A Beginner’s Guide to Using Essential Oils
I was introduced to dōTERRA essential oils by a coworker several years ago. I heard of them before then and was intrigued, but I was admittedly a little lost when it came to how to use them on myself, my children, and in my home. So, I started purchasing some of the more basic oils to start with: lemon, peppermint, lavender, etc. These are the ones that have so many obvious health and home uses and helped me to see just how awesome essential oils are.
I put together this guide to help beginners like I once was learn how to use essential oils.
*This post was originally written on October 6th, 2016 and has been last updated on March 20th, 2020.
**As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I may earn a commission from purchases made through affiliate links on this page.
What are essential oils?
According to Wikipedia, “An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants”. Basically, they are oils extracted from plants, usually by distillation using steam. Historically, essential oils have been used for medicinal purposes through treatments like aromatherapy and massage. Additionally, essential oils are used as a more natural alternative to modern medicine to treat common ailments.
How can you use essential oils?
You can use essential oils topically (on skin) or aromatically (through diffusion). Most experts agree that ingesting essential oils isn’t a good idea. Essential oils are potent, and getting them into your body can be harmful. It’s important to always check labels and do your research before using any essential oil. I love dōTERRA essential oils because they state on the label how you can use the product and how to dilute it if necessary. To dilute an oil, you simply mix a few drops with a carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil.
Essential oils can be used to alleviate common ailments, like headaches, upset stomach, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, allergies, respiratory issues, and sore throats. For example, mixing a drop of lemon oil with a drop of honey and ingesting the mixture can help soothe a sore throat. Diffusing a few drops of lavender oil in your bedroom can help calm you and allow you to sleep better. DōTERRA sells several oil blends to target certain ailments too, such as Deep Blue® Soothing Blend to reduce the discomfort of aching joints.
When my coworker first introduced me to essential oils, I had no idea how handy they could be around the home. You can combine lemon and orange oil to create powerful household citrus cleaners to tackle grease on ovens, dirty sinks, etc. You can also add lemon oil to some olive oil to create a lemony fresh furniture polish. DōTERRA’s On Guard® Protective Blend is one of my favorite oil blends for my home. I add a few drops to water and use it as a cleaner for doorknobs, phones, countertops, the refrigerator handle, and anywhere else dirty germs spread quickly.
Can I use essential oils on kids?
I would advise you to do your research. This was one of the biggest questions I had when I began using oils: Which essential oils were safe to use on children and how can I make sure they’re safe? Many oils have to be diluted with olive oil or fractionated coconut oil before applying to a child’s skin. Even then, if your child has any skin sensitivities, they could end up with a reaction from oils. It’s best to test your diluted mixture on just a small patch of skin to make sure your child doesn’t have a reaction. One of the best ways to ensure your child’s safety with oils is to diffuse the oils in his/her room or other areas of the house your child frequents. Be sure to read the instructions for dilution on the oil and the diffuser to make sure you use a safe amount.
Beginner’s Recipes & Tips
I like making my own concoctions with oils for both health and home benefits. Combing the internet (especially Pinterest!) provides tons of awesome recipes and tips that you can do yourself to create health mixtures, cleaners, lotions, and more. You should start by reading this post by Redefined Mom that details how a normal person uses oils during the day. Here, find several of my favorite tricks & tips that are perfect for beginner oil users.
Health Recipes & Tips
- Salma from The Write Balance shares her 6 favorite essential oils for daily use
- Peaceful sleep recipe from My Natural Family
- Many of these exfoliating face scrubs from Homemade for Elle use essential oils
- Lavender Vanilla bubble bath from Wondermom Wannabe
- Spa-Like Bath Soak from Family Focus Blog
- Using essential oils to alleviate headaches
Home Recipes & Tips
- Aromatic 3-drop diffuser blends from Mommy Moment
- Homemade cleaning products from Wondermom Wannabe
- Several ways to use essential oils for home & cleaning (PDF)
- Guide to diffusing essential oils and great combinations from Holistically Engineered
- Mold & Mildew cleaner from My Natural Family
- Foaming Hand Soap from The Rising Spoon
- How to safely dilute essential oils from Kitchen Stewardship
- Powerful Mothering shares 20 essential oil roller bottle recipes
- Beginner’s guide to blending essential oils from Growing Up Herbal
- Where to apply essential oils from The Herbal Homestead
- A skeptic’s guide to essential oil use
- Beginner’s kit to beauty recipes from The Paleo Mama
Where can I buy essential oils?
While there are several brands of essential oils, I put a lot of my trust in dōTERRA oils. This is why I became a Wellness Advocate for dōTERRA and stand by its products. You can find some dōTERRA products on Amazon as well, but usually for a higher price tag. However, there are several other sellers on Amazon who also make essential oils. I suggest doing your research to find natural essential oils at high concentrations, though. Many low-priced oils are heavily diluted, so they won’t have the same effects as concentrated, high-quality oils.
Do you use essential oils? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your favorites in the comments below. Also, leave a comment if you have any questions about essential oils.