Aromatic blending for the sheer pleasure of the aroma is a combination of creativity and science. When using a blend created primarily for its fragrance, therapeutic benefit can also occur. The focus of the blend, however, is on the final aroma, not its therapeutic properties. Safety precautions should be followed for any type of blending, including for aromatic blending. For instance, you would still want to be extremely careful when using Bergamot because of its phototoxic properties p roperties and still avoid using all hazardous oils and all oils that are contraindicated for conditions that you yo u have. Traditional perfumers that work for the famous fragrance houses study for years to master the art and science of perfumery blending. The perfumer’s standard repertoire consists of essential oils but also of synthesized chemicals that mimic the constituents (chemicals) of essential oils and other natural ingredients. Perfumers use synthesized chemicals and chemicals extracted from essential oils because they are often cheaper than using pure essential oils and because the chemicals are standardized and will be more consistent in aroma. If you can find a copy, The Science and Art of Perfumery by Edward Sagarin (copyright 1945) is a fascinating book boo k that provides insight into the history and science of perfumery. In aromatherapy blending, only natural ingredients such as essential oils, absolutes, CO2s, grain alcohol, carrier oils, herbs and water are used. Because aromatherapy blending requires and benefits from the use of unsynthesized chemicals, you shouldn’t have high expectations for perfectly duplicating your favorite commercial fragrances.
Blending Basics Essential oils can be categorized into broad groups based on their aromas. An example categorical system is as follows: •
Oils in the same category generally blend well together. I hesitate specifying that particular categories blend well with other specific categories because it can limit your creativity and experimentation. Additionally, there are always exceptions. But to get you started, below are some categories that generally blend well together: • • •
Florals blend well with spicy, citrusy and woodsy oils. Woodsy oils generally blend well with all categories. Spicy and oriental oils blend well with florals, oriental and citrus oils. Be careful not to overpower the blend with the spicy or oriental oils. Minty oils blend well with citrus, woodsy, herbaceous and an d earthy oils.
Harmonizing Your Blend Have you ever noticed that a fragrance smells differently after several hours than when you first apply it? Some essential oils evaporate more quickly than others. As the oils in a blend evaporate, the aroma will change to reflect the aroma of the remaining oils. Using the analogy of a musical scale, oils that evaporate the quickest, usually within w ithin 1-2 hours, are called “top notes.” Oils that evaporate with 2-4 hours are considered “middle notes.” Oils that take the longest time to evaporate are referred to as “base notes.” Some base notes can take several days to evaporate! Edward Sagarin credits Septimus Piesse with this analogy that has been used by many perfumers: “Another contribution to the field of odor classification was made by the famous perfumer and perfume historian, Septimus Piesse. This unique figure in the history of the science created what he called an “odophone.” the odors were like sounds, he pointed out, andor a scale could created the firstthere or lowest note, the heavy smellEach to the last highest note,bethe sharpgoing smell.from In between was an ascending ladder. odor note corresponded to a key on his odophone, and in the creation of a happy mixture of many different odors, which we call a “bouquet” and which every finished perfume must be, the creator seeks not only to hit the right notes, but to strike those notes which go with one another. His perfume must not be out of tune.” [Edward Sagarin, The Science and Art of Perfumery (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1945), 145.] Below is a chart of commonly available oils based on their common classification:
Top Notes Anise
Bay Laurel Bergamot Bergamot Mint Citronella Eucalyptus Eucalyptus
Lavender Lavendin Lemon Lemongrass Lime Lime
Petitgrain Spearmint Tagetes Tangerine Tangerine
Fir Needle Geranium Hyssop Jasmine Juniper Berry Linden Blossom Marjoram Neroli Nutmeg Palmarosa Parsley Pepper, Black Pine, Scotch Scotch
Rose Rose Geranium Rosemary Rosewood Spruce Tea Tree, Common Tea Tree, NZ (Manuka) Thyme Tobacco Yarrow Ylang Ylang Ylang
Bay Bois-de-rose Cajeput Carrot Seed Chamomile, German Chamomile, Roman Cinnamon Clary Sage Clove Bud Cypress Dill Elemi Fennel Fennel Base Notes Angelica Root Balsam, Peru Beeswax Benzoin Cedarwood, Atlas Cedarwood, Virginian Virginian
Blending does not have hard and fast rules that must be followed to create that wonderful blend that you’ll love for a lifetime. The lack of limits and restrictions restrictions is what makes perfumery an art form. Having said that, a few tips will help get you off to a fine start: start: Tips •
When creating a new blend, start out small with a total number of drops of either 5, 10, 20 or 25 drops. 25 drops should be the most that you start with. By starting small, you waste less oil in your blending experiments. Start creating your blend by only using essential oils, absolutes or CO2s. After you have designed the blend, then you can dilute it by adding carrier oils, alcohol, etc. If you hate the blend you created, you have then not wasted any carrier oils or alcohol.
