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Blending Essential oils doesn’t take a science degree - Part 1

by Penny Keay

Everyone wants to use those precious essential oils but you’re not sure how to use them in the products you want to scent. Or maybe you aren’t sure how they should be mixed for the ailment or condition you need them to be used for.

In this article, we will try to help take the mystery out of a fun and exciting adventure.

Some of the questions we are asked very often include the following and will try to give you the basics.

• How do you Blend essential oils?
• What equipment do you need?
• How do I store them once they are blended?
• How long will they last or when do I need to use them up?
• How do I clean everything before and afterwards?

Essential oil bottles with flower

First, you have to decide what you will be blending. What is it that you are creating a blend for?

Then you will need to get prepared.

GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

Before you can begin, you will need to gather your essential oils, bottles, carrier oil, lotions etc.

Check your Recipe to make sure you have the essential oils or other ingredients needed to make it so you don’t have to make unnecessary substitutions or be delayed in your blending.

If you don’t have a recipe you can find many wonderful recipes on our site.

A good selection of the following items will make your blending experience more enjoyable. Buying equipment and supplies you use just for your aromatherapy blending and storing them together makes it much easier for you to have fun and be creative.

Equipment:

Small bottles for storing your blends such as:
• 4ml, 10 ml, or 30 ml sizes with caps and orifice reducers
• Glass bottles in 1 and 2 ounce sizes.
• Several PET plastic bottles in various sizes.
• Caps for the plastic bottles—disc top and spray top
• Disposable pipettes
• Beakers and Stirring Rods
• Glass Liquid Measuring cups (the kind with pouring spouts.)
• Stainless steel Measuring spoons and stirring spoons (do not use wood)
• Wire Whip or French Whisks
• Larger Stainless Steel or Glass Mixing bowls (do not use plastic or aluminum)
• Rinsing bottle or Spray bottle filled with Alcohol (cheap unflavored Vodka)
• Paper towels cut into quarters sheets (helpful when wiping up little messes).
• Electric hand mixer (may be helpful if mixing larger batches of lotions)
• Wax paper or freezer paper to cover your counter or table tops: Makes cleanup much quicker and protects your furniture finishes from being damaged should any undiluted essential oils spill on them.
• Safety Glasses are strongly suggested including if you wear contact lenses. If you wear glasses, you should consider goggles to cover them especially if you have plastic lens. You do not want essential oils to accidently splash into your eyes or damage your eyeglasses.
• Disposable gloves – handy when blending bath salts.
• Recipe cards or a Journal to write your ‘creations’ and notes as needed. (Take it from me – don’t expect to remember what you did or how you did it. Time flies and memories – well you just forget).


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Materials to be Blended

• Essential oils
• Carrier oils
• Emulsifiers
• Distilled Water
• Alcohol
• Shampoo
• Lotions
• Salts for making bath salt blends
• Miscellaneous – depending on the recipe


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MEASURING

When blending your essential oils remember to measure carefully. Most of the time you will be measuring drops of essential oils.

Almost all recipes written by me are given by numbers of drops that are added. Many recipes are proportional - meaning that if a recipe calls for 5 drops of this oil, 3 drops of that oil, you can always mix 5 ml of this oil and 3 ml of that oil.

If you are trying to mix your essential oils with a water-based product or in water, you may need to first mix it with an Emulsifier.

An emulsifier is anything that will allow you to mix oil and water. Common products are Emulsifiers such as coconut emulsifier, perfumer’s alcohol, Polysorbate 20, 60 or 80, to name a few.

This will help the essential oils to blend with your water-based products.

Emulsifiers are not needed when you are mixing essential oils with oil-based products like when you are making massage oil. When mixing essential oils with carrier oils for use in overall or general body massage you should never make a stronger blend than 2-3%, unless the recipe tells you it is okay to mix it stronger.

How to figure out how much is in a 2% or 3% solution?

First, think of things in drops. If you have 100 drops of something, you would have a 2 percent solution if 2 drops were an essential oil and 98 drops were the carrier oil. Or, another way to measure it would be 2 ml of essential oil and 98 ml of the carrier oil.

Looking at the first example: 2 drops of Essential oil - that is easy. However, the 98 drops of carrier oil that is not so easy, but you can do a little more math and convert the drops into teaspoons.

