using herbs & essential oils

Blending Essential Oils For Beginners

July 5, 2013

Blending Essential Oils For Beginners | Growing Up Herbal | Interested in creating your own EO blends? Come learn the easy method I use!

Have you ever wondered how to blend essential oils together?

I know I did when I first started using them on myself and my kids. I’d buy a bunch of single oils as well as several synergy blends because I didn’t know how to make them myself.

Synergy blends are combinations of oils that all work well together and promote something specific like relaxation, energy, keeping bugs away, etc. These blends of essential oils can be used for their aromatherapy purposes as well as their medicinal purposes.

Over time, I’ve become more confident in blending essential oils myself as a result of learning how to do it and practicing.

Now I can’t help you with the practicing, but I can help you with learning how to do it. Not only will blending essential oils yourself save you money, but it will boost your confidence and help you learn how to use them effectively within your family!

Today I want to share the basics of blending essential oils with you so that you can walk away, get the oils you need, and start making your own synergy blends yourself! We’ll go through the steps that will make this an easy process for you when you decide to try it on your own!

What Result Are You Looking For?

Why do you want to blend oils together? What will their purpose be? How will you use this blend?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you buy a single oil or start blending anything.

Let’s say for our example today that you want to make a blend of oils that helps lift the spirit and provide some energy. This would be a great blend for mom or dad first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon if you start to feel tired. It’s a great blend for giving the kids morning baths with. It’s also a great blend to use in an essential oil diffuser when your studying or homeschooling your children.

How To Choose Quality Essential Oils

Like everything else in life, there are varying qualities of essential oils.

The quality that you’re looking for will depend upon what you’re using the oils for. Almost all oils are for external use only although there are a couple brands that can be used internally. Some brands are therapeutic grade while others are not. Some brands are not pure essential oils and contain fillers or additives.

Your best bet is to know what you need the oils for, know the kind you need, and then research the companies that sell those types of oils to get the quality you need.

Here are some great quality oils that will fit different budgets.

For our example today, I’m going to be referring to oils for external use only, and I’ll be linking to Eden’s Garden oils. They are 100% pure essential oils, they have great prices, and they’re one of my favorite brands.

Eden's Garden Essential OIls

I’ll also be talking about using essential oils safely at the bottom of the post.

Step 1 – Finding Essential Oils With The Properties You Need

This first step is pretty easy. All you need to do is Google it.

So in our example, we want to make a synergy blend of oils that is uplifting and energizing so we’d need to Google “energizing essential oils” or “uplifting essential oils”.

When I do this, these are the oils that I find:

Are you seeing anything similar among these oils? They’re all very distinct, and they all have stimulating and clarifying properties. You have strong, minty type oils like rosemary, peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, tea tree, pine, cypress, and then you have sweeter or spice like oils such as clary sage, bergamot, lemongrass, lemon, basil, grapefruit, and ginger.

Step 2 – Blending Essential Oils Based On Their Categories and Notes

This step is the most tricky part for beginners, but it really doesn’t have to be. This is where you pick and choose from the oils in the above list based on each oils “category” and “note”.

This is mainly used when blending essential oils so that your blend comes out smelling nice. It’s more for aromatherapy purposes, not so much for therapeutic or medicinal purposes. But, in my opinion, if I’m making a blend of oils for a therapeutic purpose, I still want it to smell good so I follow this step even in that case.

First we’ll talk about what categories and notes are, and then we’ll put it all into practice with our example.

Essential Oil Categories

Essential oils are grouped together based on their aromas, and oils from the same categories tend to blend well together. You can also mix and match categories which I’ll talk about below. The following information is from… they have a great article on this topic, but I’m going to share some of it here. Just click the link above to read their article if you want to learn more in depth on this topic.


  • Floral – Lavender, Neroli, Jasmine
  • Woodsy – Pine, Cedar
  • Earthy – Oakmoss, Vetiver, Patchouli
  • Herbaceous – Marjoram, Rosemary, Basil
  • Minty – Peppermint, Spearmint
  • Medicinal – Eucalyptus, Cajuput, Tea Tree
  • Spicy – Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon
  • Oriental – Ginger, Patchouli
  • Citrus – Orange, Lemon, Lime

Blending Categories

  • Floral blends with spicy, citrus, and woodsy
  • Woodsy blends well with all categories
  • Spicy and oriental oils blend with floral, oriental, and citrus.
  • Minty oils blend with citrus, woodsy, herbaceous, and earthy.

Essential Oil Notes

The “note” of an essential oil is based on how quickly it evaporates. When you put a blend of oils on your skin, it will smell one way, but 3 hours later it may smell another way because some of the oils in your blend have evaporated. These notes are based on the musical scale and are referred to as top notes, middle notes, and base notes.

Refer to the article on to find a great list of which oils are which. Below I’m going to categorize the oils in our example only.

Top Notes

  • basil
  • bergamot
  • eucalyptus
  • grapefruit
  • lemon
  • lemongrass
  • peppermint
  • spearmint

Middle Notes

  • clary sage
  • cypress
  • pine
  • rosemary
  • tea tree

Base Notes

  • ginger

Most times, for beginners, it’s recommended that you only start with three oils. A top note oil, a middle note oil, and a base note oil. The more comfortable and experienced you get with blending essential oils, the more oils you can add to your blends.

Energizing Blend Example

For our example we’re going to blend some oils from the oriental, citrus, and floral categories since they will work well together. I’m going to use lemon (citrus) and ginger (oriental) because lemon is a top note and ginger is a base note.

Notice that I don’t have any middle note oils that work really well with the blending categories I’ve chosen. The energizing oils that are middle notes are woodsy, herbaceous, and medicinal. The woodsy category is the only one that can work with citrus and oriental categories, but I’d like to stick with a lighter scent and the floral category just so happens to work well with the citrus and oriental categories.

Notice the example oils in the floral category – lavender, neroli, and jasmine. Neroli is a citrus oil with a floral aroma which is why it’s included in the floral category, not the citrus one. Neroli also happens to be a middle not oil which will make it a perfect addition to our energizing blend. Although it’s not really an oil known to be energizing, it will balance our blend so that the lemon and ginger can do it’s job.

