The Only Guide to Diluting Essential Oils You Need To Read

Essential oils have long been celebrated for their potent aromas and therapeutic properties. And no, essential oils are not a fad brought upon us by some social media influencer. Botanical oils, derived from plants, capture the essence and fragrance of the plants and plant parts through a suitable extraction process. Understanding their extraction, concentration, benefits, and uses is essential for harnessing their full potential, and for using them safely.

Essential oils are highly concentrated fluids with volatile compounds extracted from various parts of plants, including flowers, leaves, stems, and roots. There are different extraction methods and it depends on the plant species, but commonly include distillation, compression, or solvent extraction. Basically, the process involves carefully preserving the volatile aromatic compounds to ensure that the final product retains its potency.

The concentration of essential oils is a key aspect of their efficacy. Due to the high concentration of aromatic and therapeutic ingredients, essential oils possess powerful health-beneficial properties. Even a small amount of oil, when properly utilized, can have a profound impact, making them valuable in aromatherapy, hair care, and skincare. However this guide to diluting essential oils is essential because concentrated oil on the skin can cause side effects.

The benefits of essential oils are diverse and well-known. From creating spaces for relaxation and stress relief to supporting respiratory health and boosting immunity, these natural plant-based oils offer a holistic approach to wellness. Essential oils are also used for their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, making them versatile remedies for various ailments.

In addition to their therapeutic benefits, essential oils are widely used in personal care products, perfumes, cleaning solutions, and culinary applications. Just have a look at the ingredient list of your fav face serum or lotion. Their fragrant aromas not only enhance the sensory pleasure, but also provide practical benefits, such as repelling insects or purifying the air.

As we delve deeper into the world of essential oils, understanding how to dilute them properly is crucial. Dilution ensures safe and effective use, especially when applying oils (massage oils blends) topically or using them in diffusers. By diluting essential oils with carrier oils or other mediums, we can mitigate the risk of skin irritation or sensitization while still enjoying their therapeutic effects.

In the following sections of this article, we will explore the importance of dilution, different methods for diluting essential oils, different mediums for dilution, and guidelines for creating safe and effective blends for various purposes. Whether you’re new to essential oils or seeking to expand your knowledge, this guide will help you concentrate your knowledge on essential oil dilution.

Why Should You Dilute Your Essential Oil?

The first Q that pops up – is diluting the essential oil really necessary? Here are some of the reasons why essential oils must be diluted.

Concentration and Power of Essential Oils:

Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts obtained from plants, containing strong aromatic active ingredients. These ingredients are responsible for the oils’ therapeutic properties and unique fragrances. However, their concentrated nature also means that they can be too strong for direct application to the skin or inhalation without dilution. Direct topical application can result in skin irritation and direct inhalation for a long time can lead to headaches.

Risks of Using Undiluted Essential Oils:

Using undiluted essential oils poses several risks, particularly when applied topically or used in diffusers. For pregnant and nursing women, certain essential oils can potentially harm the developing fetus or infant. Pets and children are more sensitive to the potent effects of essential oils and can experience adverse reactions such as skin irritation, respiratory issues, or toxicity.

Benefits of Diluting Essential Oils:

Diluting essential oils with carrier oils or other mediums has numerous benefits, and it ensures safe and effective use:

  • Skin Safety: Diluting the essential oils help reduce the risk of skin irritation, sensitization, or allergic reactions caused by applying concentrated undiluted essential oils directly to the skin.
  • Proper Absorption: Dilution is most often done with carrier oils. Carrier oils facilitate better absorption of essential oils into the skin, allowing for better penetration and hence effectiveness of the therapeutic properties.
  • Value for Money: Authentic essential oils such as those from us are a tad bit pricey. Dilution allows for the creation of larger quantities of oils and blends, thereby increasing the longevity of essential oils and maximizing their value.
  • Customization: Aromatherapists always recommend mixing and matching the oils. Dilution provides the option to customize the essential oils into blends according to individual preferences, the oils and specific needs.
  • Money Saver: Diluting essential oils helps conserve the concentrated extracts, making them last longer and reducing overall usage, thus offering a cost-effective approach to aromatherapy and natural healing.

