Founder of Aroma Foundry
Master Chinese Acupuncturist & Herbalist
All essential oils offer wonderful benefits to our well being, each with their own unique characteristics. They work completely well when used individually. Most essential oil users surely keep a list of their favorite oils. They value oils for their characteristic scents, therapeutic qualities, and other helpful qualities.
Yet, essential oils are also great when blended together. This is, of course, if you have a good grasp of how to mix and match them. You can create a countless number of blends with the right know-how and tools. Not only does it bring out the creativity in you, blending them also makes notable differences to how oils affect us.
The features that different essential oils hold are often complementary and supplementary to each other. Blending one type of essential oil can tone down the potentially negative aspects of the other. At the same time, they can further bring out the good qualities they possess.
Unlike food or clothing, it may be difficult for us to picture how essential oils could work when mixed together. Blending them requires imagination and a rather skillful nose. Creating fragrances is both an art and a science truly worth discovering.
We guarantee that it will be a fascinating new skill you would soon be flaunting to your friends.
Before we pop open those glass jars full of oil, there are some very important things we have to understand first. Blending essential oils may seem as easy as mixing a drop of this and a drop of that. However, there are some fundamental factors to consider.
The quality of your blends would depend on how well you choose your oils, and, of course, it must fill the purpose you wish to achieve. You must pay attention to the qualities that different types of oils offer.
We will start off by learning how essential oils can be categorized according to their type of scent. Many oils share certain qualities that induce distinct effects on our senses. This can be mainly attributed to the common nature of the oils’ sources.
You may find more diverse sets of categories in other references, but for beginners, here is a list that you can follow. We have also enumerated some essential oils under each category:
Flowery: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Jasmine, Palmarosa, Rose, and Vanilla
Woodsy: Cedarwood, Fir, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Myrrh, Juniper, Coriander, Cypress, Frankincense, and Helichrysum
Citrus: Bergamot, Citronella, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Melissa, Neroli, Orange, and Tangerine
Herbal: Basil, Sage, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Sage, Rosemary, Chamomile, Oregano, Pine, Marjoram and Thyme
Spicy: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg, and Pepper
Breaking it down into categories and combinations makes it easier for us to narrow down our choices. Naturally, essential oils of the same scent type blend well with each other. This means you can mix any type of oil under the same category without worrying about the resulting aroma. However, it is also important for us to know which types of scent can work well together.
Here is a general guide for us to determine which categories can be blended together:
With Floral scents: Woodsy scents, Spicy scents, and Citrus scents
With Woodsy scents: Floral scents, Herbal scents, Spicy Scents, and Citrus scents
With Herbal scents: Woodsy scents
With Spicy scents: Floral scents, Woodsy scents, and Citrus scents
With Citrus scents: Floral scents, Woodsy scents, and Spicy scents
So now you have a good idea of how essential oils can go together according to their scent types. However, remember that aroma is only one of the factors to consider in creating your own signature blends. Essential oils have a lot of other things to offer particularly in terms of health benefits.
You can best utilize essential oil blends if you know how to formulate them to perform certain functions. There are quite a number of situations wherein a good whiff of essential oils can make a positive difference to our well-being.
Do you feel like you lack the energy to stay up and study for your exams? Or did you happen to drink too much coffee and just couldn’t put yourself to sleep? Is a runny nose bothering you while you're doing some chores? Do you feel anxious or tired? Then essential oil blends can surely help. All you need is to know the right oils to combine.
To make it a bit simpler, let us divide our oils into several categories according to their most notable traits. This way, we can lay down our options accordingly based on the purpose of your blend. After that, we can determine the ideal combinations just as we did with the scent type categories.
Essential oils with calming effect:
Lavender, Mandarin, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Geranium, Neroli, Jasmine, Melissa, Palmarosa, Petitgrain, and Sandalwood
Essential oils with invigorating effect:
Sage, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tea Tree, Lemon, Grapefruit, Citronella, Basil, Pine, Cypress, and Ginger
Essential oils with stress-relieving and anxiety-relieving effects:
Lavender, Bergamot, Tangerine, Cedarwood, Citronella, Geranium, Marjoram, Valerian, Jasmine, Orange, Melissa, Black Pepper, Lemon Balm, Roman Chamomile, and Sandalwood
Essential oils with cleansing effect:
Lemon, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Lime, Citronella, Patchouli, Fir, Peppermint, Rosemary, Tangerine, Laurel, Juniper, Hyssop, and Helichrysum
These categories are only suggestions. Feel free to explore your own combinations. Even better, try doing your own research about the benefits of your essential oils.
