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A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

June 01, 2020 6 min read

A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils

You’ve decided to enter into the world of essential oils – welcome! Essential oils are a natural and holistic way to influence your life. From disinfecting your counters with lemon oil to creating a relaxing room scent with a diffuser, there’s something for everyone and every occasion. In this comprehensive beginner’s guide to essential oils, we’ll cover topics like what essential oils are, how to use them, the benefits of certain oils, and which oils are right for different situations.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are oils that are made from nature itself. Pure essential oils have no added chemicals or fragrances, making them 100% vegan, natural, and clean. They can be made from flowers, like geraniums or roses, fruits, like lemons or bergamot, leaves, like rosemary or clary sage, roots, twigs, or seeds. They are strong, concentrated oils they smell distinctly aromatic. A good way to know if an essential is pure or not is to see if their Latin name is listed as the ingredient, perhaps with the English name, but with no other additives.

Examples of top essential oils:

  • Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
  • Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)
  • Orange (Citrus Sinesis)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalpytus Globulus)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Flexuosus)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia Serrata)

For the beginner:

Top 6 Essential Oils - $12.95

For the everyday user:

Top 8 Essential Oils - $17.95

For the committed user:

Top 18 Essential Oils - $28.95

Essential Oils Vs. Carrier Oils

It’s important to know that essential oils are not the same thing as carrier oils, although carrier oils are also oils that are created from nature. Carrier oils are made from the fatty part of the plant, such as seeds or nuts, and are much gentler in nature. Carrier oils can be used on the skin alone, whereas essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil or another skincare lotion or butter.

Examples of Carrier Oils:

How are essential oils created?

Essential oils are created in a multitude of processes. The best essential oils are extracted physically, rather than using chemical compounds that could leech into the final result. Some examples of physical extractions include the most popular cold-pressed and steam distilled methods. For cold pressing, the fruit or seed is pressed for its oil and juice, which are then separated by a centrifuge by weight. For steam distillation, hot steam causes the plant’s aromas to vaporize and rise into a condenser that cools the vapor into a liquid form. The oil and water are then separated, again by weight.

What are the benefits of essential oils?

The aroma of essential oils can alter your mood, which is how the popular concept of aromatherapy began. Bright scents like lemon and orange are known to be energizing, while warm scents like lavender and clary sage can relax the mind. This is by far the most popular way to use essential oils. We’ll go over a few ways to use essential oils for aromatherapy later on.

There are also a few other ways essential oils can be beneficial. For example, many oils, like tea tree and eucalyptus, are known to be anti-microbial and can help fight off germs in everything from an all-purpose cleaner to a DIY mouthwash. Certain essential oils can be useful for warding off bugs and mosquitos without using harsh chemicals. Many oils are known to contain collagen-boosting properties and antioxidants, making them perfect for adding to your skin routine. In addition to reducing blemishes, there are essential oils for acne scars specific to the type of scarring.

Essential oils for seasonal allergies include lavender, lemon, or peppermint. They can help relieve and reduce physical reactions from histamines. There are also essential oils for social anxiety, like ylang-ylang and chamomile by promoting emotional wellbeing. Certain essential oils, like eucalyptus, are known to boost your immune system

Diluting essential oils

To use essential oils properly on the skin, they have to be diluted, as essential oils on their own are much too irritating to our bodies. Dilutions depend on the person you are using the essential oil for and the type of essential oil (lavender is less potent than rose, for example). In general, you can follow the guidelines below. When trying new essential oils on the skin, test the dilution in a patch test by placing a dime-sized amount near the elbow and checking for irritation, burning, or rashes after 24-48 hours.

1% dilution: 5-6 drops of essential oil in each ounce of carrier oil. This dilution is used for children, elders, chronically ill people, and pregnant women.

2% dilution: 10-12 drops of essential oil in each ounce of carrier oil. This dilution is typical for everyday, adult use.

3% dilution: 15-18 drops of essential oil in each ounce of carrier oil. This dilution is used for specific illnesses or for acute injury and should only be used for short periods of time.

How do I use essential oils?

Essential oils can be used in many different ways, such as applying to the skin with a carrier oil or misting a room with a diffuser. There are thousands of recipes and uses for oils, so we’ll only go over the most popular ways here.

You can use essential oils in almost every room of the home. In the kitchen, you can disinfect your counters and chase away offending bugs and ants. In the bathroom, you can apply diluted oils to your body, hair, nails, and face for their anti-microbial and smoothing properties for an all-over glow. Lavender pillow spray can help you to fall asleep at night. In the laundry room, essential oils can scent wool dryer balls and help lift away stubborn stains. Even outside, you can use essential oils to make a powerful natural bug spray.

Essential Oils in the Bathroom

In the bathroom, you can add essential oils to many of your normal bath products such as shampoo and body lotion. You can also use them to make your own natural perfume, body oil, or hot oil hair treatment. Some people swear by making their own DIY mouthwash or toothpaste using essential oils, and although essential oils should not be ingested, they can be antiseptic to the mouth itself. Shower melts and bath bombs with essential oils are easy DIYs that are perfect for immersive spa experiences.

Essential Oils in the Bedroom

Lavender oil is the most popular essential oil for rest and relaxation, making it a perfect pillow spray. You can also make a lavender spray for children’s stuffed animals or blankets to help them relax and sleep. On a different note, ylang ylang is highly recommended for increasing libido and would be a perfect addition to a soothing oil massage from your partner.

Essential Oils for Cleaning

There are many ways you can use essential oils for cleaning. Room freshening sprays are popular and can be combined with a carpet refresher recipe. An all-purpose spray from essential oils can be used on kitchen and bathroom sinks, counters, and tile. You can use lemon oil as a stain-buster on your laundry or add it to vinegar for a DIY laundry softener. There are even recipes for lemon oil wood floor cleaners.

Using a Diffuser for Aromatherapy

Getting the full benefits of aromatherapy is easy with the help of an ultrasonic diffuser. Ultrasonic diffusers use high-powered vibrations to “shake” the essential oils throughout the water and disperse the oil-water mix into the air without using any heat. Simply add 3-4 drops into 100mL of water, turn it on, and enjoy! This is perfect for your bedroom, living room, or home office.

Bonus: need a portable solution? Try an essential oil roll-on or an aromatherapy diffuser bracelet!

Popular Essential Oils

The 8 most popular essential oils are easy to find in this Top 8 Set, while this Top 18 Set is more comprehensive for those ready to dive into the world of essential oils. If you’re planning on using essential oils on your skin, make sure you pick up a carrier too. Argan oil and fractionated coconut oil are some of the most common oils to use.

A Word of Warning

Please make sure you check your essential oils with a vet before using them in a house with animals, such as dogs or cats. Hundreds of animals get toxicity poisoning from essential oils because owners simply don’t know any better.

I hope you enjoyed reading this comprehensive beginner’s guide to essential oils. If you still have questions that you’re not sure about, reach out to me through our Facebook @beautyinnovations2020 or on Twitter @radhabeauty! Welcome to the peaceful, natural world of essential oils.