By Kristin Lail, Certified Aromatherapist
Creating your own essential oil blend is an incredibly rewarding experience. However, it can be a little daunting when you’re just starting out. So before we go any further, let’s start with the basics. Blended oils are called synergies. The word synergy means “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”  This means you’re combining two or more essential oils together to multiply the desired effect.
With that out of the way, we can look at the different blending methods and choose the one that feels right to you. Blending is truly an art and also a journey of self-discovery. There is no right or wrong way to blend. You can choose to blend with one method or a combination of multiple methods!
Different Blending Methods
There are different ways in which you can create your essential oil synergy. Some may choose to blend by the chemical constituent, while others may blend by the perfumery note, plant part, or even therapeutic action.
Blending by Constituent
Blending by chemical constituent is primarily practiced in clinical aromatherapy. It can be difficult to find books that explore this method. The idea is that you can boost the percentages of individual desired constituents in a blend. For example, Ho Wood and Lavender are both very high in a constituent called Linalool. Linalool is a calming constituent that is uplifting and also has anti-inflammatory properties.  Blending with both Ho Wood and Lavender would raise the Linalool percentage and should boost the desired effect.
Recommended reading for essential oil chemistry:
- The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils 3rd Edition by Joy E. Bowles.
Blending by Note
Blending by note is generally practiced with perfumery in mind. The purpose of blending by notes is to create a harmonizing chord that is pleasing aromatically, much like a musical chord is pleasing to the ears.
The top notes are the oils that grab your attention quickly but they also evaporate the fastest. Middle notes last longer than top notes and are considered by many to be the heart of the blend. Base notes have your deepest aroma and are considered a fixative for your perfume. They evaporate slower and you will smell these oils the longest.
To learn more about blending by notes and see our list of the top, middle, and base note oils, please check out this blog post.
Blending by Therapeutic Action
Blending by therapeutic action is the most common method for home enthusiasts. This method relies on the known therapeutic usage of an essential oil. Most books use this method and instruct how to combine essential oils for their known historical therapeutic values.
Recommended reading for therapeutic action:
- The Heart of Aromatherapy by Andrea Butje
- Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
- The Fragrant Mind by Valerie Ann Worwood
- The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon, Lora Cantele
Blending by Plant Part
Although this method is talked about less frequently, there are some generalizations that can be made about blending by plant part. For example, this method can emotionally connect you to the plant and help you appreciate it more.
To use this blending method, you must first determine the part of the plant that your essential oil is extracted from. Then you can begin blending with other oils from that same plant part.
Benefits of Plant Parts
Roots (rhizomes) are grounding and provide stability for the plant. Therapeutically, there is a correlation between physically grounding the plant and being an emotionally grounding essential oil. Vetiver, for example, is an essential oil that comes from the root of the plant and is known to be very emotionally grounding. 
Buds and flowers emerge during spring, a time of new growth. Flowers attract insects that pollinate them. This inviting and comforting action is why many essential oils extracted from flowers or buds soothe and calm the heart and spirit.
Seeds play an integral part of plant reproduction. In essence, they are regenerating and full of new life and growth. Oils that are derived from seeds encourage personal growth and can help us realize our potential.
Resins are produced by trees when something injures their trunk. The resin pours from the center of the tree, bringing forth inner strength and healing. Resinous essential oils help with self-reflection and the healing of emotional and physical wounds.
The wood or bark of plants is responsible for directing nutrients from the roots to the stems and flowers. The trunk is supportive and protective of the plant and oils made from the bark can help support functions of the body. They can also be helpful in reducing skeletal pain in the body and centering us emotionally.
Fruits generally grow above the core of the tree. Because of this, many essential oils that come from the fruit are naturally uplifting and cleansing. Fruits are a product of reproduction of the tree and also protect the seed for the regeneration of new life. They can also invigorate and motivate and help relieve feelings of anxiousness.
Recommended reading for blending by plant part:
- Aromatree by Salvatore Battaglia
Now that you know the purpose of each method, you can make a decision on the method that is best suited for you.
It’s important to keep an open mind and not automatically dismiss a method solely because of a perceived notion of, “what is best.” There are many occasions where a blend may seem perfect from a chemistry standpoint and the blend simply doesn’t work for the intended target. Lastly, don’t be afraid to use your oils and get to know how they work for you personally.
Need more helpful tips? Feel free to check out our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook for DIY recipes and support!
1- Synergy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/synergy
2- Phytomedicine 9: 721-726, 2002 @ Urban & Fischer Verlag
http://www.urbanfischer.de/jo umal s/phytomed
3- Roots: A Year with Morphology~ Using Plant-based Origins to Inspire Aromatic Blending. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://naha.org/naha-blog/roots-a-year-with-morphology-using-plant-based-origins-to-inspire-aromatic
4- Butje, A. (n.d.). Make Aromatherapy Blends Based on Plant Part. Retrieved from https://blog.aromahead.com/2015/07/13/make-aromatherapy-blends-based-plant-part