How to blend essential oils – the expert guide

By Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

How to blend essential oils

To blend essential oils, you need to choose the oils you wish to use, choose your carrier substance, mix them together and apply!

It is important to know your quantities when blending, as essential oils are powerful chemical complexes, and could have an adverse effect if overused.

2 drops of essential oil to 5ml (approx 1 teaspoon) of carrier oil

6 drops of essential oil to 15ml (approx 1 tablespoon) of carrier oil

20 drops of essential oil to 50ml (approx 10 teaspoons) of carrier oil

Blending essential oils is simple and fun to do, but before making your own blends there’s a few things you need to consider and to be aware of;

  1. The therapeutic effects of the essential oils
  2. The ‘note’ of the essential oils
  3. Precautions of the essential oils
  4. The quantities to use when blending

Disclaimer – I am a qualified aromatherapist and have worked with oils for over 25 years, however, if ever in any doubt of the use of any oils, please consult you local practitioner or contact me for a

The therapeutic effects of essential oils

Each essential oil has a different property, or therapeutic action, meaning it has different effects on the body.  So before choosing the oils for your blend you will need to identify what effect you want the oil to have. 

Here are just some of the therapeutic actions that essential oils can have;

Analgesic – painkilling

Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation

Antidepressant – uplifting effect, helps lift depression and associated symptoms

Deodorant – removes or masks unpleasant smells

Depurative – removes toxins and impurities

Expectorant – helps remove mucus and clears the respiratory tract

Fungicidal – destroys fungus

Stomachic – aids digestion and eases indigestion

Tonic – invigorates and gives strength to the body – either as a whole or a specific area

Before you blend your essential oils, you need to decide what you want to use them for – what are you trying to treat, or what effect you are wanting to gain. This is where you look at each oil, and their therapeutic effects.

Here are just a few examples of essential oils and their therapeutic effects;

Basil – Antiseptic, Tonic, Uplifting

Chamomile – Analgesic, relaxing, Tonic

Eucalyptus – Analgesic, Antiseptic, Expectorant

Frankincense – Expectorant, Relaxing, Uplifting

Lavender – Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Depurative, Relaxing, Uplifting

Lemon – Antiseptic, Tonic, Uplifting

Tea Tree – Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antiviral

Find many different uses for essential oils here.

Essential oil Notes

Each essential oil is given a ‘note’; top, middle, or base. This means the rate at which each oil evaporates, and how long the aromas hang around for. 

Top notes are very light and refreshing fragrances – most citrus oils are top notes. Top notes are the aroma’s that usually disperse and disappear the quickest.

Base notes are much heavier ‘heady’ scents, that give an aroma a longer lasting quality – base notes are often found from oils extracted from roots or bark.

Middle notes bridge the gap, between the top and base notes, and balance both out – many floral essential oils are middle notes.

The notes of essential oils are commonly explored and used by perfume and fragrance companies, so that the aromas balance each other, and have lasting qualities on the skin.

When blending oils for home use, we can consider the notes of the oils, but you don’t necessarily need to use one of each note in every blend you make, however, for guidance, you won’t want to use only top notes – as the aroma won’t last – or only use base notes – as the scent will be too overpowering and heady.  A combination of 2 or 3 notes is recommended. It is more important to like the smell of the blend!

For the notes of each essential oil check out this article Essential Oil Guide

Precautions of essential oils

Using essential oils in small amounts is generally safe however there are some precautions you need to be aware of for some of the oils.

The main precaution is pregnancy.

The following oils should not be used during pregnancy – this is due to the oils provoking menstruation. (this list is not exhaustive – please consult your local aromatherapist or GP, before using essential oils topically, if pregnant or breastfeeding.)

Carrot seed, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary sage, Cypress, Fennel, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Melissa, Myrrh, Rose, Rosemary, Thyme

Other conditions to consider before the use of essential oils are; epilepsy, high blood pressure, kidney issues and very sensitive skin.

Some essential oils are also incompatible with homeopathic treatments.

For precautions of each oil, specifically read here.

How to blend essential oils

Essential oils must always be mixed with a carrier substance and not applied directly to the skin

They must also be used with caution as they are complex chemicals, and if over used, could have adverse effects, or the scent be overpowering. Keep in mind that just a few drops of each essential oil can have a powerful effect!

Basic blending guidelines are;

2 drops of essential oil to 5ml (approx 1 teaspoon) of carrier oil

6 drops of essential oil to 15ml (approx 1 tablespoon) of carrier oil

20 drops of essential oil to 50ml (approx 10 teaspoons) of carrier oil

Some other things to consider when blending oils;

  • Storage – essential oil blends should be stored in tinted bottles, so the light and heat cannot change their formulation
  • What you want to use the blend for and how much you will need – a facial oil is usually 5-10mls, while a body massage oil is 20ml plus
  • If using as a one off – for example in a dollop of shampoo – then use 1 drop of essential per 10p size ‘blob’
  • When blending for a diffuser or burner, then usually 3 drops of each oil is sufficient for a good aroma, however check the instructions on the diffuser first.

How can i use Essential oil blends?

You can use essential oils in many ways.

  • Massage oil
  • Body lotion
  • Face creams and skincare
  • For use in burner
  • Diffuser

Body Massage Oil

This is one of the most common methods to use essential oils for at home.  Performing some massage movements on yourself can be so beneficial and therapeutic and add to this some essential oils and you are enhancing the treatment you are giving yourself!  As you apply the oil to your skin, the warmth of your hands helps to move the oil and this in turn helps absorption of the oil into the affected area.

