What is dilution?
Dilution is simply adding a carrier oil to your essential oils.
What should I dilute with?
While some essential oils are ok to be used neat (i.e., applying the oil undiluted), it’s generally a good idea to dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil. A carrier oil is any kind of nut or vegetable oil that you add to your essential oils before applying them onto your skin. A carrier oil helps to “carry” the essential oil into the body. Common carrier oils include coconut, almond, jojoba, grapeseed, or olive oil. Each of these have different characteristics, but the most shelf-stable carrier oil is coconut oil. Shelf stability is important because you don’t want your carrier oil going rancid with your beautiful dōTERRA essential oils inside of it! While you can use the coconut oil that you probably have in your pantry, if you want to make rollers that stay in liquid form for easy application, you’ll want to grab Fractionated Coconut Oil. Fractionated simply means that the fatty acids from the triglycerides are separated off so that the oil retains the liquid state.
Fractionated Coconut Oil has a lot of great benefits in and of itself, but in terms of diluting your oils, it’s excellent because it has an indefinite shelf life, it’s odorless and colorless, it absorbs quickly, it’s not greasy so it doesn’t clog your pores, it’s great for your skin, and it doesn’t stain clothing (and all the Moms said, Hallelujah!).
I recommend using the Fractionated Coconut Oil from dōTERRA because I have found it to be the best in terms of being absorbed by the skin and not leaving that annoying “greasy” feeling. Plus, it’s easy to add to your order so you never run out!
Why should I dilute my essential oils?
- Diluting protects the skin.
High quality essential oils like dōTERRA’s are very potent. When you dilute your essential oils you also protect your skin from irritation or sensitization (a red, irritated, sometimes painful reaction in the skin). Everyone’s skin is different, so diluting helps to ensure that everyone has a positive experience with essential oils.
- Diluting with a carrier oil helps the body to absorb the essential oil.
When you don’t use a carrier oil, a larger percentage of the essential oil evaporates in the air. By using a carrier oil you are getting MORE of the essential oils into the body, which means you will spend less and get more benefit than using your oils neat.
- Diluting makes essential oils safe for the whole family.
Related to the first point of protecting your skin, diluting your essential oils helps to ensure safe usage by all members of the family. I always recommend diluting your oils so that you get the most benefit out of them, but this is especially important for babies, young children, pregnant women, elderly, and people with sensitive skin.
- Diluting maximizes your investment.
We all like to save money, and diluting your essential oils helps you to do that! When you are applying essential oils to large areas (i.e., back, legs, chest), using a carrier oils helps to spread the 1-2 drops of essential oil over that large surface area.
How do I dilute my essential oils?
Unless I am in a pinch situation, I nearly always dilute on myself and my family. Simply the research on carrier oils and absorption rates convinced me that it’s the best way to use your oils for maximum benefit!
So what are the best ratios for safe diluting? I generally use 10mL rollers, which hold roughly 1 Tablespoon of liquid, so I use the age guideline to make it simple (Don’t worry, I’ll post the more specific recommendations of where I developed this from, too!).
There are many tools that you can use to dilute your essential oils. Roller bottles and spray bottles are probably the most common. My favorite site to shop for tools is Oil Life. You can also just pour some Fractionated Coconut Oil into your hand, add 1-2 drops of essential oil, then apply.
Age Guidelines for Dilution
Use one drop of essential oil for every year of age of the person using the essential oil. For newborns through 1 year of age, use one drop of essential oil in a 10mL roller – then top with Fractionated Coconut Oil. For a 2 year old, two drops of essential oil…for a 6 year old, six drops of essential oil. At ages 10+ I simply do 10 drops of essential oil in the 10mL roller. If you aren’t getting the results you are hoping for, you can adjust this as needed by making it more potent. However, these are general guidelines to start from – you can always add more essential oil, but it’s hard to take it back!
Here’s a handy graphic for you to use to help you!
Babies = 1 drop per Tablespoon of carrier oil (0.3% dilution rate)
Children = 1 drop per teaspoon of carrier oil (1% dilution rate)
Adults = 3-6 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil (2-4% dilution rate)
(The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, Schnaubelt, 2011)
A Word of Caution
There are some oils that we call “hot” oils – they tend to be the spice type oils. A hot oil is simply one that is more prone to irritating the skin so you want to dilute it more. Below is a list of the most common ones:
- Cinnamon Bark
- On Guard
- Siberian Fir
Always have some carrier oil nearby the first time you use an essential oil, just in case it is a hotter oil for you. If your skin is tingling and it’s uncomfortable, you notice a child itching/rubbing an area where you applied an essential oil, or you notice redness – add that carrier oil over the top and it will help to dilute the essential oil on the skin.
Most importantly – use your oils! We generally recommend a less, more often approach because that is the best way for your body to absorb and utilize the essential oils. Apply less by diluting, and because you are diluting you can apply more often and not worry about the skin reacting negatively!
I share this type of information regularly with my team members. If you would like to join our team as a wholesale member (no selling required!) and get the support that you need to use your essential oils safely for maximum benefit, click here to learn more!