With an increasing number of people wanting more natural ingredients in their everyday products, essential oils are making their way into more and more products on shelves and in homemade items. While we’ve seen a surge in essential oil’s popularity in the last few years, they have been around for thousands of years and widely used in certain parts of the world as remedies, fragrances, and for aromatherapy purposes. Like any product out there, not all essential oils are made equal. The quality of the plant, the region from which it derives, and the extraction method can all significantly impact the final product. Every plant has its own scent, beneficial properties, uses, and purposes; understanding each essential oil’s unique qualities will help you get the most out of every precious drop. If you’re just starting to get familiar with essential oils, this beginner’s guide will provide all the fundamental basics to help you understand them better.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are produced by extracting oils from a specific plant or herb. The resulting oil is highly concentrated, and can be used individually, in combination blends, or in a variety of other ways for therapeutic and beautification purposes.

Unlike many of the oils with which we’re familiar (such as olive oil and coconut oil), essential oils do not have a greasy or oily feel to them, and have a much thinner consistency.

USES

There are many ways to enjoy all the benefits that essential oils can offer. Essential oil in its pure, undiluted form can be highly concentrated and potent, so it is highly inadvisable to apply it directly to skin.

INHALATION

When inhaled, certain oils can provide a calming or stress-alleviating effect, while others have been known to help with nausea or boost mood. You can inhale them directly from the bottle or through an inhalant, or you can add some of your favorite essential oils to a diffuser to fill a room.

TOPICAL APPLICATION

Essential oils can also be mixed with carrier oils (such as jojoba oil or almond oil) to be used in baths or for skin care. They are found in many such products, including massage oils, creams, lotions, soaps, deodorants, and more.

Another popular option is an aromatherapy roller. They usually have a mix of essential oils and a carrier oil so that it’s safe to apply directly on skin, such as on your wrists or behind your ears.

CLEANING

Many essential oils (such as lavender) have naturally bactericidal and antimicrobial properties, making them an increasingly preferred ingredient over harsh chemicals in cleaning products.

BENEFITS

The benefits of essential oils are plentiful and varied, depending on the specific plant or herb from which the oil is extracted. There can be physical and mental benefits, for your body both inside and out.

Common physical benefits of essential oils include their ability to fight bacteria and odor, provide relief for aches and soreness, and alleviate headaches and head tension. They can also help to improve your skin and overall complexion, fight signs of aging, combat free radicals and oily skin, and revitalize dull, tired skin.

Mentally, many essential oils have been used to ease stress and tension, uplift mood, reduce negative states of mind, stimulate the senses, combat restlessness or insomnia, fight mental fatigue or exhaustion, and help with focus and concentration.

The natural benefits of essential oils are seemingly endless. With so many options available, it is important to do your research and choose the right essential oils to address your specific needs. Of course, some people simply love the natural fragrance of certain oils – and that’s okay too! Essential oils can absolutely be enjoyed simply for its appealing aroma.

SIDE EFFECTS

When applied properly, essential oils are safe and easy to use. However, it’s important to be aware of possible side effects and risks that can result from misusing them.

INGESTION

Due to its highly concentrated nature, it is generally deemed unsafe to ingest essential oils directly. In minimal concentrations, some of these oils are blended into certain products that can then be consumed safely. For example, Way of Will’s tinctures are enriched with essential oils to maximize therapeutic benefits.

SKIN CONTACT

When applied directly onto skin, these potent oils can irritate skin and have the potential to result in contact dermatitis or burns. Even when diluted with carrier oils or mixed into skin-care products, it is always best to do a patch test to see how your skin reacts to specific essential oils.

EXCESSIVE OR PROLONGED USE

Essential oils can provide a host of benefits to the body and mind, but you can overdo it. Excessive use or prolonged exposure to essential oils can make you sensitive to them, or lead to increased blood pressure and heart rate, among other things. Essential oils should be used safely and in moderation to avoid adverse effects.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Excited to explore the wonderful world of essential oils and see how each one can benefit you? We get it! It can be difficult and costly to try all the different types of essential oils out there, and to know which ones best match your specific needs. Luckily, we have our very own Glossary of Oils that cover a good amount of the most common and popular essential oils, and what each one can do for your body and mind. Of course, the best way to familiarize yourself with essential oils is to put them to the test! Enriched with uplifting sweet orange and calming lavender essential oils, our Sweet Slumber terpene diffuser blend creates a tranquil environment to help clear the mind and relax the body for a sleep like no other.