Step 3 – Blending And Testing Essential Oil Blends

Once you’ve narrowed down your oil choices based on what they’re used for (step 1) and then narrowed them down again based on their categories and notes (step 2), you’re ready to actually start blending.

It’s recommended that you only start with 10 drops of oil total so you can test your essential oil blend without wasting too much of your precious oils, in case you don’t care for it later.

Remember, you’re only working with your essential oils right now… you are not diluting them with carrier oils yet.

Blend using the 30, 50, 20 rule

Another thing you may be wondering is how much do you use of each oil. The rule I go by when creating an essential oil blend is the 30, 50, 20 rule where you use 30% of your top note oil, 50% of your middle note oil, and 20% of your base note oil. This is because when you use your blend, you’re going to smell all the oils together first. After a while the top note will have evaporated which will leave you with the middle and base note. As more time goes by your middle note will evaporate leaving you with the base note alone.

Let’s look at how this works in our example.

Example Energy Blend

For our example we’re using lemon (top note), neroli (middle note), and ginger (base note) oils. If I’m starting with only 10 drops of oils and following the 30, 50, 20 rule my sample will look like this.

  • 3 drops lemon
  • 5 drops neroli
  • 2 drops ginger


Step 4 – Letting Your Essential Oil Blend “Rest”

This next step is the easy part. Once you’ve mixed your oils you need to set your new blend aside and let it rest for 24-48 hours. This resting period allows the chemicals and constituents of the different essential oils to mix and meld together, helping them blend better.

Step 5 – Testing Your Blend

Blending Essential Oils for Beginners

This is the last step on blending essential oils. At this point, your oils have just finished their resting period. Now it’s time to smell them and see what you think.

Smell them as they are, on their own. What do you think?

Next try diluting some of your blend in a carrier oil. You can take 4 drops of jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed, avocado, or any oil you’d like (preferably one without a strong scent) and add 1 drop of your essential oil blend to it. You now have a 20% dilution. Now smell it? What do you think?

You can dilute it even further by adding 5 more drops of carrier oil to it and see how that smells too. This is a 10% dilution.

If you like the scent, go with it. Now you can make more of your blend using larger amounts of oils, let it rest, then bottle it up and label it using it as needed.

If you don’t like the scent, you can start the process over varying the amount of oils used or you can chose different oils all together. The possibilities are endless!

A Word On Essential Oil Safety

The issue of essential oil safety is a hot topic these days. Essential oils are strong and concentrated, and they can be poisonous in large does. They can also cause allergic reactions in some individuals, and some can even react badly with people who have certain medical conditions or who are on certain medications. It’s not recommended to use essential oils on children younger that 3 months old although lavender, chamomile, and tea tree are the safest, but they still need to be diluted and used in small amounts.

Almost all oils are going to caution you about safety, especially when using them with children or with people with medical conditions. I’d recommend Googling the safety of specific oils or checking to see if they can safely be used. Remember, Google is your friend.

There’s also a great site called that is all about giving you unbiased information from certified aromatherapists about essential oils and how to safely use them. I’ve learned and am learning SOOOO much from this site!

And lastly, let me caution you about who you get your essential oil information from. I am NOT an essential oil expert. I do not have any sort of background or education on essential oils other than what I’ve taught myself via books and blogs. You can take my advice (as I always try to research well), but I recommend you double check me and do your own research. Essential oils are many times stronger than herbs, and they don’t contain plant properties that will buffer their side effects like an herb does. Children in particular are more sensitive to them than an adult is. I strongly recommend you get your information from certified aromatherapists that aren’t affiliated with specific companies as you’ll know they’re unbiased and not out to get you to buy their oils. Just sayin’.

The post 10 Must Have Essential Oils for Children may help you when it comes to easily picking essential oils suitable for children. Also be sure to read my post on essential oil safety for different aged children.

10 must have EOs for kids

It’s come to my attention that there are many different thoughts on using eucalyptus essential oils on small children. Seeing as there are over 20 different varieties of eucalyptus essential oils, the mildest and safest variety is E. smithie so make sure you research your oils before putting them on your sweet babies.

Interested in more posts by me that use essential oils? Here you go…

Do you make your own essential oil blends? Do you have any advice for beginners?

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  • Reply Christa July 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    I really loved this article, Meagan! It’s very helpful and I’ll be recommending it to my friends!

    • Reply Meagan July 5, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Thanks Christa! Can’t wait to try your new perfume! I just know it’s going to be lovely… like all the beautiful things in your shop!

  • Reply Danika July 6, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    There is no such thing as therapeutic grade essential oils. Not at all. There is pure (unadulterated), organic & wildcrafted. That’s it.

    “Therapeutic grade” is a marketing term invented by Young Living and then adopted when several reps left to start doTerra. It has zero meaning in the industry. It is just a way for companies to try to stand out from other pure essential oils-and charge more money. The use of that term indicates 1 of 2 things…ignorance or manipulation.

    Just because these two brands frequently recommend taking essential oils internally doesn’t mean their brands can be and others can’t. It just means they give unsafe advice that is contrary to what any real aromatherapist would advise. People have gotten seriously hurt by following this advice. The International Association of Holistic Aromatherapist says that essential oils should never be taken internally unless you are advised to do so by a clinical aromatherapist who has appropriate training in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, etc. This has nothing to do with oil purity and everything to do with the fact that essential oils are very powerful.

    • Reply Meagan July 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      It’s funny that you brought this up Danika because I JUST read an article in my research about this the other day after writing this post that explained this very thing really well (and very nicely for that matter). It was talking about the differences in qualities of essential oils, the term “therapeutic”, and the whole internal/external factor.

      It said that the reason companies like Young Living and doTERRA are so expensive is because they claim their oils can be used internally, and that means they must carry insurance in case they’re sued based on those claims… which makes their oils more expensive. Smaller companies usually can’t afford that type of insurance so they can’t make those claims about internal use, but it does mean that their oils can be priced cheaper even though the quality is the same as the bigger companies.

