Getting Started

New to aromatherapy? The information below can help you begin to make blends with your essential oils. It is fun and easy to experiment with essential oils. You might want to buy a few essential oils, some Jojoba oil, and explore blending. If you follow the helpful hints and instructions below, you will be able to make some wonderful blends right away. Don't forget to investigate the therapeutic qualities of each oil by going to the oil's individual page.

About Essential Oils

Quality
It is essential to buy high quality oils; cheap oils or “bargains” are almost always of poor quality. It takes a lot of plant material to make a small amount of oil. For example, it takes approximatley 50-60 roses to produce 1 drop of rose essential oil! A half-ounce of pure essential oil can last a long time, since only small amounts need to be used for their intended medicinal effects.
Storage
Essential oils must be stored in dark, airtight, glass bottles because exposure to light, oxygen, and heat causes chemical changes in the oil over time. All oils need to be kept cold. The ideal temperature is 65°F, although between 45°-65° is adequate.
Cautions
Without the appropriate training, most essential oils should not be put directly on the skin or taken internally as they can burn or irritate the skin, mouth, and stomach. Essential oils are combined with "carriers" such as cream or vegetable and nut oils (e.g., Almond oil, Grapeseed, Avocado oil & Jojoba oil) and then applied to the skin (see dilutions below for blending guidelines).
Dilutions
Depending on the specific oil and the situation, a total of 5-18 drops of essential oil goes into 1 oz. of carrier oil. These amounts vary based on the person for whom you are making the blend (see dilutions below) and on the strength of the specific oil you are using. For example, you can use several drops of Lavender to every 1 drop of Rose.
1% dilution= 5-6 total drops of essential oil in each ounce of carrier oil or cream. This dilution is used for children, elders, chronically ill persons, and pregnant women.
2% dilution= 10-12 total drops of essential oils in each ounce of carrier oil or cream. This dilution is used for the average adult and daily or long-term use of the product.
3% dilution= 15-18 total drops of essential oil in each ounce of carrier oil or cream. This dilution is used for specific illnesses or for acute injury. Blends made at this dilution are used for a week or two, for an acute situation.
Basic Properties
Most essential oils, although highly concentrated, do not appear “oily”.  As oils, they are lighter than water and highly fluid. They are primarily lipid (fat) soluble rather than water-soluble allowing for easy, fast penetration into the skin and bloodstream. Oils are absorbed through capillaries, lymph ducts or the lungs (when oils are inhaled). Once applied to the skin or inhaled, the body takes about 30-90 minutes to entirely absorb the essential oils. Strong blood circulation increases absorption rate.
Origins
Essential oils may be found in virtually any part of the plant: seeds, flowers, fruit, leaves, stems, roots, bark, wood, needles and resins.
Supplies for Blending
Essential oils
Glass bottles with caps for making blends in a carrier oil
Glass bottles with orifice reducers and caps for making undiluted blends of essential oil
Jars for cream blends
Carrier oils to mix the essential oils into
Unscented cream to mix essential oils into
Labels and pens
Towels (or paper towels)
Glass stirring rods
Notebook and pen
Blending Tip
Use strong floral oils such as Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Geranium and Neroli in small quantities. They are powerful.  Add only 1-3 drops of any strong floral oil to a blend, especially if you are blending with these oils for the first time.
Suggested Beginner Kit

Click Here to purchase this starter kit (15% off retail price)

Essential Oils:
All 1/2 oz. size
Cedarwood (Juniperus)
Chamomile (Roman)
Lavender
Lime
Orange
Peppermint
Ravintsara
Rosewood
Vetiver
Ylang Ylang

 

Related products:
Beeswax-8 oz.
Coconut oil-8 oz.
Jojoba oil-16 oz.
Lotion-Unscented-8 oz.
Shea Butter- 8oz.
4 Bottles, cobalt Blue, 1 oz
4 Inhalers
4 Lip Balm Tins, 1oz.
3 Spray Bottles 4 oz.
2 Stirring Rods

Click Here to purchase this starter kit (15% off retail price)

 

These oils are very easy to blend with, great for daily use, give you a delightful selection of aromas, and offer a wide range of therapeutic properties.

Aromahead Institute offers a free online class "Introduction to Essential Oils. This is an in-depth introduction to blending with oils. Click here for information.

Language of Aromas

Top Note
The first smell to arise from a blend and evaporate quickly. The top note fragrance is usually light, fresh, sharp, penetrating, and airy. They add brightness to a blend. The aroma of top note oils reminds me of wind chimes or a flute. Top notes stimulate and clear your mind, uplifting your energy.

Examples: Bergamot, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, and Orange
Middle Note
Called the “heart” note, these oils give the blend aromatic softness, fullness, and can round off any sharp edges. Middle notes can have both top and base note aromas within them. They are harmonizing for your blends. Middle notes provide balance both physically and energetically. They are soothing and harmonizing for the mind and body.