By diluting essential oils appropriately, individuals can enjoy their therapeutic benefits while minimizing the risks associated with their concentrated nature. Whether used for aromatherapy, massage, skincare, or cleaning, dilution is a simple yet crucial step in ensuring safe and enjoyable experiences with essential oils.

Should Every Essential Oil Be Diluted?

While many essential oils or plant essences are diluted before use, not all essential oils require dilution. Floral oils like rosemary or lavender essential oil can be used without dilution. Some essential oils on the skin are considered safe for direct application or inhalation without dilution, especially when used in small amounts or for short periods. Always consult an aromatherapist though. It’s essential to understand that individual sensitivities and preferences may vary, so dilution is often recommended as a precautionary measure, even for oils that are generally considered safe.

Factors to consider when determining whether an essential oil needs to be diluted include:

  • Concentration: Highly concentrated essential oils, including those derived from cinnamon, clove, or oregano plants are more likely to cause skin irritation or reactions and may require dilution before topical application.
  • Sensitivity: Individuals with sensitive skin or allergies or infections may benefit from diluting all essential oils, even those considered safe for direct use, to minimize the risk of adverse reactions.
  • Intended Use: The intended use of the essential oil and the method of application also influence the need for dilution. For example, essential oils used in massage blends or skincare products are typically diluted with carrier oils, whereas oils used in diffusers or inhalers may not require dilution.
  • Age and Health Conditions: Infants, young children, pregnant or nursing women, elderly individuals, and those with certain medical conditions may have certain sensitivity to some or all essential oils. Here, the oils may require dilution. In some cases, avoidance of certain oils altogether may be advised.
  • Personal Preference: Some individuals may prefer the sensation of undiluted essential oils, while others may find diluted blends more comfortable to use. Personal preference plays a significant role in determining whether to dilute essential oils.

Ultimately, it’s essential to approach each essential oil with caution and consider factors such as concentration, sensitivity, intended use, age, health conditions, and personal preference when deciding whether to dilute. When in doubt, contact an aromatherapist. It’s advisable to start small and gradually increase the concentration as needed while monitoring for any adverse reactions.

Which Oils Can You Use to Dilute Essential Oil | Carrier Oils and Other Mediums to Dilute Essential Oils

Several carrier oils and other mediums can be used to dilute essential oils safely. These include:

Carrier Oils to Dilute Essential Oils:

1. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is the most sought after. Suitable for most skin types, jojoba oil closely resembles the natural sebum produced by the skin, making it an excellent choice for skincare formulations. The medical journal Polymers published research that extensively covers the chemistry, pharmaceutical uses and toxicity of jojoba oil. [1]

2. Coconut Oil

Another popular carrier oil. It is solid at room temperature and liquefies upon contact with the skin, making it a popular choice for massage blends and skincare products. The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture has published the chemical composition and uses of coconut oil. [2]

3. Sweet Almond Oil

Lightweight and easily absorbed, sweet almond oil is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it beneficial for nourishing and moisturizing the skin. The International Journal of Cosmetic Science published a study that shows the effect of sweet almond oil on the skin. [3]

4. Grapeseed Oil

Non-greasy and odorless, grapeseed oil is high in antioxidants and suitable for all skin types, making it a versatile option for diluting essential oils.

5. Olive Oil

This oil is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, and is a nourishing option for diluting essential oils. It does have a stronger aroma that may impact the scent of the blend.

6. Avocado Oil

This oil is thick and luxurious. Avocado oil is deeply moisturizing and suitable for dry or mature skin, offering additional nourishment when used as a carrier for essential oils.

Liquid Bases to Dilute Essential Oils:


Although uncommon, water is used to dilute EOs. Essential oils can be diluted in water for use in room sprays, linen sprays, or facial mists. However, since essential oils do not dissolve in water, it’s essential to use a dispersant such as alcohol or a solubilizer to ensure even distribution.

Aloe Vera Gel:

Known for its soothing and moisturizing properties, aloe vera gel can be used as a base for diluting essential oils in skincare formulations or topical applications.

