How to Blend Your Own Essential Oils

Learn how to use carrier oils like cacao butter and sea buckthorn oil to create homemade essential oils for DIY aromatherapy treatments.

Aromatherapy for Sensual Living book cover

In "Aromatherapy for Sensual Living: Essential Oils for the Ecstatic Soul," author and holistic healer Elana Millman guides readers through the practice of aromatherapy, from making your own essential oil blends to applications for beauty, health and lifestyle.

Cover courtesy Skyhorse Publishing

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With a shift toward more natural and organic remedies, aromatherapy is quickly becoming a staple for those who want to empower their health and radiate natural beauty. In Aromatherapy for Sensual Living: Essential Oils for the Ecstatic Soul (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015) author and holistic healer Elana Millman teaches the how, where and why of this ancient healing art. This section on blending your own essential oils comes from the chapter "Distill the Essence, Blend the Juice."

How to Blend Essential Oils

Blending is an art form. It can take years to develop your nose to know which oils blend well together, which ones can take over a blend, or which oils that should never be used for blending. However, it can be surprisingly easy to make a fully formed blend using some very simple techniques and high quality, medicinal-grade essential oils (from companies like Pur Frequency). The best way to get better at anything is through practice and persistence. If your blend smells less than outstanding, allow 24 hours for the oils to mix and mingle and then go back to it. Sometimes it only needs one more drop of a base note, a hint of lavender, or a lift of a top note to make it sing.

I admit that, through my aromatic love affair, there have been occasions when the mix got too heavy or confusing and I had to give up on the blend. That’s okay. It’s the path of learning. Very few, if any, people are natural talents on their first try. Give yourself permission to not be perfect on the first round, or ever. Let yourself play. Play is the fountain of youth! Essential oils are patient, loving teachers eager to show you their ways.

There are some basic rules I encourage you to follow when starting on your sensual aromatherapy adventure, even though I am not one to follow the rules. However, start with my recommendations, and once you’re comfortable with the basics and safety protocols, and understand how oils blend together and with different carriers, you’ll be blending up magic that will make hearts and loins flutter.

Use this blending information in a way that works for you. If you want a deeply grounding blend, use three base notes and one top note for levity. If you’re feeling angry and agitated, use mostly top and middle notes with just one drop of a base. If you’re feeling out of balance, use mostly middle notes with one top and one base note. The more you use them, the more comfortable you’ll be working with them in different strengths and combinations. Trust that aromatherapy is quite safe and there for you to use for health, hot love, and exquisite beauty (with a modicum of knowledge and discretion).

Please follow the rules for internal consumption. Essential oils are very strong and have potent medicinal effects. One to two drops is more than sufficient in a single dose.

Internal Consumption

As for internal applications, it’s absolutely essential to use pure, medicinal, food-grade essential oils from reputable companies that pass the smell test and the United States Food and Drug Administration’s GRAS (the acronym for “generally recognized as safe”) condition for consumption. Only use steamdistilled or C02-extracted oils to ensure that you’re taking in valuable medicinals rather than potentially harmful petrochemicals found in absolute extractions. Always check with your health-care provider to ensure that internal applications or the use of essential oils are suitable for your constitution and condition.

For internal applications, I rarely use them neat (undiluted). You can use one drop undiluted and internally, but for many, it’s way too intense and can be unpleasant. Neat applications can be used for bad breath, acute conditions, or a potent immune-boosting blitz (or if you don’t have a carrier close by). The most pleasurable way of consuming aromatherapy, in my opinion, is diluting one drop in half a teaspoon of raw honey. Other options are ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, sugar cubes, water, coconut water, raw chocolate, on fruit, or in prepared food.

Wait 30 minutes before administering subsequent internal doses, with a maximum of ten drops in a 24-hour period. They’re powerful and have the potential to cause harm if too much is taken at one time. There is never an appropriate time to chug a whole bottle.

