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Diluting Essential Oils

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

The most effective way to dilute essential oils is in a carrier oil. As your carrier oil, select a high quality vegetable oil, preferably one that has been cold pressed. 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 ensure their freshness. 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 which is an excellent anti-oxidant; adding it to any aromatherapy blend will help extend the life of most vegetable oils. Make blends in small batches that can be used within a short time frame. Your carrier oils, essential oils and blends can be stored in the refrigerator for extended shelf life.

A safe and effective dilution for most aromatherapy applications is 2%. There is no need to go beyond a 3% dilution for any purpose. Using more may cause adverse effects. A maximum 1% dilution should be used on children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with health concerns.

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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