Essential oils are the basis for all traditional aromatherapy. Each one has a particular fragrance and properties and the art of blending them harmoniously combines the skills of the perfumer and the pharmacist. Although two essences may have a similar smell or property they may not necessarily mix well together. One essence can overpower the other. For example, Frankincense and Ginger, both heavy smelling essences, give an overpowering, unpleasant smell when combined, whereas lavender and rosemary happily marry together. In general it is best to use a maximum of three oils in a blend so there is less chance of detracting from their individual properties.
Base oils play an important role in carrying and diluting highly concentrated essential oils, which are only used in small quantities measured in drops. These base oils dilute the pure essentials, inhibiting the evaporation rate and since they spread evenly and easily over skin – encouraging quick absorption of the therapeutic oils into the skin. When mixing, use a glass, porcelain or aluminum bottle and check that you have the correct amount of vegetable carrier oil before adding the recommended drops of essential oils with a dropper or pipette for accurate measurements. Mix well and label the bottles very clearly to avoid confusion.
If you accidentally spill any, wipe up instantly with a paper tissue and dispose of it outside as the smell might be overpowering or not really pleasant and it can also adversely affect young children and animals. You should never sniff essential oils directly from the bottle. Essential oils are highly volatile and therefore should be handled with great care and used sparingly. The ideal thing is to place a drop or two of pure essential oil on the side of a glass and sniff gently. You should also take notes of consideration during this process.
Dark glass bottles with stopper caps are used to store essential oils. At home, keep them in a cool dark place, generally a cupboard and stand them upright and make sure that the bottom is flat in order to avoid spillage. Always keep these bottles out of sight and touch of children. Never store essential oils in plastic bottles as both the oil and the bottle will perish. Oils will keep for at least a year if properly stored, but there are some oils, like citrus oils that may have a shorter life.