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If you’re into self-care, mindfulness, and taking care of your body, chances are you’ve dabbled in using essential oils (or, at the very least, you’ve used skincare products that incorporate them).
After all, there are tons of scent diffusers and essential oil products out there, and they can be a great and easy way to make your house smell good, to spruce up your lotions, or even just to make yourself feel better.
That said, there’s a right way and wrong way to use essential oils - and there are certain oils that can deliver real, tangible benefits that might help you every day. Here’s what you should know.
Essential oils have been used by various cultures around the world for centuries:
In short, the many uses of essential oils -- for cosmetics, aromatherapy, medicine, and even cooking -- have been explored successfully for centuries. Which brings us to the current moment.
Today, essential oils are used in a variety of ways to boost mood, ease stress, help with pain, quell sleeplessness, and more. Most commonly, they are:
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all essential oils were created equal, and there are certain varieties and best practices you should follow to get it right.
Believe it or not, this matters. The way that essential oils are extracted has an effect on the final composition of the oil depending on the heat and pressure that’s applied during the process.
There are a few main options of extraction:
Of these processes, steam distillation is the most volatile and the most likely to change the essential oil structure. Why? The high heat often used in steam distillation can alter the chemical composition of the oils and kill off some of its active properties. So if you’re looking for bioactive chemicals, you might be wary of high heat steam.
Many essential oils can be really irritating to the skin, particularly when applied at full strength. Even oils that doprovide significant topical skin benefits - like tea tree, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties - should not be applied in their purest form.
Instead, you should look for products that dilute these oil in a carrier oil or mix them into a more c comprehensive formulation.
Some oils that are particularly known to cause irritation when applied directly at full strength include:
In the same vein, it’s always important to patch test any essential oils before you start using them. This can help you avoid serious allergic reactions along with issues like contact dermatitis, burns, or skin irritation.
This goes for your humidifier, too. Diffusers generally use water in some kind of plastic container to diffuse essential oils into the air. And what does sitting water encourage? Mold and bacteria! If that starts to grow, you’ll be diffusing more than great smelling oils (yikes). So make sure that you’re cleaning your diffuser regularly to avoid any problems.
This trick of the trade is helpful if you’re applying oils topically for mood support or just to enjoy the smell. Applying essential oils to your pulse points - on your wrist, behind your ears, or on your temples, for example - allows the oils to soak into your system more quickly. The increased blood flow in these areas also warms the oils up a tiny bit more, which means you’ll get stronger aromatic benefits, too.
So what essential oils should you try? Well, it depends on what you’re going for:
If you want a little pick-me-up, we recommend energizing essential oils like:
If work, the pandemic, or general lingering 2020 vibes have you feeling a little stressed, we recommend:
Bonus: This combination can help fade scars and stretch marks when applied directly - yay!
Ready to drift off into dreamland? Try oils like:
Ready to start exploring essential oils? You can find a full suite of essential oils for every situation in the Daily Rituals Essential Oils Box.