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Essential Oil Dilution Chart, Calculator & Ratio Guide

Bottles of organic essential oils and fresh herbs on a fresh colored linen cloth placed on a grey wooden table.

Pure essential oils can be effective and efficient additions to your aromatherapy, home, and body care creations. However, these powerful plant extracts come with a great responsibility to exercise restraint. A single drop of essential oil contains an incredible concentration of herbal properties, so all this plant potential must be dispersed to levels that are safe for our bodies to process.

Diluting Essential Oils for Safety

As the popularity of essential oils has increased among natural-living and body care enthusiasts, so has the number of inquiries we receive about how to incorporate safe levels of essential oils into homemade creations. While many professional herbalists and natural product crafters have happily shared their insights on this topic in terms of parts, percentages, and ratios, these terms can be confusing and intimidating for those just starting out with their essential oil explorations. That’s why we’ve assembled some simple guidelines and tools to get new users off to an encouraging (and safe!) start.

Dilution Ratios for Essential Oils

Essential oils are strong and must be diluted for safe use, whether you plan to use them on their own (usually in a neutral carrier oil) or as ingredients in a finished product such as a massage oillotion, or aroma spray. Whichever dilution method you choose, the essential oil content should only account for 0.5% to 2% of the total blend. This equates to 3 to 12 drops per ounce of finished product. For easier versions of all this math, check out our handy charts and calculators below!

NOTE ABOUT PERFUME DILUTIONS

For most body care formulations, it is recommended that essential oils make up no more than 2% of your total end product volume. This dilution takes into consideration that creams, lotions, serums, and other products are often applied liberally, frequently, and to large portions of the body, and fragrance is usually a secondary concern to the formula's primary function (moisturizing, smoothing, etc.). 

Perfumes containing essential oils are a bit different. Since these formulations are generally applied sparingly and to localized areas, you may choose to use a higher proportion, up to 5%, to allow your aroma blends to shine. 

Tips for Diluting Essential Oils

  • Use proper measurement tools and be sure to accurately convert between different types of measurements.
  • Not all essential oils are equal in potency. For example, cinnamon leaf essential oil is less potent and less aromatic than cinnamon bark essential oil, so it’s important to do your research about the nature of the oils you want to use, especially when formulating your own recipes.
  • Make sure your essential oil(s) are appropriate for the end use of your recipe. For example, a few essential oils react poorly when exposed to sunlight, so these would not be ideal choices to include in a hair serum recipe. Here again, getting to know the basic properties of the essential oils you want to use is highly recommended.

Essential Oil Dilution Chart

Info-graphic of essential oil dilution chart.

 


Essential Oil Dilution Calculator

 

 

WORKING WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEASUREMENTS?

Try Our Conversion Guide and Calculator!


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This blog was originally published in 2013. Because it's so popular, we decided to update it for you. Enjoy!  


Topics: Aromatherapy, Natural Body Care

Christine

Written by Christine on March 1, 2019

As Products Manager, Christine Rice has been working with the botanical goodies at Mountain Rose Herbs for over 14 years. With a Certificate in Aromatherapy from The American College of Healthcare Sciences, she works closely with the essential oils and hydrosols that we offer. She connects with the aromatherapy industry through our National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy business membership and contributes on working committees with The American Herbal Products Association. In addition to her love for aromatics and blending essential oils, Christine can be found gardening and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She enjoys canning and preserving food, knitting when she has time, and keeps busy with her energetic daughter.

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