How To Use and Blend Essential Oils In Your DIY Cleaning & Beauty Routine
If you haven't already, check out our Guide to Sustainable Essential Oils to find out more about essential oils and how they are sustainably sourced.
If like me, you're now wondering what essential oils to pick and how to use them, this blog post is for you.
How to use Essential Oils
Essential oils are used in three ways listed below. This blog post is going to concentration mostly on blending oils for topical use.
The aromatic use of essential oils is most popular. This is usually achieved through a diffuser, each with have their own ratio of scent to water. There are four different types of diffusers, including nebulizing, ultrasonic, heat, and evaporative diffusers. Each diffuser has its own unique method for getting essential oils into the air so you can utilize their therapeutic benefits.
Even without a diffuser, you can enjoy many of the aromatic benefits of essential oils. Add drops of your favourite essential oils to a cotton ball and place it in areas where you want to disperse the scent. You’ll be amazed by how well this simple solution works!
- Freshen a smelly space in minutes by adding a few drops of your favorite citrus oils on a cotton ball, then place it in a gym bag, garbage can, or anywhere else that needs a scent upgrade.
- Or, you create your own room or linen spray by blending essential oils and mixing with water to freshen up a room, fabrics or your clothes. You can also create a pillow mist in the same way.
- Add essential oils to your cleaning sprays or laundry to improve the scent and to utilise the natural anti-bacterial properties.
The easiest way to get the aromatic benefits of an essential oil is by simply taking a few drops from the bottle into the palm of your hands. Cup your hands around your mouth and nose and inhale, breathing deeply for as long as needed—but, you know, take it easy so you don’t hyperventilate or anything.
Internally (in your food and drink)
You can apparently get the benefits of essential oils by ingesting them? If you are interested in this method, I encourage you to do your own research and if comfortable, ensure you are using oils that have been developed for internal use. Our essential oils are not to be ingested.
Topically (on your skin)
The topical use of essential oils is one of the most popular. Once you get the hang of this application, it will probably be one of your favorites! Usually, finding out how to use essential oils on the skin is what turns most people from casual oil users to devotees.
You can apply essential oils to most parts of your body, but you want to be cautious of your most sensitive skin. To get the most benefit from your essential oils, you’ll find that certain applications are more effective than others.
- Dilute the essential oil by mixing with a carrier substance and apply to your skin or hair to achieve specific results based on each oils benefits.
- Create a massage oil.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile substances. In order to be used safely, they should be diluted in another safe substance, like water, a skin care oil or an unscented lotion or liquid soap. Follow the recommendations in this guide for safe, effective use.
Stay safe when using essential oils
Pure essential oils are all natural but they are extremely potent. On average, they are 75x more powerful than dried herbs and must be handled with care. A couple of drops go a long way and aside from very specific oils, essential oils should always be diluted (for example in carrier oil) properly before applying them directly to your skin.
The correct dilution
The general rule of thumb is to aim for a 1-5% dilution. Ideally 1-3% for skincare and 3-5% for home and air care. A 1% dilution is 6 drops per 30ml.
- Citrus oils are photosensitive and should never be worn when heading out into the sun.
- For external use only.
- Do not use undiluted.
- Stop using if you experience a reaction.
- Please consult your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or under medical supervision.
- Not suitable for young children.
These properties were compiled from books on aromatherapy and natural wellness. The Kind Store does not endorse health claims and always advises to use basic common sense when using the oils and seek advise from a qualified physician if you suffer from any illness.
Choosing the right essential oil
Always do a patch test before applying anything to larger areas of your skin.
Lavender Essential Oil (middle note)
Great for acne and blemish-prone skin, lavender essential oil helps to unclog pores, reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. It also has a soothing benefit, making it great for dry skin sufferers as well as oily.
Tea Tree Essential Oil (top note)
Known for its ability to zap zits, tea tree is the essential weapon for oily t-zones. Potent antimicrobial and antiseptic properties help to calm existing pimples, while pore cleansing benefits keep future breakouts at bay.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil (top note)
An all round anti-ager, sweet orange essential oil is said to boost circulation, collagen levels and glow while fighting dark spots and blemishes.
Geranium Essential Oil (middle note)
Those with oily or congested skin, eczema and dermatitis can all benefit from a drop of geranium essential oil. The flower extract is loaded with antiseptic and inflammation-calming benefits, plus the oil has a cicatrizant quality, helping it heal marks and scars.
Lemon Essential Oil
Known for being antiviral and also helping to cut grease, this uplifting powerhouse of essential oil can be used to help disinfect and remove sticky, greasy substances. It has a beautiful, bright scent and I like to blend it into kitchen and bathroom specialty cleaners, specifically. It blends beautifully with basil, any other citrus fruit, bergamot, ylang-ylang, rosemary, and peppermint. If you can’t find lemon, orange will help with de-greasing (but not with the disinfecting).