Keep a notebook that lists each oil that you used with the number of drops used for each oil. When the creative c reative juices flow, it is easy to get carried away and later forget the exact recipe for your blend; one drop too much or too little of even one oil can drastically change the aroma of your blend. When you find that perfect blend, you want to be able to reduplicate it, and it’s near impossible if you didn’t take notes! If you are especially ambitious, it’s also a wise idea to note the v vendor endor name of the oil that you used as the aroma and quality of oils do vary between vendors (even with the same vendor, the aroma of oils can vary from batch to batch, due to crop fluctuations and resourcing).
To store your beautiful creations, perfume sample bottles and 2ml amber “shortie” bottles are very inexpensive and can often be purchased from aromatherapy vendors and glass bottle companies. Be sure to label your blends clearly. If you don’t have enough room to specify exactly what your blend is, label it with a number that corresponds to a number in your notebook. Start off your blending experiments by creating blends that are made up in the following ratio (you do not have to be exact – this is just a guideline to get you started): 30% of the oils are top notes, 50% are middle notes, and 20% are base notes. See the chart above to find out what oils belong to each category.
Some oils are much stronger than others, o thers, especially the absolutes and CO2s. Study oils you wish to use in a given blend and observe the oils that have the strongest aromas. Unless you want those oils to dominate the blend, you will want to use dramatically less of the stronger oils in your blend. To learn more about the strength of oils, it is useful to experiment. Begin by adding one drop of a selected essential oil to 4 drops carrier oil. This will result in a 20% dilution. Smell it and study the aroma. To obtain a 10% dilution, add 5 more drops of carrier oil. Smell it, study the aroma again, then repeat as d desired. esired. This can help educate you on the characteristics and strengths of each essential oil at various dilution ratios.
After creating your blend, allow it to sit for a few days before deciding if you love or hate it. The constituents (natural chemicals) contained within the oils will get cozy with each other and the aroma can change, usually rounding out a bit.
Recipes Carrier Oil Base Perfume • •
15-25 drops of your perfume blend 1 tablespoon of Jojoba carrier oil (sweet almond or apricot kernel carrier oil may be substituted)
Directions: Blend all oils together well and store in an airtight dark-colored glass container. Dab a drop onto your pulse points. Please note that this blend has a heavy concentration of essential oils and is meant to be used sparingly. As with any new oils and blends that you use, you must check all safety data for the oils in your blend and do a skin patch test prior to using.
Alcohol/Water Base Perfume • • •
4 1/4 teaspoons Vodka 1 1/2 teaspoons Distilled Water 60 drops of your perfume blend
Directions: Blend all ingredients well and store in an airtight 1 ounce dark-colored glass container. Let sit for two weeks, shaking the bottle 1-3 times daily (more often is better) to mix the oils. After two weeks has passed, filter the perfume through a coffee filter and rebottle (using the same bottle is fine). As with any blends that you use, you must check all safety data for the oils in your yo ur blend and do a skin patch test prior to using.
Cologne • • •
4 1/2 teaspoons Vodka 2 teaspoons Distilled Water 30 drops of your perfume blend Directions: Blend all ingredients well and store in an airtight 1 ounce darkcolored glass container. Let sit for two weeks, shaking the bottle 1-3 times daily (more often is better) to mix the oils. After two weeks has passed, filter the cologne through a coffee filter and rebottle into a one-ounce, fine-mist sprayer bottle. As with any blends that you use, you must check all safety data for the oils in your blend and do a skin patch test prior to using. This makes only a one-ounce
quantity so that you can try your cologne to see if you like it or want any changes to it before making a larger quantity. qu antity.
