Essential oils for romance

With Valentine’s Day imminent, our thoughts turn to romance and love. Essential oils are a wonderful way to add a romantic atmosphere to your Valentine’s evening, or any romantic occasion.

There are a huge variety of essential oils, with many wonderful, healing properties and stunning aromas. If you are creating a massage blend for your partner for your romantic evening, consider adding some of the essential oils mentioned below. Along with their comprehensive range of properties, they are all reputed to be aphrodisiac in nature.

We have listed some of the most popular and noteworthy aphrodisiac essential oils here. These also have been chosen because of their skin moisturising and healing properties.

Like fresh flowers (and champagne), the floral essential oils are often an important part of any romantic evening. These oils are emotionally uplifting and can to help moisturise and heal the skin too. Many fall into the higher price range as it takes many, many flowers and petals to produce a small amount of the essential oil. We have also added a couple of woody, resinous oils for a little variety and that will add depth to the aroma of a blend.

Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena)

Roses and their essential oil are thought to be native to ancient Persia, but the essential oil is now mainly produced in Bulgaria and Turkey.

Rose is the flower associated with the heart and thus love. Historically it was highly sought after by the Ancient Persian, Egyptian, Indian, Roman and Greek civilisations for its amazing range of therapeutic properties and its exquisite soft, sweet, floral aroma.

Rose essential oil is one of the gentlest of the oils. It suits most skin types, but is particularly good for mature and sensitive skin and at healing dry, inflamed skin conditions and eczema. On an emotional level, its calming, harmonising and nurturing properties make Rose essential oil perfect for soothing anger, treating depression, shock, grief and heartbreak.

True Rose essential oil is expensive because it takes as many as 60,000 rose petals, that is 57kg/120lb in weight, to distil just one ounce (28g) of rose essential oil. Be careful that you’re not fooled by a cheaper, adulterated rose oil that has been extended with another essential oil or synthetic chemicals. Buy your oils from a reputable supplier, who should be able to tell you the origin and source of the essential oil.

Combine rose oil in a massage lotion or oil for a fantastic sensual massage with your partner, or add a few drops to a romantic bath. Rose essential oil, with its rich, deep base notes, floral middle tones and sweet, slightly leafy top note, is a complete perfume in itself.

Jasmine oil (Jasminum officinale)

Jasmine is native to Northern India, Iran and China, but is now cultivated in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Egypt is the world’s most prolific producer of Jasmine oil. In the East, Jasmine has been revered both as a medicine and a perfume for centuries. Along with Rose, it’s frequently mentioned in Sufi poetry as a symbol of love.

The oil is extracted form the beautifully fragrant flowers. The scent of the Jasmine flowers is strongest after sunset and the flowers are harvested very early in the morning, right before they close up for the hottest hours of the day.

Jasmine essential oil has a warm, sweet, intensely floral and slightly musky scent. As well as its renowned aphrodisiac qualities, its soothing, warm sweet aroma helps relieve nervous anxiety, depression and reduce stress. It is also a great oil for the skin and is useful in the treatment of dry, irritated and sensitive skins.

Neroli essential oil (Citrus aurantium)

Native to Southeast Asia, this essential oil is also now cultivated heavily in the Mediterranean region (Italy, Morocco, Egypt and France). Neroli essential oil is extracted from the fragrant white blossoms of the bitter orange tree. Once distilled, the yield is a pale yellow liquid.

Neroli, sometimes referred to as orange blossom, is thought to have been named after the Italian princess Anne Marie de la Trémoille (Orsini), who was duchess of Bracciano and princess of Nerola in the 17th century. She first introduced Neroli oil as a fashionable fragrance to Italian high society and used it in the bath and to perfume her stationery, scarves and gloves. This beautiful oil has long been used in weddings because of both its aphrodisiac properties and its ability to calm agitated bridal nerves on the big day. Victorian brides wore a sprig of orange blossom in their head dress and carried orange blossom in their bridal bouquets as symbols of purity and virginity.