Tea Tree Essential Oil
This is an essential oil cleaning powerhouse! Tea tree is an antimicrobial, its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. I use this for my all-purpose kitchen spray and in the bathroom to help fight mildew in the shower. It mixes nicely with bergamot, clary sage, clove bud, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, geranium, and rosemary.
Many people associate lavender with tranquility and sleep, but it’s also great for laundry! You can add to your laundry detergent or soap nut bagger washing your clothes. Lavender helps prevent mold and mildew from building up. It’s also a perfect essential oil to use for bedroom and linen sprays. It mixes well with many essential oils including bergamot, peppermint, cedarwood, lemongrass, grapefruit, lime, orange, peppermint, rosemary, ylang-ylang, and clary sage.
A couple of my favourite blends include:
- Lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus
- Eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree
Carrier oils are the most popular. Skin care (carrier) oils are extracted from plant nuts, seeds and kernels. They consist mainly of a balance of antioxidant unsaturated fatty acids and more emollient saturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids impart the nutty aroma associated with unrefined oils and contribute a thin, absorbent texture. Saturated fatty acids can have a more neutral aroma and a thicker, less absorbent texture.
Skin care oils are highly effective on their own. They're also often used to dilute essential oils in order to facilitate the absorption of oils into the skin and make them safer to apply.
Common carrier oils and substances include jojoba oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter and coconut oil.
Blending Essential Oils
Whatever the purpose, it is best to create your blend of essential oils separately from your carrier substance so you can take the time to work on the right formula and let it mature/blend before it is mixed into your final product.
DIY Beauty: If for wellness purposes, your collection of oils will be mostly reduced to the ones that are targeting a particular benefit. You will likely play with no more than 3-4 oils if that is the case.
DIY Cleaning: If for cleaning purposes, your selection of oils will be reduced to those that have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. You can refer to our Top 10 Best Essential Oil blog post to learn more about the benefits of eachon the body, mind and at home.
If for simply creating a nice smelling, you can display your entire collection of oils, it doesn't matter if it is 5 or 10. What you need to do there is to start thinking of a general olfactive ( ) direction. Do you want something fruity? floral? herbaceous? fresh and citrusy? And if you are not sure that’s OK, you will start making up your mind in step 2.
Another aspect to consider is blends (if you are particularly concerned about the scent i.e. when diffusing oil blends) to include a balanced array of top, middle and base notes. If an oil is made up mostly of compounds that evaporate quickly, it's considered a "top note" oil. If an oil is made up mostly of compounds that evaporate very slowly, it's considered a "base note." A "middle note" oil contains a diffusive, rounded aroma and often serves to bridge top notes and base notes in a blend. Strive to create blends that have a harmonious balance of all three notes.
How to: Select oils from all three categories but use less of the top and middle notes than that of the base note, but the most important factor to keep in mind is that you, or the person on which the oil blend is going to be used, likes it.
- Top notes 15 - 25% of the blend.
- Middle notes 30 - 40% of the blend.
- Base notes 45 - 55% of the blend.
Step-by-step essential oil blending guide
1. Pick the two materials that you feel will be at the core of your formula. Put 1 drop of each in your glass container and if you have, dip a smelling strip. If you feel it smells too much of onevs the other and is somewhat unbalanced, start adding a drop of the weaker and smell again. Repeat until you find the right balance between the two oils and make sure you reach a total of 10 drops total. For instance 3 drops of geranium and 7 drops of .
- 1:1 = 5:5 -- if it smells right 5x each side
- 2:3 = 4:6 -- if it smells right double both sides
- 2:5 ~ 3:7 -- if it smells right you can simply add 1 and 2 to actually make it 3:7
- 1:4 = 2:8 -- if it smells right double both sides
- 1:9 = 1:9 -- if it smells right you are already at 10 units
2. Start building on your core blend
Now that you are happy with your core blend of 2 oils, you can start building on it to add some complexity or refinement to your .
You can for instance decide to add a new olfactory facet, like adding some wood to a fruity/floral core blend. Or you can decide to strengthen a particular facet, adding for instance some orange to a core that contains another citrus like bergamot for instance. Whatever the direction, use the following approach:
- 1:10 = add 1 drop of the new to your core blend of 10 drops.
Take the time to blend well and let mature/sit for a few minutes before smelling. Repeat that at each step.
- 2:10 = add another drop to the total. Remember that this new note should be subtle and complement your core.
As soon as you are happy, stop.
3. You can repeat the same with another
If you are happy with your fragrance with four oils, just stop there. You don't want to have more than 4-5 oils total as a start and you can make an excellent with these 5 oils, remember it's all about balance.
And more important, have fun with it!