Maybe you have some blends in your collection that you want to love, but you aren’t crazy about one or two oils in the mix. Or your favorite blend is out of stock and you need it, bad. It is easy to replicate some of your favorite blends, and then customize them to meet your scent preferences. Creating your own essential oil blends is also a great way to personalize your perfume experience. You can try new scents depending on how you feel, or what you are facing each day.
Follow along as we show you how to skillfully make your own balanced essential oil blends.
Before you start blending, you’ll want to start with an understanding of the three main notes that make up a balanced scent:
- Top notes are lighter in intensity and have a mild and short fragrance. They might also be the most striking part of the fragrance that you notice first. The scents are usually considered uplifting and fresh.
- Middle notes will be the predominant oil in your blend, but the scent is usually soft. They provide a balance for your blend. They’re more mellow than the other notes and provide a foundation for the other two notes to really show off their qualities. I think of these as the foundation because they enhance the qualities of the top and base notes.
- Base notes are sharper and stronger than the other two notes. Base notes provide a solid scent foundation to build upon. They’re sturdy and long-lasting. The scents are usually intense, rich, relaxing, and grounding.
The goal is to balance these three notes. They won’t be equal in proportion, but they’ll work together to bring out the best in each other in ratios that don’t let any single note overpower the others.
Scents will also fall into different classifications:
These classifications don’t all mix. For example, it probably wouldn’t appeal to most people to mix minty with spicy and oriental all in the same blend. (Just imagine throwing together some patchouli, cinnamon, and peppermint and slathering that on.)
Some common types of blends that do work well together would include:
- Woodsy and floral scents combine well with most other any category.
- Spicy and Oriental oils should be used in moderation in a blend. They can easily overpower the other aromas. Try blending them with florals and citrus scents.
- Minty oils should also be used lightly so as not to overpower the senses. Try blending minty oils with the more balanced, sweet and mellow woodsy and citrus oils. I also like them with herbaceous and earthy oils.
Use your imagination. Don’t let these starting points limit you. Use them as a springboard to develop your own scent combinations.
Which Oils Can I Blend?
We’ve listed some common essential oils for blending. Use the Notes and Classifications below as guidelines to help you get creative and feel confident in building aromas that express who you are.
- Bergamot (also middle note)***
- Lemon ***
- Lemon Myrtle
- Lime ***
- Orange ***
***Use CAUTION. Citrus oils can make skin photosensitive when applied topically. If you apply the essential oil to an exposed area of the skin, make sure to avoid direct sunlight for 24 – 36 hours.
- Basil (also a middle)
- Galbanum (very green scent, even though it’s a resin)
Floral and Fruity
- Roman Chamomile
- Rose (also a base)
- Ylang Ylang (also a base)
- Basil (also a top)
- Clary Sage
- Ginger (also a base)
- Black Pepper
- Idaho Balsam Fir
- Rose (also a middle)
- Ylang Ylang (also a middle)
- Ginger (also a middle)
Ready to Blend Essential Oils
- Pick one essential oil from each category: top note, middle note, and base note.
- To create a balanced aromatic blend, we’re going to create a 20% dilution. This will give us a nice scent without being overpowering.
- You’ll want to start small. I like to use sample bottles to practice my blends before making a big batch. I’d use 1 drop of my base note, 3 drops of the middle note, and 1 drop of the top note. Then add 20 drops of carrier oil to dilute to 20% (1 part essential oils: 4 parts carrier oil).
- Label your bottle and make notes somewhere to document your custom recipe and your thoughts on how it smells as you wear it. Make sure to note your initial thoughts as well as how you feel about the scent as it changes during the day.
Once you have a custom blend that you love then you’ll be making blends for a larger bottle (so you don’t have to mix it so often). 15ml bottles with an AromaGlide roller fitment on top are perfect for this!
Here are the ratios to follow for a 15ml bottle of custom oil at 20% dilution:
- 12 drops of one or more of these base note essential oils (out of 60 total drops).
- 36 drops of one or more of these middle note essential oils (out of 60 total drops).
- 12 drops of these top note essential oils (out of 60 total drops).
- Fill the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil, like coconut. Find out more information on carrier oils here.
Making More Complex Blends
I like to mix and match my own oils. Depending on what I have on hand, I’ll try new blends mixing up 5 – 10 single oils in any one blend. If you’re adventurous, you can use these guidelines to get started experimenting with your own blends.
