Blending Essential Oils
Blending essential oils to achieve a desired aroma and/or benefit can be tricky, but with a basic understanding of skin care oils, recommended batch size and top, middle and base notes, the process can become simple and enjoyable.
Skin Care Oils
Skin care (carrier) oils are extracted from plant nuts, seeds and kernels. They consist mainly of a balance of antioxidant unsaturated fatty acids and more emollient saturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids impart the nutty aroma associated with unrefined oils and contribute a thin, absorbent texture. Saturated fatty acids can have a more neutral aroma and a thicker, less absorbent texture.
Skin care oils are highly effective on their own. They're also often used to dilute essential oils in order to facilitate the absorption of oils into the skin and make them safer to apply.
Perhaps the easiest way to blend essential oils is in batches of 100 drops. This allows you to easily work out the percentages of each oil in your blend ahead of time and makes for easy calculations later on if you'd like to increase the batch size. 100 drops will give you about 1 teaspoon of blend. This should be diluted at a 2% dilution rate in 8 ounces of another safe ingredient such as skin care oil or water. For our guidelines specific to skin and home care, see the dilution table below.
Top, Middle and Base Notes
Blends that include a balanced array of top, middle and base notes will be most successful. Essential oils are made up of dozens of indivual aromative compounds, which evaporate at different rates. If an oil is made up mostly of compounds that evaporate quickly, it's considered a "top note" oil. If an oil is made up mostly of compounds that evaporate very slowly, it's considered a "base note." A "middle note" oil contains a diffusive, rounded aroma and often serves to bridge top notes and base notes in a blend. Strive to create blends that have a harmonious balance of all three notes.
Diluting Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile substances. In order to be used safely, they should be diluted in another safe substance, like water, a skin care oil or an unscented lotion or liquid soap. Follow the recommendations in this guide for safe, effective use.
Essential Oil Safety
Essential oils are very concentrated. Their safe use requires they be treated with care and respect. The user should be knowledgeable about their properties and actions before any use. Most personal applications require drops rather than ounces.
Whenever you use essential oils, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Do not use essential oils undiluted on skin.
- Keep in mind that the absorption is increased on damaged skin.
- Test diluted essential oils on inconspicous areas before general use.
- Use photosensitizing essential oils cautiously.
- Consult with a health practitioner before use if pregnant, nursing, suffering from any medical condition, or taking medication.
- Keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
- Keep essential oils away from your eyes.
- Do not use essential oils internally.
- Follow specific recommendations for dilution based on the person and application.
- Don't overuse essential oils.