Are you sick and tired of not knowing exactly what’s in the products you purchase? From our food to our personal care products, a huge majority of ingredients contain long names of things I can’t even pronounce (let alone know WHAT they actually are). Once I became aware of this fact and started researching ingredients, I realized that I no longer was comfortable using these products so I started looking for ways to replace those items with natural solutions! Enter: Essential Oils.
The thing that I love most about my oils is the versatility. With just a little bit of knowledge and a few base recipes, essential oils allow anyone to learn to effectively support all different aspects of their lifestyle. Yep. That’s right. Anyone can make non-toxic beauty, cleaning, and wellness products for every member of the family, including your littles AND pets!!
So, before we get started, here are a few basic safety points to keep in mind:
- Don’t drink an entire bottle of essential oil at one time and keep the bottles away from the little ones who might be tempted to drink the entire bottle at one time.
- Keep in mind that essential oils are very potent, so it’s not a good idea to pour them all over every part of your body. There are areas essential oils should NEVER go… which are not the places that you might think. Never use essential oils directly in the eyes or ear canal! They may be used around these parts of the body, but never applied directly into either.
- Dilution is Key! Keep in mind that kids are small and animals are not humans. They need smaller amounts of oils, so remember to dilute accordingly. Also, some oils are considered ‘hot’ oils (Cinnamon Bark, Thieves, Oregano, etc). This means that you will likely be a bit uncomfortable if you apply them directly to your skin. Make sure you dilute hot oils accordingly (even for adults).
- If you ever get oils in your eyes/ears or they go on hot, remember that oil and water DO NOT MIX. So, do not try to wash the irritated area out with water because it will only make it worse. Instead, use a carrier oil (like sweet almond, jojoba, v-6 Vegetable Complex, etc).
- And finally… When in doubt, start small. If you are testing a new oil/recipe out, start with the smallest amount of oils and then you can work your way up as needed. My thinking is that I can always ADD more, but I can NEVER take away.
Quality vs Quantity
Quality is THE ABSOLUTE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING to keep in mind when using essential oils. Yes, you can get oils from the health food store or online (yes, even Amazon), but many are created by using only partial plant material and bulking the rest with additives to keep cost low. Or, with the case of Amazon, some have been tampered with. In fact, most of the companies that you see who sell essential oils for cheap are probably not selling high quality and due to poor labeling laws, these products can still carry the “pure” label. A lot of things go into quality of essential oils such as how they are grown/distilled, where they are grown, time of year they are planted/harvested and more!
If you happen to have a bottle of essential oil at your home, grab it to check the label. The label should say the common name (ex: orange) and the latin name (ex: Citrus Sinensis). If you have a peel back label– the ingredient list is often there. If you don’t see both names– that’s a big red flag that something is amiss. Or, if the bottle says “Do Not Ingest,” it’s also a pretty good clue that the item has been adulterated.
Because there are so many companies out there selling crap products, the ONLY brand that I recommend is Young Living. Not only are they the industry leader, but I use their products daily and they have never let me down. (Read more about the Young Living difference here).
An Example of Why Quality Matters
Cypress has 280 known chemical constituents, and all of them must be present for cypress to have healing potency. If it is distilled 20 hours, only 20 of the 280 are released. If distilled for 26 hours, none are released. The correct length of time for distilling cypress is 24 hours, which releases all 280 properties…. yet most cypress on the market today is distilled for just 3 1/2 hours.
As you can see, it is SO very important to purchase your oils from a company that understands and is aware of this! Just a 2 hour distillation difference can produce a totally different result (and leave you with no benefits at all).
Ready to Get Started??
How to Care for Essential Oils
- Do not store oils in your car! They should be stored in a dark place and away from heat.
- Use glass where possible! While there are some high quality plastics which can be used, essential oils will degrade cheap plastic overtime. Therefore, I store all DIY products containing essential oils in glass containers. Mason jars are fantastic for this because they are often very cheap and have many accessories for different functions.
How To Use Essential Oils
Good companies will provide dilution minimums and usage instructions (if they can be used via topical application, aromatic, or via ingestion) on the labels. There are 3 main ways to use essential oils: Inhalation, Topically, and Internally. However, not every essential oil can be used in the same way. Some require dilution and others do not. Some can be used topically and others cannot. One key piece of advice for new oilers is to ALWAYS read the instructions on the label or do your own research BEFORE you use the oils in a way off label. If there are warnings on the labels– please adhere to them. After all, who WANTS to be sick?? Isn’t your goal to feel better?
