Can oil and water mix?

water glass with oil

water glass with oil

If you have ever added an essential oil to a container of water you probably noticed that the essential oil will float on top. Although essential oils aren’t actually “oils” they do act like oils because they don’t blend into water. The essential oil will follow that old rule: Oils and Water Don’t Mix. So, what do essential oils mix with?

Essential oils are considered an “oil” because they like to hang out in a fat-based medium. They are attracted to oils and will mix into them. This is why massage oils are a popular way to use Aromatherapy – add essential oils to a vegetable oil and you’re done. We can use this to our advantage by combining the essential oils into a fat or fat-like substance and then add that mixture to water.

Let’s say you want to make a counter cleaning spray. If you mix the essential oils into castile soap first, when you add water they will stay mixed. They may come out of solution (become un-mixed) if left to sit for awhile, but you can mix them together again by shaking the bottle. And, you get the benefit of a cleaning agent from the castile soap.

Another popular item to make is a body spray. In this case the mixing agent can be vegetable glycerine. Your drops of essential oil are added to the glycerine and then water is added. If you are concerned with clogging the sprayer you can just add the essential oils to Everclear, although the substance is illegal in many states because it has a very high ethanol content. Even if your liquor store carries it, it can be awkward to purchase – I feel compelled to announce that it is for manufacturing and not drinking.

If you’d like to learn about other possible solubilizing substances, here is a video from Petrichor Apothecary in which essential oil dilution possibilities are explored.