Body Splash • • •
4 1/2 teaspoons Vodka 2 teaspoons Distilled Water 18 drops of your perfume blend
Directions: Blend all ingredients well and store in an airtight 1 ounce dark-colored glass container. Let sit for two weeks, shaking the bottle 1-3 times daily (more often is better) to mix the oils. After two weeks has passed, filter the body splash through a coffee filter
and rebottle into a one-ounce, fine-mist sprayer bottle.. As with any blends that you use,
you must check all safety data for the oils in your blend and do a skin patch test prior to using. This makes only a one-ounce quantity so that you can “try” your body splash to see if you like it or want wan t any changes to it before making a larger quantity.
An air freshener can be created that serves purely an aromatic or a therapeutic purpose. See the Air Freshener recipe within the Recipe Box Box area for a base recipe that you can use for your custom blend.
Aromatherapy Tips for Formulating Men's Blends and Other Masculine/Earthy Blends •
Pa Patc tcho houl ulii, Sandalwood Sandalwood,, Oakmoss, Oakmoss, Bay, Bay, Cypress, Cypress, Ginger , Black Pepper , Vanilla, Vanilla, Vetiver , and the citrus oils are the essential oils that are the most strongly favored by men. See the list of Essential Oils for Men located Men located in the Essential Oil Profiles area for a more comprehensive list of favorite essential oils amongst men. To give a blend a masculine note, experiment by adding minute quantities of Black Pepper , Ginger , Coriander , Nutmeg Nutmeg or other spice oils. Remember that the spice oils can be expecially sensitizing to the skin and by their nature, their aroma is very strong, so use them sparingly. Oa kmos Oakm osss is a subtle absolute that has a wonderfully earthy aroma and acts as a fixative. It's a great oil to experiment with in blends b lends for men. Remember to follow all safety precautions precautions and learn about the contraindications for each essential oil. Floral essential oils can be eliminated from blends intended to be more masculine. Men, however, are encouraged to also explore using floral essential oils in their creations. They can lift and balance ba lance an otherwise strong, harshly masculine or otherwise boring blend. Citrus oils can help sweeten and lift the aroma of a blend.
For additional blending tips, refer to the blending guidelines offered in AromaWeb's Aromatherapy and Fragrancing Blending Guide Guide..
Substitution Tips: You may come upon recipes that frequently include floral oils. If you aren't partial pa rtial to the aroma of floral essential oils, try substituting them with oils that you do enjoy. For instance, if a recipe calls for Rose Essential Oil, Oil, a middle note, try using one of the spice
Oil.. Successful substitution is dependent on the nature of oils like like Bay Laurel Essential Oil the recipe and the other oils in the blend, so keep the other oils in mind and the purpose of the blend when choosing substitute oils. When substituting one oil for another, be sure to follow all safety guidelines and familiarize yourself with the oil(s) you wish to use and their appropriateness for the recipe that you are working with. In other words, don't substitute Lavender Essential Oil Oil in a skin care blend with a dermal irritant like Clove Essential Oil. Oil. For more information Oils article. article. on essential oil substitution, read AromaWeb's AromaWeb's Substituting Oils Therapeutic blending focuses on creating c reating a blend that will aid with a particular emotional or physical condition. Therapeutic blending concentrates more on the therapeutic result than on the aroma of the blend, but naturally it’s important to create a therapeutic blend that is pleasing in aroma. It is important to select essential oils that do not have contraindications or safety issues that can affect other aspects of your health. For instance, if you create a blend to aid with dandruff but you happen to be pregnant, you should not include include Rosemary Essential Oil Oil because it is contraindicated in pregnancy. As another example, you would obviously not create an arthritis blend that includes peanut oil (a carrier oil used to dilute essential oils and is reported to provide benefit in arthritis blends) if you are allergic to peanuts. When creating therapeutic blends, it is also important to consider all the therapeutic actions you are seeing and avoid oils that clash with your desired goals. For instance, let’s say you are having severe period cramps and are having trouble sleeping. For this scenario, let’s also say that you want to create a blend that you can use right before bedtime. Peppermint and Peppermint and Cypress Cypress are are essential oils that can provide relief with menstrual cramps. But, Peppermint and Cypress are energizing oils. Thus, you would want to avoid these oils in a blend that you’d use right before bed. Profile area area on AromaWeb lists aromatic descriptions and the uses for The Essential Oil Profile particular essential oils. Books such as The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils Oils by by Julia Lawless provides much greater detail including safety information, therapeutic actions and aromatic descriptions for 165 oils. Such a resource can be quite helpful in creating your personal therapeutic blend. Tips: •