Examples: German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Helichrysum, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Ravintsara, Pine, and Rosemary
Base Note
These oils provide a deep, warm, grounded quality to your blend. They function as fixatives by reducing the evaporation of the top notes. Base notes add intensity to a blend and often have an earthy aroma. The aroma rises slowly to your nose unlike top notes, which penetrate quickly. Base notes are used to relieve stress, anxiety, and insomnia. They are calming and grounding. Most oils derived from woods, resins, and roots are base notes.

Examples: Opoponax, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Spikenard, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang
Combining Notes
When blending, add one drop at a time to your blend, then mix and smell. Allow the blend to unfold slowly and inform you about what oils to add and how much. We often need much less essential oil than we might imagine. Remember to keep track of the blends you make by recording which oils you used and how many drops of oil. When you finish the blend and want to make it again, you will have the recipe!

Buzzwords for Beginners

Adulterant
A substance which was not originally present in the oil at the time of distillation added to an essential oil.  An adulterant can be artificial or natural.
Base Oil (Carrier Oil)
Vegetable or nut oils such as Sweet Almond, Grapeseed, and Jojoba.
Diffuser
A device that disperses essential oils into an area. The three basic types are clay, candle and electric.
Dilute
Adding a small amount of essential oil to a larger amount of base oil to make it safe for use on the skin
Distillation
Method used to extract essential oil from the plant. Steam distillation is the most common form of distillation.
GC/MS (Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer)
A device used by analytic chemists to determine the precise make-up of a given substance. Used in aromatherapy to determine the precise chemical constituents of an essential oil, and whether the oil is pure or adulterated with synthetic chemicals or other products.
Essential Oil
Highly aromatic substance found in specialized cells of certain plants. Technically, when this substance is in the plant, it is called an "essence." After distillation of a single type of plant, the aromatic substance is referred to as an essential oil.
Herbally Infused Oil
These are oils that carry the medicinal properties of certain herbs. Carrier oil is infused with the medicinal herb, the plant is strained off, and the remaining oil can be used directly on the skin.
Neat
Use of an undiluted essential oil on the skin.
Notes
As in top, middle, and base notes. A type of classification system based on aroma, to identify certain oils. Generally, essential oils from citrus peels are top notes, essential oils from flowers, leaves and stems are middle notes, and essential oils from roots are base notes.
Orifice Reducer
A device used to reduce the size of the opening of a bottle, making dispensing the essential oil easier and more accurate.
Volatile
Describes how quickly a substance disperses itself into the air. In aromatherapy, top note essential oils may be referred to as "highly volatile," meaning that they disperse quickly out of the bottle and into the air.

Therapeutic Properties

Alterative
Tending to restore normal health; cleans and purifies the blood; alters existing nutritive and excretory processes, gradually restoring normal body function.
Analgesic
Numbs pain.
Antibacterial
Destructive to bacteria.
Antifungal
Inhibits growth of fungus.
Anti-infectious
Helps the body strengthen its own resistance to infective organisms and rid the body of illness.
Anti-inflammatory
Alleviates inflammation.
Antipyretic
Dispels heat, fire and fever (from the Greek word pyre, meaning fire).
Antiseptic
Assists in fighting germs/infections.
Antispasmodic
Relieves spasms of voluntary and involuntary muscles.
Antirheumatic
Prevents and/or relieves rheumatic pain and swelling.
Antiviral
Inhibits growth of viruses.
Astringent
Firms tissue and organs; reduces discharges and secretions.
Carminative
Relieves intestinal gas pain and distention; promotes peristalsis.
Cephalic
Remedy for the head, generally clearing and stimulating.
Cicatrisant
Cell-regenerative for skin, healing for scars.
Decongestant
Reduces nasal mucus production and swelling.
Diaphoretic
Causes perspiration and increased elimination through the skin.
Diuretic
Promotes activity of kidney and bladder and increases urination.
Emetic
Induces vomiting.
Emmenagogue
Helps promote and regulate menstruation.
Emollient
Smoothes, softens and protects the skin.
Expectorant
Promotes discharge of phlegm and mucous from the lungs and throat. 
Haemostatic
Stops the flow of blood. An astringent that stops internal bleeding or hemorrhaging.
Hypotensive
Lowers high blood pressure.
Immune stimulant
Stimulates functioning of the immune system.
Laxative
Promotes bowel movements.
Mucolytic
Breaks down mucus (pulmonary).
Nervine
Strengthens the functional activity of the nervous system; may be either a stimulant or sedative.
Rubifacient
Increases local blood circulation, can cause minor skin irritation, vasodilation and local analgesic effect.
Sedative
Calms and tranquilizes by lowering the functional activity of the organ or body part.
Stimulant
Increases functional activity of specific organ or system.
Stomachic
Increases functional activity of specific organ or system.
Tonic
Strengthens and restores vitality.
Sudorific
Increases sweating.
Vasodilator
Helps to dilate blood vessels.

Essential Oil Quick List

or see a printable list of oils