What dilution is right for essential oil massage blends?

by Andrea Butje on March 27, 2017

Diluting essential oil massage blendsWhen I make essential oil Massage blends, I usually stick to about a 2% dilution.

2% Dilution

  • 1 oz (30 ml) — 10 to 12 drops
  • 2 oz (60 ml) — 20 to 24 drops

That’s assuming I’m doing a relaxation massage, and not blending for any specific issue. If I just want to encourage a calm mind and relaxed body, 2% is strong enough. That comes to about 10–12 drops of essential oil for every 1 oz (30 ml) of carrier oil.


Here’s one of my favorite essential oil Massage blends for relaxation. You’ll need a 2 oz (60 ml) glass bottle.

We Love Relaxation Massages!

  • 2 oz (60 ml) jojoba wax (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil (Cananga odorata)
  • 2 drops Vetiver essential oil (Vetiveria zizanoides)
  • 10 drops Cedarwood essential oil (Juniperus virginiana)
  • 6 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)

That’s a 2% dilution—a total of 20 drops of oil in 2 oz (60 ml) of jojoba wax.

But sometimes I want something a little stronger.

If I’ve hiked a little too long during the day and I feel sore in the evening, I want a blend that will soothe my muscles, so I’ll increase the dilution to 3%.

3% Dilution

  • 1 oz (30 ml) — 15 to 18 drops
  • 2 oz (60 ml) — 30 to 36 drops

So if I’m still making a blend in 2 oz (60 ml) of jojoba wax, and I want to increase the dilution from 2% to 3% how many drops of essential oil will I need?

You got it! 30 drops (3%) is 15–18 drops of essential oil per oz (30 ml).

Here’s a 3% essential oil Massage blend that never fails to ease my muscles after a long day.

Calm Muscles – Happy Muscles

  • 2 oz (60 ml) jojoba wax (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 16 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • 6 drops Peppermint essential oil (Mentha x piperita)
  • 6 drops Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
  • 8 drops Ravintsara essential oil (Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole)

This sports Massage oil includes essential oils that are relaxing, cooling, soothing to inflammation, and healing to strained muscles.

If I’m blending for children, I’ll use an even lower dilution.

1% is usually enough for children between five and 12 years old.

1% Dilution

  • 1 oz (30 ml) — 5 to 6 drops
  • 2 oz (60 ml) — 10 to 12 drops

And that’s how I adjust dilutions for kids, relaxation, and acute issues!

If you want to know even more about using essential oil blends for Massage, you can come to my FREE webinar, “Reduce Your Clients’ Pain Using Aromatherapy.” It’s perfect for Massage Therapists, but you don’t have to be a Massage Therapist to use all the recipes you’ll learn at the webinar. I hope you’ll attend!

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Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine Calhoun May 26, 2017 at 5:17 pm

What about for medicinal purposes? I notice you talked about for muscle relaxation and then for something a little stronger like sore muscles, but what about for targeting specific health concerns? Still do the 3 percent or should it be a little stronger? We use the 10 ML rollers.
Thank you!


Andrea Butje May 30, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Hi Christine!
That’s a great question but it’s one that’s not simple to answer as there are many factors to consider when blending. Understanding essential oil chemistry, chemical families, therapeutic properties, safety considerations, anatomy and physiology, the age of the person and the intention of the blend all play a role in determining dilution ratios. These considerations are all part of what we teach in our Aromatherapy Certification Program: https://www.aromahead.com/courses/online/aromatherapy-certification-program


Jen May 22, 2017 at 7:01 pm

I notice each of your massage blends use jojoba wax. I do not have that. Would any carrier oil work? (This is for a home massage, not professional…. Hubby owes me! Hehe)


Andrea Butje May 23, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Jen, yep! Any carrier oil that you love could work.


Cheri May 14, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Is it recommended to not use oils on children under 5?


Andrea Butje May 15, 2017 at 3:43 pm

Hi Cheri!
There are various opinions about the best age to start using oils for babies and kids. My experience over the years has been that babies and young children are very sensitive, and so the Aromahead Approach leans toward the cautious side. In most cases when you’re doing a topical application for kids under five years old, rather than using essential oil, we suggest using hydrosols, aloe vera gel, butters, and carrier oils. Hydrosols and carriers by themselves can often give a child the necessary nudge toward rebalancing their health.

Diffusing gentle essential oils around babies and younger children is a good option, too. Ambient inhalation (inhaling oils that are diffused into the air) is generally safe.

I wrote an article about Essential Oil Safety and Children that I can share with you if you like. It will help guide you in the selection of oils that are safe to use around little ones. If you email me to request that I will be happy to send it to you: andrea@aromahead.com


stacey April 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

I was wondering how you protected yourself when giving massages with essential oils all day?
Is there a protocol that you would recommend for massage therapists when using essential oils in their massages? Do you wear gloves? What about inhaling all the oils from your customer’s massages all day? I’m wondering about sensitization and possible over exposure? Thank you for your time and advise.


Andrea Butje April 21, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Hi Stacey!
There is a possibility of over exposure and everyone is different with their tolerance levels. We like to recommend the therapist uses a 1-2 % dilution, take in fresh air, drink lots of water and watch for your own reactions by listening to the body. Taking breaks from using oils time to time would be helpful, too.


Susan April 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

What is a recommended dilution for a 10ml roller ball?


Andrea Butje April 15, 2017 at 10:06 am

Hi Susan!
When blending in 10ml of a carrier, for a 2% dilution we recommend 4 drops of essential oil.


Deanna Ashmore March 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm

What essential oil recipe can you recommend for foot neuropathy? Chemo treatments I had in 2012 caused my neuropathy. I am now healthy and do not take any medications. I am looking for an alternative to perscription medication to give me some relief from the pain.


Andrea Butje March 30, 2017 at 7:11 pm

I have blended for neuropathy in the past and sometimes it can help, sometimes it does help ease the burning sensations a bit and other times it has been ineffective. I have seen some ease from time to time from a 1 oz cream with 5 drops peppermint and 10 drops lavender. Also if you have a hot burning sensation, peppermint hydrosol sprayed on the affected area can offer some relief.


tracie March 28, 2017 at 10:16 am

What works best for mastectomy scarring with pain?
Is there an oil or blend that would reduce the pain an help breakup the scar tissue a bit! Thanks


Andrea Butje March 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Hi Tracie,
The surgical incision would need to be fully healed first. Once healed, I would suggest to discuss with the primary care doctor and if they approve, you could try this Healing Scar Tissue blend (applied multiple times daily).

Healing Scar Tissue
10 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
5 drops Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)
5 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
1 oz Calendula infused oil


Lily March 27, 2017 at 8:49 am

Hi Andrea!
What are your tips for using vetiver as it is such a thick oil. From what I understand this is normal. It is best just to get rid of the reducer and use an eye dropper? I’ve read some ppl let the bottle sit in hot water prior to use but that didn’t work for me. I just used water as hot as the tap goes.


Andrea Butje March 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Hi Lily!
Vetiver is a naturally thick oil that can thicken over time. Sometimes it helps to transfer the oil into a new bottle with a new orifice reducer. And when all else fails, I recommend to take in the aroma of Vetiver as some days it requires immense patience! 😉


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