Have you ever wanted to mix up a great blend of essential oils that not only have health benefits but they smell great too? If you’re like me, when you first started you wondered how to group and mix essential oils to get the combinations you were after. It’s a great chance to experiment and make everyone their own scents.
I really started to get into aromatherapy when I discovered all of the great benefits that came with using essential oils. However, my kids quickly let me know that they all liked different scents, so I set out to make my own unique blends of oils that my family loved and that had significant health benefits.
It is a lot to take in at first, but I’m going to walk you through the basics so you can be well on your way to coming up with your own blends that are as unique as you are!
Understanding the Different Scent Notes
There are three distinct classes that professional perfumers use to separate and understand scent notes. (1) The three classes are defined as top scent notes, middle scent notes, and base scent notes. Which essential oil belongs in which class is determined by how quickly the oil’s scent dissipates.
The lighter scent molecules disappear quicker while, and the heavier molecules linger on for a longer time. (2) Ideally, a well-rounded essential oil blend will have all three notes combined into the formula for a well-balanced scent that isn’t overpowering. (3)
Top Scent Notes
Your top note scent is very important because this will give you your first impression of the blend’s fragrance. Typically, your top note scent lasts between one and two hours, and you’re aiming for a lighter and fresh scent. It evaporates the fastest out of all three notes because it has the lightest molecular structure.
Middle Scent Notes
These scent notes are also known as heart notes. These notes are the scent that comes through once the top note scent fades away. They typically last between two to four hours. This is the note that has a powerful effect on how the base scent notes smell, and how long they last.
Base Scent Notes
The final layer of your oil blend is the base scent. It comes after the top note scents, and the middle note scents have evaporated. The base scent is going to give you the longest impression of your oil blend. The typically smell heavy or rich, and they can last between one and two days.
Scent Note Examples (4)
Basil, Bergamot, Citronella, Citrus, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Peppermint
Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Nutmeg, Rose, Spruce, Tangerine, Tea Tree
Angelica Root, Balsam, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ginger, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang
Grouping Essential Oils by Category Blend
Now that you know what scent notes are and why they’re important, we can talk about grouping your essential oils by category or scent types. This is generally easy because you can tell quickly which oils belong to which categories. Several essential oils could fit into different categories depending on how you interpret the scent.
You can usually count on oils in the same scent category to blend well together. A lot of beginners start by mixing scents that they know work well and branch out from there when they get more confident.
Essential Oil Scent Categories
Bergamot, Citronella, Guava Leaf, Kaffir Lime, Lemon, Melissa, Neroli, Orange, Verbena, Yuzu
Amber, Angelica Root, Cedar, Cardamom, Leather, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Tobacco, Valerian, Vetiver
Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, Palmarosa, Roman Chamomile, Rose Vanilla, Wisteria, Ylang Ylang
Basil, Black Cumin, Cloves, Marjoram, Oregano, Pine, Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme
Bergamot, Birch, Cornmint, Dill, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen
Aniseed, Ajowan, Black Pepper, Cinnamon Bark, Ginger Grass, Juniper, Nutmeg, Pimento Berry, Pink Pepper, Turmeric
Amyris, Black Pine, Carrot Seed, Cypress, Douglas Fir, Frankincense, Juniper, Myrrh, Rosewood, White Sage
When it comes to blending these categories, the oils that fall into the same category typically blend very well together. Additionally, you can usually blend the floral essential oils with oils from the citrus, spicy, or woodsy categories. The citrus essential oils blend well with the herbal and spicy essential oils, and so on.
If you’re not sure, we put a quick reference chart together for you.
Grouping Essential Oils By Effects and Properties
If you’re more concerned about the properties of your essential oils, you can group them together this way instead of by scent because you’ll get a bunch of different scents that all do the same thing.
- Tea Tree
- Cinnamon Bark
Getting Started Blending Essential Oils
Now that you know what essential oils blend well together and what some of their properties are, you can start experimenting. There are a few blending ratio rules you can follow to start with to help ensure that you end up with a well-balanced oil blend.
1. The 30-50-20 Rule
The 30-50-20 Rule is very straightforward and great for beginners. You’re going to use 10 drops of three different essential oils. You’ll use 30 percent of your top scent note oil, 50 percent of your middle scent note oil, and 20 percent of your base scent note oil.
For example, if you decided to blend orange (top note), jasmine (middle note), and vanilla (base note), you’d blend three drops of orange, five drops or jasmine, and two drops of vanilla.
2. The Perfect Balance
The second blending rule is called The Perfect Balance. You’ll use 15 drops of essential oils with this formula. It works best when you use essential oils of the same categories mixed together. You’ll do 33.3 percent of your top note, 33.3 percent of your middle note, and 33.3 percent of your base note.
If you wanted to do a floral mixture, you’d mix five drops of lavender (top note), five drops of jasmine (middle note), and five drops of ylang-ylang (base note).
3. Bottom’s Up
This is a slightly more advanced blending technique because you start with the base scent note and work your way up. It works best if you use either essential oils from one category or essential oils from complementary categories.
Start by picking your base scent and the middle scent and adding one or two drops. Blend them and test the scent. When you like the balance, add one drop of your top note scent and blend them all together.
For example, you wanted to blend a minty and woodsy scent. You’d start with an oil like peppermint and add two drops. Next, you’d blend in four drops of your woodsy scent like black pine. You’d finish it with one drop of angelica root or a complimentary top note.
Tips for Blending Essential Oils
When I started blending essential oils, I started very small. I didn’t want to waste any oil if I didn’t like the finished scent. It’s also a good idea to let your essential oil blends sit together and rest for 24 to 48 hours before you try them out. This will give the oils time for all of their scents to mix together.
If you’d like to see how your oil’s scent will change over time, pour a few drops on a cotton ball and leave it set out. Come back to it over the course of a few days. Check and see the scent profile changes and if you still like it. You can also mix it with a few drops of a carrier oil like almond oil or jojoba oil to see if you still like the scent.
Keep a small notebook handy with all of your essential oil blends and scent impressions. This will allow you to keep everything in one place and you’ll be able to check if you like certain scent combinations or not.
Also, it’s essential that you do your research and choose high-quality essential oils. This will dictate how the oils smell, how strong the scents are, and whether your oil is safe for internal or external use.
The Bottom Line
Did you enjoy my guide on how to group and mix essential oils? Experimenting with essential oils is one way to relax and create unique scents that your entire family will fall in love with. Do you have a favorite oil blend that you or someone you know came up with? Tell me what you think and share your recipes with me in the comment section below!