What do you dilute essential oils with, is where it all begins? You can dilute essential oils with many substances. Essential oils are a great way of enjoying what nature has to offer us for free. Once you’ve welcomed the herbal essences in your life, it all becomes simpler and very rewarding.
To enjoy all the benefits of essential oils and carrier oils you must know a few basic principles. How do you mix essential oils with carrier oils, for instance? That’s what we’ll see next. I’ve prepared lots of explanations and useful details for this subject.
Knowing how to mix essential oils and vegetable oils could help you cross that fine line between a beginner and a more experienced user. Once you’ve crossed that line, you can rapidly become a natural at mixing and using your own blends.
This article is meant to explain all the principles of blending essential oils with carrier oils. But it will also show you how to do it step by step, and be safe while experimenting.
Maybe you’ve just discovered the benefits of essential oils, or you’re already using them. It doesn’t matter because I’ll explain more about the dilution of essential oils. Hopefully, this’ll help everyone who still has questions about the subject, to get their answers.
Want to know how the oils work? Then let’s start with something that can arouse your curiosity even more.
Did You Know?
- There are records that tell us that the herbs have been studied since 3500 BC. One of them dates back since 1500 BC and it is known as the Egyptian medical reference. It is called the “Ebers Papyrus”.
How Do You Mix Essential Oils with Carrier Oils? Dilution and General Doses
First of all, you’re probably wondering why we have to mix essential oils with something else. Or why not use them as they are? The answer is: essential oils are very strong essences. Because of that, if not diluted first, they can really harm the skin.
For example, to make 88 pounds of Patchouli essential oil, you’d need 17.637 pounds of fresh leaves! Now imagine such high concentration in a few drops of essential oil. Some oils are so powerful that they can sensitize the skin very fast.
Once the sensitization happens, you’ll always be sensitive to the oil that caused it. By sensitivity I mean skin reactions like itchiness, redness or burning sensations.
The process of oil blending is not very complicated. Of course, I’m not talking about the chemical bonds and compounds. I’m talking solely about taking one drop of an essential oil and adding it to a teaspoon of carrier oil.
According to Dr. Robert Pappas, an authority in the chemistry of essential oils:
- Essential oils don’t usually bond.
- They act as simple mixtures.
- Only if using different amounts of essential oils will change the mixture. It won’t be the same simply because one oil will be more than the other(s). Thus, the health benefits will also differ.
- If you use equal measures of essential oils in a mixture, you can add them in whatever order you like. The order in which you add them won’t change the blend or its smell.
Some people want to know how to dilute essential oils with water. Well, they don’t mix one with the other. However, there are substances that can make water and oils mixing possible. Once used, they create emulsions. Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera can be of help in this case. Or you can use emulsifiers of natural origin.
What is the best carrier oil to use with essential oils? There is no one carrier better than the others. They’re all different in chemical composition and properties.
Some have a light texture, while others are more viscous (thick). The latter are better for dry or normal skin types. Some contain essential fatty acids that the body can’t produce and the skin needs. Read more about carrier oils for skin care.
Carrier oils are:
- Vegetable oils extracted from the fatty portions of the fruits and kernels, through cold pression.
- They don’t evaporate into the air, but they go rancid after 1 year (give or take).
- They have their own properties.
- Carriers are not toxic because of the way they’ve been extracted.
- They help the essential oils spread their molecules (dilution) and cover wide surfaces of skin.
But how do you mix essential oils with carrier oils? For most blends, there are simple guidelines to follow. Almost all recipes you’ll find will state exactly how much of each ingredient you need.
If there are no restrictions against using essential oils on the skin, a safe dilution measure for an adult is 2%. For elderly and children, the measures have to change. They need to change into half because children and older people are more sensitive.
For a small blend of 30 ml (1 fl. Oz), a 2% dilution of essential oils would mean 12 drops. Instead of carrier oils, you can also use vegetable butters or unscented lotions. Also, salt, honey and milk help break the essential oils and dilute them better. Plus, they work great for aromatic baths.
General doses for various blends:
- Face masks: 5 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil and 3 tablespoons of green clay.
- Massages: 5 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of vegetable (carrier) oil. For face massages, use only 2 – 3 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier.
- Poultices and compresses: It depends on the recipe and the issue you want to treat. But generally speaking, you can mix a few essential oil drops in water and hold a cloth, dipped in the mixture, on top of the affected area for half an hour.