In so many circumstances, taking essential oils internally is an astounding way to infuse essential oils directly into your cells and drink up divine fluid.

Begin the process of creating your blend with an idea of what you want to make. Do you want your perfume to be effervescent? Deep? Glee-inducing? Do you want a sexy-time blend, a relaxing blend, or an energetic blend? Do you want to soothe your voice, your soul, or your heart? Do you want a medicinal, perfume, or beauty blend? Try to stick to one or two themes because trying to do too much with one blend simply doesn’t work and will confuse your nose and body. Once you start smelling and working with the oils, you’ll find it’s easy to feel out which ones work well together and others that just don’t fit. For instance, peppermint and blood orange is an awkward flavor combination. Rose otto and geranium form a loving marriage that sparkles with delight.

I generally make a perfume blend, a loving libation blend, or a room spray in about a 3 percent to 10 percent dilution. In a 5-milliliter bottle (perfume blend), that’s between 10 and 20 drops. In a 50-milliliter bottle (room spray), that is about 70 to 100 drops. Just so you know, I like it potent for my pleasures. I tend to use jojo ba or spring water for perfume blends. For love butters and massage blends, I use fats such as coconut oil, cacao butter, or shea butter (often combined). For room sprays, I use pure spring water or flower hydrosols as a very luxurious base.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are unscented oils or fats that emolliate an aromatherapy blend and make the essential oil formula last longer. Carrier oils don’t evaporate like essential oils and their scent (if any) is less concentrated. Each one has their own unique healing properties that make them wonderful additions to any massage, beauty, or body oiling blend; they give blends gorgeous glide and slide. The same is true for any luscious lover body butter. In moments of exalted bliss, no one wants to be dry like the desert; and there is no need when we have creamy carriers at our bedside.

Types of oils:

Jojoba is my go-to carrier oil of choice. It has a long shelf life, and works beautifully with all skin types. I consistently use jojoba in massage and skin-care formulas. This is better for external use.

Coconut oil smells like tropical heaven. It is a known aphrodisiac that doesn’t stain the sheets. It is an edible oil that can be used in any sensual situation. It melts almost instantly and is very beneficial to dry, chapped skin.

Shea butter is outstanding for wrinkles, excessively dry skin, and stretch marks. It has anti-inflammatory properties along with significant amounts of vitamins A and E (the antioxidant vitamins). The quality and cost of shea butter can drastically vary. Always pay for premium, fresh, pure, and fair-trade shea butter.

Cacao butter is also known as white chocolate. While I don’t recommend eating the butter, I absolutely love it in any skin-care formula. It locks in moisture, smells utterly divine, and is a powerful skin regenerator. Cacao butter can melt in the hands but I prefer to melt it down with other carrier oils. Be sure to buy unrefined, raw, organic cacao butter to receive the positive benefits of the butter.

Olive oil is a good carrier oil for internal applications, as most people have it available. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, meaning it can break down more easily than coconut oil or cacao butter. It is best to store it in the fridge. Olive oil helps prevent cell degeneration in your skin, thus preventing premature aging; however, it will stain sheets and has a pronounced odor, making it too strong for some euphoric or flower oils. It can be useful in hair and mask formulas.

Ghee is also known as clarified butter. It is a popular fat used in Indian and African cuisine. Ghee, in Ayurveda, is considered one of the most satvic foods, meaning that it promotes positivity, growth, and expansion of consciousness. Ghee can be used internally or placed in the belly button with one drop of essential oil (I love to use jasmine. This is a powerful remedy for many female-related issues). Additionally, it is an excellent massage oil, especially for those with congested bowels or nervous tension.

Carrot seed oil is an extraordinary oil for skin-care. It is high in antioxidants and very beneficial for puffy, inflamed skin. It contains high levels of beta-carotene and vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and F, and is excellent for mature skin and age spots.