      Another thing I learned was about the whole “therapeutic” thing. I always thought that when an oil company claimed that their oil was “therapeutic grade” it meant that it could be used medicinal purposes, not just for aromatherapy purposes. I’m sure that’s true, but from what you, the article I just read, and other EO experts are saying, that isn’t true. Pure essential oils can be used for their “therapeutic” or medicinal qualities just like they can be used in aromatherapy. The term “therapeutic grade” means nothing. Eden’s Organic oils say 100% Pure Essential Oils on their bottles, but I think somewhere on their site it says therapeutic grade. I’m assuming many small companies like theirs are having to claim this in order to keep up with the bigger companies, whether it’s true or not. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me, but I did take that wording out of this post so that it’s more accurate!

      Anyway, I’m not an expert on essential oils, but I find them fascinating especially since I love all things herbal. I definitely am not one to promote big brands over little brands. I love many of the cheaper EO companies and have had good results with them.

      As for internal/external debate… I don’t advise internal use (and don’t use oils internally either), but it’s not my place to say it’s no good. Like you said, it’s not recommended by the IAHA, but if someone’s going to do it, I definitely think they need to be under the supervision of someone who knows A LOT about that sort of thing.

      Thanks for your comment… and for keeping me on my toes!

    • Reply Angie January 3, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      I could be wrong, but I think Danika is confusing the term therapeutic grade with the “100% Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” that doTERRA coined and uses. Some oils are labeled for aromatherapy only, and others state they are therapeutic grade which I imagine is to indicate they are also for medicinal purposes. Not referring to ingestion, but topical applications.

      I have a variety of oils, including Eden’s Garden, NOW, EXO, Rocky Mountain Oils, and doTERRA. Eden’s Garden and doTERRA are labeled therapeutic grade and seem far more potent and pure than the others. NOW is labeled 100% Pure Essential oil, and I would rank their oil next.

      The other brands, while cheap, seem really watered down and have very “off” aromas. It worries me to use them because I suspect there are some solvents or chemicals used. They do not claim therapeutic grade. One bottle of Rocky Mountain’s immune boosting blend only lasted me a week when diffusing it, but a bottle of doTERRA’s comparable blend, OnGuard, lasted me several months. The difference in price can seem dramatic, but when you have to use 10 drops of one oil to get the same effects of 1 drop of another… they even out.

      Anyway… thank you for this post! I have been interested in making custom blends but I know enough about oils to understand mixing them changes the compounds and effects of the constituents, and the order in which they are mixed will influence the properties, too. But I don’t know anything beyond that such as what to combine and how to go about blending. This is a great and easy to understand introduction. Thank you! And if you have a link to the article you mention having read on the topic of quality and labels, Meagan, I’d love to read it, too!

      • Reply Meagan January 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Great points Angie. I really love the work Lea Harris is doing at when she tests all the different oils and shows the results. Even the big companies are noticing and thanking her for doing that… including doTERRA and Young Living… which says a lot about the companies not minding other people testing their products because they have confidence in what they’re selling.

        One thing you said that I didn’t know was that if you mix oils the compounds and effects can change based on the orders of mixing. I haven’t seen that anywhere so if you have a link to that info, I’d love to see it. And as far as the article I mention… I’m not sure which one you’re referring to. Just let me know though, and I’ll try to direct you to it.

        And yes… 10 drops to 1 drop does make up for price, but of course you won’t know that until you try them both out to see which is the better investment.

        Thanks for sharing your input with us!

        • Reply Cathrin February 25, 2014 at 11:44 PM

          I’m not sure what the name of the blending process would be, but look up “personifier enhancer equalizer modifier” for an idea of what order essential oils should be blended and in what amounts. I don’t totally understand it, but I’ve read enough places that substantiate this.

          • Meagan February 26, 2014 at 10:22 AM

            I’ve heard about this before Cathrin, and I’ve pinned it right here. I keep reminding myself to look into this blending style more. Thanks for the reminder!

        • Reply Jamie Larrison August 19, 2014 at 9:37 PM

          I really enjoy Lea’s website too! One thing I recently learned about the 3rd party testing she had done though, was it may not be very reliable. She chose a chemist in France who used outdated testing equipment simply because it was the cheapest. And although I greatly appreciate her knowledge, she gets very defensive and on the verge of rude at times in the comments. I also know she doesn’t appreciate learning that isn’t taught by a certified aroma therapist.

          • Meagan August 19, 2014 at 11:44 PM

            I hear what you’re saying about her sometimes being defensive. I suppose we all are defensive in our stances on things… or at least the majority of people are.

            As far as the testing goes… I don’t know much about it other than I think she did opt for more expensive and more accurate testing the 2nd and 3rd time she had oils tested. I’m not sure on that though. All I know is that her tests got a lot of attention… much of which brought about changes from some of the bigger EO companies so she must have done something right.

            On your comment about learning from other certified aromatherapists… I’d agree with you there, but most of us are that way too. If we’re gonna trust people, we wanna see that people have credentials or at least a lot of experience. We go to doctors because they have the title MD… we don’t go to our friend down the road that got her medical knowledge by reading medical textbooks only. Same reason applies to why we hire lawyers, licensed plumbers and electricians, or pay alternative therapists with certificates showing they complete some sort of schooling. It’s a way to see that there’s knowledge and practice there. I think her big beef is with big EO company distributors that are giving unsafe advice as if they have tons of experience. I do know that she’s supportive of bloggers sharing safe EO information because she’s been kind about what I’ve shared here on this blog as well as some other blogs.

            Anyway, like you said, she has a great website and there’s a lot to learn from there… even if we don’t all agree 100% on everything.

          • Jamie August 19, 2014 at 11:52 PM

            I can understand being wary of mlm’s that are really pushing eo’s more for a sale than regard to safety. But I do think that there’s positive (and safe) knowledge to be learned in other groups. For example you’re passing on your eo knowledge, but I don’t believe you’re a certified aromatherapist. I do however trust your judgement :)
            And I don’t know if Lea had a different person with better equipment do the final rounds of testing or not.
            All this being said, she does seem very helpful and knowledgeable on eo’s.

