Unless you’re a professional chef with many years of experience, you probably rely upon a recipe when you head into the kitchen to cook dinner or make a dessert for your sister’s birthday party. Adding one tablespoon of pumpkin spice or one tablespoon of garlic in a recipe can make all the difference to the outcome, and blending essential oils is no different.
For anybody just joining the essential oil movement, essential oils are the liquid extracts of various plants. They are extremely potent with unbelievable aromas and even more impressive therapeutic properties. For example, Lavender is known for its ability to relax and aid sleep, while Clary Sage is popular for female hormone support. While essential oils are incredibly powerful on their own, they possess even more influence when they are blended together.
If you are just beginning to experiment with blending your own essential oils, you certainly are not alone! Blending can seem complicated with the different sizes, percentages, measurements, and oil types available, but this guide will help to break it down so that you can establish the basics before vying for your aromatherapy certification.
Step 1: Understand Categories
Essential oils are commonly grouped into categories to help blenders combine oils that will work well together. As you read essential oil descriptions, you’ll notice that one at least one, and sometimes two or three, of these categories are used to describe an oil’s aroma.
|Citrus||Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine|
|Floral||Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender, Neroli, Rose, Ylang Ylang|
|Herbaceous||Basil, Clary Sage, Rosemary|
|Camphoraceous (Medicinal)||Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Cajuput|
|Spicy||Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Coriander|
|Woody||Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Pine, Cypress|
|Earthy||Patchouli, Vetiver, Valerian|
If you’re blending oils for the first time, start by combining oils within the same category. Citrus blends well with other citrus oils, and woody oils smell nice with others of their kind. If you’re ready to experiment more boldly, consider these guidelines.
|Base Category||Blends Well With…|
|Floral||Spicy, Citrus, Woodsy|
|Camphoraceous and Minty||Citrus, Woodsy, Herbaceous, Earthy|
Step Two: Understand Notes
If this is starting to sound like music class, it’s not your imagination. In addition to categories, essential oils are also described as base, middle, or top notes. A ‘note’ identifies how quickly an oil evaporates and what scent remains after many hours.
Base notes are the heaviest notes that serve as the foundation of a blend because they will last the longest. Middle notes, as the name suggests, hold the blend steady but are not as intense as the base notes. Top notes, meanwhile, are light, airy, and dissipate after 1 or 2 hours.
The most effective blends will contain top, middle, and base notes, although it’s not a hard and fast requirement. Experts suggest a blend consists of roughly 30% top notes, 50% middle notes, and 20% base notes. Don’t let the percentages stress you out though, a blend with different proportions can still work well!
|Common Top Notes||Anise, Basil, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tangerine|
|Common Middle Notes||Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Neroli, Black Pepper, Rose, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang|
|Common Base Notes||Balsam, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ginger, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver|
Step Three: Choose Your Results
Blending essential oils can serve a huge variety of purposes. Do you need to energize your mind? Relax and unwind? Focus? Alleviate muscle pain? Boost the immune system? The list goes on and on! Since essential oils serve such an abundance of functions, it’s best to browse your favorite essential oil website (wink, wink) or do a trust Google search to gather a list of the best essential oils for your purpose. Here are a few examples.
|Mood Boosters||Lemon, Lavender, Jasmine, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Peppermint|
|Support the Immune System||Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, Frankincense, Eucalyptus|
|Sleep Aids||Valerian, Lavender, Chamomile, Frankincense, Sweet Marjoram,|
|Focus and Concentration Oils||Rosemary, Lemon, Cypress, Peppermint, Grapefruit, Black Pepper|
Of course, there are an abundance of customized blend recipes already out there that you can utilize, but understanding the logic behind those recipes allows you to adjust them to your own needs if desired.
Step Four: Blend!
As you’re learning to perfect your art of essential oil blending, it’s a good idea to use only five drops of oils total. This way you can experiment without depleting your essential oil stocks and save up for the blends that you master and want to use consistently.
Use a dark glass bottle to store your blend so that your oils don’t evaporate or become compromised by too much light. It’s also a helpful idea to keep track of your blends in a notebook so that you can officially eliminate blends that don’t work and remember your favorites for the future.
And now the big question… what do you do with the oils once they are blended!? You have quite a few options. The easiest is to diffuse the blend into the air and reap the benefits via inhalation. Diffusers are extremely easy to use and serve to send your essential oil blend into the air throughout the day.
You can also dilute the oils with a carrier oil to apply topically. This involves combining your oil blend with an ounce or two of coconut oil, jojoba oil, or any other base that you would like to use. This is the preferred method to safely massage oils onto the skin. Dilution is different for children than adults, so check out this blog for more information: Using EO’s Safely With Babies and Children!
Blending is a fine balance between art and science. Use these basic steps to serve as guidelines, but don’t be afraid to get creative!