As an example, I make this floral, woodsy, herbaceous blend that I personally carry with me everywhere:
Base Notes (total of 12 drops)
- 8 drops Ylang Ylang
- 4 drops Cedarwood
Middle Notes (total of 36 drops)
- 10 drops Clary Sage
- 4 drops Cypress
- 10 drops Lavender
- 10 drops Marjoram
- 2 drops Helichrysum
Top Notes (total of 12 drops)
- 2 drops Basil
- 10 drops Palmarosa
To me, this mixture is just an expression of how I want to be. It’s feminine and natural and comfortable.
A few notes about this blend:
- I used the Clary Sage as a middle note because in this blend that’s how it strikes me in comparison to the other essential oils. I’ve seen it listed as a top note and a base note in some materials. I’ll leave it in the middle for my uses because I just love it so much.
- I love how the Palmarosa gives off an immediate floral top note and the soft, feminine personality of the blend is sustained and anchored by the Ylang Ylang long after the Palmarosa has dissipated.
- A few drops of the Helichrysum really does really is worth it. It completely blends in and to me, it helps the entire mixture meld together.
General Blending Tips:
- Make sure to label all your bottles so you’ll remember what’s in them. This is a must for me because people are ALWAYS asking me what I’m wearing and I love to be able to tell them all the essential oils that they might be noticing in my perfume.
- Keep track of the blends you’ve tried. I keep them all in the Notes section in my phone so they’re always with me and easy to find. You’ll want to note any variations you’ve loved or disliked so you can make changes next time.
- When I used to buy commercial perfumes, I really liked “green” scents more than any others. It’s good to know the scent classifications that you like so that you can try to incorporate those in your blends.
To make a 10ml roll-on blend, these recipes will give you a 10% dilution blend to use in your designer roller bottles. (You can easily multiply these numbers by 1.5 to get the ratios for a 10% blend in a 15ml bottle.)
Check out some of our 6 favorite essential oil blend recipes below:
New to essential oils? Learn more about how we use them and why you should use them as well.
6 Rich Essential Oil Blends
- 10 ml roller bottles
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fractionated coconut oil
- 1 set of these really cute labels
Floral with Citrus and Earthy
- Top note – 4 drops Lemon
- Middle note – 12 drops Lavender
- Bottom note – 4 drops Vetiver
Floral with Citrus and Oriental
- Top note – 4 drops Grapefruit
- Middle note – 12 drops Geranium
- Base note – 4 drops Patchouli
Herbaceous with Citrus and Woodsy
- Top note – 4 drops Lemongrass
- Middle note – 12 drops Clary Sage
- Base note – 4 drops Cedarwood
Herbaceous with Minty and Woodsy
- Top note – 4 drops Peppermint
- Middle note – 12 drops Marjoram
- Bottom note – 4 drops Cedarwood
Spicy with Citrus and Floral
- Top note – 4 drops Bergamot
- Middle note – 12 drops Cardamom
- Base note – 4 drops Rose
Woodsy with Citrus and Spicy*
*This blend is much more diluted due to the essential oils involved. We dilute these oils to 5% to preserve the plastic components in the roller bottles.
- Top note – 2 drops Lemon
- Middle note – 6 drops Cypress
- Bottom note – 2 drops Frankincense
Woodsy with Herbaceous and Floral
- Top note – 4 drops Basil
- Middle note – 12 drops Cypress
- Base note – 4 drops Ylang Ylang
- Place the coconut oil and essential oils in your roller bottle.
- Insert the rollerball and replace the lid. Swirl to combine.
- Write on the label and affix it to the bottle.
- To Use: Roll a few inches of the mixture onto your forearms and rub them together.
- Store in a cool, dark place. This compact carrying case is where I keep my roller blends. It holds up to 10 of these 10ml bottles! It keeps them safe and within reach when I really need them.
I hope you use this information not as hard and fast rules, but as an encouragement to find your aroma expression. If you like spicy, go for it! Maybe you’re a citrus and oriental type person.
There are so many combinations to try and you should have fun doing it. Don’t get too caught up in feeling like you’re going to do something wrong. Use some simple guidelines and run with it.
More essential oil recipes you might enjoy:
Excellent information. Well presented. Thank you
As a beginner with essential oils, this is the best article I have read so far and I expect to return to it many times. Your descriptions of scent families, base, middle and top notes, and what to combine vs what not to combine is EXACTLY the information I need! I only wish I could print your article for future reference – looking it up over and over on the computer is so clunky. THANK you for an excellent presentation of what we all, as essential oil beginners, really need to know!