An aromatherapy blend is a powerful remedy that can deliver so many benefits for the body, mind, emotions, gut and spirit. It is easier today to find information about essential oils, carrier oils and recipes for certain health concerns. Whether you are new to aromatherapy or a seasoned aromatherapy veteran, you know getting a formula just right can take precision of just the right oils, in just the right amounts or dilutions.
Where Do I Start With Making an Aromatherapy Blend?
A common question I get often from customers, clients and students, is “do you have a method on how to make a good aromatherapy blend”? They are not sure where to start, what ingredients they need to have on hand, how to determine the right oils and amounts, and what dilution to use for adults, kids, elderly and animals. Of course you can follow a recipe, but what if you don’t have all of the ingredients listed? How do you know what to substitute? What if you omit an oil, will the recipe still work?
These are valid questions, and I will go into some detail to help you understand how to start, how to improvise, and how to blend an amazing aromatic masterpiece.
Blend Making 101
First, you have to start with knowledge. Knowledge will build skill. Skill will build confidence. Confidence will develop precision. Aromatherapy education is very important, especially today. There is a plethora of not only information, but also misinformation. So, what do you believe? Where do you start? How do you start?
Choose educational sources and resources from prominent, professionally trained aromatherapy leaders. When I first started, the internet wasn’t what we have now. There was not information at our fingertips. We relied on connecting face to face with professional aromatherapists and reading the few aromatherapy books that were published at that time.
Now, you have access to more online data and reference books. I learned so much, and had hands-on mentoring from some of the “aromatherapy greats”. That turned into me developing my live and online aromatherapy school, the JennScents Aromaversity. The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) is an excellent source to find professional aromatherapy schools and training as well. They have established strict guidelines for schools and aromatherapy professionals to follow.
Get certified in aromatherapy. You can become a Certified Holistic, Professional or Clinical Aromatherapist to build your knowledge and skill base. This will also show others that you have dedicated time to getting the proper training and you know how to “aromatherapy responsibly”. Many health and wellness businesses like to see on your resume that you’ve completed some formal training in aromatherapy. It is a great way to set yourself apart from your co-workers and competition.
Second, develop your blending skills. Practice different blending techniques. Learn how to choose which blending techniques work best for certain desired outcomes. For example, do you use a unilayer blending technique, or a multi-layer method? Do you have to do Olfactory Sensory Testing®, or can you use your Scentillect® to formulate an aromatic blend? Practice is the key. Give yourself time and experience with learning how the oils drop out of the bottle. Which ones come out fast? Which ones come out slow? Some are thick and gooey, while others are thin and light. These characteristics tell you something about that oil, If it is thin and light, it can mean that the scent will be nice, and may linger a little bit, but it does not have as much staying power as a thick and gooey oil. The thicker the oil, the more it can maintain its scent quality. These typically are base notes, or middle to base notes.
From here, your confidence will soar because you will know how to use the essential oils and carriers, as well as what to expect from them. It’s about building a relationship with the oils. Learning their personality. Once you get to know them, you will have a stronger intuition about them, and know exactly what role it can play in your aromatherapy blend team.
Blending Techniques & Methods
- Unilayer Blend
- Multilayer Blend
- Olfactory Sensory Testing
- 3-2-1 Blending Rule
- Purpose Driven
- Freestyle Scent Surfing
Choosing the Right Ingredients
- What is your blends purpose?
- What smells do you or the end user like?
- What ingredients satisfy the safety guidelines for you or the end user?
Choosing the Right Dilution Ratios
If you are working with children, people with sensitivities or serious health issues and animals, follow the .25-1% dilution ratio. In addition, avoid any ingredients that are contraindicated for the person or animal. Typically, adults with balanced health, can handle a 2-6% dilution ratio, depending on the purpose. If you are using a blend all over the body, several times a day, a 2-3% dilution ratio will be best. If you are using a blend just on your neck or knee for a specific issue, a 4-6% dilution ratio can be helpful. Again, cross reference essential oil safety and user contraindications. For example, someone taking blood thinners, need to use caution with too much cinnamon essential oil.
Choosing the Right Application Method
What application matches the aromatherapy blends purpose? If you are looking to relax and reduce stress, a diffuser blend, lotion, massage oil, roll-on or bath salt all would be accurate application methods. If someone needs a confidence booster before a public speaking event, a bath salt, is probably not the best option. A roll-on, nasal atomizer, aromatic spray or lotion, might be more useful.
- Inhalation: ultrasonic diffuser, necklace or bracelet diffusers, soapstone diffuser, nasal atomizer, room sprays
- Topical: lotion, massage oil, roll-on, perfume, deodorant, hand & foot cream, serum, cleansers, compress, suppository, pessary
- Internal: Only use when working with a highly trained and certified aromatherapists. There are many safety and health guidelines to know in order to aromatherapy responsibly.
Know Your Safety Guidelines & Contraindications
Following safety guidelines and contraindications will be very important. Know the person you are creating an aromatherapy blend for. If they are sensitive to certain smells or essential oil properties, use caution and/or don’t use those ingredients. Top essential oil safety guidelines –
- Cross reference a person’s sensitivities, allergies and contraindications
- Know what you know and what you don’t know. Do NOT pretend to know something or give false information.
- Use caution with serious health concerns and during pregnancy.
- Citrus oils are photosensitive. Thus, be careful with sun exposure after an application on the skin with citrus oils.
- Keep essential oil bottles out of the reach of children, animals and those with cognitive deficiencies and dementia.
- Read more safety here.
How to Choose a Substitute for an Essential Oil in a Recipe
Here are some tips to choose a potential “substitute” for an essential oil in a recipe that you either do not have on hand, or do not like the smell.
- Look up the therapeutic properties of the essential oil in the recipe and cross reference other essential oils with the same or similar properties. For example, roman chamomile is antispasmodic. However, if you do not have this oil on hand, marjoram is also antispasmodic. Maybe you have this one in your aromatherapy box.
- Smell. If you do not like the smell of lavender, but need its benefits, what other oil(s) could you use? Personally, I would substitute geranium and/or palmarosa to not only deliver the same therapeutic benefits, but also similar smell.
- Chemistry. You can also cross reference the chemistry make up an oil has, and find another oil that contains similar chemistry.
Putting it all together and creating that DIY masterpiece.
Article References: JennScents Holistic Comprehensive Guide, JennScents Aromaversity Classes, JennScents E-books and Reference Material
Author: Jennifer Pressimone, Entrepreneur, Formulator, Author
Jennifer Pressimone is an aromatherapy entrepreneur (an Aromapreneur™). She is the founder and President of JennScents®, Inc. and the JennScents Aromaversity®. She is the Vice-President and Regional Florida Director of Central Florida for the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). Jennifer has build, managed and maintained several health and wellness businesses over the last 20 years. She is an incredibly gifted essential oil formulator, aromatherapy educator, public speaker, herbalist, author and philanthropist. She leads with passion, experience and heart to inspire, empower and motivate others to not only follow their dreams, but crush it, realizing more than they ever imagined possible. Jennifer is a life coach and business mentor. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida, and has thousands of hours in continuing education in many health and wellness topics. Her specialties include mind-body health, gastrointestinal health and cognitive aromatherapy for humans and pets.
Disclaimers: Information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe. It is recommended that if serious health issues exist, you consult a licensed medical provider. JennScents does not assume liability or responsibility for the use and/or misuse of this information.