How to Dilute Essential Oils

June 12, 2018

How to dilute essential oils

Good quality essential oils can be applied neat ( straight without dilution) or with carrier oils . There are some great reasons why to dilute essential oils.  They help “carry” the essential oils deeper into the skin. These include coconut, almond,  jojoba, grapeseed, olive oil, etc. Each oil has different attributes and shelf life.


 The most shelf-stable carrier oil is coconut oil. That is why most of the time recommend use Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) from doTERRA in which they separate (or “fractionate”) the fatty acids from the triglycerides so that it never gets hard. It has many wonderful benefits including an indefinite shelf life, odorless and colorless, does not stain clothing, absorbs quickly and easily, is not greasy, does not clog pores and is wonderful for skin.

many time I get questions such why can;t I use normal virgin coconut oil? - u can, however the primary benefit of Fractionated Coconut oil exists when premixing diluted oils in a roller bottle because it wont harden and render the roller useless, and is less messy to apply.



Why use a carrier oil?

1. Using a carrier oil helps absorption. Without a carrier oil, a larger percentage of the essential oil evaporates in the air. This means adding a carrier oils gets MORE oils into the skin! This means you spend less and get more benefit than using an oil neat. However the benefits of of the essential oil still will be via its aroma.


2. Less is more. With essential oils using ” less, more often” is more effective than “more, less often”. Using your high quality essential oils diluted in a roller bottle or small bowl every 15 minutes is more advantageous than using oils neat every few hours. Diluting the oils makes using “less, more often” easier to do.


3. Diluting protects the skin from irritation and sensitization. Every person is different and repeated undiluted use in one area can lead to sensitization (red, irritated, painful skin reaction). This is especially a risk with the more sensitive such as the very young or the elderly. We want to use oils our whole lives so diluting makes it more "skin friendly" - specially for babies.

5. Diluting makes your oils go further. For large areas like the stomach, chest, back, etc. using a carrier oils enables you to use 1-2 drops at a time but still cover the area needed. The oils we use are so pure and potent that they are still incredibly effective diluted. This also means you can save some money.



 How much should we dilute?

Diluting is not a matter of  “right” or “wrong”. The more you get to know each oil the easier it is to know what to do in each situation. I use oils undiluted for different situations and circumstances.


Dilution Guidelines for babies and children

you might find this very helpful but again it is also a matter of trying and see what happens. I rarely follow those guidelines in my family but just because I already know what works and how. But this is an excellent starting point.



Babies:  1 drop per Tablespoon (0.3% dilution)
Children: 1 drop per teaspoon (1% dilution)
Adults:  3 – 6 drops per teaspoon (2 – 4%)


5mL bottle = 1 tsp

10mL roller  = 2 tsp

15mL bottle = 3 tsp / 1 TB


Adjust as you need. If you do not get the desired result, try adding more or change oil. In some situations you can try applying neat.



(for babies we do 1 drop in a roller even though its not a whole tablespoon)
Click here to learn more about using oils for newborns and babies

Some oils are known to be more “hot” or more prone to burn or irritate the skin. with these oils you might want to use higher ratio and use more carrier oil. .Hot oils that need more dilution:

Cinnamon Bark
White Fir

For me the best way to use carrier oils with essential oils is to use a small spray bottle. I keep my fractionated coconut oil in there and spray couple of pumps on my palm and drop 1-2 drops of essential oil.


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