In another edition of the ‘things I love’ series, I’m going to share my favourite picks for essential oils with you guys. Even if you don’t believe in all the hippy-dippy stuff, essential oils smell great, so there’s no excuse not to pick a few up and use them regularly. Plus, they’re pretty harmless overall; an essential oil is simply the liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants, so all these benefits are 100% natural.
They’re great for homemade beauty products and cleaning products, and you can even cook with them. You can also use them as a natural bug repellent. The list of ways to use these miraculous oils is endless, and you and your house will smell good doing it. If you’re just starting out with essential oils, here are my most essential picks.
Frankincense essential oil
This essential oil is amazing for a variety of reasons (like most essential oils!). It has some seriously therapeutic benefits, and it doesn’t hurt that it smells particularly nice, making it a good oil for some simple stress-relief aromatherapy.
This oil is sourced from the resin of the Boswellia carterii or Boswellia sacara tree that’s commonly grown in Somalia. It’s especially good for the skin, which is how I mostly use it (it’s part of my DIY facial serum oil, which you can read about in this post. For topical use, simply mix it with some jojoba oil for better absorption to reap the benefits).
Benefits of Frankincense essential oil:
- Anti-ageing. One of the best ways to use it in your daily beauty routine is in a serum to keep you looking young! Learn how in my post here.
- It’s antibacterial and antiseptic. We know it’s great for cleansing the skin and has some detox properties – an important part of keeping skin supple.
- Reduce appearance of stretch marks. Combining some of this essential oil with a bit of avocado oil on problem areas can help to fade the darker colour.
- Skin healing. It can also help to heal up other skin issues like cuts and acne.
- Antiseptic. Frankincense is great for keeping things clean. Use it to scent DIY house cleaners, laundry soap, or even cleaning your teeth. Simply mix some with baking soda for a natural toothpaste.
- Relaxation. Almost all essential oils are good for stress reduction. Try adding Frankincense to a bath, or warmed up coconut oil to moisturise with for easy, daily use.
Peppermint oil is fresh, light, and zingy for a quick wake-me-up. It’s got plenty of other uses too. It makes a lovely, refreshing addition to soaps, so it’s great for morning skincare rituals. I use it when I feel a little sluggish or need a pick me up, I simply dub a little peppermint oil, mixed with jojoba or coconut oil, on my temples and under my nose.
Benefits of peppermint oil:
- Digestion. Peppermint oil has a particularly strong argument; its volatile oils will stimulate the gallbladder, leading to proper fat digestion and subsequent bile release. Use it to reduce bloating.
- Energy boost. A whiff of peppermint or using it in a face wash is a good way to wake up in the morning since it’s naturally invigorating.
- Deter ants and mice. Swab a bit of peppermint oil in problem areas to deter mice, ants, and other pests from entering your home.
- Natural painkiller. Sore muscles, tension headaches, joint pain, or chronic pain, the menthol properties of peppermint oil can help. Use it to rub on temples for a headache, or try making a natural muscle salve by mixing it with oil. If I get a cold sore, I dub a little peppermint oil to num the discomfort and pain.
- Clear out the sinuses. Take a whiff when you’re feeling stuffed up for instant relief. It will act as an expectorant. It can also be used for allergy relief.
- Good breath. Swap out your mouthwash and freshen up the all natural way instead. Just swish or swallow a drop or two when you need it.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is personally one of my favourite oils and gets a lot of use. It’s wonderful for soaps, candles, and just about anything else. Plus, it blends really beautifully with most other essential oils, so you can get creative with your creations and applications. Tea tree oil is pretty strong, so I advise to dilute it in some carrier oil before you apply it to your skin (I use some coconut oil or even regular olive oil will do).
Benefits of tea tree oil:
- Acne remedy. It can be nearly as effective as benzoyl peroxide without the harshness. Mix some up with honey for a great acne-fighting face mask, or dub a little tea tree oil (mixed with a little carrier oil such as jojoba or avocado oil) on problem spots.
- Antimicrobial properties. This makes it a highly effective ingredient in household cleaners (especially when combined with lemon oil). Simply mix with water, and use it anywhere.
- Soothing dry skin. It’s great for hair, particularly if you have a dry scalp or suffer from dandruff. Use it as a shampoo by combining with coconut milk and aloe gel. It can also be helpful for eczema and psoriasis.
- Mould killer. Diffusing tea tree oil can help kill and mould hiding out around the house and clear up the air.
- Unblock your nose. Add a few drops of the tea tree essential oil to your bath, hot shower or a steaming bowl of water and inhale the aromas to clear up your sinuses!
Lavender oil is one of the most common essential oils for a good reason. It’s soothing, relaxing, and smells great by nature. If you own one essential oil for relaxation, this should be it. It’s known for good sleep, and it’s great for a pre-bed ritual or diffusing as you wind down for the day, but it has benefits even beyond that.
Benefits of lavender oil:
- Relaxation. Lavender oil’s main constituents – linalool and linalyl acetate – are thought to be what induces a more relaxed state of being.
- Natural muscle relaxer. In this study done with mice, lavender oil decreased motility in the mice.
- Treatment for back pain. Lavender oil has also been studied as a component of lower back pain relief, in conjunction with acupressure.
- Sleep aid. You can diffuse lavender oil before you go to bed at night, or use it in a relaxing bath. You could rub it on the wrists or temples, or use it on your bedding and pillows to promote relaxation as soon as you hit the sheets.
- Work the nervous system. Anxiety can be tough, but lavender can help soothe mild anxiety or nervous bouts. It can also be good for headaches and other nervous system-related ailments.
Lemon oil is undoubtedly one of the most versatile essential oils. It can be used in place of fresh lemon in water or other recipes, or you can add it to homemade cleaning products for a fresh lemon scent plus some antimicrobial action.
Benefits of lemon oil:
- Energising effects. In place of fresh lemon, you can add a few drops of lemon oil to your water for a natural pick-me-up.
- Natural skincare. Rejuvenate and refresh with lemon oil. It’s a natural astringent, so it can help give you a lift or brighten up dull skin. It’s also good for reducing oil.
- Immune booster. No surprise here! Vitamin C is great for the immune system, and citrus is a quite common source. It stimulates white blood cells, too, keeping the immune system strong. Use it during cold season or while sick to recover faster.
- Furniture polish. Tough-to-clean things like wood and silver are all about maintaining that shine. Ditch the Pine-Sol and polish with lemon oil instead.
- Natural disinfectant. That lemon fresh smell is a sign of a clean and happy house. Use it to clean just about anything. You can simply mix it with water and any other desired essential oil(s).
Oil of oregano
Herbs can be quite powerful, and oregano is no exception. It’s fantastic for the immune system, and it’s one of the most healing essential oils if you ask me. Its antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties make it a winner. It’s basically anti-everything (besides health!). It’s quite a strong oil so make sure to mix it in water or carrier oil such as avocado, coconut or jojoba oil.
Benefits of oil of oregano:
- Antimicrobial properties. It’s great for fighting off things like skin or nail fungus, killing infections like UTIs and yeast infections, and easing respiratory symptoms. If you’re feeling congested, you can diffuse some oregano oil or steam a few drops in a pot of water and breathe it in for instant relief from sinus infections and colds. You can also add a few drops to a hot tea.
- Antiseptic properties. Derived from antioxidant thymol, these properties boost the immune system and strengthen the body’s defence against toxins.
- Fight off bacterial infection. The other main antioxidant found in this powerful herb – carvacrol – fights against bacterial infections.
- Cancer-fighter. Because of all these antioxidants, it makes the body more resilient to cancer cell formation as a whole