Blending Guidelines and Dilutions (and a Handy Little Chart)

Ally adds Lavender essential oil to her blend in class.

Every week on Facebook, Twitter or email, I get questions about blending:

“Liz, how strong a blend should I make for my husband’s sprained ankle?”   “Liz, I want to use essential oils on my children but don’t know how much is safe.”   “Liz, how many drops of essential oils should I add to cream for my face?”

These are all great questions, and I’m so happy when I get asked!   It tells me that people understand the potency of essential oils and that they need to be used with care and respect.  There can be uncomfortable, even dangerous, consequences when used incorrectly.

Below I’ve made a simple chart you can print out and keep at your blending table for easy reference.   These are the dilutions we use in the classroom at the Aromatic Wisdom Institute.  When in doubt, use less.

Weight of Carrier 1% dilution 2% dilution 3% dilution
1 ounce 5-6 drops 10-12 drops 15-18 drops
2 ounce 10-12 drops 20-24 drops 30-36 drops
4 ounce 20-24 drops 30-36 drops 45-54 drops







1% Dilution: — This dilution is used for children under 12, and seniors over 65, pregnant women and people with long-term illnesses or immune systems disorders.  A 1% dilution is also a good place to start with individuals who are generally sensitive to fragrances, chemicals or other environmental pollutants.

2% Dilution — This dilution is used on adults in good health for blends that support skin care, for natural perfumes, bath oils, and blends you use everyday or long-term.

3% Dilution — This dilution is used when creating a blend for an acute injury, pain relief or getting through a cold or flu.  Blends made at this dilution are used only for a week or two.

Neat:  Using essential oils  “neat” (meaning undiluted – essential oil without any carrier) is inadvisable except in very specific situations.  There are two reasons for this:  1) you can develop a sensitivity to the oils; and 2) many essential oils are too irritating to use without dilution.   Oils can be used neat as follows:  Small specific areas, acute situations (cut or wound, bee sting, bug bite and burn) and for short-term use.  These must be highest quality, non-oxidized oils.


Does this answer your blending guideline questions?

Do you have something specific you’d like to ask?  Please do!

Just put your question in the comments section below, or write to me at


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  1. Very concise chart. I appreciate that. Question: Would there be anytime when you would go above a 3% dilution? Thank you.

    • Hi Irene,

      This a great question and the answer is “yes”! This is when I go above 3%:

      For specific injury for muscle, tendon, bone, you can use 3-10% depending on the individual, age, situation and oils being used. 3% dilution is the safest dilution to begin with.

      For local issues such as chest congestion you can use 3-10% again, depending on the individual, age, situation and oils being used.

      If problem is acute and severe, you can go up to 25% dilution for short-term use, but I rarely find the need to use this much oil. (These problems include severe muscle cramps, intense spasms, significant bruising or pain.)

      It really doesn’t take much essential oil to positively affect an area.

      Thanks for asking Irene!

  2. Very helpful and easy to understand. Staying in the limits of the chart, makes the use of essential oils safe.

    Thanks for this information!

    • Thanks for stopping by! I agree…being a visual person, I love charts – or anything that I can see at a glance!

  3. I am taking my first aromatherapy class. The table is so helpful. Question I have is if you are making a blend of oils, is there a table that provides each essential oils blending factor? Other than the concept of high, middle and low notes blending (which I have yet to wrap my head around), is there an easier way to blend oils for specific needs, i.e., muscle aches blend?

  4. My question is whether or not you know the blending factor for the full list of oils used in aromatherapy and if it is not available through this website, do you know where that information can be located. Most websites that provide essential oils do not list the blending factor for each, though it may include whether it is a high or a low. It is almost impossible to find a blending factor chart, and most that are offered online are dilution ratios, not blending factors.
    Jennifer O recently posted…A New Aromatherapy Blog Worth Reading: “The Girl Behind the Counter”My Profile

    • Hi Jennifer, I’d love to be able to help. Can you clarify what you mean by “blending factors”? I have always considered dilution ratios the primary considering for creating a formula because it is a safety issue. With “blending factors” is something else taken into consideration?

  5. Does it make a difference if you’re blending in a solid form (like shea, etc)?

    Also, does this apply to all oils (some are more dense than others). Is there a rule of thumb for the amount of oil to use for top, middle & high notes?


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