I am no essential oil aficionado by any means. I have a few special blends that have been passed along to me, but for the most part I stick to these 5 that are my tried and true. For those of you who walk past the essential oil section of your health food store with both anxiety and a sense of longing, this is going to be an easily digestible list of my favorite essential oils that can be used in several different ways!
1. Lavender – Even the most newbie essential oil user knows about this one. It is a calming and relaxing essential oil that I use quite frequently in the following ways:
- A few drops in a bath of epson salt to relax after a long day, de-stress, or aid with sleep has really become standard for my nightly routine. This is especially great to do before bed when you find that you can’t seem to wind down after working out at night or staying up late on your computer.
- Mixed with a carrier oil, lavender is great for calming the skin. This was especially helpful in the early stages of my hyperpigmentation. Be careful when using essential oils on the skin though, definitely dilute them with carrier oils (almond, grapeseed, avocado, jojoba, coconut oil ect), and patch test!
- If you have a diffuser you can diffuse this when you are winding down at night, when you are stressed, or if you are feeling anxious and it will calm your mood. Weird warning though – distilling lavender while I am sleeping gives me CRAZY weird dreams, so I actually stick to mixing a little with my body lotion before bed so it wears off over time instead of diffusing all night long. (By crazy dreams I mean one time I was on a plane with the cast from Grey’s Anatomy (we were coloring, I am not joking) and we crashed in the middle of no where (LOST style) and when we got off the plane we ended up being at George Lucas’s house and had to fight Darth Vader. I was disappointed to wake up before I got the chance to whip out my light saber. Any writers or producers out there – you are welcome for that idea.)
2. Frankincense – Franki (as I lovingly abbreviate it) is that kid that you just can’t stand at first because of their harsh personality, but then when you get to know them and see them for what they really are, they become your favorite. At first, the smell of Franki was not appealing to me at all and I didn’t see any value in the oil, now I am hooked!
- Just like lavender (I frequently use the two together), Franki can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the skin to heal scaring, wounds, and hyperpigmentation. The two together are a scar-fighting duo out to help anyone who suffers from acne scaring.
- Franki is also wonderful for combining with other essential oils to boost their effect. When layering it with other oils, put it on last!
- Franki is the life of the party. Need a mood boost, having some seasonal depression, or grumpy as all get out? Franki will help you out without making you too calm or sleepy like lavender will.
3. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus has two main jobs in my life, help me when I am sick and keep me focused when I am working.
- I have a terrible immune system. I will say that since getting some medical issues sorted I have notice a dramatic drop in the number of colds I had this year, but I have still come to accept I just get sick easily. So, when the inevitable cold strikes again, I always have my giant bottle of Eucalyptus essential oil ready for action. Add it to a hot bath, your diffuser, a carrier oil applied to your chest, or a DIY tablet for a steam shower, and it will help ease that annoying congestion you have going on this time of year.
- Eucalyptus is also wonderful for concentration. Senior year of college I would take a few drops of Eucalyptus dropped onto a cotton pad into long exams to help me power through and stay focused. It is always diffusing now when I am writing a post or working on a big project for work.
4. Tea Tree Oil: Fellow Generation Y’ers please enjoy this reference to our useless science classes: just as the mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of the cell … tea tree oil is the powerhouse of anti-bacterial essential oils.
- Use it for acne, dandruff, athletes foot, mold, oral health; I mean the options are endless. This stuff flows like water in my apartment. It is a component in most DIY cleaning products, beauty products, and health products that I make. Mouthwash, face masks, hair rinses… the list is endless.
5. Lemon: I am a huge citrus person. I love the smell, and I love the taste. Lemon essential oil is no different.
- Lemon is the most common essential oil in my diffuser and probably the one that gets the least amount of fuss out of Nick. It makes our apartment smell fresh, clean, and uplifting. Lemon is a another natural disinfectant like Tea Tree and also improves mood. A wonderful oil to have around for a DIY air spray, a drop in your laundry, or just to diffuse.
- Lemon can be used on the skin, but be careful as it makes your skin sensitive to sunlight, so only use it at night. It can be added to face wash or lotion to help clear and lighten the complexion. It is also wonderful in DIY mouthwash or toothpaste as a tooth whitener.
Choosing an essential oil brand:
Make sure you do your research on quality of ingredients and oil. Rose Mountain Herbs and Bali Botanic are where I get my essential oils when I have time to order, but your health food store should have several brands to choose from!