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5 Ways to Dilute Essential Oils Safely and Effectively & More

doTerra wood box box of organized oils

Let’s talk about dilution. This post is all about ways to dilute essential oils. I am gonna debunk some myths around using undiluted oils with actual facts. But then, I’m gonna show you the six benefits to always diluting, and five different ways that you can dilute your essential oils.

Watch here or read below.

5 Ways to Dilute Essential Oils Safely and Effectively & More Click To Tweet

I can’t tell you how to use oils for emotions without also telling you how to use them safely and effectively, which is what we’re gonna do in this post.

  • We’re gonna talk about debunking some myths, and whether or not you can use oils undiluted.
  • We’re gonna talk about ways to dilute.
  • We’re gonna talk about the benefits of dilution.

But make sure that you stay tuned to the very end, because I am gonna have a very special guide for you on dilution rates, to help you to use your oils really well.

And if you are also interested in learning how to use them for emotions, make sure to check out my post on essential oils and emotions.

But for now, let’s jump into dilution.

FIRST THINGS FIRST, CAN YOU USE YOUR OILS UNDILUTED?

There is a lot of information out there that says you can, or that says you can’t, and there’s a lot of fear-based information out there as well.

Now, my rule of thumb is if anybody is using extreme language, I tend to shy away from it.

I find with most things, the truth often lies in the middle.

I also find a lot of the information out there is very click-baity in nature.

And so, what I want to do to answer this question for you is to turn to an actual expert.

I love the book, “The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy“.

It’s by Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD and I want you to understand who this is. Kurt Schnaubelt holds a PhD in chemistry, and is the founder and Scientific Director of the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy in San Francisco.

Now listen, y’all. If you are talking to a blogger about whether or not you should dilute or undilute, or even an aromatherapist, why not turn to somebody who has a PhD in chemistry, and actually teaches aromatherapists what to do.

I’m gonna share a little bit of an excerpt from this book, so that you understand the value of undiluting, and when you should or should not use your oils undiluted.

But I do want to say really quickly that every aromatherapist learns how to use oils undiluted. Most of the advice that is out there on not diluting your oils has to do with whether or not people believe that you are smart enough to learn how to do this properly. Which, I personally think that you are.

So, my goal with this video is to allow you to feel educated, so that you can make the best choice for you, for your body, for your family.

So, I’m gonna post a few excerpts from this book. If you also have this book, you can follow along by turning it to page 127.

“As with the application of undiluted essential oils in the shower, essential oils need to be tested for irritation before dabbing or rubbing them on. The gradual exploration of the actual interaction of our own skin type and condition with essential oils will create the confidence to use them when we really need to. A significant benefit from using undiluted essential oils, which escapes scientific experiments, is the visceral and physiological experience we accumulate whenever we use oils in this fashion. Of course, only authentic essential oils can be used undiluted, without annoying irritation.”

It then goes on to explain dabbing of an oil, which is done with a q-tip, or, you know, putting a little bit on your finger to dab it on any areas of concern. He’s even talking about dabbing them inside your mouth.

What? I know, it’s scandalous.

Then, he goes on to talk about something called “a massive rub”. Now, get this:

“French-style aromatherapy suggests the topical application of substantial amounts of essential oils. The intent is to keep the concentration of oils as high as possible in the body, especially the bloodstream.”

In here, he is talking about 40 to 50 drops rubbed on the torso per session, four to five times per day.

Homie say, “What?”

The book then lists a whole handful of oils that are suitable for undiluted use.

What you’ll notice is that most of them are very mild. They tend to be florals. There is Peppermint in here, which I personally don’t use undiluted, but it’s nice to see that yes, you can, in a pinch, use this undiluted.

He also says,

“Higher doses of essential oils should only be utilized after you’ve gradually built the necessarily experience with such doses, enabling you to know which essential oils can be tolerated in this fashion.”

So, yes. Essential oils can be used undiluted, but that doesn’t mean that they should always be used undiluted.
  • Stick with those mild oils.
  • Start low and slow, so that you can see how your body’s gonna respond to the oil,
  • And never, ever undilute the really hot, spicy oils like OreganoCinnamonCloveCassia, etc.

These ones are gonna be pretty uncomfortable on the skin, so they’re important to dilute.

But if you’re in a pinch, and you’ve got something like Lavender or Melaleuca or Lemon, and you want to use it but you don’t have any carrier oil, or maybe you’ve got a tee shirt that you don’t want to get your carrier oil on … In a pinch, you can use that oil undiluted.

My rule of thumb for this is, if you’re only doing it every once in a while, if you’re only doing a small amount, and if you know that you do not have sensitive skin, this might be a suitable time to use your oils undiluted.

Now, that being said, there are a lot of benefits to dilution.

I want to go through those with you right now. Because in most cases, you’re going to dilute your oils.There are six benefits to dilution that we’re gonna go through one by one.

DILUTION BENEFIT #1 – AVOIDING SENSITIZATION

Sensitization can happen both short-term and long-term.