Since there are about 20 drops per ml and 5 ml per teaspoon, you can easily figure it out. 98 divided by 20 is approximated 5. So you have 5 ml or 1 teaspoon (or 98-100 drops of carrier oil).

A 2% solution would be 2 drops essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil. 3% would be 3 drops per teaspoon.

Some essential oils work better when mixed with different carrier oils. So if you see your essential oils not mixing with particular carrier oil, you will have to experiment with another carrier oil. Although this is rare, it can happen.

For more details in measuring for specific percentages including easy to use percentage tables visit the page on Measuring, Percentages and How much - Type Measuring in the Search box.

Some essential oils and absolutes will become 'saturated' into a carrier oil. When this occurs, you cannot get any more essential oil or absolute to mix in with the carrier oil.

You will see it initially being in solution, but if you let it set for a day or two, you will either see the absolute sitting on the bottom or the essential oil sitting on the top of your carrier oil.

Actually, this can happen with any unscented base product when they are considered a water based product. Shampoos, conditioners, and lotions are all prone to having the essential oil separate out. (Did you remember to use an emulsifier for your shampoo or bottle of water in your spray mister?)

Simply shake, or stir your bottle of product to mix the essential oils back into the product before using. Actually, shaking your blends a little before using is a good thing to do to redistribute your essential oils in the product.

Blending just Essential oils together is very easy to do and there really is no right or wrong way to blend them. Of course, if you are following a recipe it is very very easy to do. Just follow the recipe.

If you become ‘adventuresome’ you need to be aware of the fact there are a few essential oils when blended together that will not mix or they actually will cause a chemical reaction and become a solid chunk of 'goo' in the bottom of your bowl, bottle or jar.

The most problematic is Citrus oils i.e. Sweet Orange, Blood Orange or Lemon when mixed with Cinnamon or clove oils.

Fortunately, this is rare. Unfortunately, the glass bottle, bowl or jar will be ruined.

When blending essential oils recipes that have those particular oils in the recipe - I always mix the majority of the blend then add those at the very end - First one then mix thoroughly, then add the other. This reduces the possibility of 'goo'. You may see sediment, but usually it won't be 'goo'.

Do not let anything stop you from being creative. Essential oils are oils composed of several different chemical constituents. When mixed together you will sometimes see them get cloudy, then add another essential oil and the mixture will become clear. Sometimes the blend will cause sediment to form.

These are normal reactions when you mix certain essential oils together. Even though you are not a chemist, you will eventually observe these reactions when blending different oils or when making up some blends.

Next: Storing your custom blends

Your creations made using carrier oil or base product such as shampoo can be stored in PET plastic or HDPE plastic. Glass can be used too, but I do caution you that if you use it in the shower or should it fall out of a wet hand it could put broken glass where you don’t want it.

On the other hand, your blends of PURE undiluted essential oils should be stored in glass bottles only.

Be sure to put labels on everything you make and especially those products with the essential oils you used.

How long will they last or when do I need to use them up?

We do suggest that you only mix as much as you will use in 4-6 months. You always want to try to use the freshest blends and essential oils.

If you are blending essential oils with just plain distilled water for a room or linen spray, you need to keep this refrigerated and use within 2 weeks. Because there is no preservative present you risk the possibility that mold or other contaminates could grow.

When mixing massage or bath blends we suggest you mix the essential oils together first before you add the carrier oil. Then let the mixture "age" or blend for several days before using. You will be surprised at how much the scent can change after a few days.

Remember also that pure essential oils will disintegrate rubber and certain types of plastic materials. Never leave your bottles stopped with rubber bulb capped droppers. In just a few days, the rubber could be a terrible blob of black goo!

To blend essential oils with carrier oils you can mix them in PET plastic bottles or Glass bottles. PET and HDPE plastic bottles will not deteriorate when used with essentials oils, other types of plastic bottles may.

Storing Essential oils or Synergy blends.

Store your pure essential oil creations in glass bottles. Keep them away from heat. Ideally keep them in the refrigerator.

The color of the glass doesn’t matter as long as it has a tight cap and is kept away from heat. Light in itself will not deteriorate essential oils but the heat that is created especially by sunlight can increase the rate of oxidation of the essential oils and deteriorate them very quick.

Remember heat and oxygen will ruin your essential oils and blends. Do not leave the caps off your bottles – even while blending – keep them shut tight except when using them to add to your blend.

Watch for Part 2 – Next month.


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© 2024 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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