A Rundown on Essential Oils

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I’ve really been into living a holistic lifestyle and natural skin care recently; so, essential oils have peaked my interest for a variety of reasons. For one, they are a great way to naturally moisturize your skin and hair but, they are also helpful in changing the vibe of your space depending on what they’re derived from.

To provide some background on oils, they are used in three different ways: aromatically (by inhalation), topically (applied directly to skin or hair), and internally. Internal use, or direct ingestion of essential oils, is a growing practice, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it if you’re new to using oils because you’re still learning, and you never know how your body will react (in all honesty I wouldn’t even do it).

My favorite way to use my oils are for aromatic use, using either a diffuser or rubbing it between my hands or on my skin and smelling it that way. I also recently got into roll-on oils. I keep them in my bag, and use them whenever I need a quick pick me up through the day. 

When figuring out how you want to use oils, and which oils are best for you, one approach I love (which I got from a blog, so don’t think I made this up myself) is to “look at daily life through three lenses” including:

  • Nourishing
  • Protecting
  • Restoring

NOURISHING

Using oil for nourishing purposes, means using it daily or for a specific health challenge. For example, at times I have a hard time falling asleep at night, so I use the “Good Night” oil roll-on from Nature’s Truth – including Lavender Oil, Tangerine Oil, Bergamot Oil, Geranium Oil, Cypress Oil, Frankincense Oil, and Chamomile Blue – to help me relax before bed.

But, relaxation isn’t the only way to nourish the body. Nourishment also comes from creating scents that uplift you, and making conscious decisions about the products you’re using.

Oils and Tips for Nourishment:

  • Uplift: Diffuse sweet orange essential oil to uplift emotions; mix three (3) drops each of lavender and sweet orange in one ounce (30ml) of unscented lotion for a skin-friendly, uplifting hand and face lotion.
  • Relaxation: Place a tissue with a drop of lavender on it next to your pillow to relax and fall asleep. Mix five (5) drops of lavender in ½ teaspoon of carrier oil. Add this to one ounce (30ml) of Epsom salts or Himalayan pink salts for a relaxing bath before bedtime or after working out. Lavender can be added to other bath recipes as well, like this soothing oatmeal bath.
  • Body Care: You can find a lot of body care recipes with various essential oils including bath salts, body butter, sugar scrubs, and body cream. You can also find makeup created with essential oils.

PROTECTING

Using oils to protect means using them for the purpose of preventing a direct health threat. Essential oils are excellent, non-toxic, green cleaning ingredients and many have antimicrobial properties.

Oils and Tips for Protecting:

  • Cleaning Spray: In a two-ounce spray bottle, mix 1.5 ounces of water with a dash of white vinegar, along with five (5) drops each sweet orange, tea tree, and peppermint (or lavender.) Shake well before use.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Mix five (5) drops each of peppermint, tea tree, and sweet orange with one (1) ounce (30ml) of aloe vera gel in a flip-top PET plastic bottle   The number of drops of each of the oils can be changed; the total number of drops should be 15-20. Take this with you when you travel.
  • Immune Strengthening: Diffuse or inhale sweet orange and lavender frequently to strengthen the immune system and decrease stress at home, in the workplace, or when traveling.
  • Deter Pests: Mix two (2) cups water with about one (1) teaspoon of dish soap in a 16 oz spray bottle. Add 5-7 drops of tea tree, sweet orange, or peppermint essential oil, or a combination of those oils that smells good to you, shake well, and spray it around doorways and other areas where spiders reside, and insects come in.  Peppermint can drive away aphids and other insect pests from your garden plants. Use 1 drop per ounce of water and spray your plants once a week.

RESTORING

If you’ve been injured or are sick, these are great remedies to restore your health:

  • Bee sting, bug bite, or burn: Dilute 6 drops of lavender essential oil in 1/2 ounce of carrier oil or herbal infused oil and apply to soothe the itch or pain and speed healing. Or try one of these recipes for natural bug repellents.
  • Itch relief: Blend 5-6 drops of lavender in one (1) ounce (30 ml) unscented lotion, aloe vera gel, or a carrier oil and apply to skin to ease itchiness.
  • Headache: Inhale lavender and/or peppermint directly; or mix 1-5 drops of peppermint alone or 2-3 drops of peppermint plus 3-7 drops of lavender into one (1) ounce of fractionated coconut oil or unscented lotion and apply to the back of the neck and to the temples. (Note that peppermint can cause a burning sensation when too much is applied, and different people may have differing sensitivities to topical use of peppermint.)
  • Bruises and Swelling: Mix a total of 14 drops of peppermint and lavender in unscented lotion or other carrier oil and apply several times a day to ease discomfort.
  • Nausea: Inhaling peppermint can ease nausea.
  • Stuffy Nose: Inhaling peppermint is a good way to relieve a stuffed nose. Another alternative is to inhale lavender and sweet orange for immune support and to relieve stuffiness.

ESSENTIAL OILS TO HAVE ON HAND

Lavender: The most popular essential oil because of its versatility and well-liked floral, herbal aroma, lavender can be used in a variety of ways to inspire calm and relaxation.

  • Benefit:  Calming, relaxing
  • Aroma:  Floral, herbal
  • Uses:  Body oils, massage oils, cleansers, lotions, creams, body mists, perfumes, shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, hair serums, hair mists, room mists, diffusions

Tea tree: Well known for its cleansing and purifying benefits, tea tree essential oil is great for a variety of body and home care products.

  • Benefit:  Cleansing, purifying
  • Aroma:  Spicy, herbal
  • Uses:  Body oils, body scrubs, cleansers, cleaning sprays, cleaning wipes, room mists, diffusions

Sweet Orange or Wild Orange: The citrusy aroma of sweet orange essential oils brings uplifting, balancing and freshening benefits to a variety of body and home care products.

  • Benefit:  Uplifting, balancing, freshening
  • Aroma:  Citrusy, like orange peel
  • Uses:  Body oils, cleansers, lotions, creams, scrubs, soaks, perfumes, body mists, cleaning sprays, cleaning wipes, room mists, diffusions

Peppermint: The menthol, herbal aroma of peppermint essential oil can be used in many ways to uplift and invigorate.

  • Benefit:  Uplifting, invigorating
  • Aroma:  Menthol, herbal
  • Uses:  Body oils, massage oils, creams, lotions, salves, cleansers, soaks, scrubs, body mists, perfumes, scalp oils, hair rinses, room mists, diffusions, workout mists

Lemon: Fresh and fruity, lemon essential oil is often used for home cleaning and air freshening, but can also be used for many body care products.

  • Benefit:  Uplifting, cleansing, freshening
  • Aroma:  Fruity, like lemon peel
  • Uses:  Body lotions, creams, cleansers, scrubs, soaks, perfumes, body mists, cleaning sprays, cleaning wipes, room mists, diffusions

Rosemary: Rosemary essential oil can bring uplifting, energizing and purifying benefits to your airspace and body care.

  • Benefit:  Uplifting, energizing, purifying
  • Aroma:  Herbal, medicinal
  • Uses:  Body oils, massage oils, scrubs, soaks, body mists, shampoos, scalp oils, hair serums, room mists, diffusions