Short-term is when you put an oil on and pretty quickly, either within minutes or maybe hours, maybe even a couple days, you start to get some irritation on your skin.

Long-term sensitization happens over time. This could be after 10 uses, it could be after 100 uses, it could be after 10 years of using an oil without the proper dilution for your skin. Especially if you have sensitive skin, you may not even respond in a negative way immediately, but you can over time. When you’re diluting your oils, you’re gonna avoid this sensitization.

The reason that you want to avoid this is… yes, sensitization doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s just some redness and irritation. It goes away.

However, if you have built up a real sensitization to an oil, you’re gonna have a hard time ever using that oil, even with a very high dilution rate.

So, dilute from the beginning, and avoid this problem.

DILUTION BENEFIT #2 – REDUCING EVAPORATION

Evaporation happens really easily, because these molecules are very small, they’re very light, and they do something called “flashing”, which means they just go away. 

So, when you are diluting your oil, you’re reducing evaporation and increasing absorption in your skin.

DILUTION BENEFIT #3 – INCREASING ABSORPTION

When you’re diluting these oils, the heavy carrier oil is gonna ensure that it stays on your skin and slowly absorbs. This makes it almost time-released, which allows it to be getting into your system slowly over time, which is perfect.

That’s what we want. We want low and slow.

We don’t want all the oils all at once. We want them staying in our bloodstream for as long as possible.

Oregano on a table with wording Always dilute: Oregano, Cinnamon, Clove, Cassia, Thyme, Lemon Myrtle

DILUTION BENEFIT #4 – MOISTURIZING YOUR SKIN

Some oils have a very drying effect. This can be great when you’re trying to deal with something like oily skin. But in most cases, especially for us ladies who are getting a little bit older, we don’t need to dry out our skin at all.

So, diluting your oils will allow you to moisturize your skin, and get all these other benefits at the same time.

DILUTION BENEFIT #5 – EASIER TO SPREAD

Dilution allows you to spread a small amount of essential oil over a large area.

Essential oils are potent, and you don’t need five or six drops on a sore back. But if you’re trying to add just oil, it’s gonna feel like you need that much, because you can’t spread one or two drops very well.

So, mixing your essential oils in with a carrier is gonna allow you to really stretch your oils and get the entire area.

DILUTION BENEFIT #6 – STRETCHING YOUR OILS FURTHER

Again, they’re potent. You don’t need a lot. And so, creating something like a roller blend will allow you to get a fraction of a drop, when you don’t need a full drop. This is gonna allow you to stretch your oils out, make them last, and get the most bang for your buck

Fractionated Coconut Oil Jars Wood Background

Now let’s talk about the five ways that you can dilute essential oils, and when you would use each option.

WAYS TO DILUTE ESSENTIAL OILS #1: CARRIER OIL.

This is the most popular option. You can use something like jojoba, fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil … There’s a lot of options. And to be quite honest with you, in a pinch you can use any type of oil to dilute an essential oil, even like cooking oil from the kitchen. You might smell like a salad, but it works just fine when you need it.

You do, however, want to make sure that your carrier oil does not solidify. Some of them do, such as raw coconut oil. The reason for that is if you’re putting it in a roller bottle, you don’t want it to solidify in that roller bottle.

My personal favorite when it comes to carrier oils is fractionated coconut oil.

I love the benefits of coconut oil, but obviously not the solidification piece of it.

Other reasons why I love FCO?

  • It’s odorless
  • It’s lightweight
  • It absorbs easily, no greasy feeling
  • It doesn’t transfer to clothing
  • Coconut oil is full of nutrients and antioxidants
WAYS TO DILUTE ESSENTIAL OILS #2: AN OIL-BASED CREAM

You want to make sure that this is not a water-based lotion, one of the thinner lotions.

dōTERRA has a really great creamy lotion that you can use this for. They also have things like moisturizers that already have some oils in it, like facial moisturizers and night creams. You could use your own night cream as well, but you will want to test it out, start small, see how it goes.

I would not do a lotion or a cream with any of the really hot or sensitive oils. But your florals, your trees, things that are milder? Those are definitely suitable to use with it.

The other thing that dōTERRA offers is some of their oils already mixed into a lotion.

So, they have the Deep Blue Rub. This is the one that you would use for muscles and joints. And they have Rose Lotion. By the way, this is a $20 lotion, and 100% of that goes to their Healing Hands Foundation, so it’s really going to pay it forward to a variety of different organizations and charities.

WAYS TO DILUTE ESSENTIAL OILS #3: ALCOHOL BASES

This could be witch hazel, maybe you’re gonna use this on your face.

It might also be vodka or rubbing alcohol, which you’re probably not gonna use on your body, but you could use for homemade cleaners or room sprays.

WAYS TO DILUTE ESSENTIAL OILS #4: VINEGAR

If you choose this option, go for apple cider vinegar, especially if you’re gonna be using this on your face.