Lotions and Creams:

Regular lotions or creams can serve as convenient bases for diluting essential oils for topical use. Ensure that the lotion or cream is free from synthetic fragrances or other potentially irritating ingredients.

Vegetable Glycerin:

Vegetable glycerin is a natural humectant that can be used to dilute essential oils in skincare products, haircare formulations, or DIY recipes. It helps retain moisture and enhances the spreadability of the blend.

Carrier Oil Blends:

Combining multiple carrier oils gives us a balanced blend of properties, such as moisturization, absorption, and stability. Experiment with different combinations to find the blend that works best for your needs.

When diluting essential oils, it’s essential to use high-quality carrier oils (from us) and other mediums to ensure the safety and efficacy of the final blend. Always perform a patch test before using any diluted essential oil blend, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies, and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.

How Not to Dilute Essential Oils?

While diluting essential oils is essential for safe and effective use, there are certain practices to avoid to prevent potential risks or adverse reactions. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when diluting essential oils:

Using Water Alone:

Essential oils do not dissolve in water, so using water alone as a diluent for essential oils can lead to uneven distribution and potential irritation when applied to the skin. Always use a suitable carrier oil or other mediums including Epsom salt to dilute essential oils effectively.

Using Synthetic Fragrance Oils:

Synthetic unauthentic fragrance oils are not the same as pure natural essential oils and may contain harmful chemicals or irritants. Avoid diluting essential oils with synthetic fragrance oils, as they lack the therapeutic properties and may cause adverse reactions.

Over-Diluting Essential Oils:

Watery oils are no good. While dilution is necessary to reduce the concentration of essential oils, over-diluting them can diminish their efficacy. Aim for a balanced dilution ratio based on the intended use and individual sensitivity levels. (The dilution ratio is given below.)

Using Low-Quality Carrier Oils:

Low-quality carrier oils lack the beneficial properties of pure carrier oils. Choose high-quality carrier oils from trusted sources.

No Patch Testing:

Patch testing is essential to know a person’s sensitivity to diluted essential oil blends, especially when trying new oils or combinations. Always perform a patch test on a small area of skin before applying diluted essential oils to larger areas.

Not Following Guidelines:

Certain essential oils have a maximum recommended dilution rate based on their potency and potential side effects. Exceeding these concentrations and ignoring guidelines can increase the risk of adverse reactions. Refer to reputable sources or consult with a qualified aromatherapist for guidance on safe dilution ratios.

Using Essential Oils Internally:

Ingesting essential oils can be hazardous and may cause toxicity or other health issues. Avoid using essential oils internally unless under supervision of a professional.

Neglecting Safety Precautions:

Pregnant or nursing women, infants, children, elderly individuals, or individuals with specific health conditions, may have increased sensitivity to essential oils. Always follow safety precautions as advised by a professional.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following proper dilution practices, you can ensure the safe and effective use of essential oils for various purposes, from aromatherapy to skincare and beyond.

Essential Oil Dilution Guidelines

When diluting essential oils, it’s crucial to follow the guide to diluting essential oils to ensure safe and effective use. Remember, the dilution percentages and measurements can vary depending on the intended use, the potency of the essential oil, and individual sensitivity levels. Here are some general dilution guidelines based on percentages, drops, and spoons:

Dilution Percentages:

  • 1% Dilution: This percentage is suitable for regular, everyday use and for individuals with normal skin sensitivity. This dilution is achieved by adding approximately 6 drops of essential oil per ounce (that is 30 ml) of carrier oil.
  • 2% Dilution: Nos this is ideal for targeted applications, massage blends, or skincare formulations. This dilution involves adding approximately 12 drops of essential oil per ounce (i.e. 30 ml) of carrier oil.
  • 3% Dilution: It is recommended for specific therapeutic purposes or short-term use. This dilution entails adding approximately 18 drops of essential oil per ounce or 30 ml of carrier oil.

