How to dilute essential oils for different age groups

posted in: Herbalism | 1

It's super important to dilute essential oils properly when you're making skincare or medicinal blends. Using essentials undiluted, or “neat”, is unnecessary, wasteful, and can cause permanent sensitization to that oil/plant. So don't!

Dilute essential oils to 2% of your finished product for most applications. This works out to about 12 drops of essential oil for each ounce of carrier. If you're creating something like a salve or lotion, take into consideration how much beeswax and/or other ingredients will be in your product as well, or you may end up diluting more than you want to.

Roll on bottles are one way to carry diluted essential oils.

How to Dilute Essential Oils

Essential oils contain different kinds of compounds, which can be classified into 2 groups called oxygenated compounds and hydrocarbons. In other words, essential oils have powerful active chemical constituents that can cause serious health concerns if not used properly such as headaches, dermal sensitivity, mucolytic irritation, skin discoloration and burning, neuro-toxicity and convulsions. It can also pose danger to infants, pregnant women and pets as well as aggravate pre-existing conditions. This is why you need to exercise caution when using essential oils.

There are compounds in essential oils that are lethal when swallowed or used improperly such as pennyroyal, boldo, savin, calamus, wintergreen, wormwood, camphor, mustard, tansy, mugwort and cassia. Many of these oils are also hazardous when applied topically if not diluted in carrier oil. Mixing essential oils and carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil allows the active chemical compounds in the essential oil to be better absorbed into your skin. It also allows you to easily spread the oil on your skin. The amount of essential oils to use depends on your purpose. Here are some tips on how to dilute essential oils.


Mix an essential oil drop per 4 tsp of carrier oil. This dilution percentage is recommended for 6-month to 6-year old children. Avoid using essential oils on kids under 2 years old unless you’re given a go signal by your doctor.


This dilution percentage is recommended for topical application for respiratory problems, injuries or muscle pain and for treatment of temporary health problems. Use 3 essential oil drops per 1 tsp of carrier oil.

2% Dilution

2% dilution is recommended for most healthy adults. It can be used for topical application or daily aromatherapy. Add two essential oil drops to 1 tsp of carrier oil.


Use an essential oil drop per 1 tsp of carrier oil. This dilution percentage is ideal for kids over 6 years of age, elderly adults, pregnant women and those with sensitive skin. People with pre-existing conditions can benefit from this percentage as well. This dilution percentage is ideal when you are using essential oil topically, in rubs or for massage.

Many companies claim that their essential oils are of high quality, so how will you know which one will really provide the benefits you are looking for? When you are looking for essential oils, it’s common to see labels such as therapeutic grade and pure. Not all claims are true. Companies can add fillers, water and artificial additives to their products to save on costs. Make sure that the essential oil you are getting is tested and 100 pure and natural so that you can get your desired results without unpredictable side effects.


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Kylie Wiser is an herbalist specializing in skincare and women's health. She shares recipes and resources on Everblossom to help others live a more holistic lifestyle. She lives in Fargo, ND with her huge family and lots of houseplants.

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