Blending Essential Oils
- Simple But Powerful
Blending essential oils can be easy and great fun!
Blending simply means the mixing together of essential oils and carrier oils. To get the best results you may need to do some research and experimenting............and don't necessarily expect to get it right every single time! The journey can sometimes be just as important as the end result. By experimenting you will discover more about the properties of the individual oils and, most importantly, how they work together.
You will find that there are particular essential oils that you really like and some blends that you really love! One of my favourite oils is black pepper, and in the past I have tried to mix it with just about every other essential oil I have. Sometimes it works really well..........and other times I just don't like the result!
As you have probably experienced, certain aromas suit some people and not others. For instance, I really like spicy, earthy and citrus smells, whereas you may prefer floral scents.
You need to find your own end aroma and the best way to do this is by blending your selected essential oils in different combinations.
So.....what makes a good aromatherapy blend?
This depends on why you want to make the blend.
Is it for personal use? To fragrance a room? For therapeutic purposes? Do you want to use your blend for an aromatherapy massage?
Your reason will help determine which oils you choose to blend, and how you blend them.
Here are some basics to help you decide.
Different oils have different rates of evaporation. Most essential oils fall into one of three categories depending on their volatility.
Of course, this is not set in stone. Some oils do cross over between the notes and can be described, for example as 'top middle'.
- top notes - the lightest fragrances which are quickest to evaporate and the most stimulating and uplifting to the mind and body. They tend to give the first impression of a blend and typically have antiseptic properties.
- middle notes - These are warm, soft and subtle fragrances which usually last throughout a massage. They have medium volatility and tend to affect the functions and general metabolism of the body. Also good for balancing and relaxing the mind.
- base notes - the slowest to evaporate, so last the longest and are usually the most relaxing and sedating oils. They tend to be the last impression of a blend.
When you are blending essential oils, it often works best when you use an oil from each note.
A 3:2:1 ratio is a good place to begin - three parts top note to two parts middle note to one part base note. It is best to use up to three different essential oils. If you use too many then the oils may have an antagonistic effect on each other and the benefits of the therapeutic actions will be reduced. I normally use a blend of three but often two is sufficient and sometimes even one individual oil will do the job!
Another way of classifying essential oils is under the following headings: spicy, floral, citrus, woody, green, and resins. Essential oils in the same category generally blend well together. In other words citrus blends well with citrus etc.
Floral oils are probably the easiest to blend, so this would be a good starting point.
When blending essential oils they can produce effects which are more than the combined effects of the individual oils. Some oils blend together better than others and have an enhancing effect together. This is called synergy. For example, adding lavender to chamomile enhances its anti-inflammatory properties.
So.......the very best essential oil blends are those that bring out the best properties of each individual oil.
Remember this is only a guide! It is your end aroma and only you know exactly what you are looking for.
Blending essential oils for an aromatherapy massage
In an aromatherapy massage it is usual to use two or three essential oils blended together with a carrier oil. My preferred carrier for aromatherapy massage is sweet almond oil as it is quite light. If I am massaging someone with dry or ageing skin I would probably mix in some avocado oil as well. The carrier oils all add to the blend!
What equipment will I need?
To start with, the basic equipment you will need is a clear glass or plastic measuring container, marked in millilitres, and a glass rod for stirring. If you can find a glass or china dish marked in millilitres that works very well too! The carrier oil (or oils) are measured into the container or dish, and the drops of essential oil added. You can then stir the mixture with the glass rod and it is ready.
How much oil will you need?
Try not to mix too much oil as you will end up wasting it!
The amount of oil needed will vary depending on various factors such as size of person, condition of skin, area being massaged etc. A good rule of thumb for a full body massage is to allow 10 ml for a small person, 14 ml for a medium person and up to 20 ml for a large person.
For a body massage the essential oils should form 2% to 3% of the blend. This sounds like it is going to be a difficult calculation and just as difficult to measure accurately! However, the essential oils are measured in drops.
2% in 10 ml of carrier oil is 5 drops. Just halve the number of milliltres of carrier oil and this gives you the number of drops. For example:
The maximum number of drops that should be used for a massage is 10 drops whatever the amount of carrier oil used.
- up to 5 drops in 10 ml of carrier oil,
- up to 7 drops in 14 ml
- up to 10 drops in 20 ml.
For a facial massage, the blend should be half the strength of that used for the body - 1% of the blend.
Things to consider when blending essential oils for a massage........
For a whole body massage, once a week is good, and twice a week should be an absolute maximum for regular treatment.
- Choose the appropriate essential and carrier oils for the person being massaged.
- Make sure they like the aroma of the individual oils as well as the blend of oils.
- Make sure you like the fragrance of the oils!
- Try to choose oils that have synergy.
Blending essential oils for aromatic purposes.
You may want to mix an aromatic blend ...... for baths, fragrancing a room, colognes or for some other idea that you may have had!
The main goal here, of course, is the aroma.
Blending essential oils for therapeutic reasons.
You may have aching muscles from a day in the garden.......or a headache.......or perhaps you just feel really stressed at the moment.
The focus here is to choose your oils carefully with a particular problem in mind and to create a blend to help. Of course, the aroma of the blend should still be considered as this effects moods and emotions.
When blending essential oils it is a good idea to keep a record of mixes that you like. It is very frustrating when you have found a wonderful aroma.........but just can't quite remember which oils you used and in what quantities!
Likewise, if a blend turns out to be pungent, or irritating to the skin you will want to make sure you don't make the same mistake again.
It is fascinating choosing and blending essential oils for use in aromatherapy and with experience, and practice, the most effective mix for your particular requirement can be worked out!
Remember......keep researching, keep experimenting and have fun!
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