‘Notes’ doesn't seem likely as a word to describe oils, but it actually refers to another important aspect that needs to be considered in blending them.
How long or short a scent stays in the air can be similar to how musical notes work in a song. Some essential oils have instantly strong aromas but would immediately disappear after a few huffs. Although, there are some oils that give off a more consistent steady aroma that could linger in your room for hours. This mainly depends on the chemical properties of each type of essential oil. Liquids, including oils, have different evaporation rates. This pertains to how much and how long it changes from liquid form to gas. Creating essential oil blends involves a good deal of science too!
All essential oils can be categorized into three different perfumery notes: Top notes, Middle notes, and Base notes. One of the keys to a successful blend is hitting the right combinations of the three.
Essential oils that are Top notes have powerful scents that you can instantly smell. However, they will evaporate rather quickly and the smell does not last very long. These are good in giving your blend an initial impact and allowing people to feel the immediate difference that your blend will do to the room.
Middle note oils last noticeably longer than Top notes but not as long as Base notes. They serve as the balancing component for the other two. Among the three notes, there are basically more oils under the Middle tone category, so there is a good selection for you to choose from.
The last category is the Base notes. These essential oils produce aromas that stay the longest among all the notes. They often have deep steady scents that are slightly subtler.
Here is a reference you can use to determine the note type of your essential oils:
Eucalyptus, Basil, Bergamot, Citronella, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Mandarin, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tangerine, and Orange
Sage, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang, Fir, Carrot Seed, Chamomile, Cypress, Dill, Fennel, Geranium, Jasmine, Marjoram, Neroli, Palmarosa, Rose, Rosewood, Spruce, and Thyme
Cedarwood, Patchouli, Angelica Root, Basalm, Frankincense, Ginger, Helichrysum, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Vanilla, and Vetiver
Based on the perfumery notes, you can now determine the best combinations for your blend -- but no mixing yet! First, you have to know the best way to proportion them.
A reliable guide for beginners to follow is what is now called the ‘30-50-20 Rule.’ This simply means proportioning your blend to 30% Top Note, 50% Middle Note, and 20% Base Note.
You can use as many types of oil to fill each proportion. However, to avoid being too ambitious and potentially waste your oils, you can start off with five.
Top Note (30%): 1 Type of Essential Oil
Middle Note (50%): 2 Types of Essential Oil
Base Note (20%): 1 Type of Essential Oil
Total of 5 Types
You can always do more complex blends once you have gotten the hang of it.
Now, you know the basic factors that you have to consider in choosing the ingredients to your blend. Let us check the key qualities that Aroma Foundry's high-quality essential oils can offer based on what we just learned.
Surely, we have all experienced the magical flavor of basil in foods such as pesto, salads and the likes.
As an essential oil, basil offers tons of other benefits. It's known to help against anxiety and improve the appetite. It has an herbal scent with a hint of mint and blends real well with woodsy scents such as cedarwood, fir, and patchouli.
Discover more about basil essential oil.
Blending Facts About Basil Essential Oil:
Bergamot essential oil is known for its citrusy aroma, but it is also proven to have antidepressant properties. Moreover, it can help relieve stress and fatigue. Are you thinking of making a blend to lift the spirits of people at home or in the office? Bergamot oil is surely a good choice for you.
Mix it together with floral, woodsy, or spicy scents.
Learn more about bergamot essential oil.
Blending Facts About Bergamot Essential Oil:
The dark, heady fragrance of Cedarwood oil is favored in many perfumes. Its aroma can last very long and works well in holding other scents together. This is certainly an option you could use as often as you like, so make sure to add it your oil blending toolkit.
Read more about Cedarwood essential oil.
Blending Facts About Cedarwood Essential Oil:
Citronella gives a fresh citrusy aroma that is commonly found in many cleaning products and air fresheners. Its strong scent is very potent as an odorant and as a disinfectant.
Aside from its air-cleaning abilities, researches also found that citronella can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
Citronella oil’s distinct aroma goes well with floral, woodsy, or spicy scents. Try it with lavender, ylang ylang, cedarwood, patchouli, and fir.
Read more about citronella essential oil.
Blending Facts About Citronella Essential Oil:
There is nothing like inhaling the magical aroma of conifers and pine. The scent of fir will take you to the forest wonderland where it came from. If that's not enough, fir essential oil can actually detoxify the body and boost your metabolism. It's both an aromatic treat and an effective aid to your body's health.
