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5 Best Tips for Diluting your Essential Oils

To use essential oils safely on your skin and around your home, it’s important to dilute them. This can help to prevent skin irritation whilst also helping your essential oils to disperse effectively. But how do you dilute an essential oil, and what are the mistakes that you should avoid?

To use essential oils safely on your skin and around your home, it’s important to dilute them. This can help to prevent skin irritation whilst also helping your essential oils to disperse effectively. But how do you dilute an essential oil, and what are the mistakes that you should avoid?

The best way to dilute your oils will vary depending on what you’re planning to use them for and the results you’re seeking, but we’re here to guide you step by step to ensure you get the best possible results. In this article, we’re going to take you through our five top tips for diluting your essential oils as well as explore different strengths to use for different purposes.

Content/Quick links

  • Why is it important to dilute your essential oils?
  • What’s the best dilution rate for me?
  • How to dilute an essential oil
  • Method 1: Carrier oil
  • Method 2: Vinegar
  • Method 3: Alcohol
  • Method 4: Oil-based lotion
  • Method 5: Water
  • In Summary

Why is it important to dilute your essential oils?

You might be wondering why it’s so important to dilute your essential oils. After all, volant’s range of essential oils are made purely and organically from plants. However, it’s important to remember just how highly concentrated essential oils really are. That’s why the aromas of essential oils are so potent.

When used neat (without being diluted), essential oils can cause irritation, allergies and other adverse reactions due to their naturally high potency. You might have an immediate reaction with redness of the skin and itching as the proteins in your skin begin to bind as a result of contact with the concentrated oils. In other cases, people may experience delayed allergic reactions, where a rash can appear up to a month after the initial application.

Along with avoiding irritation, there are many other benefits of diluting essential oils. By using a heavy carrier oil, the rate of absorption into the skin is increased, meaning your skin will be left irresistibly smoother and softer whilst using less of your essential oil. The rate of evaporation of your oils will also be reduced, increasing the number of applications you’ll get from just one bottle of essential oil.

Additionally, using a carrier oil with your essential oil makes it much easier to spread the essential oils equally onto the desired area. Due to their extraordinary potency, just one drop of essential oil could be enough to soothe a sore back, but you would find it difficult to spread a single drop of oil evenly across your entire back. When you dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil, you’ll find that you can comfortably spread the mixture across your whole back and enjoy the soothing effects gained from just one drop of essential oil.

What’s the best dilution rate for me?

How much you should dilute your essential oils will vary depending on the benefits that you’re hoping to achieve from the essential oils, how you’re using them and your individual preferences.

 If you suffer from sensitive skin, or if you plan to use the essential oils on sensitive areas such as the face, we’d recommend a 1% dilution rate to minimise the chances of reactions or irritation. However, we’d still recommend doing a patch test before applying the essential oils more liberally to your skin.

If your skin is not sensitive, you may be able to increase this to a 2-3% dilution ratio for aromatherapy massage, or even up to 10% for more intense treatment. However, carrying out a patch test before trying out a new essential oil or increasing the dilution is always recommended to ensure that your skin does not react to the oil or its potency.

When essential oils are being used on a person with a health condition, on the elderly or on a child, it’s important to use a lower dilution rate. Whilst there are many benefits of using essential oils for children, pregnant women and the elderly, it’s best to stick to a 1% ratio to reduce the risk of any side effects or skin irritation.

How to dilute an essential oil

We now know that essential oils need to be diluted in order to be used safely and effectively. Not only is it important to dilute your essential oils to avoid skin irritation, but it can also help to make your oils go further so that they last longer too. In this section, we’ll take a look at five different ways that essential oils can be diluted, enabling them to provide the greatest possible benefits.

Method 1: Carrier oil

Mixing essential oils with a carrier oil is arguably the most popular way to dilute essential oils. There are many different carrier oils on the market, but the most popular choices are jojoba oil, coconut oil and sweet almond oil, thanks to their holistic benefits and ease of access.

Jojoba oil has a pleasant but distinctive smell and is often used in massages due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This means that jojoba oil can help to soothe skin and settle acne. It is easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling soft and grease free, making it ideal for those with oily skin types.

Coconut oil has been used for centuries as a carrier oil and is perfect for helping to cleanse the body due to its high content of lauric acid which has antibacterial properties. It can be used as a carrier oil for use on the skin, lips and hair. This makes coconut oil extremely versatile for combining with many essential oils for a wide range of purposes.

Sweet almond oil is a lightweight carrier oil with a powerfully nutty aroma. This carrier oil is absorbed easily by the skin, making it great for use on dry skin types. Many people use sweet almond oil to reduce the appearance of under eye circles and to heal acne scarring and stretch marks. This is because the oil replenishes and restores the skin.

To dilute your essential oil using a carrier oil, simply mix a tablespoon of your chosen oil with a drop of essential oil. You can increase or decrease the quantity of carrier oil or essential oil to achieve your required level of dilution.