Dilution by Drops:

When diluting essential oils by drops, a general guideline is to use one drop to 4 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil for a 1-2% dilution. Adjust the number of drops based on the personal preference and the amount of carrier oil used.

Dilution by Spoons:

For those who prefer using spoons for measurement, approximately 1 teaspoon (i.e. 5 ml) of carrier oil is equivalent to 15 – 20 drops. Therefore, to achieve a 1% dilution, add about 4 – 6 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil.

Large Measurements:

For larger quantities (for making massage oils) you can increase the measurements accordingly. For example, you can add 20 to drops of essential oil to quarter cup carrier oil or other medium.

Adjust As Needed:

Individual sensitivity and needs vary, so it’s essential to adjust the dilution ratio based on personal preference and skin sensitivity. Always start with a low dilution and gradually increase as needed.

Some essential oils, such as those with strong aromatic profiles or higher risk of skin irritation, may require more dilution to ensure safety.

Safety Precautions:

  • Always perform a patch test before using any diluted essential oil blend, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Essential oils can cause adverse reactions due to their potency.
  • Consult with a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare professional for personalized dilution recommendations, especially for specific populations such as pregnant or nursing women, children, or individuals with medical conditions.

By following this guide to diluting essential oils, one can formulate safe and effective blends for various purposes, from aromatherapy to skincare and body massages. Adjust the dilution ratio based on individual needs and preferences to achieve optimal results while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.

Terms & Conversions You Need To Know

Here are some common terms and conversions related to essential oil dilution:

Teaspoon to Ounce Conversion:

  • 1 fluid ounce (oz) = 6 teaspoons (tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) = 0.1667 fluid ounces (rounded to three decimal places)

Milliliter (ml) to Ounce Conversion:

  • 1 fluid ounce (oz) ≈ 29.5735 milliliters (ml)
  • 1 milliliter (ml) ≈ 0.0338 fluid ounces (rounded to four decimal places)

Drop to Milliliter Conversion:

Drops can vary in size depending on the viscosity of the essential oil and the dropper used. On average, there are approximately 20 drops per milliliter (ml) of liquid.

This approximation can vary, so it’s essential to use standard droppers and conduct a drop count test to determine the actual number of drops per milliliter for specific essential oils and dropper types.

Dilution Ratios:

  • 1% dilution: Approximately 1 drop of essential oil per teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil.
  • 2% dilution: Approximately 2 drops of essential oil per teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil.
  • 3% dilution: Approximately 3 drops of essential oil per teaspoon (5 ml) of carrier oil.

Adjust the number of drops based on the desired dilution percentage and the amount of carrier oil used.

Ounce to Milliliter Conversion:

  • 1 fluid ounce (oz) ≈ 29.5735 milliliters (ml)
  • 1 milliliter (ml) ≈ 0.0338 fluid ounces (rounded to four decimal places)

Tablespoon to Teaspoon Conversion:

  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) = 0.3333 tablespoons (rounded to four decimal places)

These terms & conversions can help you accurately measure and dilute essential oils for various applications. It also helps you comprehend blend ratios better. It’s essential to use standardized measuring tools and conduct precise calculations to achieve the desired dilution ratios and avoid potential issues such as skin irritation or sensitization.

Step-by-Step Guide to Dilute Essential Oils

Diluting essential oils is a crucial to ensure safe and effective use of concentrated oils for various purposes, from skincare to aromatherapy. Here’s a step-by-step guide covering different methods of dilution:

Dilution with Lotions or Creams:

1. Select Your Base: Choose an unscented lotion or cream as your base for dilution. If you are an amateur, ensure that the lotion or cream is unscented.

2. How much Base To Use: Determine the amount of lotion or cream you will be using for your blend. Use measuring spoons or a scale to get the quantity correct.

3. Add Essential Oils: Add the desired quantity of essential oils to the base lotion or cream. Follow the recommended dilution percentages. Check above for more details. The importance of diluting the chosen essential oil is mentioned above. Applying essential oils without diluting that particular oil can affect the skin and hair. Read the safety information on the bottle.