This is really great for balancing the pH in your skin. It’s also great for cleaning your skin. It’s really good for soothing sunburns. It even helps reducing age spots.

So if you’re doing something like Frankincense in there, that’s gonna be amazing. The way you’re gonna do this is about 10 to 20 drops per ounce of whatever you’re making, depending on the oil, and depending on how you’re gonna be using it.

WAYS TO DILUTE ESSENTIAL OILS #5: EPSOM SALT

Now, this is not gonna be suitable for those very hot oils, but this is great for your florals, for your tree oils.

And obviously, we’re using this Epsom salt generally in the bath. Epsom salt contains magnesium, which if you did not know, also helps to relax muscles. It is an amazing antidepressant itself, and it’s gonna help you to get some really good sleep, so it’s great for stress and relaxation.

Mixing it with the Epsom salt is gonna help it to disperse through the bath, but it’s not necessarily gonna protect your skin in the same way that a carrier oil will.

So if you’re doing this, you definitely want to make sure that you’re avoiding your mints, your spices, any of those potentially hot or irritating oils in the tub.

Okay, so now we’ve covered the six benefits of dilution, the five different options you have to dilute. Now I want to go through a few more precautions when it comes to topical use.

THE FIRST PRECAUTION IS THAT IT’S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO DO A PATCH TEST.

You never know what your particular skin is going to respond to, or how it’s gonna respond.

And so, always do a patch test, especially before you do something on a sensitive area like your face. But I also find sometimes our neck and chest can be just as sensitive, so do a little patch test.

Make sure you’re good to go before you start slathering it all over yourself, okay?

I MENTIONED THIS ONE BEFORE, BUT REMEMBER TO START LOW AND SLOW.

This means starting with a very low dilution rate, starting with applying it once or twice a day.

Versus, you know, a high dilution rate, and you’re applying it every 10 minutes. You want to start low and slow to give your body time to adjust to it, and to see how your body’s gonna respond to it.

NEXT, I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER THAT IT’S IMPORTANT TO MIX UP YOUR OILS.

I know that you probably got started with a kit of maybe eight to 10 oils, and that’s great.

However, I want you to start finding oils that do similar things.

Your body likes diversity, your skin likes diversity, and you want to make sure you’re not overdoing any one compound.

You do this by making sure you have similar oils that do similar things.

For instance, if you’re using an oil on the back of your neck to help you to fall asleep, over time, you might find that that oil is just not working the same for you.

So, mix it up. Find some other oils that also help you to sleep, and change them out from time to time.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE ALSO BEING VERY CAREFUL WITH PHOTOSENSITIVE OILS.

Photosensitive oils are oils that if applied topically and then you go out in the sun, are gonna create some really bad reactions.

And I’m talking bad. I’ve seen people put on oils, put on sunscreen over those oils, and still burn so bad, with blisters, within 20 to 30 minutes

So, this is very important to pay attention to.

Most citrus oils are photosensitive. Ginger and Cumin are also a little bit photosensitive, but not as much. So, make sure you’re reading the label. Make sure you get a good reference book and you’re referencing that, so that you’re understanding which oils to be careful with, and which oils to stick where the sun don’t shine.

AND FINALLY … AND YOU WILL HEAR ME SCREAM THIS ONE FROM THE MOUNTAINTOPS … DON’T USE CRAP OILS.

There are a lot of companies out there that are competing on price instead of quality.

And so, what we’re finding in the industry right now is a lot of adulterated, or even just completely fake oils.

Even though it says, “100% pure,” it doesn’t mean that it is. That is an unregulated term.

So, you really need to be able to know and trust your oil company.

I personally love and trust only dōTERRA.

  • They are the leaders in the industry.
  • They are the largest essential oil company.
  • They put every single oil through 11-plus tests.
  • They repeat tests at multiple times to make sure that these oils, at any point in the production process, did not get adulterated or contaminated.

They have really made a name for themselves in terms of purity and quality, so if you are not sure where to get started, start with the best. Learn more about why doTERRA here.

Tara's Dilution guide as seen on ipad and iphone

DILUTION RATES AND RATIOS 101

How much dilution is right for your body, or for different ages, or for different oils? How many drops should you be using for adults versus kids, versus physical uses versus emotional uses?

What about milliliters versus ounces, versus whatever else. Teaspoons? I don’t know.

It can feel overwhelming. I know.

So what I’ve done is put together a free PDF on dilutions rates that you can download, that will walk you through dilution rates with all of these different variables.

I want you to feel really confident in using your oils appropriately and safely, so that you’re getting the benefits without any of the worries.

It’s called Dilution 101, and you can grab it below or click here for more info.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

All right. We have covered a lot, and my hope is that you can now tell myth from fact from clickbait, and that you can feel really confident in how you are using your oils topically.

Of all the ways that you could dilute your oils, what do you use the most, or what are you excited to try out?

Scroll down to leave your comments!

xoTara-teal

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