If you have a few favorite essential oil blends from companies you love, then I know you’ve wondered how to make your own.
When I first started using essential oils, I would often buy different synergistic blends to help me with mood, sleep, and energy. They really helped me with what I needed but after a while it was starting to get expensive! After buying the same blend for the fifth time, I decided to start experimenting with making my own version but some of the recipes I thought up would be too overpowering, cloying, or just not what I had envisioned. After many failed attempts, I was beginning to think that it was just too complicated to blend my own essential oils.
I really wanted to learn how to create my own synergistic blends because they’re so useful in everyday situations. They are both therapeutic and aromatic which makes them pleasant, easy to use, effective, and convenient. Plus, making your own can help save you a lot of money in the long run.
It took a bit of time, but after a while I became more and more confident with the art of blending essential oils. Learning this skill will not only empower you as a budding at home aromatherapist, it will also help you learn about the various properties and benefits of using essential oils.
How to Blend Essential Oils
Here we will go through the necessary steps involved when creating an effective synergistic blend because you do not want to make the mistakes I did (farewell expensive bottle of jasmine absolute!) so I’ll save you the grief and the money while I’m at it.
What are you Looking to Achieve?
First and foremost, what will the purpose of this blend be and how do you plan on using it? Do you need to reduce stress or increase your focus? Do you have seasonal allergies or chronic pain? Do you have acne, scars, cuts, scrapes, or bruises? Think of the issues you face often and write them down.
This is a good way to begin building your home medicine chest with useful blends as you go!
Choosing Quality Essential Oils
Did you know that there are many different qualities of essential oils? Just like everything else, essential oils brands will be different in their quality, purity, and therapeutic strength. Some will be high quality while others will contain fillers or be altered in ways that feign purity in order to improve their scent.
For example, some companies may have a peppermint oil that smells exactly like a candy cane while others may smell very green. Knowing the properties of peppermint will tell you that peppermint should have both of these qualities in a balanced oil.
Just because an oil smells better than another does not mean it is higher or lower quality, I just want you to be aware that some oils MAY be adulterated and going on scent alone is a poor way to judge the quality of an essential oil in most cases.
The best way to learn about the integrity of an essential oil company is to do your own research. Once you have found a company you trust, go with them.
The best essential oil brands I have come across include:
For more comparisons, check out this article.
How to Find Essential Oils with the Properties You Need
Now that you have chosen a brand or two to go with, it’s time to further narrow down the specific essential oils you need for your blend.
Thankfully, this is pretty easy to do! All you have to do is type in something like “essential oils for mental clarity” or “uplifting essential oils” into Google Search.
Here’s some of the essential oils that came up when I searched for these phrases:
• Clary Sage
• Juniper Berry
• Lemon verbena
When you look at this list of oils, you may notice that many of them have uplifting and clarifying scents. There are fresh uplifting oils like lemon, lemongrass, basil, grapefruit, clary sage, sage, and bergamot and there are strong minty oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, spearmint, cypress, and rosemary. There are also a few floral scents like jasmine and lavender. Each oil has its own unique qualities and applications and will affect you in different ways.
How to Blend Essential Oils Based on their Notes and Properties
This was probably the trickiest part when I first began blending my own essential oils – choosing essential oils based on their properties and scent profile. However, over time I was able to identify key factors by studying different oils, namely by using this book.
Essential Oil Properties
Essential oils are categorized by their chemical make-up as well as their scent. Lucky for you this goes hand in hand, making if fairly easy to figure out which oils have similar properties.
Some category examples include:
Essential oils in the same category generally blend well together, but they can also blend well with oils in other categories.
Some examples include:
• Floral oils blend well with spicy, woodsy, and citrusy oils
• Minty oils blend well with earthy, woodsy, herbaceous, and citrusy oils
• Spicy oils blend well with floral and citrusy oils
• Woodsy oils blend well with pretty much all categories
How to Blend Essential Oils Harmoniously
Just like other fragrances, essential oils smell differently a few hours after they are applied. This is because certain properties evaporate more quickly than others, causing the aroma to reflect the remaining oils.
To determine the aromatic “notes” of an essential oil we will look at how quickly they evaporate.
Top Notes or Head Notes
These oils evaporate within 1-2 hours after being applied and are the quickest to dissipate due to there thin nature. They are often considered to be stimulating, light, refreshing, diffusive, sharp, and penetrating with light attributes. These oils make up about 5-20% of a blend.
Some examples of top note essential oils include:
• Bay laurel
• Bergamot mint
• Lemon Verbena
Middle Notes or Heart Notes
Middle note oils are usually soft and balanced and are the main theme or focal point of the blend, about 50-80%. They are considered to be very harmonizing oils. These oils evaporate within 2-4 hours.
• Carrot Seed
• Chamomile, German
• Chamomile, Roman
• Clary Sage
• Clove Bud
• Fir Needle
• Juniper Berry
• Pepper, Black
• Tea Tree, Common
• Tea Tree, NZ (Manuka)
• Ylang Ylang
Base Notes or Bottom Notes
Having the lowest evaporation rates, base note oils are deep, dense, heavy, strong, tenacious, and supportive oils that are often used as a fixative for a blend. Many of these oils are resins, gums, or woods and can be quite viscous. These oils are often relaxing in nature and make up about 5-20% of a blend. Base note oils can take up to several days to completely evaporate.