Suggested amount for blending body oils;

20 drops of essential oil to 50ml (approx 10 teaspoons) of carrier oil

Carrier oils

A carrier oil is the base oil that you add the essential oils to, to make your blend.  They do not evaporate when heated and do not have strong smells.  They literally ‘carry’ the essential oil, as essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin. 

Carrier oils that are good for blending a body oil;

  • Grapeseed oil – contains linoleic acid and vitamin E
  • Sweet Almond oil – high in vitamins and essential fatty acids
  • Avocado oil – a natural antioxidant

If you know that you will use the blend on a daily basis, then mixing a little more is a good idea. Once blended, the essential oils have the same shelf life as the carrier oil, which should be at least 12 months or so.

Essential oil blends should be stored in airtight, dark glass bottles.  This will ensure that the powers of the oils, remain the same and do not get changed or destroyed by sunlight or air.  Remember, pure essential oils are chemicals, so their composition can change if not protected, therefore destroying or changing their therapeutic actions.

Check out my articles on Using Essential Oils specifically targeting particular ailments/issues.

Face Massage Oil

Using a facial oil is a wonderful way of nourishing the skin and treating different skin conditions, and should be part of your daily facial routine!

Suggested amount for blending facial oils; 

2 drops of essential oil to 5 ml of carrier oil.

Carrier oils good for blending a face oil;

  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Peach Kernel Oil

You can use 2 drops of the same essential oil, or you may choose to use 2 oils and use 1 drop of each.

Suggested blends;

Sensitive skin – Neroli & Sandalwood

Dry/mature – Rose & Mandarin

Oily/acne – Lemon & Geranium 

(Mandarin & lemon are phototoxic, so direct sunlight should be avoided after application. Rose should be avoided during pregnancy.)

For a more in depth look at essential oils for skin types and skin condition READ HERE

Other ways to use essential oil blends

Steam inhalation

Essential oils can be added to hot water and inhaled in the steam.  This is particularly effective for respiratory or sinus problems.  It is effective at clearing excess mucus from the area, clearing blocked noses and clearing the respiratory tract. 

For treating colds, flu, respiratory issues, or sinus congestion, the following oils would be beneficial;

  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea Tree
  • Lemon 
  • Fill a bowl of a sink with hot water.
  • Add 2 drops of your chosen oil
  • Lean over the bowl – making sure you do not get to close
  • Cover your head with a towel, to ensure steam does not escape
  • Inhale the steam for a few minutes, making sure you keep your eyes closed.  

Burners & diffusers

These are great ways to freshen your rooms at home while helping with conditions such as anxiety, depression, colds and flu, depending on what essential oil blends you use.

Skincare products

Essential oils can be added to any of your skincare products to make them smell wonderful and enhance their benefits.  Or you can easily make your own.  Any unperfumed cream or lotion can have 1 or 2 drops of essential oils added to it to give you a tailor made product, specifically suited to your skin type!

If you are adding essential oils to one of your branded skincare products, do check the ingredients.  Products with a lot of chemicals in them, can react with the essential oil or change its therapeutic effect, so while it is ok to add oils, be aware of this fact. 

Follow the same blending guidelines as for facial massage oils;  2 drops of oil per 5 ml of product.  

For a face mask, add one drop of essential oil for each application.  

Shampoos

Essential oils can be added to mild, unperfumed shampoos to create a unique blend for your hair.  

Add one drop of oil per shampoo application.

  • A drop of chamomile can enhance blond hair
  • A drop of rosemary can enhance darker shades of hair
  • Citrus oils, such as lemon and grapefruit can refresh and cleanse the scalp
  • Peppermint is stimulating and refreshes the scalp, body and mind.

Neat

There are very few oils that can be used neat on the skin – the 2 main ones are lavender and tea tree  – and these should only be in very small quantities.  Lavender can be massaged onto the temples or a dab put under the nose to treat headaches. 

Tea tree can be dabbed directly onto the skin wherever there is a spot.  A ‘dab’ means dipping a cotton bud into the essential oil and applying this only to the skin. 

How do essential oils work?

Essential oils are the aromatic substances or pure oils extracted from the leaves, petals, herbs, peel or bark from plants, flowers, trees and fruits.

They are often referred to as the plant’s life force and are usually extracted from the plant by means of distillation (a steam process method) or expression (squeezing the oil out).

The molecules in these essential oils are so fine that they are able to penetrate the surface of the skin and absorb to the deeper layers of the skin.  From here they enter the bloodstream and travel around the body to have an affect.  

They work by changing the chemical messages and impulses sent around the body, therefore changing the ways the body functions.  For example if an oil is known for relaxing, then it may help to reduce heart rate and breathing rate to calm the body down. 

The aroma of the oils can also enter the body via the olfactory system, which is to do with the nose and inhalation.  The molecules travel through the olfactory membranes at the back of the nose and enter the body here. The scent alone can also have a psychological effect, as smells are very evocative.  If we like a smell or it reminds us of a happy time, then we will feel relaxed or uplifted.  If we don’t like a smell it is likely to have a negative effect on your mind.

This is the only ways that oils can enter the body.  People often ask if it is quicker to swallow essential oils – NEVER ingest essential oils,  this can be very dangerous. 

For loads more ideas, recipes and blends for essential oils READ HERE!!

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