The Dilution Solution: 5 Reasons to Dilute Essential Oils

The bottle says "Dilution not required, except for the most sensitive skin". So you can just tip the bottle, drop, and go. Right? Wrong! Let me just preface that companies who advise you to use oils neat on your skin do not have your safety in mind. They have your pocket book in mind. They can claim to be using the French model of aromatherapy all they want. But as someone who has actually been trained by a French herbalist and aromatherapist, I can assure you that that's not how it's done. They dilute their oils as well. 

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons you need to dilute.

1. It decreases your chance of sensitization and/or irritation. Essential oils are potent and using a carrier oil (fatty oil) can help make it easier for the skin to absorb without a reaction. Using an essential oil neat (straight out of the bottle) onto your skin for long periods of time can lead to sensitization. This is when your body's immune system sees the essential oil as an invader and attacks. This is NOT a detox reaction, this is an allergic reaction. I am sensitized to Lemongrass. I can never use this oil again because I break out into itchy, almost painful hives on my stomach, chest, and neck. It last for many days, sometimes a week or more. This is what it looks like to be sensitized:

It ain't pretty, is it?

It ain't pretty, is it?


2. It helps your oils last longer. When you use essential oils mixed with a carrier oil, your essential oil stretches farther. For example, let's say you want to apply them to a sore leg muscle. If you just them neat, you will have to use several drops to cover the larger area. But with a carrier oil, you can spread the oil droplet because it is dispersed into the carrier oil. Diluting essential oils into a roller bottle filled with carrier oil is a great way to save money and stretch your oil usage.

3. It saves you money. Again, neat use= more drops= goes through the bottle faster= more money.

4. It is more sustainable. Several precious oils, such as Sandalwood (Santalum album) and Frankincense (Boswellia carteii) are endangered. Let's conserve these oils and use them only when needed. Mix them with a carrier oil so we don't use more than we need to. This applies to ALL oils, not just the endangered ones.

5. To enhance the essential oils. Carrier oils have amazing therapeutic benefits that you should take advantage of. Using the right carrier can really add a lot of healing value to the blend. You can read more about the power of carriers here:

So as a home user, how and when do you dilute?

When? Always.


Keep It Simple!

Keep It Simple!


  • Use a 1% dilution if you are using with children, elderly, pregnancy, immune compromised, serious health issues, on the face, or with sensitive skin.
  • Use 2% dilution for healthy adults, daily use or massage oils. 
  • Use 3-5% dilution for specific injury to muscle or tendons.

***Now here's where it gets a little tricky and you'll need guidance from a qualified aromatherapist if you do not understand. Some oils have maximum dermal doses and can only be utilized topically in certain amounts. Some oils are also considered photo toxic in specific amounts. Please understand these limitations to save yourself from adverse effects.***

What do these dilution percentages mean?

1% dilution means 5-6 drops in 1 OUNCE of carrier oil

2% dilution means 10-12 drops in 1 OUNCE of carrier oil

3% dilution means 15-18 drops in 1 OUNCE of carrier oil.

If you are using more or less than an ounce, you will need to do some higher math. (Sorry about that, I don't like math either.)

So if you get one thing from this blog post, let it be this:

You should use a carrier oil every time you apply an essential oil to the skin.

It's just that simple.