Simple Guidelines for Diluting Essential Oils

Simple Guidelines for Diluting Essential Oils

I almost always dilute my essential oils before applying them to my skin.  Why?

Except in certain cases where applying oils "neat" or directly to your skin without a carrier oil may be appropriate (e.g., to stop active bleeding or immediately after burns, bug bites, or stings), dilution of oils is important before applying them to your skin. 

Essential oils are VERY powerful and should be used with care and respect. When applied to the skin neat, essential oils can cause severe irritation, sensitization, redness, burning, or other reactions in some individuals.

Dilution does not reduce the effectiveness of essential oils. To the contrary, when you dilute essential oils with a carrier oil prior to topical application, they are delivered to the body in a form and amount the body can absorb and break down. This is because the lipids in carrier oils transfer through the layers of the skin more easily than essential oils alone, which quickly evaporate from your skin.

In fact, it is accurate to say that the carrier oil "carries" the essential oils into your body where it can then be used. And importantly, when you dilute essential oils, you also decrease the risk of sensitization, allergic reaction, or other forms of irritation.

Convinced you should dilute your essential oils, but not sure how? No idea what a carrier oil is or which is best to use? Worried it will take a lot of time or be a big inconvenience? Afraid it's complex or involves a lot of math? Don't fear!  It's easier than you may think!  


A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels, or nuts. You can buy good quality carrier oils online (from sites such as Aromatics International, Mountain Rose Herbs, or Amazon) or at local health food stores. In general, look for carrier oils that areorganic, cold-pressed, unrefined, and hexane-free (where relevant).


There are approximately 90 carrier oils you could choose, in addition to blended carriers, such as unscented lotion or body butter. At present, I have at least 15 different carrier oils located throughout my house that I choose from depending on the circumstance and who will be using the blend I'm making. Some of my favorites include apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba wax, argan oil, rosehip oil, and fractionated coconut oil. For brief descriptions of the properties and uses of each of these carrier oils, plus nine I didn't include here, download a free copy of my new ebook: Simple Guidelines for Diluting Essential Oils. You'll be surprised to discover that many carrier oils have therapeutic benefit all their own, even without the addition of any essential oils!

DOWNLOAD FREE dilution guide  


A 2% or 3% dilution is a good place to start for regular daily use with those over 6 years of age. Huh? A 2% dilution? Hang with me... it will all become clear! 

Higher ratios can be used for specific issues. Lower ratios (0.5% – 1% dilution) are best for children under age 6.

Essential Oil Dilution Ranges Based on the End Use for the Product

Consider the intended purpose of the product you are making and who you are making it for (i.e., healthy adults, children, pregnant women, an elderly person, those with compromised immune systems). These factors will influence the dilution you choose.

How do I calculate how many drops of essential oil to use for the dilution I selected?

A 1% dilution is 1 drop of essential oil per 1 tsp (5 ml) of carrier oil. So, a 2% dilution would then be 2 drops of essential oil per 1 tsp of carrier oil.

With the handy chart below, you don't even need to do any math!  Simply decide what you want your dilution to be based on the intended use of the product and what quantity of the final product you will need. Then find where the two meet. NOTE: Most standard roller bottles are 10 ml in size, though smaller or larger sizes are also available. Other types of containers can vary greatly in size.

All that's left is to make and label your final product. See, not all that difficult after all! 

After you've gone through the steps a few times, diluting your essential oils will become second nature and take hardly any time at all. 

To have all this information, a step-by-step checklist, plus more in a pretty, easy-to-reference e-book, download your FREE copy of Simple Guidelines for Dilution Essential Oils

dOWNLOAD FREE dilution guide

6 Simple Steps for Safely Diluting Essential Oils

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