A Complete Guide To Essential Oils & My Favorite Ways To Use Them
For those of you who don't already know, I have recently become a wellness advocate for Döterra Essential Oils. Although this is a new journey for me, I've been infusing essential oils into my daily life for almost two years now. The first experience I had with an oil was after I walked into a yoga class with a headache I spent the whole day trying to shake. My teacher conveniently started the session with a drop of peppermint in each of our palms, and after dabbing the oil onto my forehead (because why not?), the indestructible headache was gone almost instantly. This was the beginning of a serious love affair. After witnessing the magic of essential oils for myself, I dove deeper into learning about the benefits of Döterra. Now, I not only use these oils in my yoga practice, but throughout my daily routines- holistically nourishing all aspects of my life. And I've got so so many tips, tricks and yummy combos to offer! But first, let's talk a little bit about what essential oils are and all the ways we can use them!
Note- Any essential oils that I personally use or reference in this post will have come from Döterra. After a lot of research, I came to find that their oils are the purest, being harvested at the perfect moment by the most experienced growers around the world. These oils are thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) quality protocol.
What are essential oils?
Simply said- they're just a highly concentrated version of the natural oils found in plants. All plants are made up of seeds, bark, roots, stems and flowers that are full of naturally occuring aromatic compounds, aka the essential oils. These protect the plants against environmental threats and assist in pollination, all while smelling beautifully fragrant. Essential oils are intrinsically beneficial to not only plants, but to us, as well! For years, essential oils have been used in beauty regimens, health-care practices, and even food preparation.
How can I use essential oils?
While there really is no "wrong" way to use essential oils (as long as the proper safety guidelines are followed), there are 3 most common ways to enjoy the benefits of an oil. Aromatically, topically and internally.
Using essential oils Aromatically
This is probably the most familiar use of essential oils. It's as simple as removing the lid and enjoying the aroma right from the bottle, but could also be enhanced by using a number of different methods, from putting a drop in your palms, combining your favorite oils into a bottle to enjoy as a room spray, or using an essential oil diffuser!
Diffusers use water to permeate all the little particles of a selected oil (or mixture of oils) into the air. The water and oil mixture creates a refreshing mist that releases the aromatic and therapeutic benefits of the oil. My favorite diffuser is the Petal Diffuser by Döterra. It's small enough to fit snuggly on my nightstand, and comes with 3 different timer options- 1 hour, 2 hours or 4 hours. This small but mighty diffuser also comes with an optional soft white light, making it ideal for zenful nighttime use.
Some of my favorite oils to diffuse are Citrus Bliss, Lemon and Wild Orange. I gravitate towards the citrus aromas (especially in the morning), because of their refreshing and awakening scents. These oils also possess uplifting qualities that enhance my mood for the whole day! My night time go-to oil is Lavender- some lavender diffusing while I read a good book- can you say R & R?
Tip- Invest in some of Döterra's On Guard protection blend for the cold/flu months. When diffused, this is the perfect oil to ward away icky germs in the house!
More recently, people have become super creative when it comes to essential oils making it easy to enjoy the aromatic benefits on-the-go! There are diffusers you can hang in your car (like a dual purposed freshener!), and even jewelry that doubles as a diffuser. I recently purchased a lava stone bracelet made by one of my lovely fellow teacher training girls- it's designed to soak in drops of oils and evaporate the aroma into the air. The style is adorable and it's fully functional. I wear it every day!
Another easy way to enjoy your essential oils aromatically is by simply adding a few drops of an oil to a cotton ball, or on the palms of your hands! Cup them around your nose and take a deep inhale.
Using essential oils Topically
There are endless benefits when you start venturing into the topical uses of essential oils. But before you get started, make sure to do your research on safely applying different oils. Most of Döterra essential oils are already perfectly safe enough to apply directly to the skin, however there are a select few that come with the suggestion of diluting with a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil) before applying topically to limit the chance of skin irritation. The most beneficial places you can apply essential oils are your neck, forehead/temples, arms, legs and bottoms of your feet. You can use an oil on almost any part of your body, but avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes or in places where your skin may be broken or damaged.
If using Döterra, keep an eye out for the "N" or "D" symbols of a specific oil. This will let you know if the oil is "neat," meaning no dilution is required before applying to skin, or "dilute," which would suggest diluting the oil with a carrier oil before using topically.