Hemp seed oil is a powerful polyunsaturated oil. It is very effective for soothing inflammation, boosting neurological and digestive function, and making you feel at ease. Always store hemp seed oil in the fridge as it can break down easily. Additionally, this is best used for internal applications.

Seabuckthorn is simply divine for skin. It is a reputed anti-inflammatory, incredibly high in vitamin C, and it helps to protect skin against the sun’s rays. I have been using seabuckthorn in my skin formulas for over ten years because of its skin regeneration abilities. Always dilute seabuckthorn. Because of its intense orange color, it can stain the skin.

Rosehip oil is high in vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. It is known to promote healthy skin cell rejuvenation, helping skin to glow and appear fresh and supple. Rosehip oil works to reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and age spots and is a beneficial immunesupportive oil. It is best just to use a small amount in skin-care formulas.

Borage oil is an excellent oil to treat damaged, painful, itchy, irritated, inflamed, and acneprone skin. Much like rosehip oil, it should be used in moderation and with other carriers. It is rather expensive and tends to go rancid quickly. Store it in the fridge and use in moderation.

Avocado oil is excellent for dry, patchy, inflamed skin. It has a thick, nutty aroma so it is best to dilute it in other carriers. Avocado oil is deeply emollient for the hair. Keep this one in the fridge

Pomegranate seed oil is a marvel for skin. It has very high antioxidant values, making it excellent for treating dry, mature, weathered skin. It is one of my favorites for skin-care.

Baobab oil is grown in Africa and the trees can live up to 1000 years. Baobab is an excellent skin moisturizer and is beneficial for any dry skin formula. It improves elasticity and encourages cell regeneration. Definitely dilute this wonderful oil. A little goes a long way.

Blending Basics

To start your blend, slowly add one drop each of a top, middle, and base note (with the option to delve into the euphorics category). Allow the oils to swirl inside the bottle to develop the full aroma profile, and inhale deeply. You can use perfume tester strips or slivers of watercolor paper to test the aroma after each drop. It will smell differently inside as opposed to outside the bottle when it’s exposed to light and air. Smelling between each drop will inform your nose how the oils smell when combined with each other, and you might feel the blend is complete with less. Your nose will tell you when it’s done. You’ll either feel full and content or like you’re aching for just a little bit more. This is also a good reason to put down the bottle, rest, and take time in between drops. Sometimes, in a moment of eager excitement, you’ll continue to add drops to the point where the blend just smells rank rather than resplendent.

When it is complete, add water or a carrier oil to finish the blend. If you are making an undiluted blend, be sure to fill the whole bottle with pure essential oils, as your blend will break down much faster if there is a lot of air in the bottle.

Lastly and most importantly, always have a pen and paper handy to write down your blend and the individual drops you used. This is a great learning tool, as you can see where your blend solidified or got off track. It’s a real bummer if you forget what you put in your blend when you want to recreate your fabulous perfume in the future.

Slow down, enjoy the process, and allow the blend to evolve without force or speed, and you’ll be very happy with the result. Sensuality is about doing things slowly and with the fullest intention of it being your best. Blend on, you sexy siren.

Essential oils are all slightly adaptogenic, meaning that they can bend their shape in order to do what’s necessary to suit the situation. If you need levity but only have a base note like sandalwood, it will change (sometimes even its aroma) so it can heal you at the deepest level. If you’re high-strung and agitated but only have grapefruit, trust that it will cut through the negative emotions and push you into a peaceful place. If you only have cinnamon, laurel, or tuberose, trust that it’s the perfect oil for your needs and situation. It’s fascinating that plants have an innate understanding of our needs and can alter themselves to help us. I always say that the best oil you have is the one that you have on hand. There’s a quiet magic in the plants that is far beyond our realm of understanding. It’s one of the reasons that I love essential oils so much.


This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Aromatherapy for Sensual Living: Essential Oils for the Ecstatic Soul, by Elana Millman, published by Skyhorse Publishing, 2015.