Essential oils are wonderful to use alone, however they truly come alive when you start to blend them with one another.
Blending essential oils allows you to benefit from the therapeutic properties whilst creating evocative and exciting scents.
A blend is more than just a collection of essential oils mixed together, blending is an art form which is both an intuitive and creative process. When you've mastered blending then your experience, Creativity and a little bit of Science come together to create blends that just have that natural synergy and smell like they were meant to be. As with cooking, anybody can follow a recipe, but it is only with experience and creativity that you can produce masterpieces with synergy, energy and a little bit of magic.
Essential oils have many therapeutic properties, but an important part of aromatherapy is to blend together oils, not only for their therapeutic properties, but also for their scent. If you have a headache, there is no point in blending together oils which should relieve a headache, if you can't stand the smell of the blend.
Knowing which oils to blend together is based upon the conventional science of essential oils, combined with your own intuition and creativity. Looking at the properties of each essential oil will give you an outline of the oils which you should be using in your blend, but actually smelling the oils and with trial and error you will learn what blends well together, you will learn the character of the oil and how it matures over time.
It is also important to remember there are no hard and fast rules, blends which you think are fantastic maybe loathed by another, after all we don't all like the same perfumes and aftershaves.
The blending of essential oils into perfumes is an ancient art that shares with the music concept of scales. This means that just as musical notes range in a scale from low through middle to high, so a good blend of essential oils has top, middle and base notes. Like music, a good blend is harmonious, balanced and well rounded.
Top note essential oils are the most volatile and are the first thing that we smell. They tend to be light and fresh and will quickly dissipate.
These middle notes will make up the substance and character of your blend, they are the heart of your oil, this scent will linger for a while.
These are the least volatile of the three notes and they are rich and heavy. Base notes will last for a long time. When making a perfume, these base notes are used as a "fixative" as they literally hold the blend together "fix" creating the perfume and ensuring the top notes do not quickly disappear.
Once you learn the note of an essential oil (basic guidance is given in each essential oil description), you will start to understand the volatility of that oil (how quick the oil releases its scent and then how long that scent lingers). It is the combination of these notes, the speed in which they release and the length of time the scent lasts that will determine the complexity and success of your blends.
The following blends are just a guideline to some classic blends. The exact positioning of different essential oils as to whether they are a top, middle or base note is subjective on some oils as it is open to individuals opinion, however the general rule is citrus oils are virtually always designated top notes, whilst floral oils are commonly middle notes and woody / resin based oils make base/bottom notes.
The art of blending using top, middle and base notes leads naturally into a look at evaporation rates and odour intensities. These are similar to the scale of notes, but also offers extra useful information.
The Evaporation rate determines how long an an odour will last. This information is on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 lasting the least amount of time and 100 lasting the longest. In general the rate of evaporation does closely match the note of the essential oils, however there are some oils which do not follow this rule, for example Basil essential oil has a rate of 78, a rate of evaporation profile of a middle note, whilst it is generally classed as top note.
|Eucalyptus 5||Bergamot 55||Ylang Ylang 91|
|Melissa 17||Frankincense 75||Cedarwood 97|
|Marjoram 40||Basil 78||Rose 99|
|Chamomile 47||Lavender 85||Patchouli 100|
The odour intensity of an oil is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least intense and 10 being the most intense. The odour intensity doesn't always follow the top, middle and base note ideal in that that all base notes have an intense odour, whilst some high notes do.
|Bergamot 4||Clary Sage 5||Geranium 6||Basil 7|
|Cypress 4||Juniper 5||Rosemary 6||Jasmine 7|
|Benzoin 4||Neroli 5||Ylang Ylang 6||Frankincense 7|
|Lavender 4||Sandalwood 5||Fennel 6||Peppermint 7|
If you know which note, evaporation rate and odour intensity an essential oil has, this is helpful information when you are creating a blend. Eventually your intuition and your sense of smell will assist you, but these tables are useful when you are starting out to help you create harmonious, well-rounded and aesthetically pleasing blends of essential oils.
When you are blending essential oils it is important to consider both the fragrant part of the blend and the purpose of the blend. If you are blending for therapeutic reasons then you will need to evaluate the underlying symptoms, psychological and emotional factors and even if you are just blending for fragrance you need to take into account the therapeutic properties of the oil you are blending. For example you wouldn't want to use Lavender in a natural car freshener blend as Lavender has the properties to make people drowsy!
Our brains associate scents with memories, therefore when blending it is important to blend using these memories, especially when blending for yourself. If a scent invokes unwanted memories, then that oil should be avoided for fear of creating unwanted effects, equally if a scent brings back happy memories, then that is likely to become one of your favourite oils to use in blends, it is these signatures that give us all our own unique blending and creative style.
When you first start producing your own blends, stick to no more than four different essential oils in your blend. Any more than this will simply complicate your blend and confuse yourself to the direction you wish to take your blend. Blend your four essential oil blend with a top, middle and base note. By keeping it simple, you can easily eliminate scents that do not work and where you have gone wrong or right in your blend.
To avoid waste and to get an idea of proportions of essential oil in your blend, use cotton wall buds. Simply put 1 drop of each of your chosen essential oils on to a different cotton wool bud (so if you have 4 essential oils, you will have 4 cotton wool buds) and then place them equally in front of your nose, by moving the buds backwards and forwards in front of your nose you can get an idea of the relative intensities and therefore quantities of each essential oil to blend. If you are not sure if a scent works, you can take one of the buds away and replace with a bud of another oil to
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