Essential Oils are potent and powerful substances. Because of this, dilution is recommend for most essential oils. Not only does this help to protect your skin from sensitization but it also increases absorption of the oil into our system (and thus, all of the goodies of that essential oil). The practice of diluting an essential oil is also a wonderful practical reminder that less is more (a concept that we seem to struggle with, especially in America! or is it just us Texans?).
How do you DILUTE an Essential Oil?
To dilute an essential oil, you simply mix the desired amount of essential oil (typically just a few drops) with a carrier or “base” oil. Examples of carrier oils are:
The most widespread and commonly used carrier oil is Coconut Oil. This is due to many reasons, mainly it’s shelf stability and therapeutic benefits. We use *I would not use olive oil, avocado oil or vegetable oil as a carrier oil unless you are in a desperate situation, due to the greasy texture and thickness.
Always dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil. Mixing an essential oil with water is NOT diluting, (essential oils and H2O do not mix) instead this disperses the oil. It is OK to make sprays using water and essential oil, but I typically also include a splash of Fractionated Coconut Oil as well as water in my sprays for this reason.
What are the DILUTION RATIOS?
You will read a lot of mixed opinions on this, but a good rule of thumb for children is 1 drop of essential oil per 1 Tablespoon carrier oil. Adults do not need to dilute as strongly, many believe that a 1:1 ratio is sufficient.
To be perfectly honest, I am not a “Type A” personality. I do not follow recipes or instructions…ever. I do dilute many of our essential oils (especially when using with the kiddos), but I tend to use the same method that I do in all of life…I guestimate. (and yes, that’s a totally legitimate word. thanks for asking.) A squirt or spray of Fractionated Coconut Oil and then a drop or two of essential oil is great dilution in my book. I just wanted to make that last point because so many people that I talk to are “Type A” personalities and you guys want exact answers. If this is you, I would suggest making pre-made rollers and spray bottle ahead of time that you can use on demand. That way, you have pre-diluted your oils and they are ready to use, especially for use on children.
Can you use essential oils NEAT?
The term “Neat” is used in the essential oil realm to mean direct contact with skin, undiluted with a carrier oil. While dilution is truly best practice (as mentioned above it increases absorption, protects from sensitization and skin irritation) there are times that we use our oils neat. Part of it has to do with my personality type. I am “Type Lazy” sometimes. This is why I am a fan or pre-made rollers or sprays. The idea is, if I can pre-dilute all of my oils and have them ready to go, I will not grab the bottle as often and go straight for the skin. We have had no issues up to this point applying essential oils neat, but the idea of being sensitized to my oils does scare me a little. I do not want to lose the ability to use my precious oils at some point because I overused them or used them incorrectly! It is for this reason that I emphasize to you as well, try to dilute and use as much as possible. However…if you are in a desperate situation (and as long as it isn’t oregano, or clove, or cinnamon or….other extremely hot oils…), I do not think (in my limited three years experience with oils) that you will have an immediate adverse reaction. Goodness knows we have used Helichrysum neat for many urgent situations.
A Few Other SAFETY TIPS
A few last safety tips for using essential oils. Do not use essential oils in your nose, ears or eyes. If using essential oils internally use with caution and make sure they are labeled with a supplement label and have excellent third party testing so that they are absolutely positively PURELY what the oil bottle says it is. If you are taking oils internally via a capsule, best practice is (you guessed it) to dilute within the capsule and then take the oils.
Looking for an awesome essential oil company? I’ve researched plenty and absolutely love ours. Feel free to reach out via the contact form and I would be happy to share more of my thoughts on this with you.