BLENDING ESSENTIAL OILS
Tahnia Hook of Pure Indigenous creates fragrance blends using South African essential oils. “Making your own perfume balms allows you to select fragrances that appeal to you, plus you benefit from their healing properties.”
She recommends blending oils that include a top note, a middle note and a bottom note.
Top note oils such as helichrysum (odoratissimum), clary sage, basil, grapefruit and verbena are light and fresh. They also evaporate more quickly. Most essential oils, including rose pelargonium, chamomile, rosemary and lavender fall into the middle note group, take a little longer to melt and are warmer and softer. Base notes like cedar, artemisia, ginger, vanilla, rose and ylang-ylang last the longest and slow down the evaporation of the other oils. They change over time and are more complex, intense and heady.
Depending on their aroma, essential oils can be categorised into seven groups: floral (lavender, rose pelargonium, jasmine); spicy (clove, nutmeg); earthy (vetiver, artemisia); herbaceous (basil, helichrysum, marjoram); woody (cedar, pine, and buchu); minty (peppermint, spearmint) and citrus (grapefruit, orange).
“Floral oils work well with spicy, citrus and woody ones. Woody oils blend with all groups and minty oils work well with citrus, woody, herbaceous and earthy oils. Generally it’s better to mix no more than three oils in one blend; often just two work fine,” says Tahnia. Some suggestions are: vanilla, neroli and grapefruit; rose, lime and vetiver; ylang-ylang, orange and sandalwood.