Neroli oil is very uplifting to the mood and healing to the skin. It is a useful addition to blends for treating scars, stretch marks and broken capillaries. It is anti-depressive in action and is great for helping to calm agitated states of mind.

It requires a large number of the orange blossom flowers to create an ounce of oil, so Neroli essential oil also in the higher price bracket.

Neroli essential oil has an intoxicating, heady aroma that is bittersweet and warm, with orange floral undertones, and, as in the case of rose, is a completely balanced perfume on its own.

Ylang Ylang essential oil (Cananga odorata)

Ylang Ylang, a tropical evergreen tree, is native to Southeast Asia but the essential oil is mostly produced in Madagascar, Reunion and Comoro’s Islands.

It is the freshly picked yellow flowers that contain the essential oil. In Indonesia these flowers are spread on the beds of newly-wed couples. It is a highly prized aphrodisiac.

This oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, as well as a balancing effect on the skin’s production of sebum, which make it ideal for treating skin conditions such as acne, as well as dry or chapped skin. Ylang Ylang has a sweet, floral, spicy, heady aroma and helps to soothe fear and anxiety, lift depression and restore a sense of calm.

The oil comes in different grades: Ylang Ylang Extra, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. Ylang Ylang Extra is the top grade and thus the most expensive. However it tends to be less expensive than many of the previously discussed oils above.

Patchouli essential oil (Pogostemon cablin)

Patchouli, derived from the Hundustan ‘pacholi’, is perennial herbal plant with soft, hairy leaves that give off the unique Patchouli scent when rubbed. The plant is native to to Southeast Asia, but most of the world’s supply of essential oil is produced in Indonesia, with some also coming from China, Malaysia and India. It has a long history of medicinal use in India, China and Japan. In the 10th century it was used to scent Indian shawls and fabrics.

The oil comes from the distillation of the hand-picked, dried fermented leaves. The resulting essential oil is an amber or dark orange colour with a warm, rich, sweet, spicy and earthy scent. The scent and oil actually get better with age, Patchouli oil being one of only a few essential oils with that characteristic.

Patchouli oil has moisturising, wound-healing and tissue-regenerating properties and is an antiseptic; all of which make it helpful for rough and cracked skin, cuts and wounds, eczema (weeping), dermatitis, oily skin and acne. Its warm, calming nature helps ground and stabilise the mind, quieting scattered thinking and easing excessive worry.

Vetiver essential oil (Vetiveria zizanoides)

This oil comes from the rootlets of a tall perennial grass that is native to the Himalayas and Southern India as well as Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The essential oil is steam distilled from the dried and chopped rootlets and is mostly produced in the Reunion Islands, Haiti and Java. The best quality oil, ‘Bourbon Vetiver’, is the one from the Reunion Islands. The essential oil is a deep brown or amber viscous oil with a rich and resinous, smokey, earthy aroma. Like Patchouli, the quality and scent of the oil improve with age.

Vetiver is a great essential oil to add to a massage blend for the skin as it is good for dry, irritated or undernourished skin. It is also useful for muscular aches and pains, rheumatoid arthritis and poor circulation. As one of the most grounding essential oils, classically it is recommended for mental and emotional burnout. It eases anger and irritability and is wonderfully soothing and nurturing during times of stress. It is fabulous for insomnia.

This is a very potent oil with a scent that you will either love or hate. So, if you have not used it before do start out with only 1 or 2 drops in a 25ml blend.

Sandalwood oil (Santalum album)

The Sandalwood evergreen tree is native to southern Asia, but Mysore, in Eastern India is where most of the world’s Santalum album is grown. Demand for this highly sought-after timber has led to over-harvesting, and a significant amount of work is being done in Australia to protect and repopulate the Santalum album tree. Australian Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum) essential oil is available too and is also lovely.