          • Meagan August 20, 2014 at 12:06 AM

            You’re totally right… I’m not a certified aromatherapist therefore I don’t treat or consult with people on EO use. However, I do share good info I’ve learned and a few recipes here and there. But, like you said, there’s good info out there to be learned, and I think it’s important for people to take the info (mine included) and go check it out with research of their own. There are people who are smart and self-taught in certain areas, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect… we all need to double check things, you know.

    • Reply C. Johnson November 7, 2014 at 7:44 PM

      Actually there are only two types of oils in the world. 100% Pure essential oil (which is non-alcohol extracted) and the other kind, which is not Pure and is not Ayurvedic, which is to say it is not pure enough to be used for Homeo-therapeutic (natural healing) methods.
      I used to work for a company which was the only USA distributor of Oshadhi, which was the leader in Pure essential oils over 20 years ago.
      I was trained by Ayurvedic methods and taught the correct way to blend for essential well being. With correct dosing you can cure many ailments which modern day medicine is still stumped with.
      What most don’t know is that even the labeled 100% pure are not always what they seem and it’s not the companies fault it’s just not available for the regular oil trader. For example, a Sandalwood tree can only produce the oil after the tree has reached it’s 30 year maturity, and since this is such a necessity to India it is only “doled” out to the consumer as a partially pure oil. India has no regulations about the purity they are distributing, so unless you are paying almost $30 an oz. it’s most likely not truly pure, this is the same for absolutes. Absolutes are 100% pure, and they are most expensive and usually very thick.

      • Reply Meagan November 8, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        Thanks for the comment. So are you saying that unless the oil is expensive, it’s probably not pure? I understand what you’re saying about the sandalwood oil. I’m sure that’s the case for a lot of oils. I know it’s that way with herbs. Some herbs you harvest the first year, some the second, and it even makes a difference when it comes to the part of the plant you use. I’m just wondering if there’s a way to really tell if one is pure… for the lay person of course. Also, where were you trained at? I’m not aware of many aromatherapy schools so it’s always nice to hear of more.

        • Reply Scott November 20, 2014 at 12:34 AM

          I make my own essential oils and I know of several ways to extract oils from plants of various types. but my favorite for making essential oils is a steam extraction method. I don’t lose as much of the essential oils and its 100% pure when I’m finished with the process that is until I add it to carrier oils such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and organic grape seed oil. I sell both my essential oils as well as the deluded oils and I don’t charge no $30.00 per oz but I don’t make sandalwood oils I only make oils from the flowers herbs fruits and veggies I can grow in my own backyard but I still don’t charge as much as those bigger companies that doesn’t mean my oils are any less pure than theirs.

          • Meagan November 20, 2014 at 8:59 AM

            I hear what you’re saying Scott, and I’m not disagreeing with you. I don’t know a whole lot about the process, but I do know that bigger companies follow harvesting, storage, and extracting guidelines that not all home distillers follow. I also know that bigger companies have their oils routinely tested by 3rd party labs to check them for certain things. Again, not all home distillers do that. I’m sure that’s why people trust bigger EO companies, but if I were making and selling my own oils from home, I’d be sure I did those things and shouted it from the rooftops so people would know my oils were top notch. Thanks for sharing your process!

  • Reply Tonya July 8, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Lovely and well written! I published a similar blog last week .

    I love the way you thoroughly explained this topic and look forward to sharing with my readers we are always learning and sharing!

    God bless!

    • Reply Meagan July 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      Thanks Tonya! I just pinned the image from your post… I’ve never looked at blending from that direction before with the modifier, equalizer, enhancer, and personalizer. I’m gonna have to try that out next time! Thanks for sharing your post with me!

  • Reply Magic and Mayhem July 13, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Great info, and I love the page you linked at aromaweb. Just wondering if you have any plans at any point to redo the graphic of EOs for kids, as the typo in #7 has bugged me since I pinned it a year ago (I assume it’s citrus?). I love it, though! :)

    • Reply Meagan July 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      What!!! Just great… I don’t think I can make one single thing without a typo! Makes me grateful for people like you who are willing to point it out… even though it’s a year later. Yes! I’ll be redoing it. Thanks!

  • Reply Lisa October 15, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Thank you! I am a beginner, I’m trying to mix a set of oils for healthy nails. I have ideas of EOs (Frank, Myrrh, Lavender, and Lemon, Lemongrass) to use. Now I just have to figure out if they are top, middle or bottoms and go from there. Thank you again

    • Reply Meagan October 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      You’re so welcome, and good luck!

  • Reply leanne November 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    This article is super helpful! Thank you so much!!! I am making bath scrubs/salts as gifts for people for the holidays and this is just the information I needed :D

    • Reply Meagan November 13, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      Awesome! You’re so welcome!

  • Reply Lisa November 17, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Great post, Meagan! I just made up some body balm with lavender and rosemary. It smells great, but the scent doesn’t last. Now I know I need to put in something with a base note. Hmmm – have to give that some thought.

    • Reply Meagan November 17, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      Oh good for you! It’s tough picking your oils, but base notes do help your smells to last longer. Patchouli, sandalwood, and vanilla are some of my favorite base notes. I’m not sure how great each of those would smell with the oils you used, but you’d have to test it out and see. Another thing I’ve learned is that when you’re making something, it will always smell stronger when you’re making it than when you put it on so sometimes you need to add a good bit more of the oils for good measure. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Sapna Anant Vetal December 14, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    I like the detail pls i require u help i done course. From where we have to purchase oil

    • Reply Meagan December 14, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      Thanks for your comment Sapna. I’ve left links within the post that will direct you to reputable essential oil brands online. Thanks!

