Diluting Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated. They must be diluted before they can be safely applied to the skin.

The most common way to dilute essential oils is by either incorporating them into a formulation (i.e. a moisturizer or body scrub recipe) or by diluting them using a vegetable oil, also known as a carrier oil. As your carrier oil, select a high quality vegetable oil. Example carrier oils include almond, apricot, hazelut, olive, macadamia, kukui, wheatgerm, grapeseed and sesame. Carrier oils should be stored away from heat and light to minimize oxidation. The addition of jojoba oil as 10% of your carrier oil will help extend the shelf life of your blend as will Vitamin E Oil. Adding it to any aromatherapy blend will help extend the life of most vegetable oils. Our line of Fixed CO2 Extract Totals offer a longer shelf life than their cold and expeller pressed counterparts.

As a broad rule of thumb, a safe dilution for most aromatherapy and personal care applications is 2%. A maximum 1% dilution should be used on children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with health concerns. We have provided this dilution as a bery broad guideline. However, some essential oils such as lemongrass, clove and cinnamon pose a much higher risk of irritation and sensitization at ratios falling below even 1%.

Whenever possible, however, it's best to refer to the safety guidelines for each particular essential oil that you intend to use within your formulations and blends. We recommend referring to the second edition of Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

General Blending Information

  • 1% dilution: approximately 6 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier oil
  • 2% dilution: approximately 12 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier oil
  • 3% dilution: approximately 18 drops essential oil per ounce of carrier oil

Important: The above list is intended as a very general and very basic guideline for those that prefer the ease of dispensing essential oils by the drop. However, using the "by-the-drop" method can lead to great inaccuracy. The size of a drop can vary greatly depending on the viscosity of the oil, the temperature the oil has been stored at and the opening of the dropper. Several sources report that the number of average drops of essential oil per ounce is much higher. In our testing and suggestions, we prefer to be more precautious. Less is more with essential oils. For the most accuracy in your formulations, we recommend using standardized measurements such as those shown on our Measurements and Conversions page.

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