Essential Oil Blending Guide: Creating Fragrance Oils

February 12, 2017

Essential Oil Blending Guide: Creating Fragrance Oils

Essential Oil Blending Guide: Creating Fragrance Oils

Essential oils are nothing new, but many people are just discovering the variety of ways these oils can be used. From DIY perfumes to use in homemade cleaners, essential oils have found their home in many daily applications.

They can also help with energy levels, stress relief, and improve overall mood.

The sharp tones of lemon or orange essential oil can help energize and invigorate before heading to work. A few drops of lavender essential oil in a bath salt mix can help to relax and wind down after a long, hard day at work. Bergamot or jasmine essential oils might help to provide relief from the "winter blues" sometimes experienced during cold and dark weather.

The easiest and most convenient way to apply these essential oils is a pleasantly discrete fragrance oil. Fragrance oils provide more benefits than most perfumes and don't overwhelm bystanders like alcohol-based sprays.

Here's some information on how to safely create pleasant aromas and blend the perfect fragrance oil.

Best Practices: Diluting Essential Oils for Application

It takes about a pound of peppermint plant material to make just half an ounce of peppermint essential oil. (Essential oil is typically sold in half-ounce to one-ounce bottles.) A single drop of essential oil goes a very long way. If large amounts are absorbed into the skin at once, it can lead to sensitization, which is similar to an allergic reaction.

This is why it's so important to safely dilute essential oils before use. Even if the oil has been applied before, there's still a chance of suddenly developing a bad reaction after several days or even months of usage.

With that in mind, it's recommended that a mixture, whether it be a fragrance oil or massage oil, should only be 1% to 2% essential oil. The rest should be a carrier oil such as almond, jojoba, or fractionated coconut oil.

In the case of a fragrance oil that calls for a 2% dilution, 12 drops of essential oil to an ounce of carrier oil is a proper dilution ratio. This can be safely rubbed on the wrists for a light scent, much like a regular perfume.

Mixing Oils

When mixing oils, finding the right balance of fragrances is key. Too much citrus oil makes the blend too sharp-smelling. Too much clove oil makes the blend too spicy. It's best to blend a variety of floral, citrus, or earthy scents, for example.

In this instance, a 10-drop mixture will be used. Half of a mixture should be a middle note, 30% should be a top note, and 20% should be the base note, which will be explained below.

Top Note: 30%

Top notes include light, sharp or "airy" scents, such as lemon, orange, peppermint, and lavender. They typically evaporate quicker than middle and base notes, leaving just a hint of their fragrance behind. On their own, they don't stay on the skin for very long. This is part of the reason fragrances that include only citrus scents are very light and don't stick to skin throughout the day.

Middle Note: 50%

The middle notes are the body and balance of a blend and are usually soft, warm scents. As the top note begins to reach the nose, the next noticeable scent should be the middle note, which is often a mild scent such as jasmine, chamomile, clove, or rose.  

Some scents that are considered top notes can fall into this category as well, such as lavender or melissa. They take on the characteristics of a top note since they are usually the lightest, most noticeable scent, but if a stronger top note is present, oils like lavender can make an excellent core scent.

Base Note: 20%

Base notes are often very intense fragrances that can be overpowering on their own. For instance, patchouli is a very strong scent that is unpleasant to many people. But even to those that usually dislike patchouli, a patchouli scent that's been mellowed out with orange and clove oil is often pleasant.

These oils, used in moderation, are rich, heady scents. They stick around the longest after the top and middle notes start to fade and tie a blend together, keeping lighter oils from evaporating so quickly. Some scents that are considered base notes include patchouli, sandalwood, ginger, and vanilla.

How to Create a Blend

Using the example above, look at what can be done with orange, clove, and patchouli essential oil. This is an excellent autumn scent that easily fits into the 30%/50%/20% model.

It's recommended to do a test batch first, which is usually 10 to 20 drops to avoid wasting a lot of essential oil. The fragrance must sit for a day or two to get a good idea of how the final product will smell.

Get an amber bottle (or another dark glass bottle) to put a sample into. Using the 30%/50%/20% model, separate the oils: put 3 drops of orange oil (top note), followed by 5 drops of clove oil (middle note), complete with 2 drops of patchouli oil (base note). Swirl it around a little bit and take note of how it smells.

After letting it sit overnight, the scent will change. Swirl it around again and take note of how the scent has changed. Write down any observations if it has mellowed out a bit, or if certain scents stick out more than before.

After a few days, a blend should have had time to come together. Take note of the balance of the scent. If a certain scent still smells too strong, write down any adjustments that need to be made. More orange oil or clove oil might need to be added. Since the recommended dilution rate is 2%, this 10-drop mixture allows for room to add a few more drops of essential oil for adjustment.

Completing a Fragrance Oil

In order to complete a fragrance oil, it simply needs a carrier. Pick an oil such as jojoba, almond, or fractionated coconut oil. Jojoba and almond oils tend to require a bottle with an applicator, but very thin oils, such as fractionated coconut oil, can be sprayed out of a fragrance atomizer without clogging it. It's also important that the carrier oil doesn't have much of a scent so that it doesn't affect the essential oil blend.

Put the essential oil blend of orange, clove, and patchouli essential oil into an ounce of carrier oil. This will give the recommended 2% dilution that can safely be applied to the skin.

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