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AROMATHERAPY BASICS: Blending 101

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Blending is all about balancing notes – much like balancing notes when creating a song or flavours when cooking! Having oils in a blend that marry all the different notes will give you rich and complex aroma.

Top Notes

These are “lighter” oils that evapourate quickly. They will have a strong smell in the beginning and then dissipate as time goes on. Many citrus oils are typically top notes like Lemon, Grapefruit & Bergamot. Other top note oils are Birch, Eucalyptus, Palmarosa, Basil, Bay, Nutmeg and Niaouli.

Base Notes

These are “heavier” oils that take longer to evapourate, so their scent will carry the longest as time goes on. Examples of Base notes are Benzoin, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Clove, Cinnamon, Frankincense,

Middle Notes

These lie in-between such as Rose, Rosewood, Jasmine, Lavender, Geranium, Chamomile, Fir, Pine and Black Pepper. You can think of these middle notes as acting as like a bridge.

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Blending Wheel


This Blending Wheel, adapted from “The Directory of Essential Oils” by Wanda Sellar, can be used as a guide to help you as you explore! Typically oils within the same category or immediately adjacent categories blend well together. You can also use a touch of oil from an opposite category on the wheel for a little kick!  Click here to download and/or print the Blending Wheel.

Blending Tips

Start Simple

Learn about the oils you are thinking of blending, what are their therapeutic and energetic benefits? Even if you are not creating a blend for a therapeutic purpose, just one for a perfume or home fragrancing, it is still important to know how these can affect you or others.

Start off blending only 3-4 oils at first, keeping it simple as you learn about each oil and how they behave when blended.

Don’t get too caught up – just let your nose guide you!

Strength and Intensity

Keep in mind your total number of drops as you only need 5-8 drops in a diffuser at a time. So when you are comparing oils think about their intensity. Some oils you would only need one drops of, while others you may need more not to be overpowered by others. For example, rose oil is very strong, you would only need one drop but perhaps you would want 2—3 drops of cypress or juniper in the same blend.

Let it Mix and Mingle

Let your blends sit, mingle and “synergize”. You will be amazed how they change and mature together. Keep track of your proportions and smell your blend every day, notice how it changes. You may decide to alter your concentrations or decide to add different oils as time goes on – this is the fun part!

Use Testing Strips

Smelling your blends straight from the jar will not give you the full profile. As we mentioned earlier, top notes will evapourate faster, so you will mainly smell them right out of the jar and miss the complexity of your blend. Place a drop of your blend on a testing strips and let it air out for a couple minutes before smelling.

RDA Staff Favourites

Lavender

Not only is lavender an antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial, its lovely aroma blends well with almost everything! It is known as “Bridging” oil in blending as it doesn’t contradict with anything – you can always count on it to never cause discord in your synergy.

RDA’s Clementine Petitgrain Blend

Clementine Petitgrain (middle to top note)

Rosewood (middle note that is slightly heavier than Clementine Petitgrain)

Sandalwood (base note)

Neroil (middle to base note that rounds out the blend, giving it depth and dimension with its sweet, spicy and woody aroma)

Roberta’s Blend

Neroli, Blood Orange and Cedarwood

“A great sweet, spicy and woody aroma!”

Jae Jae’s Blend

Fragonia and Cape Chamomile

“I love this sweet smelling combination when I am meditating or doing energy work. Fragonia is wonderful for emotional healing and cape chamomile has been described as the crowbar for the heart chakra!”

Laine’s Blend

Peppermint, Basil and Lime

“Stimulates, promotes self-expression and banishes the feeling of being stifled.” 

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