Once you get the hang of the application and start to learn what oils work for specific ailments, this will probably become your favorite use of essential oils! Speaking from personal experience, learning how to make natural remedies at the tips of your fingers (literally) will help you take giant leaps towards a more holistically healthy lifestyle. I have replaced a number of things and medications in my house after finding relief through one, or even a mixture of a few oils. There are just too many favorites to list, so I narrowed it down to my top 6 favorite ways to use essential oils topically:
1. Peppermint- one thing I do a couple times throughout the day is apply a drop of Peppermint Oil directly to my forehead. This has been magic for me, dissipating my headaches as quickly as they come on. Peppermint also helps to eliminate nausea, AND has some nice awakening qualities for when you forget your morning coffee. So basically, I live on Peppermint oil.
2. Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil)- Over the years, my skincare routine has evolved form harsh, highly medicated products to only gentle and natural products that make my skin happy. I use Tea Tree oil as my spot treatment for any pimples or blemishes that appear! Read my daily skincare routine for more diets!
3. Lavender- Putting a few drops of lavender on the bottom of my feet at bedtime helps me drift off to sleep faster and remain peacefully rested through the night. After a long day, I'll also add Lavender oil to a bubble bath and enjoy the relaxing aroma emitted from the steam. Yummy.
4. Deep Blue- You'll especially like this one after the gym. It's like a natural (and better) version of icy hot, providing a sensation of cooling and warmth to any problem areas. I use this on my lower back almost every day.
5. Citrus Bliss- I use Citrus Bliss on my wrists and neck as a perfume most days and I get countless compliments on the way I smell
6. A Combo!- Instead of a mid-day espresso boost, I replaced it with drops of peppermint, lime and grapefruit on my wrists. The combo uplifts my mood, energy and motivation!
Using essential oils Internally
It may sound freaky at first, but the list of health benefits you can receive by ingesting essential oils goes on forever. However, just like using the oils topically, you should do research before diving into the internal use of oils.
Adding a drop of your favorite oil to your water throughout the day is a great way to not only stay hydrated and healthy, but also add a little bit of (calorie free) flavor! Lemon and Wild Orange are go-to oils here - a flavor burst that also uplifts my mood and activity level? Yes, please!
Don't be afraid to get creative and add drops of oils to hot drinks, tea or smoothies, as well!
Adding essential oils to your home-made recipes is a great way to get unique flavors in your favorite foods. For example, in a recipe that calls for peppermint extract, try replacing with a drop of peppermint oil, instead! Or add a few drops of Oregano and Basil to your pasta sauce, giving it a powerful and authentic italian flare.
Remember, especially when adding essential oils to drinks and recipes, that a little bit goes a long way! I only need 1 drop of lemon in my water to make it taste like there's a lemon wedge floating around. Most recipe replacements will call for just 1 or 2 drops of the oil. You can always add more, so start by adding one drop.
Some oils have profound health benefits when ingested, but come with a powerful or overwhelming taste. Doterra makes it easy to still receive these benefits by providing us with empty veggie capsules (check them out here). Just add a couple drops to the capsule and take with water, like a vitamin! This is super helpful when it comes to oils like Cardamom, which has awesome effects on the respiratory system but comes with an icky taste, or even Oregano, which when taken daily in a veggie capsule helps to maintain healthy immune function, but will burn your nostrils if placed directly in the mouth!
Some simple safety guidelines to follow while using essential oils
Avoid direct contact with eyes, ears and nose
Be sure to read the label of each individual oil before use, to determine how to receive the most benefits from the oil in the safest way
Remember to start slowly, these oils are potent. Less is more!
If you have sensitive skin, dilute the chosen oil with a carrier oil before applying directly to skin
If skin irritation occurs, apply pure vegetable oil to the affected area until the irritation clears
Have fun with it!
There's no pressure here. Learning to use essential oils effectively, just like anything else, is a process. You may start by enjoying a single drop of peppermint (like me) and eventually develop a 6-oil diffuser medley to start your day! I have spent the last year experimenting with different mixtures and remedies and have found that essential oils only enhance my wellness lifestyle, while taking nothing away.
While the idea of diving into essential oils may seem overwhelming at first, there are plenty of resources to guide you along your new journey to blissfully balancing your life. I'm always here to answer any questions you may have!
If you already have a collection of oils, comment your favorite and how you use it below! I'm always looking for new ideas.. ;)
Or click here to check out my Doterra website!
Sending all love,
Kimber is a fellow soul searcher, yoga instructor, and proud dog mama. She invites you along her own journey to wellness and hopes to inspire people to be the healthiest & happiest version of themselves every day!