29 March 2017

How to Mix Essential Oils With Carrier Oils

Whether you're new to using essential oils or you've had some experience, it's very important to know how to mix essential oils with carrier oils.  Essential oils have to be diluted with a carrier oil before you apply them directly to your skin or you could have a reaction.  Essential oils are highly concentrated, and diluting them with carrier oils also helps them last longer.  Some essential oils can be quite expensive, but since you're only using a few drops with each use, they can last for many, many uses.  Some websites may tell you to apply a drop or two directly to the skin, but this should only be done if you are an oil expert because it can cause sensitization.

How to Mix Essential Oils With Carrier Oils

How to Mix Essential Oils With Carrier Oils


If you apply an essential oil directly to your skin without diluting it with a carrier oil first, you risk sensitization.  Sensitization is similar to a skin allergy.  It can cause an itchy rash, and it can even lead to respiratory distress.  Once you become sensitive to an oil, you will almost certainly be sensitive to that oil forever, even if you dilute it in the future.  This is why it is very important to use essential oils wisely!

Essential oils are made of several chemical compounds, and these are in high concentrations.  Even though they are from nature doesn't mean they won't harm you if used improperly.  Poison ivy is natural, but you wouldn't rub it on your skin.  Using essential oils improperly can lead to burning, rashes, skin discoloration, and even neurological problems.  Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with some preexisting conditions should use caution when using oils.  Always consult your doctor before using essential oils.  

Please note that this article is only for topical uses of essential oils.  I do not use the oils internally, so I can not give advice on that.  

What Are Carrier Oils?

Before we discuss how to mix essential oils with carrier oils, you might be wondering what a carrier oil is.  Carrier oils are vegetable or nut oils that carry essential oils or other absolutes.  There are several oils, and I talk about the properties of more than 40 of them in my book Carrier Oils: A Beginner's Guide to Using Over 40 Carrier Oils in Bath and Beauty Recipes.  The book tells you the properties of each oil for hair and skin as well as any special considerations.

Popular carrier oils are coconut oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil.  You can learn more about some of the oils on my post List of Carrier Oils and Their Benefits.  

Diluting Essential Oils with Carrier Oils

This is a general guide to mixing essential oils with carrier oils.  Some oils and recipes may need a lesser concentration, so be sure to do your research before making any recipes.

  • For healthy adults, the usual recommendation is 2% essential oil in a carrier oil.  For children and the elderly, use a 1% concentration.  This is equivalent to 10-12 drops of essential oil in one ounce (30mL) of carrier oil.  Most essential oils will use a 2% concentration.
  • For a weaker concentration, use 1% essential oil in a carrier oil.  This would be equivalent to using 5-6 drops per ounce of carrier oils.  This concentration is usually used for lotions.  
There are some essential oils, like lemongrass, that need an even lower concentration.  Again, do your research before mixing essential oils with carrier oils.  

Where to Buy Essential Oils

I buy almost all of my essential oils from Crafty Bubbles at their store in Ohio.  They just came out with a line of blended oils that they gave me to try, so keep an eye out for some new DIY recipes with those blends.  They don't have a shopping cart on their website, but you can find the essential oils starting on page 53 of their catalog.  You can also find them at Michael's stores.

If you like this post on how to mix essential oils with carrier oils, then you'll love these posts:

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace
List of Carrier Oils for Hair

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