Many people who have learned how to use essential oils already know that aromas can trigger memories and emotions. The brain’s olfactory lobe is part of the limbic system and it’s in charge of smell, but it also manages long-term memories and emotions.
Blending the top essential oils is all about inhaling and experimenting with scent.
If you’re new to aromatherapy and essential oils, one of the best ways to become more familiar with their powerful effects is learning how to mix essential oils and experiment with different combinations.
You can begin experimenting by blending different types of oils in body sprays, soaps, and diffusers. While this creative process is fun, learning how to correctly blend these oils is actually an art form and one that will take a bit of practice and skill. It can also be very helpful to have a few tools in your arsenal when you’re working on creating a unique essential oil mixture that’s perfect for you and your home.
Let’s dig a little deeper and learn more about the important aromatherapy and essential oil mixing fundamentals.
Diluting and Mixing Essential Oils
Once you’ve found an essential oil you like you can add it to a base product such as shampoos, lotions, soaps, or a wide range of health and beauty items. Essential oils are highly concentrated and powerful, so in most cases using a base product is important in order to avoid skin irritation.
You can also mix common carrier oils with essential oils because essential oils tend to evaporate quickly. Carrier oils typically come from the fatty portion of a plant and allow the scent of essential oil to remain for a longer period of time.
Common carrier oils include jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and grapeseed oil.
Our Sense of Smell
Every person’s sense of smell is different and unique. What may smell good to one person may smell overpowering to another. When you’re creating your own essential oil blend it’s important that you use oils you’re familiar with and enjoy, then you can branch out and create unique blends for other people based on their preference.
Identifying aromas is the first skill you’ll need to develop. Aromatherapists will catalog aromas into notes or components.
An individual oil may be categorized as a base, middle, or top note. Some essential oils can also contain all three notes. More often, individual oils will be categorized as dominant or single. So, when you blend, you’ll want to choose an oil from different categories to create a scent that’s pleasing and not overwhelming.
An essential oil blend will consist of three notes:
Top: The top note is the strongest scent in a blend and is usually the characteristic feature of the essential oil.
Middle: Oil blends that contain a middle note tend to last longer. In a blend, this note is usually referred to as the heart of the aroma.
Base: In a blend, the base is a scent that appears much later than the other two scents, and it’s what tends to give the mixture its staying power. Essential oil blends with a powerful base can help a lotion or soap to maintain its scent.
Experimenting with Blending Essential Oils
To start experimenting, begin by choosing oils that you feel create a pleasant aroma. Don’t be afraid to get creative. In the beginning, try not to worry about the category they fall in. Instead, keep it simple and choose four of five oils to start with.
For the first step, consider what scents you normally enjoy. This can help you to choose the right type of oil to use in your blend.
Do you prefer specific spices or herbs? Do you love the scent of crisp greens or the strong scent of fresh flowers?
Next, grab a testing strip and perform an organoleptic test. To do, you’ll place a couple of drops of each oil on the test strip. This will give you an excellent idea of how the blend will smell once mixed. Breathe in the aroma and take note of what scents hit you first.
Next, leave the test strip, allowing the oils to evaporate for half an hour. Return to the strip and smell it again, take note if the aroma smells light or heavy. Did the initial scent last or is it overpowered by another particular scent? You should also take note of how you feel when inhaling the oils. Is it too overpowering? Does it bring on a relaxing sensation or do you feel more energized?
If you’re unhappy with the results, start over. You can switch out certain oils or add new ones until you get the perfect aroma.
Finding a Balance
Now that you’ve chosen four or five oils it’s important to focus on aroma strength. Keep in mind that the oil’s strength is much different from its evaporation rate. If one of the oils you’ve chosen is very powerful, then you won’t blend an equal amount of oils into that particular formula, unless you want to use that oil as the dominant scent.
As an example, if you use an oil that contains both lavender and chamomile, you’ll soon realize that chamomile has a much stronger scent. Because of this, you may want to introduce more lavender, in order to prevent the chamomile from overpowering the lavender.
Essential Oil Ratios
If this is your first time mixing essential oils and you’ve chosen oils that are very powerful and potent, make an aroma wand to determine the right ratio of oils for your blend. Add a couple of drops of each oil to five perfume strips, creating a fan with the strips in your hand. Waft the fan back and forth, inhaling. This can be very helpful when it comes to adjusting each oil’s ratio based on the aroma strength.
Many experts recommend beginning by basing your blend on one hundred drops in order to help you to determine the percentage of each oil you’ll use in your mixture. You can easily decrease or increase the amount of each oil used based on preference and the oil you’ve chosen as the dominant aroma. Remember, this is your blend, there are no right or wrong results, just as long as you enjoy the final product.
While you’re experimenting, take the time to stop and breathe in the fragrance every time you increase the ratio of each oil. Often, you’ll find that you need to stop what you’re doing and leave the room, so you can essentially jumpstart your sense of smell and get a fresh take on the blend.
Don’t be afraid to try new scents, and take careful notes of how much of each oil you’ve added to the blend, so you can recreate the scent in the future.