Thursday, July 28, 2016

MWM: To Dilute or Not to Dilute, that is the question! (Or, What is a Diluent?)

Tons of questions for Mondays with Marge last night on a variety of topics including:  how Marge got her start in aromatherapy; if she has personally mentored anyone in the oils; impact of heat on the oils, and even a question about Nature’s Gift bottle labels! 
Cynthia asked: Hi Marge! I have seen so many recipes where people suggest blending EOs with just witch hazel or alcohol to apply to skin for bug repellant and/or perfuming uses. I was under the impression that a carrier oil had to be used with all EOs when using on skin, but I wanted an answer from an "expert". Please advise! :)

Marge:  Cynthia, an Essential Oil has to be diluted to apply to the skin, but there are a wide range of possible diluents. For example, we offer our Skeeter Beater in an oil base, and in aloe gel (because in this heat, an oil based product is just not comfortable!) Witch hazel will NOT dissolve/emulsify the oils, so you will need something to first disperse them. Either a high proof alcohol, polysorbate, or Solubol™ may be used to first dissolve the essential oils, and then you may add water, witch hazel, or another hydrosol.

Most natural perfumes are dissolved in grape or grain alcohol, although there are oil-based and solid (mostly oil plus beeswax) versions as well.

You can dilute an essential oil or blend in a cream or lotion, for skincare purposes (or as an insect repellant, as well, come to think of it.)

Does this help? Lots of ways to dilute an essential oil, besides a carrier oil. But for most uses, a carrier oil is simplest and most appropriate.

Christi adds: Diluent (Di-loo-uhnt) is not a word our brains want to relay to our mouths when we speak.  It just sounds wrong.  We want to say, “dilutant.” (think debutante)  However, diluent by definition is “that which dilutes.” Dilutant is a “diluting agent,” and per Merriam Webster, “making thinner or less concentrated by adding to the mixture.”  I personally like the simplicity of dilute or dilution.  (but now we are “mincing” words!) 

Deep on the website we havea dilution chart, which comes in handy while blending. 

Curious about other diluents or carrier oils?  See ourCarrier Oil category for a variety of options. [Please note, some of the products listed in that category are not true diluents...the various salts, for example.  They often have essential oils added to them, but they will not truly dissolve/disperse the EOs.]

Mondays with Marge is back on Monday, August 1st, 8:00 p.m. CDT.  Join us on Facebook for a diverse discussion about various aromatherapy topics. 

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