Creating Your Unique Essential Oil Blend
Aromatherapy is a healing art that uses essential oils to create fragrances which positively affect the mind, body, and spirit. The oils are distilled from plants, herbs, trees and flowers which all have their own healing properties.
Be selective when choosing your oils. Choose scents that are pleasing to you, as well as capable of aiding any physical, mental, or emotional issues you may be having. Design a scent that will inspire you with joy and purpose.
Don’t choose anything that you are allergic to – for example, if you are allergic to lemons, you will be allergic to lemon essential oil (and it’s possible other citrus oils may irritate your skin). Be careful as some oils such as clove, ginger, and cinnamon are strong, natural irritants and should be used sparingly. It is advisable to perform a patch test.
Essential oils are organic materials and degrade plastic, so are best blended and stored in dark glass bottles such as amber or cobalt blue (2ml glass amber bottles and/or 1 oz amber glass bottles). You can also get single bottles at your local WholeFoods). Direct exposure to sunlight can damage the structure of the oil and shorten the shelf life. They will last for about a year with the exception of citrus oils like lemon and bergamot, which keep their integrity for around 6 months. Certain dark oils and resins, such as patchouli or myrrh, actually get better with age. Essential oils will start to get cloudy when they are going off, and the smell will change.
When mixing essential oils to create a signature blend, it is advisable to only use three scents: a top note, a middle note, and a bottom note.
The oils and methods suggested here are simply that – suggestions. These are basic guidelines for beginning blenders. The more experienced you become with the oils and the way the scents react to one another, the more creative and skilled you’ll become. You may feel drawn to create your blend out of all top notes, or two middles and one base, etc. – and that’s perfectly fine. Trust your intuition, allow yourself the freedom to explore, and be creative!
Top notes: These oils are generally made from citrus plants [e.g. orange, lemon, eucalyptus]. They have a high vibration, and the scents tend to be sharp, cool, stimulating, and uplifting. They evaporate quickly and are absorbed by the skin rapidly; top notes give the first impression of the blend and are not very long lasting.
Suggested top notes:
Middle notes: These oils are generally extracted from herbs and flowers [e.g. lavender, peppermint]. They are active and purposeful, giving body and balance to the blend as they are usually warmer fragrances. They are absorbed into the skin slower than top notes, and their effects on the body can last up to 3 days. The bulk of essential oils are middle notes.
Suggested middle notes:
Base notes: These oils are the heavy, sweet, rich fragrances of wood and resins [e.g.frankincense, patchouli]. They are soothing and sedating, and they evaporate slowly, meaning this will be the fragrance that carries the most weight in your blend.
Suggested base notes:
Choose one top, one middle, and one base note from the essential oils listed to make your blend. Start your blend experiment by mixing your oils at the suggested following ratio:
- 30% top note
- 50% middle note
- 20% base note
(e.g. 6 drops of top note, 10 drops of middle note, 4 drops of base note)
Roll the bottle between your hands to warm it up and allow the oils to bond together, then give it a whiff. Does it smell how you envisioned, or do you need to add more oil? Is there something missing?
Keep adding oils in 1-2 drop measurements, blending them between your hands and cleansing your palate each time before you sniff, until the blend reaches the fragrance you find pleasing and rich.
Inhale the aroma of coffee beans or a strong tea to cleanse your palate in-between whiffs of your oil blend.
In your journal, keep a list of the oils you used and the number of drops you added from each oil. When your creative nature begins to flow, it’s easy to lose track of what you are adding to the mix, which makes it difficult to recreate your blend.
Let the blend sit for about 24 hours, and then give it another whiff. Does it still smell the same, or has the fragrance shifted the more the oils settled together? If you are unhappy with your fragrance, decide what’s missing – your top, middle, or bottom note – and re-blend. Let it set for another 6-12 hours, test it again, and repeat as necessary until the blend is the fragrance you desire.
When you are happy with your fragrance, you can use a drop or two on its own as a perfume, in an oil diffuser to fragrance a room, or as bath additive.
You can also dilute your essential oil blend with a carrier oil in order to create luxurious tools such as a body oil, a ritual anointing oil, or a massage oil.
Carrier oils are vegetable oils derived from nuts or seeds. They aid carrying essential oils through the skin to the blood (mineral oils will not penetrate the skin) . The basic ratio for dilution is 1:4 (essential oil : carrier oil)
Types of carrier oils:
Resources and Recommendations
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded by Valerie Ann Worwood
Scent and Psyche: Using Essential Oils for Physical and Emotional Well-Being by Kate and Peter Damian
Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cunningham
The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D.