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Aromatherapy/essential oils dilution



I have a question about dilution. Many articles say if you want to stay safe you should use a 2% dilution. In a blend the 2% refer to all EO used or for each EO individually. For example if I have 30ml carrier oil and I want to make a blend of say rosemary and ginger, a 2% dilution is aprox. 12 drops. Do I have to put 6 drops rosemary and 6 ginger or 12 rosemary and 12 ginger. I mean the dilution rule apply to each EO individually or the total quantity of essential oil in a carrier oil.

Thank you for your time!

P.S. I'm sorry for my english, I'm not a native speaker.

Hello Lily

I am sorry to keep you waiting for your reply - I have been away for a week.
This is a difficult question to answer - mainly because each different EO has such varied characteristics: there really can be no rule that covers all the oils.So this answer will ramble on a bit I'm afraid.

I understand that the "dilution" refers to the amount in total of EO to carrier oil, no matter which EOs have been used.So if you use three EOs the three lots of drops would add up to a total of 2%.I also believe that the 2% is a minimum amount that everyone considers can have no damaging effects - i.e that it is safe for the manufacturers.

When I make my own blends I often use more than 2% dilution depending on what the blend is to be used for and for whom. And sometimes many more drops of one oil than another depending on the oils being used. For instance: A really good pain killing and muscle relaxing back massage mix  -
         30ml carrier
         10 drops Lavender
         3 drops Rosemary
         3 drops Roman Chamomile
         2 drops Peppermint
This would be quite a strong mix in effect and is quite clearly more than 2% dilution. However you will see that I would not use more than 2 drops of Peppermint as it is a very strong oil and likely to cause irritation if used in larger quantities. In small doses it makes a very cooling effect - almost anaesthetic on an aching back.(Think about how you eat peppermints - less strong is cooling - stronger is heating. It's the same for ginger - too strong is not palatable)
For the same reasons I wouldn't use more than three drops of Rosemary, as it is quite a ruthless oil and works best in small doses as part of a "team" of EOs.
You will notice I have only used three drops of Chamomile - this is a very gentle oil but the smell is very strong and will overpower the whole mix, so I tend to use it in small amounts - again with other EOs.
And finally Lavender - this is such a fabulous EO with all it's properties that I will always use more in a mix. It has all the properties for a back massage - cooling ,muscle relaxing, pain killing etc but it will also counteract any of the harsher properties of the other oils. So where the Peppermint or Rosemary may be a bit harsh, the Lavender will sooth that effect.

In your example of Rosemary and Ginger - they are both strong oils - so an even 6 drops of each would be plenty. However I would be careful of where this would be applied, especially to sensitive skin.

If you wanted a blend just for pleasant and relaxing massage you will be choosing for their aroma as well as their properties. So a really lovely relaxing blend ( one of my favourites) might be :
Ylang Ylang 3 drops
Juniper     3 drops
Lemon       3 drops
Grapefruit  3 drops
With citrus oils you have to be careful that they don't irritate the skin, so putting them with Ylang Ylang will counteract that, but also citrus oils evaporate very quickly so their aroma value is short lived, even though an oil such as Lemon is really beneficial to the body.

I think the making of blends and mixes yourself should be intuitive. If you are going to use a blend for yourself, just try a few drops of EOs and increase it if you feel that is what's needed. If you are using the mix for someone else, just be aware of the person's age and skin type and whether they are allergic to anything which might limit what you can use. Blends for babies and small children for instance would be limited to one or two drops of any EO, such as Lavender or Chamomile to have an effect. Everyone's tolerance of the oils is different.

I hope this helps - if you would like any ideas for formulae please come back to me.
(Your English is just fine !)

Best wishes


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Judy Frayne


I specialise in the mixing of oils. Every problem has a different solution depending on the underlying causes.A simple headache could be caused for a number of different reasons. Tracking down the origins of a problem is the first step. I can then advise on the correct oils to use,how to buy them and the methods with which they can be applied. I can also recommend other complimentary techniques for self help with many physical and emotional problems. Feel free to ask about: Skin disorders - eczema, psoriasis,atheletes foot Muscular aches and pains - arthritis, neck and shoulder tension. Painkilling - headaches, chronic pain, backache. Digestive disorders - IBS, constipation. Stress - depression, anxiety, grief, anger, concentration. Medicine cupboard - bites, stings, cuts, bruises,burns. Babies and childrens - tummy aches, colds, sleep problems. And many more !


I have been a qualified aromatherapist for twelve years, working in my own premises as well as mobile visiting. My clients have been varied - ranging from babies to the elderly and sadly,the terminally ill. Whilst many clients simply wish to use aromatherapy to promote a feeling of well being and keep themselves relaxed and healthy - I have had much experience of clients with specific needs. These are just as wide ranging - from skin disorders to back problems on the physical side - to the emotional and spiritual side of things and problems such as coping with grief and bereavement or helping combat anger and stress. I use a mixture of techniques including reflexology. I believe that aromatherapy is a very simple and natural method of self help that can compliment conventional techniques. I am passionate about passing on safe and sensible advice so that more people feel confident to try aromatherapy for themselves. Aromatherapy is not always a cure - but it's potency should never be underestimated. It can help, it can be life changing - and it's certainly worth trying

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