- Baths: 10 drops of essential oils per teaspoon of neutral lotion, milk, honey or bath salt. Make sure you mix them very well before throwing the blend into the water.
Of course, all the above mentioned suggestions are general. They may vary depending on each recipe and condition of the person using it.
What to do when an essential oil is more toxic and you’re allowed to use only under 1% dilution?
There are cases when an essential oil is very toxic if it’s used in high doses (Wormwood, Tansy etc.) In that case the recommended dose to apply on skin may be less than 1%.
When that happens, you’ll have to know the exact recommended dose and do a bit of math. AromaWeb.com states that there are approximately 600 drops in a 30 ml (1 fl. ounce) of essential oil. Many sources seem to agree on this matter.
However, some essences might be very thick, in which case the number of drops will be less. Citrus oils and most other aromatic oils vary between 20 – 30 drops/ml.
Knowing that, you can find out how much of the toxic essential oil you’ll need to pour into your blend. For example, you may be allowed to use only 0.5% of the essential oil per 30 ml of carrier oil. In that case 600 drops x 0.005 will result in 3 drops of essential oil.
Those 3 drops will be the maximum of toxic essential oil you’ll use. But be very careful with toxic aromatic oils and look for the advice of a doctor before deciding to use any of them.
You can find even more tips and details in this new post:
Did You Know?
- There’s a fruit tree that can produce 3 different types of essential oils – the bitter orange tree. Neroli essential oil uses the blossoms. Bitter Orange essential oil uses the fruit’s skin. The twigs and leaves are used to make Petitgrain essential oil.
How Do You Mix Essential Oils with Carrier Oils and How to Get the Blend You Want?
Some essential oil blends are for skincare and others for hair care and nails. At the same time, others treat more serious skin problems like psoriasis. Now’s your chance to make your very own essential oils blend.
Each person’s needs are different and if you want to make a good blend, you’ll need a simple plan:
First of all, you’ll have to think about what you’re looking to achieve with the blend. Maybe you want your blend to be relaxing or energizing. Or you want the blend to be easily accessible and portable so you can use it every day at work or school.
There are many types of blends and essential oils that can help you focus or feel happier. But they can also take away some of the pain and help you sleep well. Just think what you need and write it down.
Next, you’ll have to do a bit of research and find the essential oil that has all the properties you’re looking for.
For relaxation you can use:
- Chamaemelum nobile – Roman Chamomile
- Citrus bergamia – Bergamot
- Lavandula hybrida – Super Lavender/Lavandin
- Lavandula angustifolia – Lavender
- Citrus sinensis – Orange
For a good blood circulation and for the silhouette you can use:
- Cupressus sempervirens – Cypress
- Citrus limon – Lemon
- Citrus paradise – Grapefruit
- Helichrysum italicum – Italian Helichrysum
For a good body tonic you can use:
- Cinnamomum zeylanicum – Cinnamon Bark and Twigs
- Mentha piperita – Peppermint
For a better digestion you can also use:
- Origanum majorana – Marjoram
- Ocimum basilicum – Basil
For a better and easier breathing:
- Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary
- Lelaleuca viridiflora – Niaouli
- Eucalyptus radiata and globulus – Eucalyptus
Essential oils to use for sleep:
- Veriana officinalis – Valerian root
- Lavandula angustifolia – Lavender
- Cananga odorata – Ylang Ylang
- Melissa officinalis – Melissa
And if you’re looking for great disinfectants or purifiers, you can use:
- Melaleuca alternifolia – Tea Tree
- Origanum compactum – Oregano
- Eugenia caryophyllus – Clove
Some essential oils can be used neat (undiluted), but they’re not many. For example, Lavender and Tea Tree oils are considered safe to use neat. However, on a long term, they can cause sensitization.
There are several categories of essential oils. Some of them mix a lot better with those oils that belong to the same category. If you want your blends to have a distinct smell, you’ll have to continue reading.
Floral essential oils (Lavender, Jasmine) blend well with the citrus, woodsy and spicy categories (Orange, Cedar, and Cinnamon).
The purpose here is to make your blend smell like you want it to smell. Otherwise, the medicinal benefits of the oils will still be the same even if you don’t add certain aromatic essential oils. It’s more important to follow the exact measures and ingredients in a recipe.
Please keep in mind that the order in which you add the essential oils doesn’t change the properties of the blend. As long as they’re in equal measures.
Only if the quantity of ingredients is not equal, then they can change the final properties of the blend. It may end up being too strong and cause skin reactions or headaches. So, make sure you’ve done a good research before changing the measures in a recipe.