  • Reply Tania Kothera December 28, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    I am using Native American Nutritional copals. I love the blend Breathe Ease as my son has frequent respiratory infections. I am going through a lot of it and wondered if it would be more cost effective to blend my own, but unsure of the ratios. Here are the ingredients.. any way to figure this out?
    Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus citriodora, Myrtle, Eucalyptus radiata, Peppermint, Spruce, Ravintsara, Pine and Marjoram.

    • Reply Meagan December 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      I don’t know if there would be an exact way to figure it out without having it tested… if that’s even possible and it’s very expensive. You could blend your own together though… it may not be exactly the same, but would be close. I see they’re using 3 different types of eucalyptus as well as peppermint, myrtle, and marjoram. All these oils contain types of camphor with help with respiratory issues. Pine is a great oil for kids and works well for respiratory conditions. I couldn’t find much info on the Ravintsara except that it was like eucalyptus.

      As far as the spruce goes though, I’d personally leave it out. I don’t know a lot about it except that it contains thujone which can be toxic to the body in large doses and cause nervous system issues. Since you’re using a lot of this oil over a long period of time… I’d just leave it out. The only respiratory benefit I found on it was to reduce coughing and you already have plenty of other oils in your blend that will also do that. So to me, it’s better to leave it out… especially for a young child.

      So again, I don’t know how to figure out the ratios except that the first ingredient is supposed to be the largest and they work their way down to less and less. You definitely could follow this as a guide and try blending small amounts of oil until you find a combination you like and seems to be effective on him. If it were me, I’d try to work through the process to come up with a good blend. I also have a post coming out in February that walks you through exactly how I blend oils. Maybe that will help you out some. Stay tuned, and thanks for your comment Tania!

  • Reply Jill January 2, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    I made a sugar scrub for the first time this holiday and the scents are “off”. Could it be because I used too much oil? It is not pleasant at all. I know the oils are good quality. The peppermint does not smell refreshing at all nor does the lavender. I am guessing I used too many drops. Can I dilute by doubling the sugar and coconut oil? Any recommendations so I can save the 5 cups I have so far?

    • Reply Meagan January 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      I hear you Jill… I did the same thing except I used other oils that were more fragrant so I had to use WAY more essential oils than I originally thought I would. Now, this was my first sugar scrub too so I’m not an expert. In fact, I’d rather direct you to my friend Stacy over at A Delightful Home as she’s written an ebook all about making scrubs as gifts so she knows way more about that than I do. As far as the smell being off… I let my scrubs set a bit and then they smelled better and everyone who received them loved them. Also, you could try adding in more sugar to see if it cuts the smell a little. I’d wait on adding more coconut oil because that can get your scrub to oily. Anyway, sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Definitely check out Stacy’s blog.

  • Reply Rachael January 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Hi Meagan,

    I just have a quick question … I noticed above YL is listed as “internal” and Mountain Rose is listed as “external”. If both are the same product what makes one internal and the other external?

    • Reply Meagan January 20, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Well, they may be the same type of essential oil, but quality can be different among companies. Now I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon of one brand over another, but the reason I listed the YL and doTERRA as internal and the others as external is because that’s how they market their products… not because I say it’s okay or even use them that way. As I said in the post, I don’t use EOs internally… I’ve never needed to, but if I were going to, I’d probably go with one of these two brands over some of the other ones. If you wanna see comparisons of EO brands, check out Lea Harris’ site – Learning About EOs – she has testing done of many of the major brands and compares them to each other. It’s very interested when you are concerned about quality. Hope that answers your question… thank you!

  • Reply Alexandra January 23, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    Hi Meagan,

    I’m planning to make my first blend and this article was very helpful. Among some of the other readings that I’ve been doing, some articles refer to base notes and carrier oils with both of those names, as if they’re interchangeable so I’m a little confused. Do you need to have a carrier oil if you’ve mixed with a base note oil?
    I’m keeping it very simple – a top, middle, and base note for the first time.

    Also, if I’m planning to use the scent as an air freshener, should I still keep the drops I use low?


    • Reply Meagan January 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Great question Alexandra, and the answer is, no… the terms “base note” and “carrier oil” are not interchangeable.

      A “base note” is an essential oil that is usually thicker in viscosity and it smells strong. When in a blend, it’s not the first thing you smell, but after the blend wears away, it’s what’s left. It’s the base of the blend… scent-wise.

      A “carrier oil” is usually a veggie or nut oil that you use to dilute your essential oil in like olive oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, etc.

      The only reason I say to use limited drops in this article is so you don’t waste your oils as you’re experimenting on what blends you like. Once you have a good sample blend for your air freshener and you like it, you can make more of the blend in a larger amount. So your 3 drops becomes 30 drops, your 5 drops becomes 50 drops and your 2 drops becomes 20 drops and so on. Once you have your blend… you are still going to need to dilute it in your carrier oil of choice.

      Essential oil blends are diluted differently depending upon a persons age and the use you have for it. For example, an infant would need a 1% dilution where an older child would do fine with a 2.5% dilution. Adults are usually around a 5% dilution. These dilutions would be for massage oils or therapeutic uses. For cleaning or air fresheners, you may use the 5% dilution or stronger… it just depends on where it’s being used and how.

      Does that answer your questions?

  • Reply April February 13, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Hi there! I’m new (well several months in, but “new” in the grand scheme of things) to the world of EO’S but have learned a lot along the way. Thank you for writing about making blends; I hope to whip some up once I add a couple more EO’s to my stash. I did feel compelled to write & express my concern towards your “10 Must Have..” chart. I don’t know about all of the oils, but I do know that peppermint and eucalyptus especially are no-no’s for young children (eucalyptus can cause respiratory issues). And since there are several varieties of eucalyptus out there varying in strength, a parent could mistakenly purchase & use the strongest one on a too-young child! I do hope that this is taken in the manner it is written, with caring & concern!!

    • Reply Meagan February 13, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Thank you April… I’ve added an update to my EO posts noting the variety of eucalyptus that is the safest for children. I appreciate you helping me to keep the info on Growing Up Herbal safe and accurate!!

  • Reply Jenifer March 1, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Also, a reputable company will list the Latin name for the oil. I have found a lot of success and reasonable pricing with Plant Therapy.

