may be a fine oil for infusing and many people do like it. It's energy has never felt right to me, so I have never used it.
Jojoba is probably my favorite oil to use for it's quality. Jojoba has a long shelf life of about 5 years. It is actually not an oil, but a plant wax. It is closer to our natural skin oils than any other oil, and is just a truly beautiful oil for skin. I always choose a golden organic jojoba oil. A good jojoba oil can be expensive. I spend around $100 for 1/2 to 1 gallon of it. (If you can still find a gallon of it for under $100, that's a great price). I reserve jojoba oil for when I am making infused oils to be used in face creams or fine massage oils. I stick to the olive and coconut for therapeutic salves, as there is just no reason to use up all my pricey jojoba when less expensive oils work. For face cream, it is superior.
Other oils that I may use in larger amounts than fine, but small amounts than my base oil, are Avocado and Hemp (This is not very shelf stable). Avocado is heavier and tends to be a good oil to use for winter skin care oils, salves, and creams. Hemp is a lovely addition, but it is not a very shelf and temperature stable oil. Out of all of the oils mentioned, Hemp is the one oil that needs to be stored in the refrigerator.
I will briefly mention fine oils here. I do not typically infuse fine oils with herbs, but rather use them in very small amounts in salves and face creams. The oils I like to use are Argan, Moringa, Baobab, Rosehip seed, Sea Buckthorn, Pumpkin Seed, Pomegranate Seed, Meadowfoam. These are just a few. I am careful to source the best oils I can from companies who's practices are in line with mine. These oils make nice additions.....AND they are also not needed to create lovely herb infused oils, salves, and face creams.
Sources for Jojoba Oil
I won't list sources for coconut or olive oils as those are fairly easy to find. Here are some sources for Jojoba.
For classes that explore how to create herbal infused oils and how to turn those oils into a salve, please visit (or sign up for) the Auditoria Classroom where you will find three new videos!
Happy Medicine Making!