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Girl’s Guide to Blending Essential Oils

essential oils

There is something that inspires play, intuition, and deliberateness when you dive into blending essential oils and creating a healing final product. We call our blends potions, because we believe they contain a little magic.

What is an essential oil and how do they work?

Immediately upon smelling an essential oil (which are volatile liquids distilled from wood, grasses, flowers, resin, fruit and seeds), the palate in the nose transports a message to the limbic system in the brain, which is the seat of emotions and memories. The brain then releases chemistry throughout the body based on the chemical code from the oils. This is how essential oils can successfully change a person’s physical or emotional feeling. Some oils promote feelings of relaxation and calmness in the mind whereas others work with body to reduce aches and pains.

Getting Started: what do you want your potion to do?

Essential oils may smell great, but they’re therapeutic first and foremost. What do you want your potion to do for you? Individually, they can be a natural antihistamine (hello, Chamomile!), work as an antidepressant (oh Benzoin, how I love you), or give you boost of energy (Lemon works like a charm!). But just like people don’t fit under just one title, neither do essential oils. They fit into many different categories, so if you’re drawn to one oil and unsure as to why, then look up that oil’s properties. You may be pleasantly surprised to see that essential oil multitask for you and help with stiff muscles and stress & tension. The main rule of thumb when mixing oils: don’t mix a stimulating oil if your goal is to get more sleep! Other than that, go with your smell preference and your health needs.

If you want to reduce pain or inflammation, look for oils that contain analgesic properties. Most oils derived from trees – Fir, Cypress, etc. – are good choices. Look for antibacterial and antiviral properties to boost the immune system, and look for carminative oils to support digestion.

Now that you decided the purpose of your blend, the real fun begins. Your nose and intuition are about to become your best friend.

Start off in a clean and calm environment. Rid your workspace of distractions and electronics. Use ceramic or glass instruments instead of plastic, as essential oils will disintegrates the plastic over time.

essential oils

Start with a base, and always dilute

This can simply be adding your essential oil blend to your favorite body cream or carrier oil – such as coconut or olive oil – shampoo, or soap.

We believe in safety first. Essential oils are so complex in their chemical constitute that it is impossible to declare exactly what their makeup and warnings should be, unlike synthetic pharmaceuticals. Use caution and use your oils sparingly. A little goes a long way.

There are thousands of plants inside a single bottle; you don’t need them all. Diluting your oils is easy, just need to refer to the dilution ratio chart we’ve included. Dilution past 5% is rarely necessary. The typical rule of thumb is to not go past 1-2% dilution. If you are dealing with an acute condition, 5% dilution may be appropriate, but we recommend being under the supervision of a Certified Aromatherapist.

Keep in mind that the nose acclimates to its environment and can become desensitized. A common mistake of blending oils is to use a high dilution rate and thus develop an overwhelming – and potentially dangerous – blend.  Always dilute your essential oils in order to avoid an adverse skin reaction, especially from citrus oils which can be phototoxic, or cinnamon and peppermint, which should never be applied to mucous membranes.

Have fun and experiment

Wafting oils under your nose is an excellent way to test what they would smell like together without using any of your precious ingredients. Just like a recipe you cook can turn out too heavy – or too light – make sure your oil blend is balanced. Citruses and flowers are very inviting to the nose. Resins are heavy and grounding. A perfect blend would include something that is helpful to your therapeutic purposes, yet smelled great, too.

Our Back-to-School Focus blend, specially formulated for Sass Magazine:

4 drops of Lemon, which is energizing

5 drops of Rosemary, which sharpens focus and concentration

2 drops of Peppermint, which is stimulating during an afternoon slump

6 drops of Bergamot, which reduces stress and frustration

Fill the rest of a roller applicator with carrier oil or a spray bottle with water and a splash of alcohol. Voila!

By Chelsea Matuskey & Amye Clark, owners of Anam Cara Apothecary

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