WTF IS AN ESSENTIAL OIL?
Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic oils – with healing properties – that are extracted from plants.
FRAGRANCE OILS vs. ESSENTIAL OILS
Many products contain fragrance oils as an ingredient. While fragrance oils smell like essential oils, they’re not the same. Fragrance oils are exactly what you think – just the fragrance of the plant, while essential oils have the scent PLUS the plant’s beneficial properties.
You might hear the term “carrier oil” when researching essential oils. Carrier oils are simply neutral oils that are used to dilute essential oils before applying to the skin. I really like using jojoba or sweet almond oil. Other oils such as olive, coconut, and grapeseed can also be used.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING ESSENTIAL OILS / WHICH BRAND SHOULD I GO FOR?
The bottle. Pure essential oils should be in a dark blue or amber (or some sort of dark bottle) to preserve their quality. NEVER in a clear bottle!
Ingredients* – Make sure there are no other ingredients except the essential oil you’re looking for. The only exception is rose and jasmine which will more often than not be sold diluted. Pure rose/jasmine is EXTREMELY expensive because it has a low extraction yield.
Personally I’ve used and had success with the following brands: Now Foods, Divine Essence, Thursday Plantation, Saje (blends), Salt Spring Naturals Thieves Oil
HOW DO I USE THEM/STORE THEM?
These little bottles of concentrated oils can get a little pricey, but luckily they can be used in a million different ways. Always store your oils in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prolong their shelf life.
Always dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin. Since they are very concentrated, they can irritate the skin. Dilute it in a body cream or with a carrier oil such as Jojoba or Sweet Almond.
Many homemade dry shampoos, perfumes, toothpastes, deodorants and body butters also use essential oils.
It is not recommended to ingest essential oils, however they can safely be used orally. In homemade toothpastes, or as temporary relief for a toothache.
In your diffuser
Use according to the instructions your diffuser came with. Normally about 5-15 drops of essential oil depending on the size and type of oil. Essential oils can also be used with tealight diffusers.
You can also make your own reed diffuser using your favourite essential oils and a carrier oil. I’ve never made one myself but there are plenty of tutorials online.
In the bath
I like to put some essential oils in the bath sometimes. Run your bath as normal and make sure it isn’t too hot, or else the oil will evaporate! Add 5-10 drops or more.
In your home
I like to use it for a homemade all-purpose surface cleaner, and it can also be used for pest control, air freshener, pillow mist..the possibilities are endless.
To make an all-purpose home cleaner: fill a large spray bottle with equal parts water and distilled white vinegar. Add 5-10 drops of your favourite citrus oil.
Fill a bowl with hot water and add one drop of your preferred essential oil. Place a towel over your head (keep your eyes and mouth closed!) and breathe in the steam. Be careful not to get too close to the steam or you can burn your face.
I like to use tea tree for a “steam facial” when I feel a zit coming, or eucalyptus for when my sinuses are acting up.
6 BASIC ESSENTIAL OILS TO KEEP IN YOUR HOME + HOW TO USE THEM
If you’re just starting out with essential oils, these 6 oils are a great place to build your collection.
- CITRUS (lemon, lime, orange, bergamot, etc.) – great uplifting scent to diffuse in the morning, and also wonderful to use in a DIY all purpose home cleaner.
- LAVENDER – my favourite blend to diffuse or apply to the body for relaxation before bedtime. You can also create a pillow mist – just fill up a small spray bottle with water and 5-10 drops of lavender oil. I also like it in my occasional #SelfCareSunday bath.
- EUCALYPTUS – I like to use this as a chest rub and in my diffuser at night when I’m feeling congested.
- PEPPERMINT – this is my go-to for headaches, nausea, and muscle pain. However, this should only be used on small areas of the body because the cooling sensation can cause hypothermia. I rub it on my temples, on the back of my neck, or dot it along my hairline.
- TEA TREE – this is a great all around antibacterial and can be added into your all-purpose home cleaner or used as an acne spot treatment.
- THIEVES OIL – An all-around healer. I put this stuff on the bottom of my feet and on my neck if I feel like I’m coming down with something. I’ve also heard of people diffusing this oil in their homes if they have a problem with mold. Read more about the story of thieves oil and all of its uses here. (I find it really interesting!)
OTHER NOTEWORTHY OILS + THEIR BENEFITS
- Clove Oil: toothaches
- Chamomile: use instead of (or with lavender) for sleep.
- Saje Sleep Well Blend: my go-to for sleep & relaxation. Contains lavender, chamomile, marjoram, and valerian which a widely used natural sleep remedy.
- Cinnamon Oil: for ants in your home
- Neem Oil: wonderful for plant care! If you’re having trouble with plant pests, mix about 10 drops of neem oil with one litre of water and use that to water your plants. Repeat whenever you water your plants until the pests are gone.
- Citronella: works as a natural mosquito repellent (works best when mixed with geranium oil and neem oil)
- Saje Pocket Farmacy – If you’re new to essential oils I highly suggest the Saje Pocket Farmacy. It has 5 different essential oil blends with a variety of different uses. It’s a great starter kit and a good way to familiarize yourself with essential oils.
There are so many different essential oils and uses for them out there. If I missed any, feel free to comment your faves below!