In a world with many options of scent and wellness, you may be wondering about the hype of essential oils. If you’re unfamiliar, essential oils are extracted from plants to capture their flavors, scent and the beneficial properties of the plant. These resulting oils are extremely potent and concentrated, so much so that a few drops goes a long way.
There are many companies that have their own specific processes for producing essential oils so it is best to know the company you wish to use oils from and follow their recommendations for use. For instance, some oils are designated for wellness but do not qualify under the FDA’s claims of being a cure, or drug.
When used for aromatherapeutic benefits, however, all essential oils are considered reasonably safe when used properly and have grown in popularity in recent years. You can now buy essential oils from distributors, at local shops and online, but how do you know which oil is right for you? Here we break down essential oils into 5 tricks for choosing the best oil for you.
1. Understand Your Needs
There are so many different essential oils and oil blends to choose from but they are not all used for the same thing. The oils you would use for relaxation, are very different from the oil you would choose to help treat a headache. Some of the most popular oils on the market today are Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Oil and Lemon and they all have a variety of uses.
Once you have figured out what your use for the oil would be it can help you narrow down the oil you would like. Would you like your oil to be a single oil or do you prefer a blend of several oils? With many options on the market, you may not even know what you need without a little trial and error.
Some of the larger distributors of essential oils have guides on their websites or even representatives who can help you decide which oil may be the most beneficial for your needs. If you are a total newbie to essential oils it may even be a good idea to meet with someone who can let you try a few and smell a lot of the oils. (See also: 7 Essential Oils You Can Use to Relax)
Make sure that you appreciate the scent of the oil, some oils are particularly strong and may become unpleasant to you and to others you may come into contact with. Making sure you like the fragrance is certainly important before you make the financial investment on a bottle of oil for yourself.
Some essential oils can be quite relaxing and grounding while still, other oils are energizing. With a broad range of oils to choose from it can be hard to know what you like until you try it out. The scent is an incredibly personal experience, a scent you find to be low key can be overwhelming to others near you.
You can opt to just smell the oil from the bottle or put a single drop in your hands to warm it up and then you breathe in to experience the aroma of the essential oil. You may also opt to use the essential oil as a personal fragrance over traditional perfume. If you choose the right scent it may even boost your memory.
Diffusing oils is another great option for getting the aromatic benefits of essential oils without risks of skin irritation or the necessitation of carrier oil. Most diffusers use water, either distilled or tap, combined with some drops of essential oil in order to create a soft mist of fragrance in the air.
There are some oils that have a high concentrate of salicylates and phenols and can be toxic in high amounts to both pets and young children, the key to safe and responsible use is to highly dilute the oil in the diffuser and to make sure the oil isn’t in an enclosed space your pet can easily vacate if they are uncomfortable.
3. Topical Application
Remember that essential oil can be extremely potent and could cause irritation or even burns if not diluted with a carrier oil. One of the most popular oils used as a carrier is coconut oil. Since coconut oil contains fatty acids that can nourish the skin, it is an especially great carrier oil when applying essential oils topically.
When choosing coconut oil you should look for fractionated coconut oil so you know it is pure, it will also remain a liquid and won’t solidify like regular coconut oil. Other popular carrier oils are jojoba oil or even avocado oil.
No matter what carrier oil you opt for when trying out an essential oil that is new to you it is best to apply a small spot test to ensure you don’t have any allergic reaction or find any negative effects from the topical application. Be sure to consult a health care professional if you have any questions about the effectiveness of a specific oil.
Popular places for topical applications are on the forehead or temples (especially to help with headache), the bottoms of feet and on the chest or abdomen. There are many guides that can help you determine the best places to apply.
Oils are commonly found to be used in massage and can help your skin look healthy. Other ways of experiencing oils topically would be to add a drop or two to a warm bath, which can give you both the aromatic and topical benefits.
4. Internal Use
While the internal consumption of essential oils has been touted as safe from some brands and not recommended by other brands it is up to you to decide if you would like to ingest your essential oils. Consulting an expert is certainly in your best interest before you take that step to ensure your personal safety.
Not all essential oils are deemed suitable for consumption, but those that have are most often consumed as a drop in a glass of water or other beverage or used in place of spices in recipes. For instance a drop of lemon oil in lemonade or in a marinade for fish.
If you often make your own cleaning solutions then you’re probably familiar with the benefits of using essential oils in your homemade cleaners. Since essential oils are considered natural, they are a popular component to those who prefer to use fewer chemicals in their homes.
Lemon oil is especially popular for cleaning because it has such a nice citrus scent that just reminds people of clean. There’s a reason so many brands offer lemon-scented cleaners after all. This is one of the oils that have antiviral properties which helps it attack the dirt as you clean and hopefully will keep your home cleaner for longer.
Nearly any oil can be used for cleaning, so if you have a favorite oil feel free to put it to work in your home in whichever scent you so prefer. Cleaning with essential oils is a natural way to invigorate your senses as well as get your home clean.
Since essential oils are harvested from nature, using them is a pure and simple way of inviting fragrance into your life. When you’re seeking out the best oil for you be sure to start slow and make sure that your oil is coming from a reputable source and isn’t too overpowering. Soon you’ll be inspiring others to try oils too.
About The Author:
Ashley Coblentz is a lifestyle blogger currently writing for essentialolie and a political journalist. After graduating from college, she worked as a Registered Nurse at one of the largest hospitals in South Dakota until deciding to be a full-time mom. She remains very passionate about the nursing profession and often volunteers in her extra time to teach community education classes on first aid and other related topics. She has one amazing child who keeps her on her toes. Who knew 10-year-olds could have so many questions? If you want to keep up with her and see what she’s writing next you can find her on Twitter or check out her portfolio for other fun reads.