If you’re growing concerned about the toxicity in your everyday staples — face creams, cleaning products, medicines, and more — there’s no better way to get back to basics than by experimenting with essential oils. Consider this your go-to essential oils guide for a simple and holistic approach to using them for your home, health, and peace of mind.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants. They’ve been around for hundreds of years, used for their medicinal properties. They’re not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but there are many oils that are widely considered to be perfectly safe and beneficial. One note of caution: Just because a product is natural, doesn’t mean it won’t come with potentially harmful side effects. Always dilute essential oils in a carrier such as jojoba or almond oil, and read the instructions carefully. If you’re pregnant, nursing or have a medical condition, always consult with your physician before adding a new step to your health regimen and be sure to read our post on Essential Oils in Pregnancy.
If this is your first foray into the world of essential oils, there are several sweet-smelling and easy varieties we suggest starting with. These are widely available and can be used for many purposes.
- Lavender: calming, antimicrobial
- Lemon balm: revitalizing
- Peppermint: tension-buster, refreshing
- Tea tree: clarifying, antimicrobial
- Eucalyptus: antiseptic
- Rose geranium: anti-aging
How to use them
- Make a linen spray: Fill a small spray bottle with filtered water and 3-4 drops of your favorite-smelling oil. Lavender is a good choice, as is lemon balm. Mist your sheets, pillowcase and comforter before turning in for the night. Sweet dreams ahead!
Fight a cold: Stave off a winter bug by adding 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil to your shower drain. The steam from your shower will release the oil’s scent into your bathroom, helping you breathe easier.
“Ward off germs from your gym bag by spritzing with a mixture of water and 2-3 drops tea tree oil.”
- Ban germs: Ward off germs from your gym bag by spritzing your stuff with a mixture of water and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Not only will your gym essentials smell amazing, but you’ll also keep microbes from multiplying.
- Clear skin: Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in a small amount of jojoba oil. Rub a dime-sized amount between your palms and massage into your skin – being careful to avoid your eye area. Tea tree oil is incredibly beneficial for clearing up blemishes and revealing a fresh, even complexion.
- Sparkling dishes: Give your eco-friendly dishwashing detergent a boost with 2-3 drops of lemon oil in your dishwasher. One cycle later, you’ll find your dishes crystal clear and spot free.
- Ease tension: Massage 2-3 drops of soothing and refreshing peppermint oil into your temples, forehead and nape of neck to ease a headache.
- Anti-aging: Sweet almond and rose geranium oils make for a luxurious facial serum.
- Anxiety relief: Dot a drop of lavender oil on each wrist. Any time you need a moment of calm, rub your wrists together and take a deep breath in.
- Deodorizer: Add an oil like eucalyptus or lemon balm to a pot of water simmering on your stove. Or douse a cotton ball in your favorite scent and toss it into the canister or bag of your vacuum cleaner. Each time you clean your floors, you’ll release a delicious scent into the air.
- Repel fleas: Ward off pesky bugs by spritzing your dog’s collar with cedar or tea tree oil. Bonus: The oil will also perfume your pup.
Are you new to using essential oils? How will you use them in your day-to-day? Let us know in the comments below.