Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Educating yourself about how to dilute essential oils and which ratios to use is an important first step of learning how to use aromatherapy in your everyday life. So I will try to make it as simple as possible for you.
Why is it important to dilute your essential oils?
Well pure essential oils are potent substances and most oils if used undiluted can cause a bad unwanted reaction, such as burning and stinging. Also if you use too much of certain oils they can cause adverse effects internally, so it’s also important to learn which ratios of essential oil to use.
Which Carrier oil is best for diluting essential oils?
The best type of carrier oil to use depends a lot on what kind of product you want to make, which part of the body you intend to use it and what skin type you have. Here are 6 types of carrier oils I use for my aromatherapy practices.Click the links to take you to more detailed information on my post about “6 Carrier oils to use to dilute essential oils”
Grape-seed oil -great for skin care products
Almond oil -Good for sensitive skin
Sunflower oil - a hydrating versatile type of oil full of antioxidants
Avocado oil - a healing oil also perfect for dry skin.
Jojoba oil - a hypoallergenic oil
Coconut oil - an anti-inflammatory oil
How to dilute essential oils?
So now how should you dilute your essential oils? Since we are all different with different skin sensitivities it’s important to remember that starting with less is always better. It’s easier to increase essential oil concentrations than to decrease it.
As a general rule I suggest when diluting essential oils, starting with one drop of essential oil to five drops of a carrier oil.
Adults Daily use recommended 2% -6 drops in 2 teaspoons of carrier oils
Adults Acute use recommended 5-10% -15-30 drops in 2 teaspoons of carrier oils
Here are 5 aromatherapy applications and a guide on how to dilute your oils for each method. First select the carrier oil that works best for your skin.
For a massage blend massage 1 tablespoon of carrier oil should be sufficient for the whole body however some people with drier skin may absorb the oil quickly so 2 tablespoons may be necessary.
So put your carrier oil into a small glass bowl and simply add your essential oils and mix.
Simple Baths and foot baths
For baths you need to add your oils to either some salts, since oils don’t mix with water and your essential oils will just end up floating on top of your bath water and can possibly cause skin irritation and poor absorption to the body.. So for the full aromatherapy bath effect I prefer to use epsom salts for the magnesium benefits.
Avoid hot oils like peppermint, oregano and cinnamon.
Take 1⁄2 cup of epsom salts or sea salt and add up to 7 drops of essential oils or for 1 cup, 15 drops of essential oils of your choice. You can also add some dry flowers like lavender buds for a beautiful relaxing bath ritual experience. Just mix it all up and add to your bath.
Roller or dropper bottle PIN IT
I really love roller bottles, you can make them as strong as you want and they are portable so you can use them literally anytime and anywhere.
They are perfect for your night-time sleepy blends or muscle pain blend that you want to use throughout the day or week.
For roller bottles it’s better to add the essential oils first and then top up with the carrier oil, to ensure you have space for all those precious essential oils.
See our roller bottle ratio chart for roller bottle dilutions.
Along with baths another effective way to treat muscular aches and pains, headaches, bruises and reduce inflammation is to use an aromatherapy compress. There are two types of compresses: hot and cold.
For a hot compress take about 500ml (or 2 cups) of hot water and 4 drops of your chosen essential oil to about ¼ cup of sea salts. Place a small towel or bandage on top of the water and let the material absorb the water and oils. After wring it out the excess water and place it over the problem area. After that you can also wrap it up with cling film or plastic bag to keep it in place. Replace it with a new one once it has cooled down.
For a cold compress which are more effective for using on sprains, bruising, fevers and headaches. It is made exactly the same as the hot compress but with ice cold or refrigerated water instead.
For cleaning products it is recommended to work with a 5% dilution ratio.
So for a simple universal cleaning spray you can use 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water and about 25-30 drops of your essential oil. Don’t forget to use a glass bottle as essential oils can react with plastic. Shake it up and spray away.
Which essential oils do not need to be diluted?
There are actually a few oils that don’t need to be diluted and are safe to use neat for adults. These include:
tea tree (unoxidized)
Always conduct a skin test with a small amount of oil before applying to a large area.
Can you put essential oils in water?
Since Essential oils are not water soluble. It is not advised to try and dilute essential oils in water. They will just sit on the top of the water and could burn you.
Although all the information about diluting oils can seem daunting in the beginning, especially when you read all the dangers if you don't dilute them or ingest the wrong oils.
For myself I just started with one method and in a simple way and built up my confidence in how to use them in different ways. So the take-away is to start small and build your confidence in using them.