    • Reply Meagan March 1, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Yes, I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about that company! Thanks for share… and latin names are really important to know as different species even among the same plant family can have different effects.

  • Reply John March 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    “The energizing oils that are middle notes are woodsy, herbaceous, and medicinal. Those categories don’t work will with citrus and oriental categories, but floral does.”

    “Woodsy blends well with all categories”

    Am I misunderstanding or are you contradicting yourself?

    • Reply Meagan March 12, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      LOL John! You’re right! This post was written so long ago, I don’t know what I was thinking there or where I was going with that. Maybe I was thinking Neroli would be a better choice, but no matter, I’ll work on the wording there to make it less confusing. You are the first person that’s caught that… at least that’s let me know! Thank you!

  • Reply Shelli March 29, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    One of the things I did for my kids when they were younger and had a hard time going to sleep was put one to two drops of either chamomile or lavender eo in the palm of my hands, rub them together, then rub them all over the kids pillowcase and sheets. It worked like magic! The oils would wear off through the night and by morning the kids were refreshed and in a great mood.

    • Reply Meagan March 29, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      I love lavender and chamomile for their calming and relaxing properties. We too use them a lot. I love making fabric sprays with some vodka, water, and eos and spritzing the sheets and pillows. It doesn’t smell of alcohol and my kids can do it before bed which is fun for them. Plus it dilutes the oils so I don’t have to worry about them being too strong for them. I love that lavender and chamomile are even safe for young babies! Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply Jorge valenciano May 4, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Thank you for all the info I loved it.
    Can you help me please? I need some combinations for beard oil, I have patchouli, bergamot, ylang ylang, orchid, coffee and sandalwood essential oils. Thank you I will really appreciate it.

    • Reply Meagan May 5, 2014 at 4:17 AM

      Hi Jorge… I don’t know anything specifically about beard oil… I’m assuming you’re looking for a scent combination and that will vary from person to person. If you purchase the essential oils you listed above and try them out in different combinations like the post suggests, I’m sure you’ll come up with a blend you’ll love. As of right now, I don’t do individualized consultations. I’m so sorry, but best of luck!

  • Reply Linda May 31, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    What a great article!

    • Reply Meagan May 31, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      Thank you Linda! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply Tre June 2, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    I am EO newbie. What a great article; thank you. I have a really stupid question I’m sure but I’m going to ask anyway. When mixing oils why do you blend 30/50/20 instead of the same amount of each? Why would you want one smell to evaporate before the others instead of consistency throughout?

    • Reply Meagan June 3, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      Thanks for your question Tre, and it’s definitely not a stupid one.

      From my understanding and research (and I’m not an aromatherapist), all essential oils have particular qualities of smell as far as which are smelled first and which last a short while vs. a long while. This is why you blend them together based on those qualities (which are categorized as “notes”) so you can smell each oil among the others and have your blend last longer. Do you have to follow that rule? Of course not. If you’re making blends that are going to smell great and last a good while, should you follow that rule? Probably… I don’t know for sure as I’m not an aromatherapist and I don’t make perfume blends often.

      You could try using equal amounts of each and see how it turns out for you. The problem I find with that is that the stronger scents will tend to overpower the lighter scents because too much was used. For example if you were to blend lavender and patchouli and you used equal amounts, your blend is probably not going to smell as good as if you used more lavender than patchouli because patchouli is very strong and it can smell bad if too much is used.

      As far as wanting one blend to evaporate before the others… it’s not my choice. The smell of top note oils tend to diminish before the base note oils. This is probably because base note oils tend to be very resinous which lasts longer.

      I hope this has answered your questions and not confused you more. Blending EOs this way is mostly used when you’re looking to obtain a good smell for perfumes or air fresheners. I like all my homemade products to smell good so I always consider blending this way, even for my medicinal products. Thanks again!

  • Reply Susan Crowder June 2, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Thank you Meagan! I am also learning about herbs & essential oils!
    It was helpful in learning how to mix and test essential oils. I’ve mixed Tea Tree &
    Eucalyptus oils and will test it tomorrow at 6:30 P.M.!
    Susan M. Crowder

    • Reply Meagan June 3, 2014 at 8:31 AM

      Best of luck! Hope your blend turns out well!

  • Reply Diana June 5, 2014 at 2:25 AM


    I am looking into oils and theres just so many :( I was thinking of mixing vitamin e oil with coconut oil do you think that’d be okay? I have mixed rosehip oil with emu oil and used that on my face. would these be too strong for my face?
    I am trying to treat my eczema and redness on my face. Please recommend me oils and oils to blend if you know any good ones!
    Thank you

    • Reply Meagan June 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Hi Diana. It sounds like you’re mixing carrier oils together which are totally fine and very good at nourishing the skin on their own. What I’m talking about here in this post is how to blend essential oil together to get a nice smell. This essential oil blend will then be added to the carrier oil(s) of your choice like those you mentioned in your comment. If you wanna learn more about blending essential oils based on their therapeutic properties and have them smell good too, check out this post I wrote on how to create therapeutic essential oil blends in 7 steps. Hope this helps some! Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply Tylee August 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    How do you apply the oils? Do you just use a cotton ball or your hands or something?

    • Reply Meagan August 3, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Once you dilute the essential oils in a carrier oil you can apply that via a cotton ball or your hands… whatever you prefer.

  • Reply Lauren K September 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    I recently took a class at my university on the use of essential oils and my professor mentioned that in rare cases peppermint can be extremely dangerous in children under 6. I believe Amplatz Children’s Hospital in Minnesota uses spearmint rather than peppermint as it produces similar effects. Please follow the link bleow for more information about this under the Special Considerations section. If you also find this information concerning I would suggest removing peppermint from your children’s top ten list.

    • Reply Meagan September 17, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      Yes Lauren… there are many EOs that aren’t to be used on small children which is why I put the disclaimer about eucalyptus EO below the graphic encouraging parents to do more research on safe EOs for small children. This list is for children in general, it’s not age specific. I also link to my posts on EO safety which addresses age related concerns. Thanks for the link though!! I’m so glad to see more people using EOs safely in age appropriate ways.

