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Let’s Get Creative! Mixing
and Blending Essential Oils

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October 30, 2018

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Essential oils have unique properties that can positively affect both the body and mind. These natural oils are eco-friendly, safer than synthetic fragrances and offer nearly unlimited options for creating personalized scents. It’s no wonder that the essential oils industry is booming. So why are these aromatic oils so popular and so powerful? Read on to see what your nose already knows!

The Science Behind the Scent: Why Essential Oils Are So Popular

Each of us has our own favorite scents, and most of us find that certain smells evoke certain feelings. But why? It’s known as “odor-evoked autobiographical memory” or the Proust phenomenon, after the French writer Marcel Proust. In his book In Search of Lost Time, a character dips a cookie into a cup of tea and is transported back into time as unconscious memories of his childhood flood the character’s mind.

The memories and feelings associated with certain aromas can remind us of a certain time or place, a holiday or season and other moments. All that aside, we all simply want our homes to just smell good, too! While we can get plenty of scents for our home and personal use with synthetic fragrances, there are important advantages in choosing natural, oil-based scents.

Quality oils are derived from natural sources, so they are healthier for the environment and our health because they don’t contain the harmful properties of synthetic fragrances. Essential oils offer a variety of applications, from creating blends for a personalized perfume to mixing up seasonal and holiday scents.

Lavender, Bergamot and Tarragon – Oh My!

There are so many different natural scents available with essential oils that the possibilities for mixing, blending and creating with these versatile products are nearly endless. Banishing offensive odors with natural fragrances in our homes is not only a healthier choice, but the aromatherapy benefits can also affect our moods in some very positive ways.

Just like with a food recipe, a good outcome when mixing oils means using ingredients that go well together. And just like any great tasting recipe from the kitchen, the best smelling aromas use quality ingredients. When you first start shopping for essential oils, keep the following tips in mind:  

  • Look for oils labeled “100 percent natural oil,” which indicates that they don’t contain any synthetic components or carrier oils and have not been diluted.
  • Buy oils that are packaged in cobalt blue or amber brown glass bottles, because these oils break down plastic and are light sensitive. The colored glass containers ensure that the oils you purchase are of good quality and will have a longer shelf life.
  • Go organic. Organic oils are derived from sustainable agricultural practices and have the greatest health benefits because there are no additives. When you buy organic, you are buying unprocessed oils sourced directly from the plant.
  • Beware of labels with phrases or words like “eco-friendly,” “therapeutic grade” and “certified.” These phrases have no scientific foundation. Keep in mind that these products are not regulated by the FDA or any other governing body so their quality can vary greatly.
  • “Aromatherapy grade,” “fragrance grade” and similar phrasing typically means that a product is not 100% pure essential oil. These products usually include other oils such as synthetic elements and carrier oils. Often this is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts and used to “carry” plant oils into the skin.

It’s Time to Mix It Up!

Now that we have a basic understanding of what essential oils are, the benefits of using them and what to look for in a quality product, let’s head to the kitchen counter, get creative and mix up some scents. One of the best things about learning how to mix essential oils is the creative process. The best way to get started is to follow your nose and smell as many aromas as you can to find the ones you like the most before purchasing.

Other than the scents you’ve picked out for your mixology adventure, here is a list of supplies you’ll need to begin creating your own unique scents:

  • Notebook
  • Fragrance testing strips
  • Blue or brown glass bottles.

Start your note taking by listing the essential oils you picked out and start with three scents for your initial experiments. As you get more comfortable and knowledgeable, you can move on to as many different oils as you like for your blends and learn about carrier oils and more.

Grab your oils and remember, you are just creating test batches, so you don’t want to use more oil than you have to because good oils aren’t cheap! A simple formula for testing scents, and saving oil, is to use a total of 10 drops of oil on a fragrance strip.

To get the right balance from the beginning, use this handy chart to determine which oils are considered top notes, middle notes and base notes. These “notes” are the three indicators of types of scents based on their strength and how long they take to evaporate.

Using a 30-50-20 rule, our 10-drop formula and our notes chart from above, an example would be:

     3 drops of Bay Laurel – top note

     5 drops of Fir Needle – middle note

     2 drops of Sandalwood – base note

Each of your experiments will be notated in your notebook. This way you can begin learning what goes with what, what scents are too heavy, too light, etc. Start by writing down your first three oils you are working with and combine all three notes on a single fragrance strip. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remember, once oils start to evaporate, the scent can change. The top notes will evaporate the quickest, and the base notes will evaporate the slowest. Once you’ve given your scents a chance to settle in, you can give your new concoction a sniff!

After each test batch, write down what you like and don’t like. Keep notes of what you learn along the way from your hands-on mixing and other resources. While trial and error is the best way to come up with some genuinely unique scents, here are a few recipes for some seasonal and holiday scents to get you started.

Festive Fall

This one has a crisp, clean scent that can get you into the fall feeling. Plus, the citrus aroma will make you feel energized and awake.

4 drops Sweet Orange
3 drops Lemon
3 drops Fir

Spicy Cinnamon

The vanilla creates a soothing aroma, and the citrus and spice will remind you of holidays, cool seasons and your favorite latte!

5 drops Vanilla

2 drops Orange

1 drop Cinnamon
1 drop Clove

Fall Foliage

Peppermint and eucalyptus are two of the most popular natural scents, and they blend well with tree oils to create a strong, yet pleasant, fall aroma.

3 drops Peppermint
3 drop Pine
2 drops Rosemary

1 drop Eucalyptus
1 drop Tea Tree

Autumn Woods

The exotic scents of bergamot and frankincense mixed with these tree and plant oils will remind you of a walk through an autumn forest.

3 drops Frankincense
3 drops Fir
2 drops Juniper
2 drops Bergamot


Warm Chai Latte

This blend conjures up crisp fall evenings, quiet time by a fire and the warm sensation of drinking your favorite coffee drink.

3 drops Cardamom
2 drops Cinnamon Bark

2 drops Vanilla

1 drop Ginger Root

Gingerbread Cookies

The aroma of fresh gingerbread will remind you of the anticipation you had as a child waiting for all those delicious holiday goodies.

4 drops Ginger Root
2 drops Cinnamon Bark

2 drops Clove
1 drop Vanilla

Cup of Cider

You can’t go wrong with this simple mix of favorite holiday aromas – just don’t get carried away and drink it!

4 drops Sweet Orange
2 drops Cinnamon Bark

1 drop Ginger

1 drop Star Anise

Pumpkin Pie

The smell of pumpkin around the house will be a welcome smell all through the fall and winter from Thanksgiving to Christmas.


4 drops Cinnamon Bark
2 drops Nutmeg
2 drops Clove

These great essential oil recipes should get you off to a strong start. Remember always to buy quality oils and don’t be afraid to “mix things up!” Get those creative juices flowing, and you’ll find the right aromas for your home all year long.

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