The essential oil is extracted from heartwood of the tree. This exotic oil is a pale yellow, greenish or brownish colour with a woody, balsamic, sweet and slightly spicy and musky aroma. Sandalwood has a long tradition of cultural and spiritual use in Asia. The wood was carved into furniture and temples and burned as incense.

Sandalwood oil is very useful in skincare for dry, chapped skin, as well as for itchy, inflamed or irritated skin. It can be helpful for eczema and psoriasis. It’s also helpful for respiratory issues and insomnia. This oil helps still the mind as well as helping to lift depression and bring a sense of peace.

All the above are safe essential oils and are non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising, but should be diluted before being applied to the skin.

Notes about creating fragrance or massage blends

When creating a blend it is best to just pick a three to four essential oils that suit the focus of your blend intention. This way you will avoid creating a blend that has too many different notes and where the the intention of the blend gets lost and the resulting aroma is overwhelming.

The average blend is usually just 9 to 18 drops of essential oils per 30ml / I fl.oz base oil. The above aphrodisiac oils mix well together, however most of them are middle or base notes. To round out your blend you might want to add a few oils that are top notes, such as Sweet Orange, Lemon or Bergamot. These blend well with the oils discussed above. Lemon is a cleansing and sharp oil which, like Bergamot suits oily skin types, whereas Sweet Orange and Bergamot have a sweeter aroma.

Choosing a base or carrier oil for your blend

The majority of essential oils need to be diluted before being applied to the skin. The best oils to add to your blend of essential oils to are natural, cold-pressed nut and fruit oils such as Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Jojoba or Avocado oil, which are good, skin-nourishing base or carrier oils for massages. If you are making a perfume and would like to use an oil base, we would recommend Jojoba oil. Technically this is a liquid wax and is a stable oil with a long shelf-life.

For a massage, it is best to start with 50 ml of the base or carrier oil of your choice. We like a combination of Sweet Almond (35ml) and Jojoba (15ml) oils. Coconut oil is another lovely carrier. To this add 15 to 30 drops of essential oils. Do not exceed more than 30 essential oil drops per 50ml of carrier oil.

For a foot massage you won’t need this much carrier oil. A smaller amount, 30 ml of carrier oil should be enough. To this add between 10 and 18 drops of essential oils. Mix the blend well and store in a sealed container, ready for the occasion.

If you’re creating a blend to use on the face, use 4 to 12 drops, the maximum being 12 drops in 20ml of carrier oil. Again, do ensure that you mix the blend well.

A few blends

For the Man in Your Life
To a 50 ml base add:
9 drops of Bergamot
5 drops of Cedarwood
7 drops of Patchouli
5 drops of Vetiver

Add a Lil’ Spice
To a 50 ml base add:
6 drops of Ginger
8 drops of Sandalwood
9 drops of Sweet Orange
3 drops of Ylang Ylang

Ultimate Luxury
To a 50 ml base add:
10 drops of Bergamot
4 drops of Jasmine
8 drops of Rose
6 drops of Ylang Ylang

Sweet Calm
To a 50 ml base add:
8 drops of Cedarwood
6 drops of Rose
8 drops of Sandalwood
4 drops of Ylang Ylang

Refresh and Uplift
To a 50 ml base add:
8 drops Bergamot
4 drops Black Pepper
6 drops Neroli
6 drops Sandalwood

Perfume blends

Perfume #1
To 20 ml Jojoba add:
3 drops of Jasmine
4 drops of Rose
1 drop of Vetiver
1 drop of Ylang Ylang

Perfume #2
To 20 ml Jojoba add:
2 drops Jasmine
3 drops Neroli
3 drops Sandalwood
1 drop Ylang Ylang


Battaglia, Salvatore, (2018). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy Third Edition Vol 1, Australia: Black Pepper Creative Pty Ltd
Lawless, Julia, (1995). The Illustrated Encylopedia of Essential Oils, Dorset, UK: Element Books
Mojay, Gabriel, (1996). Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, London: Gaia Books Ltd
Price, Len, (1999). Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead Publishing

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