What I have found that it is always best to do some research to make sure you are using your essential oils properly. For this, I really love Pocket Reference Guide for Essential Oils as a reference guide to help me safely use my essential oils. You can also use the search tool in the sidebar of this site. 🙂
Also, a general guideline when using essential oils is that responses should occur relatively quickly. This is because essential oils enter and exit the body quickly. So, if nothing happens after properly applying an oil, try another that works in a similar fashion. Because we are all biologically different, we will respond differently to products.
Furthermore, because essential oils are highly concentrated plant substances, it is often not the amount of the essential oil used at any given application, but the frequency of the oil that creates the results. According to my Gentle Babies book, every essential oil has a frequency and this is one way that they differ from allopathic medicine. The strength of an essential oil comes through the ability to change the body and the emotions via the root cause of the problem (as opposed to treating the isolated function or system).
This is one of my favorite ways to get the best value of the essential oils and to make my home smell great at the same time. The aromatic powers of my oils are incredible, and this is a great tool to get their benefits! For instance, lavender is relaxing, lemon is uplifting, rosemary helps concentration and peppermint is energizing. If you want to support a certain mood, then you can diffuse a certain essential oil.
Plus, diffusers are so easy to use! Most work by adding a small amount of water in the well of the machine, add a few drops of essential oil, and then you turn on the machine. The diffuser will release a cool steam which will fill your room with a lovely scent.
Q: Can I purchase an different brand diffuser?
While a lot of companies make diffusers, not all are created equal. I personally bought a SpaVapor from Amazon in the beginning and used it as a back up and the oils actually ate through the lid! 😦 When choosing a diffuser, it is important that the manufacturer use quality plastic, otherwise the oils can eat through it (which is also why you should never put oils in a plastic water bottle). You should also never use a mechanism that heats the oils because it will decrease the integrity of the oil.
That being said… I do own a couple of different brands (I provide product reviews for Amazon so I get them discounted), but to date I have not found one that compares to my Young Living diffuser. Most of them die after awhile, but my YL’s have been going strong for years now, plus they come with a lifetime guarantee, so it is an overall better deal for me.
PS: A diffuser of your choice comes with the Premium Starter Kit, which is just one of the many reasons why the PSK is your BEST deal!
Ingesting essential oils is a very personal decision. If you ask around, you will get many different answers. Different schools of aromatherapy claim different things, and of course, you have different people’s personal preference. My theory is that it is a plant and because of the Seed To Seal guarantee, I know that there are no chemicals, so I personally choose to ingest my oils. I absolutely do not support ingesting essential oils that do not claim it is safe from the manufacturer. (Again: Always read the labels)! For more information, you can read this article about ingesting essential oils.
Many people (myself included) find that using essential oils internally can provide exceptional benefits. For example, DiGize under the tongue is fantastic for support for the Digestive System! Or, a bit of Peppermint added to water or tea is great for queasy stomachs.
If you like to use veggie capsules, I wouldn’t recommend making too many ahead of time because they can break down the structure of the capsule.
Q: How would I quickly make veggie capsules ahead of time?
Because the veggie capsule breaks down– that is, after all, what it is meant to do,– if I am mixing a blend to take internally (like Thieves + Oregano Vitality Oils), I will take a small glass dropper bottle like these and make my blend in there, and then use the dropper to fill the capsules. I don’t make them ahead of time otherwise they will end up a slushy mess after a few hours. (Unfortunately, I know that from experience).
Placing essential oils directly on the skin is a very common way to get their benefits. Some essential oils (like lavender) can be used “neat” or undiluted. Other essential oils require dilution which is usually required to be a minimum of a 1:1 dilution ratio with a carrier oil, but can be further diluted depending on your preference or on the person on whom it is being applied (kids, pets, etc). I usually find that 1-2 drop of essential oil in 1 TBSP of carrier oil is sufficient for many applications. Due to a process called time release, all oils can be diluted and still retain their value, even the ones that can be used neatly.
Remember, dilution doesn’t have to be exact. I’m not always one to measure, so I often find myself eye balling it when I mix essential oils with carrier oil, but a good range tends to be equal parts or up to 1 drop per 1 tsp depending on how diluted you want something to be and the area of skin you are covering.
Q: What is a carrier oil?
A carrier oil is a base oil which is used to help dilute the essential oil. They essential “carry” the value of the essential oil into the skin. The following lists the most common:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Jojoba oil
- Almond oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Avocado oil
- Rose hip seed oil (great for beauty products)
- Young Living’s v-6 vegetable oil complex (which is my fav!!)
- You can also use shea butter or cocoa butter
Talk to your Doctor
It is always good idea to talk to your doctor about supplements, herbs and essential oils which are you taking regularly and have open discussions with your healthcare providers.