Making your own blends with essential oils can be both enjoyable and health enhancing.

Not only can you choose fragrances that you most enjoy, you can also select your blends to address health issues that you may be suffering, or simply to enhance joy and a feeling of well being.

This article gives guidance on how to approach blending essential oils, including:

  • how to bring different oils together into one blend,
  • whether to blend essential oils within a carrier oil or alcohol, and

– some recipes for you to get started with.

Top, middle and base notes

– Grouping essential oils into categories of top, middle or base notes can be a helpful measure when creating a blend.

This concept was first coined by a Frenchman  called Piesse.  Piesse showed how scents within perfumery, can be likened to the musical scale.   He found that including layers of notes, similar to when creating music, resulted in a richer and more balanced product.   The same can be true of essential oils.

The top note can be described as the first part that hits the nose.  Fresh and light, the oils that evaporate fastest fall into this category.   The citrus oils are perfect examples of top notes, along with oils like tea-tree and peppermint.   You can easily spot a top note oil by the clear nature of the oil itself, although further exploration is always necessary as this is a guide rather than a rule.

The middle note is next to hit the nose and is often called the heart of the blend.  You can aim to include the bulk of the blended oils here.  So a greater % of the oils used, will fall into the middle note category than the top or base note.   Good examples of middle notes would be lavender and rose geranium.

The base note is the part of the blend that endures once the top note and the middle note have subsided.  As such base notes are often made up of the oils that are darker in colour and more viscous, like patchouli.

Whether to blend in a carrier oil or alcohol


Deciding whether to blend your essential oil or oils, within a carrier oil, or whether to choose alcohol, will depend entirely on how you wish to use the oils.

To generalize, blending within a carrier oil will be more appropriate when you wish to use the oils directly on the skin.  Although an exception would be when creating a facial toner.   Some great and common carrier oils, include sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil.    Sweet almond oil is slightly thicker than grapeseed so is good for a massage blend as it will hang around longer before absorption.

The slightly finer grapeseed oil can be used for everyday moisturisation or facial blends.   Considering the thickness or viscosity of your carrier oil for different purposes, can enhance the functionality of your blend.

Blending in alcohol can be a great way to introduce the joy of essential oils to your home, for example as a room mist or pillow spray.

Use of grain alcohol, is well documented within the practice of aromatherapy.  Grain alcohol is a pure form of alcohol known also as ethanol.  It is distilled from starchy natural produce such as grains, roots vegetables or even fruits.

Alcohol is preferable to water when mixing essential oils.  This is because alcohol not only preserves and sanitizes the blend, it also creates a solution in which there is no separation within the solution.  We all know that oil and water do not mix!

Blends you can try at home


To create a blend to brighten and clear congested or dull skin, you can play with the top and middle notes given below.  The blend should be mixed with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.

Top notes:  lemon, mandarin, orange or grapefruit

Middle notes:  lavender or ylang ylang

For this blend we can leave out the heavier base notes as this is a blend to refresh and uplift!

You can include:

  • 4 drops from the selection of top note oils, and
  • 6 drops from a selection of the base note oils,
  • in 25 ml of your chosen carrier oil.


Note: Citrus oils can be photosensitive which means that you shouldn’t expose skin to direct sunlight directly after use.

Essential oils are fantastic for affecting your mood too.  This is because of the action of the oils as they travel up the nose and are welcomed within the brain.  Essential oils travel directly into the parts of the brain which govern mood and emotion!

An energizing blend of essential oils could include uplifting top note oils such as peppermint, tea tree, lemon or grapefruit.

A more relaxing blend would contain more middle and base notes such as lavender, frankincense and patchouli.


By Venita Machnicki

Owner and founder of Skin Nectar


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