Toothpick Swirl

A toothpick swirl is a simple method for incorporating tiny amounts of very potent essential oils into projects—essential oils like vetiver, cade, or birch tar, which are so strong that even a single drop can completely overpower a lotion or salve recipe.

To measure out a toothpick swirl (which is not at all a reliable measurement and is just a simple way to incorporate a minuscule amount of an essential oil in a small batch of something), you’ll need a toothpick that isn’t minty flavoured.

Simply dip the tip of that toothpick into your essential oil, and then stir your lotion/liquid oils/etc. with that toothpick. The deeper you dip the toothpick, the more essential oil you’ll get and the stronger the scent will be. I recommend starting with what seems like too little and working your way up (use the clean end of the toothpick for your second dip, and a second toothpick if you need to do a third dip) since it’s much easier to add more than to take some out!

Water Bath

We use water baths to melt ingredients to avoid over-heating them; by insulating our melting ingredients in water we ensure they never pass 100°C/212°F. This helps prevent scorching our lovely ingredients.

I like to make one by placing a small heat resistant glass measuring cup in a small saucepan that’s got about 3cm/1″ of water in it. I’ll place that on the stove over medium heat. The water will heat up, and will take the ingredients with it. If your saucepan has a thin bottom you should consider using a small double boiler ring (basically just a wire circle) or a silicone mat to separate your measuring cup from the bottom of the pan.