  • Reply Susan October 26, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    Thanks for this wonderful post! I am just getting into making my own natural body products and I will be using essential oils in them. This will be very a helpful & creative resource for me. Greatly appreciated!

    • Reply Meagan October 26, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      You’re very welcome! Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply Lisa December 1, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Hello. I’m an EO newbie. My children and I this weekend created some blends for their new atomizing diffusers for their rooms. I saw a post that said something about the need to use a carrier oil for diffusing. Is this necessary and/or safe for the machine that I am using? We have just been diffusing with “straight” EO’s and it seems right. Am I causing more harm than good?

    • Reply Meagan December 2, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      From my understanding, you use straight EOs dropped in distilled water for atomizing diffusers. You use EOs mixed in a carrier oil if you’re heating the oil in a room diffuser that uses a candle. Hope that helps!

  • Reply zeyad December 1, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Hi meagan

    Im zeyad fome kuwait state , i just read the all information you wrote my qustions is
    Im just mixing essential oils (arabic) but what i dont understand is we mg in our mixing example for 50 mg bottel

    15 gram of essential oils
    And alchole

    Then i keep it in Refrigerator for a day then i keep it in dark place for 3 days

    Another question please

    What is the best thing that i mixed it with the essential oils to keep the smill stay long time on clothes ?

    If you can help me with some informations i will be glad

    Not : the arbic essential oils its the same indian essential oils

    Big thanks to you and wish all the best sister


    • Reply Meagan December 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Hi Zeyad, I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking in your first question. Are you wanting to know how much of the essential oil you add to the alcohol? It would depend on what you’re using this blend for and at what strength you want it. As far as how to get it to stay on your clothes for a long time, that too will depend on the blend and the strength. Make sure you’re using each of the three notes in your blend. Remember the base note oil is the one that will linger the longest. Also, the dilution percentage will matter. The stronger the dilution, the more it will smell. For example a 1% dilution won’t smell as strong as a 3% dilution will. Hope that helps more!

  • Reply Shari December 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    I just happened upon your site and I really like it. Everything is researched and well written. I’m saving this to come back again :) I totally agree with you on cost not necessarily reflecting the quality of oil. While I agree that a low cost essential oil will usually indicate an adulteration, there are many smaller companies that have pure essential oils with reasonable prices.
    I also really enjoyed your information on blending. When I first started blending oils I didn’t know much so I would muscle test which ones I needed to use and in what quantity. It’s interesting as I am learning more of the “science” behind it, and I go back to my blend recipes and see how it all played out with the top, middle, and base notes, all in the correct quantities. It’s actually really fun to see. I am enjoying learning more, which makes me realize how much I don’t know!! :)

    • Reply Meagan December 10, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      I know… I feel like I’m always learning something new, and many times, relearning things as new info becomes available. I’m glad you’re finding great info here on GUH, and thanks for the comment. I’m happy to have you here Shari!

  • Reply Brandi December 11, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    Like most people I am new to mixing EO’s. First, I would like to say thank you for all your time and hard work you put into this article. Most people don’t realize how much time goes into the trial and error process. It seems you have done a lot of hard work and a good job for us all to take into consideration. I would like to know if you have to rest it 24 hours if you are going to be putting it in an oil burner or a diffuser? I would be mixing something for calming and concentration. I homeschool and my DD needs something to help her stay focused and my patience is being test greatly right now.

    • Reply Meagan December 11, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      I don’t think you HAVE to let your blends rest. It just helps the scents mix together better. Hope that helps.

  • Reply dorie January 3, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    *sigh* this EO thing is so overwhelming. I can’t find anything that says what to do once you’ve mixed an oil blend. Do you apply it to a specific part of the body? I am looking for blends that will focus and calm myself and 8 yr old son…Both for home and school/work. I am seeing several blends to try…but don’t know what to do with them when they’re created. Any help?

    • Reply Meagan January 4, 2015 at 12:01 AM

      Sure Dorie. So after you’ve got your essential oil blend, you can diffuse it at home to get it into the air or you can just open the bottle and sniff it from time to time. That’s two great ways to use EOs safely… assuming the oils are appropriate for your son’s age. For school, the best bet is to dilute the EO blend in a carrier oil (like jojoba oil) and put it in a 1 oz. glass bottle with a roller top. That way it’s easy to apply. Simply rub a little bit on the insides of the wrist, behind the ears, the temple area, or the neck and you should be able to absorb it into the skin slowly as well as smell it for a bit. Hope that helps!! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply Veronica January 22, 2015 at 4:51 PM

    I would like to mix an oil to help with pigmentation.
    I read that the following oils might help with this and want to know how to blend them together as I don’t know the ‘notes’ for all of them:
    Lemon, Lime, Orange
    thanks for your input

    • Reply Meagan January 22, 2015 at 8:41 PM

      If you follow the links in the post to the site, it will give you more of the oil notes which will help you with blending, but remember, blending is mostly for scent. If you’re looking for something more therapeutic, the notes don’t matter as much. Hope that helps you some!

  • Reply Josie January 31, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    I really appreciate your honesty related to EO companies. It seems that so much of the information available ” out there” seems to be trying to lead you to a specific brand, which tends to makes me skeptical to their purpose and honesty. Great information!!

    • Reply Meagan February 2, 2015 at 12:08 AM

      Thanks Josie!

  • Reply katy February 9, 2015 at 2:05 AM

    Hey! I am new to all this but am going to try and start mixing up some of my own blends soon and was wondering about letting the mixture rest. Does this need to be done w/a lid on or off? Or does it matter either way!?

    • Reply Meagan February 9, 2015 at 9:38 AM

      Definitely with the lid on Katy. If you let EOs sit with the lid off they will dry up and evaporate. It’s weird. Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply Manda February 15, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    what if there are 4 oils, in a blend? Is it usually considered 1 top note, 2 middle notes, and 1 base? or is it different? Or does it just depend on what oils are used? Any info would be helpful!