Method 2: Vinegar

If you’re looking to balance the pH of your skin whilst giving it a deep cleanse, or if you’re wanting to use essential oils to clean other things than your skin, diluting your essential oils with vinegar may appeal to you.

Apple cider vinegar is the most popular type to use on your skin as it contains more minerals than white vinegar and has a softer, fruitier smell which blends easier with essential oils. Compared to other products, vinegar evaporates quickly from the skin and is less drying, so it will leave your skin feeling soft and nourished.

On the other hand, white vinegar is a cleaning supertool with its ability to clean just about anything! It’s available in most places, inexpensive, non-toxic and can be used in laundry, on windows, for dirty spots on the carpet and pretty much any other task you can think of. Simply mix 50% white vinegar with 50% water and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to give it a fresh scent and you’ve got yourself a multi-purpose cleaner. Give it a shake and add it to a spray bottle to make cleaning convenient and easy.

Method 3: Alcohol

Photo by Nathan Powers on Unsplash

Although the benefits of alcohol may be limited when it comes to improving your body's overall health, it’s actually great for the skin and blends brilliantly with essential oils. First of all, alcohol mixes much better with essential oils than water, helping you to easily create a smooth mixture that’s ready to use in an instant.

In aromatherapy, vodka is often the alcohol of choice as it is free from additives, contains pure grain alcohol and has no smell when compared to rubbing alcohol. Vodka is also a well-known antiseptic for cleansing the skin and helping to prevent acne, particularly on oily skin, whilst taming frizzier hair types when used in a spritz. Even when used alone, vodka can be a great toner as it tightens pores, leaving skin rejuvenated.

For skincare, we find that lavender essential oil mixes perfectly with alcohol to help give you a flawless complexion that you’ll feel confident to show off. If you’re looking for salon-quality hair care, rosemary essential oil works as a brightening last rinse to use after shampoo and conditioner before leaving the shower, to keep your hair looking glossy and in amazing condition.

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Method 4: Oil-based lotion

Photo by Ann poan from Pexels

If you’ve got a favourite lotion, you can use it to dilute your essential oils. It’s best to select an oil-based cream that is thick and unscented for optimum results. This will mix easily with your chosen essential oils, enabling you to create your own scented moisturiser with benefits tailored to your personal needs.

Compared to using a carrier oil, an oil-based cream leaves the skin with a more natural feel after application whilst still being left soft to the touch for days to come. This makes it a great choice for those who already have slightly oilier skin types or for those who dislike the feeling of oil on their skin.

Volant’s Sleep blend is perfect for mixing with an unscented moisturiser to apply in the evening before bed. The soft scents of lavender, frankincense, palma rosa and Roman chamomile will help to unwind both your body and your mind, preparing you for a restful night of sleep.

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Method 5: Water

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

It’s a well-known fact that water and oil don’t mix well, and essential oils are no different. So you may be wondering what this section is all about?

Now the truth is, there are some purposes where water is the perfect carrier for essential oils, even though they don’t mix together with ease like the four carriers mentioned above.

Firstly, it’s important to note that distilled or purified water tends to work best as it is free from chemicals and bacteria, making sure it’s safe for your body and those around you. Some of the properties of water which make it so useful for mixing with essential oils is that it is lightweight, evaporates quickly and is scentless which makes it unbeatable for adding to a diffuser with your essential oils. It won’t interfere with the luscious aromas given off, and you can rest assured no harmful toxins will be produced or given off, allowing you to fully relax and enjoy the benefits. And what could be more convenient than an essential oil carrier that literally flows from the taps around your home?

Another obvious choice where water is the best carrier is in an essential oil bath. Add around 10 drops to a warm soak and enjoy inhaling the precious aromas to soothe sore muscles, revive the skin and reset the mind. By adding an ounce of liquid Castile soap as an emulsifier, the oil and water will mix with ease, creating a bath you won’t want to leave in a hurry.

If you’re looking for a spa-quality aromatherapy bath, we’d recommend our Spa blend of essential oils to enable you to fully indulge in the experience and immerse both your body and your mind in relaxation.

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In summary

Essential oils are powerful forces of nature, and they should be respected as such. It is crucial to dilute essential oils before use to enable you to experience the full benefits of essential oils without any negative side effects or reactions. There are many different ways of diluting your essential oils, from mixing them with a carrier oil to creating your own bespoke moisturiser by mixing your favourite essential oils with an unscented lotion.

Take the time to try out different combinations to find out what works best for you. However, we’d always recommend carrying out a patch test at least 24 hours before trying out a new combination to prevent any unwanted reactions. This way, you’ll get the most enjoyment and benefits out of your essential oils whilst making them last longer and go further too!

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"I received my Terracotta Volant right after Christmas and it has been routinely used! I love the smell of the oils and have learned to balance to strength for me and my family. I recommend it to anyone who loves essential oils." Robert S.
"Perfect for meditation, especially Geranium. And Grapefruit for yoga." Cathy S.
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"I love getting essential oils in my post box every month, cool recipes by mail as well" Johan J.
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