Blending Essential Oils

Blending Essential Oil- Why?

In creating different soaps I have had to work with blending essential oils. Blending oils helps create a balanced, long lasting scent. Much like perfume manufacturers will blend different aromas or ‘notes’ together to develop a full scent, I create my scents the same way.

When I start to develop an oil blend I find oils that have similar properties. For instance, when I developed my fresh faced soap I looked for oils that had antibacterial, anti inflammatory, astringent and restorative properties. That left me with a list of 15 or more oils. Yikes!!! Now I had to narrow that list down to a reasonable number.

Each essential oil, in addition to having properties that make them beneficial for blemish prone skin, needed to smell good together. I broke the oil’s scents into base notes, middle notes and top notes.

Blending Essential Oils – How?

Top notes in perfumes and scents are the first notes you smell when you first put on perfume or cologne. They are that first scent that starts the whole aroma. Think about a soloist playing an instrumental piece, beautiful but not the ‘full’ sound of a complete ensemble. For the fresh faced products I started with lavender as the top note of the blend.

Middle notes are the most memorable notes in a scent. They are the ones that make you think of a cologne as fruity, or spicy, or floral. They are the largest component of any fragrance. I compare this to the trumpets, higher brass, clarinets and other woodwinds in a band. It adds interest to the whole fragrance. When developing a scent for the fragrance alone this is one of the first parts I develop. The middle notes in the fresh faced line are geranium and lavender (it is one of those oils that can play multiple parts) with tea tree oil.

Finally, the base notes are a larger part of the scent you may not even notice. They are the foundation that support the fragrance, much like percussion and tuba support a full band. These are those long lasting, lingering notes of a perfume. Frankincense provides the base for the fresh faced products.

That isn’t the end of the blending story. There are guidelines about combining spicy, fruity, earthy and medicinal scents. Some work well together, some just don’t. It is a lot like a color wheel – you remember the one we learned about in elementary school.  Blending fragrances is much like blending colors.  You look for different ‘schemes’ like an achromatic scent with scents from the purple or pink ranges of the color wheel.  For the Fresh Faced fragrance I developed more of a split complementary color scheme, or scent.  The geranium and lavender are in the blue/violet range, the tea tree oil (although not in the image) is in the blue color range, and the frankincense is an orange color note.

Additionally, some of the oils have a stronger scent than others. In order to prevent the more potent oils from overtaking the blend you must take into account how strong each component is and adjust the ratio of the oils in your blend.

Lastly, when making a scent it should be allowed to ‘mature’. A fresh blend can smell different than a mix that has had 12 to 24 hours to meld.

There were a few websites I used as reference to learn about blending oils.  They are AromaWeb, Esoteric Oils, and Modern Soap Making.

Looking to buy some essential oils?  Here are links to the oils I used available on Amazon.

 

Blending essential oils to create fragrances is a fun art and science. I’ve had success in creating wonderful blends that smell amazing with oils that I avoid alone. I’ve also had a few failures, but the good news is if a blend fails I can just go back and adjust the different notes!

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