Fir is very flexible as a blending ingredient and can complement with almost all other essential oils.
Find out more about fir essential oil here.
Blending Facts About Fir Essential Oil:
Compared to other citrus oils, grapefruit's scent is relatively light. However, it still possesses that fresh and zesty quality that is distinct to their family.
Its aroma is known to help uplift the spirit and lighten people's moods.
It’s a great choice in blending with all other types of scents. Its lighter tone also perfectly complements with other citrus oils such as lemon, lime, citronella, bergamot, and mandarin.
Learn more about grapefruit essential oil.
Blending Facts About Grapefruit Essential Oil:
Lavender is certainly one of the most popular essential oils out there. Its sweet, floral scent is a scent commonly used for aromatherapy.
In addition to scent, what makes it a staple to the essential oil industry is its versatility. You can blend it with any other essential oil and not worry about the quality of the resulting aroma.
Moreover, lavender essence is also known to help relieve anxiety, induce calmness, and even help fight insomnia.
Learn more about lavender essential oil.
Blending Facts About Lavender Essential Oil:
We are all very familiar with the refreshing scent of lemon. However, it's valued as an ingredient in many air fresheners and soaps not just for its smell, but also for its amazing antimicrobial and detoxification properties.
Lemon essential oil does not only do good to the air, it also boosts our immune system and benefits our respiratory system. It can help treat colds, coughs, and other illnesses.
Learn more about lemon essential oil.
Blending Facts About Lemon Essential Oil:
The lemongrass plant has always been a popular ingredient for soups and teas because of its aroma.
Its oil provides the same fragrant quality and could also act as a stress reliever. Lemongrass oil is used to combat depression and enhance the immune system.
Learn more about lemongrass essential oil.
Blending Facts About Lemongrass Essential Oil:
Lime essential oil produces a clean, zesty scent common to the citruses. It is very helpful in regulating appetite when used as an inhalant. It's also known to boost the body's immune system.
It is a great top note to any blend, a welcome choice to your selection.
Learn more about lime essential oil.
Blending Facts About Lime Essential Oil:
Mandarin is a wonderful citrus oil option for your blend. It gives a very sweet aroma that you would immediately recognize. It has great detoxifying abilities and can give your home a clean and healthy atmosphere. Mandarin can also fight stress and will surely help you relax.
Blending Facts About Mandarin Essential Oil:
Many perfumers prize patchouli for its intriguing aroma. Anyone who would experience its captivating scent would stop and wonder what they are smelling.
Patchouli essential oil is an excellent base note and blends very well with many other scents.
Learn more about patchouli essential oil.
Blending Facts About Patchouli Essential Oil:
The scent of peppermint essential oil is among the most intense in our selection. Everyone can recognize its cool, refreshing aroma.
It offers many benefits to our body and can add a punch of minty character to your blend. Peppermint oil can energize us and help cleanse the air in our homes.
Learn more about peppermint essential oil.
Blending Facts About Peppermint Essential Oil:
The warm, herbaceous aroma of rosemary essential oil is known to help brain functions. A great blend that includes rosemary will surely help you during mentally demanding days.
Rosemary essential oil can also help alleviate stress and anxiety. It works very well as a middle tone and can hold other essential oils together in your blend.
Learn more about rosemary essential oil.
Blending Facts About Rosemary Essential Oil:
Sage is a famous ingredient in the kitchen. Though less popular as an essential oil, it offers just as much to our senses and our wellbeing.
Sage essential oil gives a warm, sharp, herbaceous aroma. It works very well as a middle note and can help energize our body.
Learn more about sage essential oil.
Blending Facts About Sage Essential Oil:
The cool, energizing aroma of spearmint has much to offer in terms of health benefits. It helps alleviate stress and aids in many respiratory issues.
It is a great top note choice for your blend.
Learn more about spearmint essential oil.
Blending Facts About Spearmint Essential Oil:
Like most essential oils under the citrus scent category, tangerine essential oil possesses detoxification properties and works great in cleaning the air inside your room.
Its aroma is also proven to help improve the spirit and relieve stress. It boosts your metabolism and assists in bodily functions.
Learn more about tangerine essential oil.
Blending Facts About Tangerine Essential Oil:
The unique aroma of Tea tree essential oil has an exquisite combination of fresh, spicy and minty qualities. Its well-rounded strength is ideal in holding more extreme scents together. It is a very good choice as a middle note for your essential oil blend.