4. Mix Thoroughly: Use a spoon or stirrer to mix the essential oils into the lotion or cream to make a homogenous mix.

5. Store Properly: Transfer the diluted blend into a clean, airtight container for storage. Store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight to increase the shelf life.

Dilution with Aloe Vera Gel:

1. Choose Aloe Vera Gel: Pick pure, organic aloe vera. Ensure that the gel is suitable for topical use.

2. Measure the Quantity: Measure the desired amount of aloe vera gel using measuring spoons. Adjust the quantity as per your need.

3. Bring in Essential Oils: Add the essential oils as instructed to the measured aloe vera gel. Follow recommended dilution percentages based on your specific requirements. The need to dilute essential oils before use is important.

4. Blend Thoroughly: Use a spoon or small stirrer to blend the essential oils into the aloe vera gel thoroughly. Ensure consistency by mixing the oil in the gel.

5. Store: Place the diluted blend into a clean, airtight container for storage. Store it in the refrigerator to not only increase its shelf life, but also to enhance its cooling properties.

Dilution with Carrier Oils:

1. Select Your Carrier Oil: Choose a suitable carrier oil or oils based on your skin type and the intended use of the diluted blend and the availability of the oil. Popular options include jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil.

2. Measuring the Carrier Oil: Determine the amount of carrier oil needed for your blend. Use measuring spoons as instructed above.

3. Add Essential Oils: Add the recommended drops of essential oils to the measured carrier oil. Refer to essential oil dilution chart or consult an aromatherapist. It is important to dilute essential oils as undiluted use of essential oils can hamper its effectiveness.

4. Mix Thoroughly: Stir or shake the blend well to ensure that the essential oils are evenly blended. This will help create a uniform blend for application.

5. Storage: Transfer the diluted blend into a clean, dark glass bottle. Close the bottle tightly. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain the potency and integrity of the essential oils.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can effectively dilute essential oils using lotions or creams, aloe vera gel, or carrier oils. These steps are almost the same; however, one needs to follow the guidelines to ensure safe and enjoyable use for various purposes. Feel free to adjust the dilution ratios and ingredients based on preferences and needs.


Diluting essential oils is a simple yet crucial step to ensure safe and effective use. Whether blending with lotions, creams, aloe vera gel, or carrier oils, following the guide to diluting essential oils allows us to harness the aromatherapeutic benefits of essential oils while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions. By understanding and implementing these dilution methods, we can create customized blends tailored to our needs and improve wellbeing with these natural remedies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best diluent for essential oils?

There are several diluents available for essential oils. However, the best and practical diluents are carrier oils.

What can I mix with essential oils to dilute?

To dilute essential oils, one can mix them with carrier oils or vegetable oils, creams and lotions and aloe vera gel.

How do you calculate dilution of essential oils?

Always remember that the ratio of essential oils in a mixture does not exceed 5%. This is the upper limit of EOs in a mix. Generally, 2-3 drops of essential oils are mixed with a tablespoon of base material.

How do you dilute 100% pure essential oils?

Here’s a simple take on diluting 100% pure essential oil. Take 2-3 drops of essential oils with a filler and add it to a tablespoon of carrier oil. Check out the essential oil dilution guidelines above.

What is the maximum dilution rate for essential oils?

The maximum recommended dilution ratio for essential oils is 5%. To prospect the skin, always do a patch test with the essential oil mix.

  • Gad, H.A., Roberts, A., Hamzi, S.H., Gad, H.A., Touiss, I., Altyar, A.E., Kensara, O.A. and Ashour, M.L., 2021. Jojoba Oil: An updated comprehensive review on chemistry, pharmaceutical uses, and toxicity. Polymers, 13(11), p.1711.
  • Deen, A., Visvanathan, R., Wickramarachchi, D., Marikkar, N., Nammi, S., Jayawardana, B.C. and Liyanage, R., 2021. Chemical composition and health benefits of coconut oil: an overview. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 101(6), pp.2182-2193.
  • Blaak, J. and Staib, P., 2022. An updated review on efficacy and benefits of sweet almond, evening primrose and jojoba oils in skin care applications. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 44(1), pp.1-9.