Getting started with essential oils can be both exciting and a little bit intimidating. How do you know how much of each oil to use, what to use it for, how to use it and which ones might go together? It is important to create blends with oils that are complementary of one another. It really can be an art, but with a little bit of science mixed in.
Grouping Essential Oils
One way to get started is to categorize oils into groups with similar traits. You may group essential oils by their effects, or what you’re after. You may group them by their scent, or you could put them into categories by how fast they evaporate.
Grouping Oils by Effect
One of the easiest and oftentimes most useful way to group essential oils is by the effects they have. It is sometimes easier to grasp than other ways. Just a little research and you can find out which oils are calming, energizing or any number of other effects. Here are a few of some of the most popular oils and the effects they can provide.
- Energizing Oils: Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tea Tree
- Calming Oils: Bergamot, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Mandarin, Melissa, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang
- Detoxifying Oils: Grapefruit, Helichrysum, Hyssop, Juniper, Laurel. Lemon, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary
- Anti-Anxiety Oils: Bergamot, Black Pepper, Geranium, Lavender, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood
Grouping Oils by Scent
Oils that have similar smells can be categorized together. This can be an individual thing and some of the essential oils could fit into more than one group. There’s not really a true right or wrong, just do what feels right for you. Here’s a quick guide to help give you an idea of how to start.
- Citrusy – Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange
- Herbal – basil, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Thyme
- Flowery – Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Rose, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang
- Spicy – Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger,
- Woodsy – Cedarwood, Cypress, Frankincense, Juniper, Sandalwood
Grouping Oils by “Notes”
You might have already noticed that some oils evaporate faster than others. Maybe you haven’t thought of it that way yet, but you did notice your blends didn’t smell the same as when you created it just a short time later. The reason for this is the oils have individual evaporation times. Some oils evaporate quickly, about an hour or two. These are referred to as “top notes.” Oils that evaporate in two to four hours are called “middle notes.” And “base notes” evaporate more slowly. Some of these can take as long as a few days. Here are some of the oils categorized by their individual oil notes.
- Base Notes: Balsam, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Ginger, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Vetiver
- Middle Notes: Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Jasmine, Marjoram, Neroli, Rose, Rosemary, Spruce, Tea Tree, Thyme, Ylang Ylang
- Top Notes: Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Orange, Peppermint, Spearmint, Tangerine
Creating Your Own Essential Oil Blends
When you understand the different ways to group the oils, you can develop your own strategies for blending them. You can take oils from different categories and blend them together. This sort of gives you the “best of both worlds.” There isn’t one set of right and wrong ways to create blends. Feel free to be creative and try some of your own experiments. There are a few things to note though. For instance, as a general rule, citrus goes well with flowers, woodsy oils and flowery ones make good blends, and herbal goes well with citrus. Try a few and you’ll soon have a few of your own favorites.
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