Learn more about tea tree essential oil.
Blending Facts About Tea Tree Essential Oil:
The popularity of the ylang ylang flower has grown widely in the perfume industry. This is due mainly to its sweet distinct smell that people find quite delightful.
In addition to its fragrant scent, the ylang ylang essential oil is also known for helping a number of health conditions. It is effective in regulating blood pressure and heart rate. It is also known to help control moods.
Learn more about ylang ylang essential oil.
Blending Facts About Ylang Ylang Essential Oil:
This is it! Time to roll up those sleeves and begin mixing your essential oils.
To begin, you will need a number of tools:
By now, you probably already have a number of essential oils in mind that you would like to use. Start off with five essential oils of your choice. Just remember that you should consider the three important factors that we discussed earlier: the scent type, the desired effects, and the note type.
Remember: you must have several other oils ready other than the five you will choose. There is a considerable chance that you might not like their combination. It is good to be prepared to replace any of them based on your taste.
Time to put your nose to work. Put a drop of each essential oil on separate perfume strips. Smell each strip individually at a fair distance from your nose, moving the strip in a circular motion as you do so.
Were you wondering what the coffee was for? After smelling each scent, take a good huff from your coffee to clear off your senses. Use it as a sort of "rinsing" aid for your nose, a way of cleansing your palate.
After getting a good sniff from each type of essence, hold the strips together in your hand, forming a fan. Wave the fan in front of your face a get a feel of the combined scents. Try to see if a particular scent is overpowering the rest or if there is a certain scent that does not seem to come out. Adjust the quantities of the oils according to your judgments.
Do not make any adjustments to your fan without doing notes. Remember that the purpose of your fan is to get the right proportion when doing the actual blend.
Based on your notes, you can begin mixing the oils in your dark-colored glass container. It is important to start with small quantities. A total of ten drops would be an ideal amount to start with. That way, you can avoid wasting your oils and make it easier for you to make adjustments if needed.
Once you've finished your blend, take in a final inhale. If you are satisfied by its scent, then you can work your way to increase the scale of your mixture. Just make sure that you follow the proportion.
Surely, you are more than excited now to share your new found aromatic treat. So switch on the diffuser and let your blend fill your house.
If you are good at holding a poker face, try not telling anyone about the new blend you just diffused into the air. Instead, wait for them to react to the new scent and note down their comments. They may be useful to you when you decide to try new combinations later on.
Congratulations! You have officially made your own essential oil blend. If your blend is a definite love-at-first-sniff, then we recommend that you mix more of them for your future use.
Keep essential oils and essential oil blends in dark-colored glass containers. Essential oils have very high concentrations and they can eventually eat away plastic containers. The dark color of the container will also protect your oils from the deteriorating effects of sunlight.
Let your essential oil blend sit for a few days and monitor the changes that will happen to its aroma. It is good to figure out how long the aroma will last.
Jot down your observations in your notebook.
Why not? This is your blend. There is a great sense of fulfillment if you name something that you yourself created.
Label the containers of your blends. Add the name, the formula you used and the date you made it. You can even color-code them if you like.
Knowing how to blend your essential oils is surely a terrific thing. However, it’s sometimes more important to know what not to do rather than what you can do. So make sure that you know the precautions in handling essential oils.
One of the first things is how to conduct a patch test. This involves applying your chosen oil to a small area of your arm before using it anywhere else in your body. See first how your arm would react to the oil. Your skin may not have similar responses to every type of oil. Some may be too strong to you. Some oils may have certain chemical properties that can cause unwanted effects.
Essential oils are not intended for ingestion. Make sure not to mix it with food. Do not keep it together with kitchen ingredients.
We do not recommend essential oils to pregnant women and nursing mothers. Essential oils have not yet been guaranteed by studies to be safe to women during these times.
You should keep your essential oils out of reach of children and you must not apply it to infants.
Accurately describing how scents affect us can often be tricky. There are only a few words in our vocabulary that are exclusively pertaining to scents. But it is one of the best things that make blending essential oils really exciting. There are no strict rules. There are no right or wrong blends. Feel free to explore. You can experiment with new combinations to discover interesting new fragrances. Bring out the creative chemist in you.
Of course, we must know that the goodness of fragrances is very subjective. Not everyone in your house may like a blend that to you seems so heavenly. However, creating different blends is truly something that any essential oil user would love to learn. It is a skill that raises you a notch higher in our shared fondness for these all-natural products.