How to Mix Essential Oils
When people buy essential oils for the first time, the most common question that they have is how to mix essential oils.
It is not as hard as you think. Just knowing the properties of the essential oils will tell you which things will smell best together and which will not.
The Fragrance Families (Aroma Families)
- Black Pepper
- Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
Best Mixes for Essential Oil Aroma Families
Citrus mixes best with spicy, woody, and floral
Floral mixes best with citrus, spicy, and woody
Earthy mixes best with woody
Woody mixes best with citrus, spicy, floral, and earthy
Spicy mixes best with citrus, woody, and floral
Top, Middle, and Base Notes
In addition to knowing which aromatic families of oils blend well together, it is also wise to take into account the scent characteristics known as “notes.”
There are three levels of notes, top, middle, and base and they are usually combined in a ratio of 25% top notes, 30% middle notes, and 45% base notes – or thereabouts.
To make matters simple and to keep the oil to a minimum amount when you are starting out learning how to mix essential oils, let’s plan to use 3 oils and 10 total drops.
Obviously, you can’t easily make 25% of 10 drops, because that will be 2.5 drops, so for the sake of simplicity, let’s do a bit of rounding. You can let your nose be the guide if you want to add a drop or so more of your top, middle, or base note.
Based on a 10 drop essential oil recipe blend, use the following amounts:
Top Note: 2 drops
Middle Note: 3 drops
Base Note: 5 drops
There is no absolute right or wrong in blending essential oils, and you will probably find that you want to add more of a certain oil in a blend because you happen to really like that oil. That is fine. You also might find that you make some scents that don’t appeal to you. That is part of the learning process and why we are working with such small amounts.
So, now that we know how to blend our top, middle, and base note oils, let’s look at what makes an oil a top note vs. a base note and which oils fall into each of the classifications.
Top Note Essential Oils
Top note essential oils are highly volatile, meaning that their aroma is quick to be noticed and quick to disappear. Top note essential oils are commonly described as “light” or “uplifting.”
Middle Note Essential Oils
Middle note essential oils provide a “rounded-out” aroma, or “body” to a mix. They are often described as “warm” scents and are noticed after the top level aromas begin to fade. Middle note oils do not provide the same uplifting feeling as top note oils. Instead, they are considered more grounding. They bring about an awareness of the present – that is, what is happening now, at this very moment.
Base Note Essential Oils
The presence of base note essential oils in a blend serves a couple of purposes. First, they delay the evaporation of top and middle note oils. This allows for a longer duration of the full blend to be appreciated. Second, they are extremely rich and fragrant and provide a very relaxing quality to a blend of oils.
- Clary Sage
- Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
- Black Pepper
Dilution and Carrier Oils
Once you have an essential oil blend that you like that you want to use on your body, you should dilute your essential oil mix with a non-essential, or “carrier,” oil.
A carrier oil is just what it sounds like. It carries, or holds, the essential oil for application to the skin. Common carrier oils are grapeseed oil, almond oil, and coconut oil, although you can use pretty much any oil. Just make sure to find one that is not heavily scented, like olive oil, as this can interfere with the overall aroma.
To figure out how much dilution you want, start with one drop of your essential oil blend and put it in a separate container. Next, add 4 drops of your carrier oil.
This makes a total of 5 drops, 1/5th of which is essential oil.
1 drop essential oil blend and 4 drops carrier oil.
That makes a 20% dilution.
If you would like to make the essential oil blend go even farther, add another 5 drops of carrier oil. Now you have a total of 10 drops.
1 drop essential oil blend and 9 drops carrier oil, or 1/10th essential oil.
This is a 10% dilution.
Why Dilute Essential Oils?
Why would you want to dilute your oil? There are several reasons. First, all essential oils are very concentrated and some of them can be too strong for direct use on the skin. Certain oils, such as oregano can actually cause a very strong burning sensation.
Second, you simply don’t need much essential oil. More does not equal better. If you are using essential oils in a therapeutic manner, doubling or tripling the amount of oil used does not produce a better result. Good quality therapeutic grade essential oils are not cheap, so spare yourself a few dollars and use very small amounts with confidence that they are still getting the job done.
Now that you have all of the basics down, get yourself some essential oils, channel your inner aromatherapist, and have fun. The guidelines listed here are just that – guidelines. They are not rules that you must follow or the Aromatherapy Police will come banging down your door. These are just the common ways that the pros go about making professional blends. If it doesn’t work for you, then do what feels right.