by Wendy Mackay MIAAMA
Should I use each essential oil on its own or should I mix them? That is question that gets asked often here at Essence of Wellbeing.
The simple answer is that you can do both!
Essential oils can work well on their own but it is true that the effects of essential oils can be boosted by combining them.
Mixing 2 or more essential oils can also create wonderful new aromas. That is one of the reasons why here at Essence of Wellbeing we created our own range of blends, to offer the benefits of these blends to those who do not want to get into blending themselves.
Likewise there is nothing wrong with using a single essential oil if that is what you prefer. Often the properties or aroma of a single oil are exactly what we are looking for, so why complicate matters! But sometimes we can benefit from a blend of essential oils and the different effects that brings.
When we blend essential oils we are taking advantage of a property that essential oils possess, called “synergy”. Synergy means that combinations of essential oils can have an effect greater than the sum of their parts. A bit like making 1 + 1 = 5! Individual essential oils have a certain amount of innate synergy through the interaction between the unique combinations of chemical components that make up each essential oil. But the effect can be further enhanced by combining different essential oils.
Other benefits of blending are aesthetic. Some oils may not smell as attractive on their own, but add wonderful character and depth, when combined with other essential oils.
Combining essential oils can also help the aroma of the more highly volatile top note oils last longer by combining them with the more slowly evaporating middle and base note oils.
So while you do not have to combine essential oils into blends, there can be great advantages in doing so.
The other questions that most often get asked in addition to this are, how do I blend essential oils? and, which essential oils go together?
So let's look further into how to go about creating essential oil blends for different purposes, how to decide which oils will go together and much more.
When you start to create your own essential oil blends it is a good idea to make a written note of your blends and experiments. A notebook kept just for this purpose would be ideal. It is immensely frustrating to create the perfect blend and then not be quite sure how much of each oil you used! Information to record may include - the date, the purpose of the blend, who it was made for, which oils you used, how many drops of each oil, and the effect of the oil (good or bad).This information will help with future blends as well as letting you recreate your
Another factor to look into when blending essential oils, is having regard to the “note” of each of your essential oils.
Now this is predominately an aesthetic consideration in that it affects how your blend will smell. But aesthetics are still important even when creating a blend for a particular physical problem, emotional condition or another purpose. A blend that smells attractive and cohesive will be more enjoyable to use, create a more positive mindset and will generally produce better results.
You may have heard the term “note” in relation to perfume. It essentially relates to the volatility of the components of the essential oil, which in turn affects the rate at which the oil will vaporise or evaporate and also affect the “energy” of the oil.
There are 3 notes generally referred to – top, middle and base notes.
Top notes are the lightest, with smaller faster moving molecules. They evaporate very quickly, so will dissipate first and often appear more obvious when you first smell a blend, then gradually disappearing. Top notes generally have a brighter, lighter energy. Typical top notes are the citrus group of oils, which reflect this bright lively character.
Base notes are at the other end of the spectrum. They have heavier and slower moving molecules and take much longer to evaporate. They will inform the character of the blend after the other notes have dissipated. Base note oils tend to be slower, often warmer, often more relaxing. Many wood oils, such as sandalwood, are base notes, but this group also includes very different oils such as ylang ylang and ginger.
Middle notes are, as the name suggests, between top and base notes in terms of their energy and volatility. They are often very balancing oils, although some can be relaxing and some stimulating. Many herb oils fall into this category, such as lavender, rosemary and marjoram.
You may find some oils are sometimes stated to be in one category and sometimes in another. There are some oils that are almost on the line between one group and the next, so that they are interpreted as being, say, a middle note in one book, and a base note in another. A typical example is clary sage, which is sometimes referred to as a top note and sometimes as a middle note. Bear in mind that the categories are not sharply and distinctly defined. But are more in the nature of 3 areas of a continuing spectrum.
Notes become important when blending to create a blend that smells balanced at the beginning and continues to do so as the various molecules dissipate. The best blends will usually contain a mixture of all three notes, although it is possible to blend just top and middle notes (lighter and shorter lived) or middle and base notes (heavier and more intense). It is rare that a top and base note will blend harmoniously, although it can sometimes happen. The blend we use in our Patchouli and Lime Soy candle is a rare example of this.
Remember, just because you take a top, middle and base note, they won’t necessarily blend well. You still need to consider the all over character of the oils as well as the purpose for which you are blending. But having regard to the particular “notes” of the essential oils you are blending will help to create a more attractive blend and one you will enjoy smelling.
Essential Oil Notes
Always bear in mind any cautions attaching to particular essential oils. Also refer to the general cautions for the use of essential oils.
(This information is meant as general advice. Please consult your health practitioner or a qualified aromatherapist for advice on your specific situation.)
Wendy Mackay is a qualified Aromatherapist and a member of the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association (IAAMA). Wendy along with her husband David is the Founder and Director of Essence of Wellbeing. Essence of Wellbeing is dedicated to the best in Aromatherapy and Pure Natural Skin Care and is located in Mornington on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.
Essential Oils | Massage Oils | Natural Skincare | Aromatherapy Supplies | Online | Australia p>