Essential oils are oils that have been extracted from the flowers, fruits, leaves, and stems of plants. They’ve been used for centuries for everything from skin care to aromatherapy.
Essential oils have been part of my life since I was a child. My mother has always made a big effort to use natural, holistic remedies wherever possible, and I grew up with her treating stuffy noses and allergy attacks with eucalyptus oil. She’d put a few drops on our pillows when we had a cold to help us breathe easier and help us sleep. As I got older, I started experimenting with essential oils for their gorgeous scents and skin care properties, mixing them into homemade body scrubs and scenting my home with DIY aromatherapy blends.
If you’ve never used essential oils before, you may not know which ones to use and how to use them. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some of the most popular and readily available essential oils and my favourite ways to use them.
Lavender oil is a staple in my house. I’m not kidding when I say that I usually have at least 2 bottles on hand, just because I never want to run out of it! This fragrant, floral oil is great for balancing your mood, relieving stress, and helping you sleep. On nights when I’m having trouble sleeping, I put a few drops on my pillow to help me drift off. I’ve also been known to put a few drops on a handkerchief that I keep in my purse when travelling, to deal with the inevitable stress of crowded airports and long flights! I also love pouring 5-10 drops into my bath for a pre-bedtime treat.
Tea tree oil is my go-to skin care oil. Anytime I’m having a skin freakout (breakouts, rashes, etc.) it’s the first product I reach for. Most often, I put a drop or 2 onto a cotton swab and apply directly to my skin as a spot treatment for breakouts (My teens have been over for years, but my skin has not gotten that memo). A few drops of tea tree oil in a bowl of hot water also makes a great facial to open and purify pores. Tea tree oil is also great natural way to deal with minor rashes, scrapes, and cuts since it’s has antibacterial properties and speeds healing. Just put a few drops on a cotton ball and apply to minor wounds.
Rosemary oil works as a decongestant and helps ease respiratory issues, and it’s also a great mental stimulant, improving concentration and mental clarity. My favourite way to use rosemary oil is as part of a home diffuser blend. Here are some of my favourite blends using rosemary oil:
- Rosemary oil + Peppermint oil – Great for study sessions, working from your home office, or any time you need a concentration boost
- Rosemary oil + Eucalyptus oil – Perfect for helping you breathe easier (If you have a humidifier that you can add essential oils to, this one is great to add to it during cold and flu season).
- Rosemary oil + Lavender oil: This calming blend will keep you stress free and relaxed.
*Note: Rosemary oil is not recommended for pregnant women or anyone who has epilepsy or high blood pressure
Known for it’s strong floral scent, ylang ylang essential oil is calming, stress-relieving, and a natural aphrodisiac. Try adding a few drops to your favourite carrier oil (jojoba, sweet almond oil, and coconut oil are my favourites) for a great massage oil.
With a bright, happy citrus scent, bergamot oil is great for relieving stress and dealing with depression and anxiety. It’s an excellent mood booster. My favourite way to use this is as part of a home diffuser blend, mixed with other cheerful citrus essential oils like grapefruit and lemon. I love using this blend in the winter to bring a little bit of sunshine into my home!
Peppermint oil is a natural energy booster, so it’s great for putting some pep back into your step if you’re feeling a bit sluggish or tired. It’s also excellent for digestion and stomach issues. Inhale a whiff of peppermint oil to quickly curb nausea, or to stave off a snack attack brought on by mid-morning food cravings. You can also dab a drop on your finger and rub it directly onto your temple to soothe a headache.
Have you ever used essential oils? What are your favourite oils to use and how do you use them?