    • Reply Meagan February 16, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      I’m not sure that the amount of oils matters all that much as long as you have a top, middle, and base note to round the blend out. I’m sure there’s a lot of other info out there for those that want to get into more advanced blending for perfumery and such. Sorry I can’t be much more help than that.

  • Reply Gabriela February 15, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    Hello Meagan!
    I found you while searching for information about essential oils. You have a really neat site and with tons of great and valuable information that helps me a lot. I have been using essential oils for some time now, specially for cleaning around my home and for room sprays . I am now making soy candles but I am using essential oils instead of fragrance oils, even though some says that essential oils doesn’t have a very good scent throw in candles. My question for you is, Can I use jasmine absolute in jojoba oil for scent my wax? And what will be the ratio for blending in 6oz of soy wax? Would the 30-50-20 rule apply the same for blending essential oils for candles?
    Looking forward to your answer, it would really help me a lot.
    Thank you Meagan


    • Reply Meagan February 16, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      Hey Gabriela! I can’t speak from experience here because I’ve never made my own candles, but I too have heard that essential oils don’t work as well as fragrance oils in candles. No matter, I’d personally use them over fragrance oils. As far as the jasmine absolute… I don’t think you will get the scent you’re going for if you use any essential oil that’s already diluted in a carrier oil like the jojoba oil in this case. You need the concentrated oil. And yes, I’d still think the 30-50-20 rule would still apply if you want a rounded blend. Hope that helps… some!

  • Reply vinay jaiswal February 25, 2015 at 5:13 PM

    well im a student doing diploma in textile engineering im workin on aromatic fabric
    my new project in which im making a fabric which gives aroma as well as it act as a mosquoto repellent need your help im blending lavender with clove or lavender with eucalyptus for this purpose still not started just thnikng and doin reasearch on it any sugggestion plzzz contact

    srrryy i forgot to tell that im talkin about essential oils and im using three oils for this purpose lavender bcoz of its good soothing frangrance and as well as mosquito repellent property and the other two are eucalyptus essential oil and clove oil which has great mosquito repellent need your help how to mix it and use it. it may be chances that after mixing these oils only aroma will come and the other property of mpsquito repellent will not work or may be aftr mixing aroma can be effectd so which mixing of which oil give optimum performance i need help about it give your suggestion plzzzz

    • Reply Meagan February 26, 2015 at 10:58 AM

      I’m sorry Vinay. I’m not an aromatherapist, and I don’t do consultations. Best of luck on your fabric though!

  • Reply Sarah March 5, 2015 at 5:31 PM

    Hi Meagan, thank you, this was really helpful. I’ve recently started making bath melts and want to make some with essential oils; this article has been a good starting point for me and I’ve referenced it on my own blog. Are there any essential oils you particularly enjoy using in the bath? I’d be very grateful for your suggestions!

    • Reply Meagan March 6, 2015 at 10:01 AM

      I almost always give my kids baths in the evening (same goes for me) as a way to relax before bed so we use a lot of relaxing oils like lavender and chamomile or grounding oils like patchouli and vetiver. If I give them a bath in the middle of the day for some reason I’ll use more uplifting/energizing oils. Citrus oils mostly, but there are others that work great in those blends too like mint oils. Of course I’m always careful about safety precautions with EOs and using the correct ones with my kids. Best of luck with your bath melts. I’ve never tried those before so I’ll have to put that on my to-do list. They look wonderful!

  • Reply Cari March 16, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    I am enjoying learning about essential oils and am appreciating them so much! Thank you for this article. I do have a question for you … How do I choose and use a diffuser? I am currently using my old scentsy burner – water with a few drops of essential oil – as a diffuser, but it evaporates so quickly and the scent is so light. I’m guessing I need a diffuser, but there are so many, I don’t know what to buy. What do you suggest for longer lasting air diffusion? Thank you!

    • Reply Meagan March 16, 2015 at 6:44 PM

      Hi Cari. I don’t have much experience with different types of EO diffusers. I have a Young Living diffuser that my MIL bought me, and I love it. I use it often and it works great. It’s pricy, but totally worth it to have one in my opinion. However, I have heard others say that the cheaper ones work just as well. I know Plant Therapy carries diffusers, and I think they have some really great ones that are lower priced. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Julie March 21, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    Great information! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Meagan March 21, 2015 at 9:03 PM

      You’re very welcome!

  • Reply Jessica March 23, 2015 at 1:10 AM

    Hi Meagan, Thanks for sharing, you really broke the process down in an easy to understand way. Wish I had the oils you used in the example so I could try it out. I’m going to read more of your blog. I do have a question though, I think you said you’ve used Eden’s Garden and Young Living. I’ve been using Eden’s Garden for 2 years now and since I never tried anything else I am very satisfied, just needed an opinion from someone else to help me in my research. Today I went to a class and made YL Thieves Disinfectant spray. All the oils she let us smell seemed more fragrant than my EG EOs, I was wondering if you ever noticed that and what may be the reason. I’m not sure how oils are “supposed” to smell, only that I did notice a slight difference.

    • Reply Meagan March 23, 2015 at 9:01 AM

      I’ve used YL oils only a few times whereas I’ve used EG oils much, much more, and honestly I’ve not noticed much of a difference. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t paying attention though. I think YL has great products… their seed to seal promise is reassuring, but I don’t think they’re the “best” or “only” EO company out there. I’ve been very happy with EG oils. I’ve recently tried Plant Therapy oils, and I’m really happy with those. I have a Q&A with that company coming ups soon so stay tuned as it will give you more info on them. All this goes to say, I’d personally try some other EO brands like Plant Therapy or Mountain Rose Herbs before I’d pay the high prices and commit myself to YL. If I wasn’t happy with any of the others companies or oils, then I’d go for YL. We each like different things and there’s really no “wrong” brand. Do what works for you and you feel is best. Everyone is welcome here. I’m not committed to one company. I just what has worked best for me. Currently it’s EG, but that could change as I find other companies I like. I hope this answers your question Jessica and is helpful to you!

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