Blending Essential Oils by Aroma

Our sense of smell is an incredibly personal and subjective thing. You probably already have a good sense of smells you enjoy as well as the ones you don’t, so it can help to start using oils you know you like from the start.

Take notes of exactly what you are blending, including the oils you used, the number of drops of each, and how you feel about the results. That way you’ll have a handy reference to help you re-create what worked well and avoid combinations you don’t enjoy in the future.

In aromatherapy, scents are grouped into categories called notes based on similar characteristics. Blends that include a top, middle, and base note tend to feel more balanced and complete.

Top note

The top note is the first smell to arise from a blend. It will also evaporate the quickest. Top note fragrances are usually light, fresh, sharp, penetrating, and airy. Top notes stimulate and clear your mind, uplifting your energy.

Essential oils that make good top notes in blends:

  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit (Rose)
  • Orange (Sweet)

Middle note

Called the “heart” note, middle note oils give the blend aromatic softness, fullness, and can round off any sharp edges. Middle notes can have both top and base note aromas within them. Middle notes provide balance both physically and energetically. They are soothing and harmonizing for both mind and body.

Essential oils that make good middle notes in blends:

  • German Chamomile
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Helichrysum (Italicum)
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Marjoram (Sweet)
  • Ravintsara
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Rosemary, ct. Camphor

Base note

Base note oils provide a deep, warm, grounded quality to your blend. They function as fixatives by reducing the evaporation of the top notes. Base notes add intensity to a blend and often have an earthy aroma. The aroma rises slowly to your nose unlike top notes, which penetrate quickly. Base notes are used to relieve stress, anxiety, and insomnia. They are calming and grounding. Most base note oils are derived from woods, resins, or roots.

Essential oils that make good base notes in blends:

  • Opopanax
  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood
  • Spikenard
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang (Complete)

Combining notes

When blending, add one drop at a time to your blend, then mix and smell. Allow the blend to unfold slowly and inform you about what oils to add and how much. You often need much less essential oil than you might imagine.

Use caution with strong floral essential oils!

Use strong floral oils such as Rose Absolute Oil, Jasmine Absolute Oil, Ylang Ylang (Complete) Oil, Geranium Oil and Neroli Oil in small quantities. They are powerful. Add only 1-3 drops of any strong floral oil to a blend, especially if you are blending with these oils for the first time.


This post was summarized from a blog post by Karen Williams at Aromatics International. Learn more on this topic at:

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