• Balsam, Peru
• Cedarwood, Atlas
• Cedarwood, Virginian
• Douglas Fir
• Fir, Balsam Absolute
• Helichrysum (Immortelle)
I’ve put the previously discussed essential oils for mental clarity and boosting the mood in bold for your convenience so you can see where they are.
For beginners, it’s best to start with just 3 different essential oils – a top note, a middle note, and a base note. Once you become more experienced on how to blend essential oils to your liking, you can increase the complexity of your blend.
To make a simple mental clarity blend, we need to look at each note category and pick the ones that stand out to us most. I am a huge fan of lemon (an oil known for its clarifying and uplifting properties) and I can see it is in the top note category.
Next choose an oil that goes well with the top note oil you chose. Since I chose a citrusy oil (a very simple category to begin with), I know that all of the categories fit well for blending. For the middle note, I wanted an oil that has a strong clarifying effect on sluggishness and brain fog. I know that rosemary has these properties and also happens to be a middle note oil.
Lastly, you need to choose a base note. Since I chose rosemary as my middle note, I will need to choose a base note that goes well with herbaceous oils. Oils that go well with this category are woodsy or minty in nature. Since minty oils are generally in the top note category, it would be better to go with a woodsy scent to balance out my blend which are often found in the base note category.
Looking at the list and considering the type of blend I’m going for (clarifying), I need to choose an oil with the properties I need. Since cedarwood and vetiver are very relaxing almost sleep inducing oils, I can’t use those for the blend I’m looking for. Instead, I would choose frankincense, balsam fir, or douglas fir, oils known for increasing energy and clarifying the mind.
How to Test Your Essential Oil Blends
Now that we’ve chosen our oils, it’s time to test them!
Generally, you only want to use a total of 10 drops of essential oil. This will make sure you don’t needlessly waste oils as you experiment and it makes it easy to ratio out the different notes. As your blends become more complex, you can increase this amount to 25 drops total.
To begin, you will need a few small 2ml amber bottles. You will also need a notebook so that you can carefully list which oils you use and how many drops of each (I use tally marks for this). It’s really easy to forget this part when your creative juices are flowing so it’s really important. Just imagine creating an amazing blend and you can’t remember what was in it or how much!
Speaking of keeping notes, be sure to write down the company name of the oil as well. This is because oils will smell pretty different between companies based on a multitude of factors. If you like the lavender by Vitality Works better than Aura Cacia, you better write it down! I also recommend numbering your test bottles and recipes to correspond with one another for future reference. You’re going to be aging these so you need to know what is what.
Next, you want to follow a ratio guideline until you get the hang of things.
Remember the general percentages each note represents in a blend?
1. Top notes- 5-20%
2. Middle notes- 50-80%
3. Base notes- 5-20%
So, for a test blend of 10 drops total, the top note should be 1-2 drops, the middle note should be 5-8 drops, and the base note should be 1-2 drops. The trick here is adding them one by one.
To do this, I usually start out with the minimum percentage for the middle note category sense this is the focal point of the oil. That means that I will add 5 drops minimum (50%) of the 10 drop total to the bottle first. I will then add 1 drop of the top note and one drop of the base note. At this point, we are at 7/10 drops. You can now add 3 more drops of EO from the oils you chose one at a time, smelling between each addition, until you reach the blend you like.
Mine looked like this:
***Remember, there is not the absolute method for blending, these ratios just give you a great starting point so that you know what to look for.
Once you have decided on how many drops of each oil you are going to use, cap the bottle and let it age for a week (or at least 24-48 hours) before using them (yes, even the ones you didn’t like!). Blends undergo an amazing transformation and synergy as they age. The oils sort of get nice and cozy with each other and blends that you may have been disappointed with may now smell amazing! This is the reason why taking notes is so important!
After your blends have aged, it’s time to smell them and see how you did.
First smell them straight from the bottle and see how you feel about them. Take some notes.
Next, try making a 20% dilution it in carrier oil by adding one drop of your blend to 4 drops of carrier oil. Rub this on one of your inner wrists and smell. What do you think of it? Take notes as you go.
Now make a 10% dilution by adding 1 drop of your blend to 8 drops of carrier oil and apply it to your other inner wrist and smell. What do you think now?
If you like it, wonderful! You can now replicate the formula and multiply it to get the amount you need. For example, if you want to make a 5ml bottle of your new essential oil blend simply multiply the formula by 8 to get 80 total drops of essential oil.
This is how my formula would look:
If you don’t like your original formula, you can either discard it OR you can up the total test drops to 20 and begin reformulating. Maybe you wanted more lemon than frankincense or less rosemary. This will allow you to do that. At any rate, you won’t be wasting very much oil if you do decide you don’t like the mix.
Have you tried your hand at blending essential oils? Let me know in the comments!
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