The Art and Science of Blending
Creating an essential oil blend can be a fun and creative way to experiment with different aromas. Beside just smelling good together there are other factors to consider, blending factor being one of the most important. Other things to consider are if the blend has a specific purpose, who the blend is for and how it will be used so proper dilution and application can be determined.
Blending factor is a scale that is used to determine how many drops of each essential oil should be used in a blend. Every essential oil can be rated from 1-10 depending on intensity of smell, 1 being the most powerful and 10 being the lightest. The lower the blending factor, the less drops that should be used in your blend. Many charts have been created giving blending factors to most common essential oils. An easy way to determine for yourself is to smell the oils you want to use in your blend all together, at the same time. The one that stands out most should have the least amount of drops. Put that one down and smell the remaining oils, pulling out the most potent and so on until you have an order of strongest to lightest.
Next we want to decide the purpose of our blend. Is it a calming blend to help unwind in the evening? Maybe we are looking for an uplifting blend to use in a personal inhaler throughout a busy day. Whatever the purpose is, we should incorporate specific essential oils known to support our goal. Also knowing who the blend is for and how it will be used is helpful so we can determine proper application and dilution. If using in a diffuser or personal inhaler dilution will not be necessary. Most commonly, when using essential oils topically, a 1-3% dilution is recommended. If using your blend in 1 ounce of carrier, a 1% dilution would be approximately 6 drops where a 3% dilution in 1 ounce of carrier would be about 12 drops. Most blends contain 3-6 different essential oils which is why blending the essential oils together FIRST is so important. Then diluting them can be done safely and effectively.
To help illustrate how to create an effective blend that is not over powering and pleasing to the smell, we are going to use an example. Let’s say we want to make an invigorating blend to use on a mild case of dry, itchy scalp. Our goal is to use the blend in a shampoo, making a small batch of maybe 4 ounces to start. Here are the steps we would take,
Second, we determine blending factors:
Tea Tree 3
Since we are using 4 different essential oils in a blend, we add up the blending factors, then divide each blending factor number by that sum to get your percentages. That would look like this:
Peppermint 1 divided by 15 = .0666
Tea Tree 3 divided by 15 = .2
Rosemary 4 divided by 15 = .2666
Lavender 7 divided by 15 = .4666
Now that we have percentages, we will multiply them by the number of drops based on dilution. We will be using 48 which is 3% dilution in 4 ounces of carrier. Remember that 3% in 1 ounce of carrier = 12 drops, so 4 ounces of carrier (12 x 4) = 48 drops.
Peppermint .06 x 48 = 2.8 (3 drops)
Tea Tree .20 x 48 = 9.6 (10 drops)
Rosemary .26 x 48 = 12.5 (13 drops)
Lavender .46 x 48 = 22 (22 drops)
We can now add our drops to a clean, empty 5 mL dropper bottle to create our custom blend! After adding all the drops, we put the cap on, shake really well and our blend is complete. We can either add the entire contents of the blend to 4 ounces of shampoo in a separate glass container or add them a few drops at a time to a handful of shampoo and use as needed.
It may look and sound confusing at first, because it is! But with time and experience, practicing on a small scale, blending can be an exciting way to elevate your use of essential oils to the next level.