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The When Why & How of Diluting Essential Oils

Do you use essential oils neat?  Or dilute them? Diluting Essential Oils
Why do you need to dilute essential oils?
What does it mean to dilute essential oils?
How do you dilute essential oils?

These are just some of the many questions I receive about diluting essential oils.  Not everyone who uses essential oils, knows when to dilute them. And even those that do know dilution is important, don’t always know how to dilute effectively.

So this article aims to answer some of the many questions surrounding the issue of dilution, and provide you with some practical information on how to dilute essential oils for yourself.
When should you consider diluting your essential oils?

It is primarily recommended to dilute essential oils whenever they are to be applied to or come into contact with the skin. 
Dilution is not always required for other methods of use however. 

For example, you do not need to dilute essential oils going into an aroma inhaler. Nor do vaporisers and diffusers require dilution – in fact essential oils diluted in a carrier oil may clog or damage electric diffusers. 
(By the way if you are using a diffuser with water, the water is not actually “diluting” the essential oil as essential oils are not soluble in water.)

Why is it important to dilute the essential oils? 

There are a number of reasons that you should dilute your essential oil –


So how do you go about diluting essential oils?

The first thing to consider is what you are using to dilute the essential oil.  Usually this will be what we call a carrier or vegetable oil.  These are fatty oils (as opposed to essential oils which are volatile oils) such as jojoba, grapeseed, sweet almond etc.  (Incidentally these oils all have some amazing properties which can be enormously beneficial to the skin – just another benefit of dilution!)  

The second consideration is how much to dilute – in other words, how much essential oil to how much carrier oil.
This last point is affected by a range of factors –

General dilution recommendations -

To understand those concentrations in drops of essential oil to milliliters of carrier oil, this conversion chart will be helpful -
Note – drops are not the most accurate method of measuring essential oils, but are the most practical for home users, so amounts are approximate.

NOTE - This is general advice only.  If you are not sure whether using an essential oil is right for you, diluted or not,  or if you need any other advice about using essential oils, please contact myself or another qualified aromatherapist for advice.


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.


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