So you have your essential oils, and directions. But how many drops go in the bottle? Better yet, why? And what if you want to make more or less than the recipe you have? Understanding proper dilution and having a handy chart will help! I’ve given you the handy chart, because I’m an awesome person and it felt like good Karma. Let’s talk about the “why”.
First, we do explicitly state that you have the right to use essential oils as you see fit. For some people, that includes using them “neat”, or without dilution. I’ve tried it, mostly when I didn’t know enough to understand why it should be done with caution. I’d used low-quality grocery store clove oil for dental pain in the past, because I didn’t know better. It helped some, dropped or rubbed straight on my gums. Knowing better, I ordered high-quality clove bud essential oil. And still not fully understanding, I dropped it straight out of the bottle onto my gum! This, boys and girls, is what we like to call a “cautionary tale”. A “bad idea”. “Invading Russia in winter”. “Raising dragons in your dormitory”. I couldn’t breathe, which was probably a good thing. My steady stream of tears could do nothing to extinguish the fire in my mouth.
And that’s why we dilute essential oils. So we don’t hurt ourselves, make ourselves sick, or cause permanent damage or sensitivities. So nobody gets dead. All of those things are definitely possible when essential oils are misused, including not diluting them properly as necessary. Now when friends have dental pain, I suggest a maximum blend of 5% clove essential oil in a carrier oil. Learn from my mistakes, but also, if you’re able to put it in your mouth without dilution, you might check the quality.
What can you use to dilute your essential oils? Lots of things. The quickest and most common method is with liquid carrier oils. These are oils that are liquid at room temperature. Fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, argan oil, jojoba oil. Preferably cold-pressed or expeller-extracted, and preferably organic. This does not generally mean corn oil or vegetable oil like you think of for the kitchen, though those items can be used if necessary.
You might also use butters and waxes. Shea butter and cocoa butter are popular, as is beeswax. You can generally disperse essential oils well in alcohol (both drinkable and rubbing) and preparations like witch hazel. It is possible to disperse the oils well in water, with the addition of a dispersing agent like epsom salts, for use in baths. It should be noted, however, that this is not dilution, but dispersal. The oils will still be undiluted on your skin in the tub, they’ll just be in miniscule droplets. For this reason, some aromatherapists and herbalists suggest using Herbal Tea Baths instead.
For Diluting in Liquid Oils
Put your essential oils into the bottle or jar, in the order you prefer. For teaspoon-sized recipes, a sample-sized essential oil bottle should work. Most roller bottles are 10ml, and if you need more than that you’re on to larger bottles. Or Mason jars, I suppose, but watch the seals – essential oils break down some plastics. Swirl the essential oils, currently a synergy, until they have mixed well where possible. Top with the appropriate amount of carrier oil. Put a lid on it. Label it.
For Diluting in Butters and Waxes
Melt the correct amount of butter or wax. I use a double boiler on the stovetop. Some folks use a microwave, but use caution – the uneven heating can cause hot spots that destroy or vaporize some of the compounds you want. I’m sure some folks set it in the warm window on the hottest day of the year at the moment the sun rises. Maybe there’s something to it, but whatever gives you joy, do that. Once your butters and waxes are all liquified and runny, let them cool again. Stir while you do, so the temperature stays even throughout. If you’re working with tiny amounts, a skewer or toothpick can be helpful. Once the goop has cooled almost to the point where it’s starting to thicken back up, add your essential oils. Now stir, stir, stir – gently but quickly. You want to get them fully incorporated before the mixture thickens too much. No, you shouldn’t put it back over the heat at this point. You can, but you shouldn’t.
Get lids and labels on those puppies and let them cool.
Who, Where, and When are Up to You!
I mean, the “who” is probably you, unless you are reading this for someone else. Or have people in your life who are willing to do your hobbies for you. Which is kind of cool, but a little strange. Where should probably not be someplace like “in the car while in motion” or “at work at my desk”, unless you have some really awesome co-workers. When? Have at it, friend. Kid start coughing in the middle of the night? Sure, you should have prepared for this, but head for the kitchen. No time like the past, but the present will do as necessary in this case!
Oh, You Were Wondering “How Much”?
Yeah, yeah. Here’s your handy chart. And it’s Pinnable, for your blasted convenience. Because you’re lovely and I appreciate you. And stuff.
Update – You can now easily dilute both pure oils and pre-diluted blends! Check out the new calculator here!