One of the most difficult parts of blending essential oils for perfume is olfactory exhaustion.
When you’re blending essential oils to try and find *just* the right proportions of each, it’s not uncommon to completely overwhelm your nasal passages.
On top of it being probably not too healthy for you to huff undiluted EOs for extended periods of time, it can be:
- Wasteful: when you’re experimenting with neat (i.e. undiluted) essential oils and you don’t like the result, your blend will probably end up gathering dust on the shelf
- Misleading: once you add a carrier, your blend might not even smell the same as it did undiluted
Enter the wisdom of perfumers-by-trade.
It’s common practice in the world of perfumery to pre-dilute your fragrance oils before you begin the blending process. Depending on the fragrance oil being used, perfumers might dilute their oils to 0.1%, 10%, 0r 20% in solution.
The smell of essential oils often changes when you add a carrier — especially when the carrier is alcohol. When you add carrier to fragrance and let it age, the smell is going to change. Period. I’ve had several blends that have smelled amazing undiluted, but as soon as they have a chance to mature for a period of time in the carrier — eughhggh yuck!
Plus, it’s easier to smell the nuances of EOs when your nose isn’t immediately assaulted by their pure strength.
For example, I have a lime essential oil that I was refusing to use in anything because it was murder on my nostrils. But diluted to 10%, I felt confident enough to add it to a new blend with another oil I’d been neglecting — black pepper.
Supplies for Diluting Your Essential Oils
Bottles with glass droppers
I have amber bottles dropper bottles at the moment, but there’s a case to be made for using clear bottles because you’ll be able to see how well your oils dissolve in the carrier. While it might be counterintuitive to store your dilutions in clear bottles, just remember that these solutions are only going to be used for testing blends.
Essential Oils (of course)
Make sure you choose to dilute at least one base note, one middle note, and one top note. I dive into fragrance notes over on my other post How To Make Perfume Out of Essential Oils.
I buy generic Everclear for all my perfumery purposes, and every time I get asked if I’m going to be doing shots. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Small vials for blending (2-3 mL)
You’ll want a collection of vials to use for blending your essential oil dilutions. Using these small vials is perfect for blending because:
- They don’t take up a lot of room
- Having a lot means that you can make up multiple solutions with different proportions of essential oils and see what you like best
Stainless Steel Funnels
These small stainless steel funnels are perfect for pouring your carrier into the dropper bottles.
Precision Scale (Optional but Recommended)
Perfumers perform their 10% dilutions on the weight (i.e. grams of essential oil). At this point, I personally make my 10% dilution measurement by volume (i.e. number of drops of essential oil) but if you have an appropriate scale, more power to you!
Just make sure you’re using a scale with .001g precision since you’re going to be working with very small increments of weight. Jewelry scales are great for this!
How to Dilute Essential Oils for Blending
Perfumers commonly dilute their fragrance oils to 10% strength in alcohol before they begin the blending process. This can be higher or lower depending on the specific oil, but you can stick to 10% for now.
If you have an appropriate scale:
- Take the size of your bottle and calculate what 10% of it is. Example: If I’m using a 2 oz. bottle so 10% of that would be .2 oz. of essential oils.
- Place the bottle on the scale and tare it, which brings the weight to zero.
- Add the amount that you calculated of essential to the dropper bottle.
- Add Everclear to the bottle until you reach 100% weight. For example, with my 2 oz bottle I’d add 1.8 oz. of Everclear to the bottle until I reach the total 2 oz. weight.
If you don’t have a scale:
It’s best practice to dilute to 10% by weight, but you can do it by volume as long as you stay consistent. If you don’t have a scale and opt for diluting to 10% by volume.
- Based on your bottle size, figure out how much 10% is.
For example, I used 2 oz. (or 60 mL) bottles, so…
10% of 60 milliliters = 6 milliliters
6 milliliters how much essential oil you will be using for your dilution
- There are approximately 20 drops in a mL of essential oil, so calculate how many drops you’ll need.
For my example above: 20 drops x 6 milliliters = 120 drops needed of essential oils
- Add drops to the bottle, and fill to the top with Everclear.
Now, start blending your dilutions in small 2 or 3 mL vials!
You’ll be amazed by how much easier it is to create balanced fragrance blends from your pre-diluted essential oils — and you’ll be wasting a lot less if you don’t end up liking your blend.
Be sure to keep accurate notes on every drop you add to your vials and see my article on How To Make Perfume Out of Essential Oils if you’re not sure where to start.
A friendly disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon products. When you click through to Amazon, I may receive — at zero cost to you — a small commission from the purchases you make. These purchases help support this site and allow me to continue writing articles. (It also means more cardboard scratchers for my feline friend.) 🐈