When creating a new blend, start out small with a total number of drops of either 5, 10, 20 or 25 drops. 25 drops should be the most that you start with. By starting small, you waste less oil in the event that the blend does not ultimately provide the therapeutic results that you seek. Start creating your blend by only using essential oils, absolutes or CO2s. After you have designed the blend, then you can dilute it by adding carrier oils, alcohol,
etc. If you hate the aroma of the blend you created, you have then not wasted any carrier oils or alcohol. •
Keep a notebook that lists each oil that you used with the number of drops used for each oil. This way, you can reduplicate the blend if you ever need to. It’s easy to forget what oils and in what ratios you used if you didn’t take notes! If you are especially ambitious, it’s also a wise idea to note the vendor name of the oil that you used as the therapeutic properties and quality of oils do vary between vendors (even with the same vendor, the properties of oils can vary from batch to b batch, atch, due to crop fluctuations and resourcing).
Be sure to label your blends clearly. If you don’t have enough room to specify exactly what your blend is, label it with a number that corresponds to a number in your notebook.
Aromatherapy: The Essential Oil Primer
"Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils to enhance physical and mental well-being" as quoted by James F. and Phyllis A. Balch in their wonderful book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Essential oils are used in Aromatherapy and for much more thru the ages. They are useful in massage, in making skin oils and lotions, for hot and cold compresses, for hair care, in making flower waters, in baths, in vaporizers, as douches and internally by ingestion. Essential oils are blended together for therapeutic, synergistic and esthetic properties. One could also make a personal statement by blending favorites into a specialized perfume uniquely your own ! Personally, I like to enjoy my favorite essences by placing a few drops in my vacuum cleaner so it freshens the air as I vacuum my home, and also in a tea light candle so I can enjoy the wonderfully invigorating scents while I burn my Himalayan salt tealight lamps. There are so many uses and so many essences that once you begin experimenting with Essential Oils, you may find a whole new field of enjoyment right at your fingertips! Be mindful of the grade of essential oil you pur purchase. chase. I always look for 'therapeutic grade' which is the purest form and can be used in
foods and and teas. In my onl online ine H Holistic olistic Health Shop, I only carr carry y 'therapeutic grade' essential oils. Here is a partial listing of pure Essential Oils, what they are used for and how you can best utilize their therapeutic properties today. Ambrette Seed: Seed: cramps, fatigue, aches and pains, poor circulation Bergamot:: balancing oil, lifts melancholy and depression Bergamot Canadian Balsam: burns, Balsam: burns, cuts, hemorrhoids, wounds, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sore throat, cystitis, depression, nervous tension, stress Cedarwood: antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, sedative. Normalizes Cedarwood: antiseptic, sweat gland function; hair rinse, baths and massage. Good for fleas. Chamomile: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic. Good for Chamomile: analgesic, headaches in compresses; add to baths, hair rinse and great for massage Cinnamon: antifungal; good aromatic; recent studies show it helps to Cinnamon: antifungal; metabolize sugars in the blood. Clary Sage: Sage: aromatic, antidepressant, anxiety-reduction, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic and aphrodisiac. Helps counteract insomnia. Cypress: astrigent, antiseptic, antispasmodic and deodorant. Cypress: Constricts blood vessels. Repels fleas. Reduces coughing and excessive perspiration. Eucalyptus: antiseptic, antiviral, chest rub, degongestant, Eucalyptus: disinfectant, expectorant. Fever reduction, as ointment for muscular m uscular pain. Repells insects and soothes bites and stings. Frankincense: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, sedative, expectorant. Frankincense: Promotes cellular regeneration. Cleansing and purification of home. Vaporization for bronchial distress. Geranium: antidepressant, antidiabetic, antiseptic, hormone balance, Geranium: insect repellant; good for PMS, nervous tension, skin concerns and neuralgia.
