Dilution guidelines

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By now you might know the common application methods. If not, nothing to worry, just see this article before continuing with current read.

So now that you know how to safely use essential oils, let’s dig deeper into the recommended percentages for different issues and age groups.

How to dilute?

Dilution means mixing the essential oil in a carrier oil so that it can be safely applied on the skin as otherwise it is too potent.

So what percentage is right? What does 1% or 5% dilution mean?

To jump to your help we actually set out to measure the capacity of a normal eating tablespoon as found in any household (not the US tablespoon as that is usually bigger). It holds up to 100 drops. So all dilution will refer to this amazing measuring tool :) If you are more technical you should know that there are 500-600 drops in 1 oz (30 ml), meaning there are about 200 drops in 10 ml. 


Blending for different issues

  1. 1% dilution (1 drop in 1 tbsp carrier)- recommended for issues emotional in nature, where the subtle energy of the oils can be harvested; same percentage should be used if oils are applied on the face; also for people with compromised immune system
  2. 2% dilution (2 drops in 1 tbsp carrier oil) - Daily use and massage 
  3. 3-10% dilution (3 respectively 10 drops in 1 tbsp carrier oil)- specific acute issues or injuries that are temporary (headache, chest congestion, cough, muscle or joint pain etc)
  4. 25% dilution (25 drops to 1 tbsp carrier oil)- only recommended for acute and severe issues (severe cramps, severe headache etc). This can only be used for very short-term usage like couple of applications.
  5. Neat- that means undiluted in carrier oil. Very few oils can be applied neat eg. Lavender, Tea Tree) and only on small local areas ( headaches, insect bites, burns) Of course no reason to be scared if one drop falls on your skin, but some people might be more sensitive so better to be safe. Also even if no adverse reaction if an oil is used long-term undiluted it will sensitize the skin and won’t be so efficient anymore.

Blending according to age

It is very important to consider the person’s age. A 2-year-old, a 30-y-old and a 70-y-old with same issue will require different dilutions and different oil blends.

For kids we dedicated a full post. Pls do read it and bookmark it:)

Let’s see an example for chest congestion and how can we use EOs for the entire family.

  • 3-y-old: you can safely diffuse Frankincense, Black Pepper, Lemon, Bergamot, Ginger and apply topically on the chest or feet at max. 2% gentle oils like Lavender, Sandalwood, Lemon.
  • 30-y-old: safe to add to the mix stronger decongestant oils like Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary. For topical application you can start with 5% and slowly increase to 10% for bad congestion.
  • 70-y-old:  diffuse the same oils as above but topical application should not exceed 4-5% (short-term usage). Of course you should read the caution for each oil that you are using since some have contraindications or can interfere with certain treatments.

Blending for pregnancy or breastfeeding

During these times we recommend you to keep dilution at 1%. The most common oils that are contraindicated during pregnancy or breastfeeding:

Anise, Birch, Black Seed, Carrot Seed, Cinnamon bark, Blue Cypress (Callitris intratropica), Fennel, Ho leaf (Cinnamomum camphora ct. camphor), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis ct. pinocamphone), Myrrh, Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas), Oregano, Sage (Salvia officinalis, Salvia lavandulifolia) and Wintergreen.

These rules are not set in stone so don’t let them scare you and think using EOs is complicated. You just need to know some ground rules and apply common sense.

if you sniff a particular oil and smells too strong for you it most probably is for your child as well so go read its description.

For any exception or question we are also one email/message away:)

Be well,
The Oil Stories team

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