Blending Basics: Create your own Aromatherapy Blend

Blending Basics: Create your own Aromatherapy Blend

Published by Sherrie Dawkins on 1st Feb 2024

Blending Basics: Create your own Aromatherapy Blend

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

Have you ever yearned to make your own personalized aromatherapy blend just for you but didn’t know where to start?

Although it may seem simple enough to put together a couple of essential oils that you know you like, not all oils blend well together. That was my shocking realization from my first blending class. The process is actually much more complex – and when done well, really fun! The art of blending is both creative and scientific.

Of course, using a single essential oil is often appropriate. However, using two or more oils for a particular purpose is richer, fuller, and overall, more balanced. A violin solo is beautiful, but when joined by the entire symphony, its beauty is superbly magnified. (Music or food is often used to describe scents, as there is no descriptive language pertaining to scent alone.) The combination of two or more essential oils is known as a “synergy.” A synergy is much more than the sum of its parts, as noted by Ancient Greek Philosopher and Scientist, Aristotle. When the oils interact with each other, some properties are amplified while some constituents may appear that are not found in the oils separately. It is veritable alchemy! 

There are some principles and guidelines for blending. Many of these were designed for the perfume industry, but used today in aromatherapy blending, or natural perfumery. The most notable is the Top-Middle-Base Note theory, established in 1857 by French perfumer Septimus Piesse. (Side note – perfumes of old exclusively used essential oils!)

A TOP NOTE is the first note that we smell – fresh, fruity, sharp. It is also the first to dissipate. We need the other notes to “hold” and deepen a balanced blend.

MIDDLE NOTES are the heart of the blend. They bridge the top and base notes.

BASE NOTES are, as one would expect, the deeper, richer notes that linger.

These categories are subjective. For example, Eucalyptus is often thought to be a top note, as you can smell it first. However, it may linger a bit longer and feel more like a middle note, depending on the other oils in the blend. Here is where your individual perceptions and preferences come in!

  • Top notes: Most citrus oils- Orange, Lemon, Tangerine, etc., Eucalyptus, Spearmint

  • Top-to Middle: Bergamot, Rose, Jasmine, Neroli, Rosemary

  • Middle notes: Lavender, Geranium, Rosewood, Clary Sage

  • Middle-to Base: Frankincense, Ylang ylang

  • Base notes Vanilla, Vetiver, Patchouli, Cedar (most woods)

A general guideline for quantities are: 30% top note, 50% middle note and 20% base note.

Another consideration is the oil’s intensity. One drop of Sweet Orange is not equal in scent to one drop of Peppermint. Usually more citrus or softer notes are required to balance a blend. This part may take some practice.

A general guideline for quantities are: 30% top note, 50% middle note and 20% base note.

Another consideration is the oil’s intensity. One drop of Sweet Orange is not equal in scent to one drop of Peppermint. Usually more citrus or softer notes are required to balance a blend. This part may take some practice.

If you are blending for a particular purpose, you could identify three or more essential oils that would target your goal. Each essential oil has many different properties, so look for some you like which might add to your end goal for the blend. For example, Ylang ylang is calming yet uplifting, aphrodisiac and also balancing, so it might work in a blend for any of those goals. Keep in mind the top-middle-base formula as you blend. The proportions are not as important when creating a therapeutic blend, but they are a good guideline to keep your formula balanced.

A General Guideline for Properties:

  • For Relaxation: Lavender, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Ylang ylang, Vetiver

  • For Happiness: Vanilla or Ylang ylang, Clary Sage or Geranium, Orange and/or Spearmint

  • For Meditation: Cedar or Frankincense, Lavender, Geranium, Jasmine

  • For Clear Breathing: Lemon, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Rosemary, Cedar

  • For Romance: Vanilla or Patchouli, Rosewood, Geranium or Clary Sage, Bergamot, Rose, or Jasmine

Now for the fun part!

1. Choose your essential oil options by scent and properties goal

2. Have some 5ml or 10ml amber glass bottles and caps available to blend into

3. Place some coffee beans or grounds in a small bowl. Smelling this helps clear your olfactory palate between scents. It can become overwhelming so use them to help clear and focus.

4. Stickers for caps to identify

5. Smell strips

6. Notebook for your recipes

Usually beginning with the base note will help determine the direction of your blend. You can use smell strips or, as I like to do, smell the caps of the oils alongside each other to see if they work together. Keep note of the caps! It is vital to make sure they are not mixed up. Putting the wrong cap on a bottle can ruin the entire bottle. Wave the cap or smell strip of the oil you are wanting to work with a few inches under your nose, side-to-side, to get the full aroma. Each nostril will perceive it a bit differently. Hold another cap next to the first and wave them together under your nose. You could use smell strips the same way if you prefer. If the combination works, put one drop of each oil into a new blending bottle. Take care not to get the oil on the rim of the blending bottle or that will be all you can smell! Smell strips are helpful here. Be sure to note which oil belongs to which smell strip.

Roll the blending bottle between your hands to warm and combine, then smell the bottle, or use a separate smell strip. If it works, hold the cap or strip of the last oil you are considering next to the blend you have so far. If it works, add one drop. From here you may perceive that you would like more citrus, or floral, etc., as the case may be. We start slowly. Always add one drop at a time. Remember, we can add a drop but once it is in, we can never take it out and must start all over! Yikes! It is impossible to “fix” a blend.

Be sure to keep track of each essential oil and drop that you use in your notebook as you work so you can replicate it or, heaven forbid, to not make the same mistake again! 

Continue this process, considering the top-middle-base formula. You may repeat the process to include one more essential oil if you wish. However, for beginners it is best to use only 3 or 4 different essential oils. Once you have the blend to your liking, roll the bottle gently between your hands. The heat from your hands will help blend the oils and “encode” them with your own energies. While you are doing this, you can infuse it with your breath, prayers, or intention. 

From here you can double or triple your recipe until you have ¾ bottle or enough to use 3 to 5 drops of the blend in your diffuser. Letting the blend sit, (the term “dry-down” is used in perfumery, or “breathe” in wine terms) will help the ingredients integrate and settle. Cover your oil blend and let sit for 24 to 48 hours, then smell again. 

From here you may wish to make any adjustments necessary. Since these are pure essential oil blends, you could also put 6 to 8 drops of the blend in one ounce of carrier oil such as jojoba for a body oil or in a 2oz spray bottle with distilled water as a room spray.

Now, sit back, relax, and indulge in your very own one-of-a-kind custom creation! 

PRECAUTIONS: Keep fingers, nose, and droppers from touching the sides of your blending bottle. Once your blend is complete, close cap tightly to avoid oxidation.

Don’t over-blend! Less often is more in aromatherapy.

As with all essential oils and aromatherapy, if you are taking medication or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using.

Save 20% when your order 3 or more Single Note Oils! Use coupon code BLEND20 at checkout.

Top Notes:

Top to Middle Notes:

Middle Notes:

Middle to Base Notes:

Base Notes:

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