Essential oils can evaporate. Because of that they also have notes, just like a perfume.
Base notes, middle notes and top notes reflect the way the essential oils evaporate. The base notes are the ones that are going to be on the skin for a long time, after the top and middle notes have evaporated.
- Top notes – evaporate first and very fast. They can be Peppermint, Basil, Lemon, Bergamot, etc.
- Middle notes – come right after the top notes and they last a while longer than the latter. They can be Pine, Tea Tree and Rosemary etc.
- Base notes – are the ones that stick with you for a long time after you’ve applied the oil on your skin. They can be Cedarwood, Ginger, Frankincense, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose etc.
One of the general rules when you blend by notes is to use 20% base notes, 30% top and 50% middle notes.
Say you need to add 20 drops of essential oil in a carrier oil. You’ll multiply the general percentage given above with the total number of drops needed. You’ll get 4 drops base notes (20 x 20% = 4), 6 drops top notes (20 x 30% = 6) and 10 drops middle notes.
You’ve chosen the oils you like and their scent, and you’ve decided what you need the blend for. After that, you should find a good carrier oil to dilute the essential oils mix.
The carrier oil can be anything you like, from Olive to Jojoba, Coconut or Grapeseed. Every carrier oil has specific properties and benefits of their own. Once the essential oils are combined with carrier oils, those benefits can only increase the power of the blend.
Keep in mind that some carriers have a distinct smell too. A good example would be Hemp seed or Olive oils.
All these steps will help you successfully blend your essential oils just the way you want them. How you’d mix essential oils with carrier oils may have seemed hard at the beginning, but I’m positive you have a much clearer idea now.
- Always stick to the recommended dose. But first, make sure your source is authentic and knows what he or she is talking about.
- Use pure, quality essential oils. Store them properly and you’ll enjoy their benefits for as long as possible.
- Always dilute your essential oils. Some blogs and sites promote the use of some essential oils directly on skin. Those essential oils are Lavender and Tea Tree. But that is something you must avoid doing if you don’t want your skin to develop sensitization.
- Perform allergy tests with all new essential oils.
- Read all the don’ts and warnings if you want to be safe while managing essential oils.
Did You Know?
- One study shows that Rosemary essential oil can influence the memory. But it can also influence the performance of the brain, making it more productive.
How to Use Your Blend in 3 Different Ways
Depending on needs or mood, essential oils may be used in many ways. As long as the oil is 100% pure and unadulterated, it’s great for therapeutic purposes.
Take all precaution measures before switching to natural remedies and keep in touch with your doctors. Tell them what you do to manage your health, so they can help you do so safely.
Essential oils can be used in 3 different ways:
1) Taking them internally – only with the doctor’s advice. Essential oils can be very dangerous. If taken in high doses and not knowing more about them, they can even cause death.
2) Using them on the skin (topically) – this is the most popular way of using essential oils blends. They can be used to treat migraines, influence the mood or treat skin reactions. Diluting essential oils for skin care should follow the 0,5 – 2% dilution ratio.
3) Diffusion – essential oils travel through the air and we inhale their molecules. Those molecules will positively affect the brain and change your mood, or help you sleep. They can also help you be more energetic and productive, or simply get you rid of a few minor health issues.
This is the best method to use for undiluted essential oils. Mix essential oil with essential oil and add a few drops in your aroma diffuser. No need for carrier oils here, as they would only clog it.
How to dilute essential oils for diffusers? Dilution is necessary whenever you’re using essential oils on skin. But when it comes to diffusing the oils, you don’t have to dilute it with anything else. You can mix and use more essences at a time.
Just pour them over some water, which won’t dilute their potency. Once the water starts boiling, the oil will slowly start evaporating. Read more about diffusion here.
For diffusion you can also use pieces of wood or cotton pads. They can absorb the essential oils very well and slowly release them into the air.
Which method you prefer more is entirely up to you. I use the cotton pad method a lot, but also a candle burner. And of course, I apply them on my skin quite often.
How do you mix essential oils with carrier oils? This question doesn’t really seem so strange anymore, does it? You’ve seen why we mix essential oils with carrier oils. You’ve also seen why it’s important to dilute these essential oils.
You have the general dilution measures and quantities to use in various blends. That information will help you start your mixing adventure and enjoy the amazing scents and benefits of essential oils.
Do you like mixing essential oils with carrier oils? Have you ever used them undiluted? What were the results?