Secrets to Blending Essential Oil Scent Notes
By Caryn Gehlmann, Clinical Aromatherapist
Are you inspired by the possibility of creating your very own essential oil blend? It’s one thing to enjoy blends others create, but it’s an amazing and creative journey to start creating your own! We want to be a resource for you as you get started and as you progress to new levels in blending. And the first secret to master is the art of blending essential oil scent notes.
Scent notes are the building blocks of aromatherapy. It takes time and practice to discern the scent note of each essential oil. But once you do, you can begin mixing and matching scent notes that play well together.
Think of it like this… blending essential oil scent notes is like learning to play a song on a musical instrument. You first learn simple individual notes, then you combine them into complex chords, which make a harmonious sound.
While an individual essential oil can be categorized as a top, middle, or base note, oils can have components of all three notes. However, they are classified by their predominant note.
Every person connects with aroma differently, since our limbic system matches smells to our individual emotions and memories. So it’s helpful to become skilled at blending for yourself, before you start blending for others.
Please, don’t be intimidated by this information.
While there is an art and science to blending, we want to keep it fun! Here are three basic tips that will make blending essential oil scent notes easier and more enjoyable…
- All blends change with time, depending on how long the blend has aged and whether you’re smelling it from the bottle or on your skin.
- Also, scents smell different on different people! Body chemistry and skin type play a role in determining how long a fragrance will last. Molecules in the oils are more easily absorbed and retained by oily skin and act on a time-release principle.
- Climate also affects the evaporation of perfumes; dry climates do cause natural oils to evaporate more quickly than humid climates.
2. Essential protocol for blending — always use odor test strips!
- Write down the essential oils you’re working with (To begin, we recommend starting with five oils or less.)
- Place one or two drops of each oil on an individual odor strip and waft each one under both nostrils of your nose. Record your impressions of the scent immediately, 10 minutes later, 30 minutes later, then 1 hour later. How does the aroma change? How long does it last? How intense is it? How would you describe it – citrus, fruity, earthy?
- After you have your “favorites”, pick up two strips and waft under your nose. Add another strip note to the various odor combinations. Continue this process until you have the combo that elicits that Ahhhhh feeling! (You can add or subtract to see how it changes the scent of the blend.)
- Start in the middle with 2 drops of your preferred middle note, as it is the easiest to build from.*
- Then add one drop of a base note.
- Finish the blend with your top note essential oil. Add one drop at a time. It usually takes at least 3 drops to balance the blend.
*e3 Tip: To further simplify the recipe, you could choose a middle-base note and omit a base note in the blend.
4. A bonus tip is to clear your nose with a whiff of coffee beans in between sniffing oils. It really works!
While most of our DIYs have recipes, we’re purposely not giving any this month, so you can start your blending experimentation from a blank canvas. You have the tools…you know what Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes are and why they work as they do. Now it’s your chance to blend your own, unique masterpiece.
Still feeling anxious about starting?
In response to customer requests for an easy and affordable introduction to blending, we’ve created the perfect companion to our free downloadable workbook, The Art & Science of Blending Essential Oils…
Introducing The Art of Blending Essential Oil Kit!
This affordable starter kit has everything you need — all the basic mix and measure tools AND you get to choose 5 high-quality essential oils.
We’ve further simplified it, by letting you select these 5 oils, based on their scent notes! On the Art of Blending Essential Oil Kit information page, you’ll see the complete list of essential oil choices and their therapeutic benefits.
As you select your oils, think about the overall scent that appeals to you the most. Is it floral, citrus, woodsy, earthy, minty? Narrowing this down will help you choose your 5 oils. (Hint: Once you master the art of blending, you could order another kit with oils you’ve never worked with, but would like to learn about. At the 20% discount, it’s an affordable way to experiment.)
We’d love to hear about your experiments! Send us a photo of your blending session and brief comments about it, and your @social handle/username. Or it would be great to see your unboxing video! We’d be happy to share it on Facebook and Instagram and tag you.