Grapefruit: appetite reduction, obesity, mood balancing, depression, Grapefruit: cleanses the body of toxins, reduces water retention, cleanses and detoxifies the skin. Hyssop: antiseptic, tonic, cleanser and detoxifier. Stimulates Hyssop: respiratory system. clears lungs of congestion. Jasmine: antidepressant, antiseptic, sedative, anti-anxiety, frigidity Jasmine: and impotence. Juniper: antiseptic, detoxifier, diuretic, internal cleanser. rids the Juniper: body of toxins and parasites; reduces spasms, improves arthritis, reduces cellulite. Lavender: antiseptic, calmative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiLavender: depressant, sleep disorders, stress Lemon: antiseptic, astringent, bacteriostat; increases body's defense Lemon: against infection; good for varicose veins, soothing to stomach ulcers, anti-anxiety, depression, and digestive disorders. Emulsifies grease and oil; helpful in cleaning products, hair rinses and also wound cleaning. Linden:: calmative, sedative, soothing tonic, skin moisturizer Linden Mimosa: anxiety, nervous tension, over-sensitivity, stress; good Mimosa: fixative in perfumes Orange: emotional uplift, antispasmodic, regenerative properties. Orange: Increase sun sensitivity. Patchouli: used for bathing, cleansing, hair care. Good for dry skin. Patchouli: Antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aphrodisiac; has fungicidal properties Peppermint: helps with headaches, congestion, fatigue, fever, Peppermint: indigestion, muscle soreness, sinus problems and stomach problems. Antiseptic, antispasmodic, mental stimulant and regenerative. Oral care. Rose: antidepressant, antiseptic, tonic astringent. Mild sedative; good Rose: for female complaints, impotence, insomnia and nervousness.
Rosemary: analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, atrinigent, mental Rosemary: stimulant. Enhances circulation. Impoves cellulite, dandruff, hair loss, memory problems, headache, sore muscles. Use diluted in carrier oil. Do not use neat on the skin. Rosewood: antiseptic, regenerative. Calmative; anti-anxiety, cellular Rosewood: regeneration, depression, headaches, nausea, PMS and tension. Great for facial massage. Sandalwood: antidepressant, antiseptic, expectorant, aphrodisiac, Sandalwood: skin moisturizer; Good for bronchitis and nervousness. Mind soother. Silver Fir Needle: Needle: respiratory complaints, fever, muscle pain, rheumatic pain, bronchitis, coughs, sinusitis, colds, flu, fever. Helps clear the mind. Tea Tree: Tree: potent anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral. Expectorant, fungicide and parasiticide. Good for athlete's foot, bronchial congestion, dandruff, insect bites, ringworm and yeast infections. Wonderful oral cleanser; gingivitis. Yarrow: acne, burns, cuts, eczema, hair rinse, inflammations, rashes, Yarrow: scars, skin toner, varicose veins, wounds, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, constipation, cramps, flatulence, hemorrhoids, indigestion, cystitis, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, colds, fever, flu, hypertension, insomnia, stress. This is merely a partrial listing of Essential Oils and intended as a primer to pump up your interest. Nature has provided for our needs in so many ways .. Essential Oils used in Aromatherapy are but one of a multitude of natural modalities useful in attaining and maintaining optimum health and well being. I will gladly respond to any questions or queries in regard to use of aromaptherapy and essential oils; please pl ease don't hesitate to reach me here on Keen or Ether; always glad to chat ! For more information on Essential Oils and how to use them, please see my complete listing of Young Living™ Essential Oils Oils with with complete usage descriptions in my Holistic Health Shop at http://www.yournaturalalternatives.com/ and and http://www.yournaturalalternatives.com/ www.TheMoodMender.com.. www.TheMoodMender.com