Nature has created hundreds of essential oils, from the well-known such as Lemons, Lavender, Bergamot etc. ….. to the exotics such as Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Sandalwood. Combined with the art of blending, these oils give access to infinitive variations and like a chef creating a good dish, success is achieved by understanding what works together!
Finding a combination of mutually enhancing oils to create a synergy!
Some essential oils have mutually enhancing elements, where others would inhibit. It is necessary to understand the properties of each oil and how they interact, to allow them to best complement each other.
Rock My Wick works within a set of principles created by a leading aromatherapist Marcel Lavabre. He created ‘classifications’ to assist in understanding how a good fragrance composition should harmoniously balance.
Essential Oil Families
He suggests the concept of Essential Oil Families, placing them into classifications such as Floral, Fruity, Green, Herbal as detailed in the table.
These classifications help us understand the oils that work well and which to avoid putting together. For example, florals such as Rose, Ylang-Ylang, and Geranium blend well with woody, fruity, sweet and musty notes, as well as some herbal notes. However, fruity does not blend well with woods, but herbal and woods blend really well together. Furthermore, herbal should be used with caution around florals!
He suggests guidelines to blending proportions within these classifications. For example, Fruity: can be used in any proportion. Musty/Earthy: use small amounts (only 3 – 10% of the blend).
As stated by Marcel, such classifications are highly subjective and as he suggests Rock My Wick have developed our own categories and classifications within this model and added notes of our own. However, it provides a fantastic overall framework to start from.
The Balance between Practice & Intuition
It is essential to start with a clear understanding of what you are looking to achieve! For example, with our Sunrise & High Tides we were looking to achieve a blend that was 'lively and minty', with an uplifting, refreshing and invigorating profile.
For our Rockpools & Candy Stalls we set out to achieve a blend that was 'happy and sweet', with a fun, warm and balancing profile.
With Farewells & Carousels and intention was a 'sensual and spicy' blend, with a soothing and grounding profile.
Our most recent blend, Sunbeams & Daydreams is intent on being 'warm and precious', with a floral, fruity and woody profile.
From there, choosing which core and 'safe' oils you need to achieve your overall theme and then introducing supporting oils that complement them.
Like any art, it requires a balance of practice and intuition!
When we are working on a new blend, we use ‘fragrance testing sticks’ to enable us to ‘build’ the blend and see how it changes when you add a new oil.
Do they enhance or fight against each other? Does one particular oil hijack and over-power the blend? What are the first impressions? How they mellow over a medium to long term? How will it smell in an hour, 5 hours …… the next morning.
Each of our blends takes time and patience to perfect as we observe how they interact and change over time and as we continue to test, test & re-test!
As I am sure anyone that works with essential oils will agree, the art of blending is one of the most important and enjoyable aspects of aromatherapy.
Join us for our next blog when we will look at an additional set of Marcel’s classifications: Modifiers, Enhancers, Equalisers and Fixatives.