Integrating essential oils into your self-care practice is a beautiful way to feel connected to the earth and heal your spirits (and possibly your skin while you’re at it).
The following 7 uses for essential oils just scratch the surface of the world of essential oils. Consider them a mere introduction. At the same time, these basic methods are accessible for everyone—even if you’re not a strict adherent to natural beauty products and practices.
Of course, before embarking on a DIY project involving essential oils, be sure to double check how to safely use the particular essential oils you’re interested in. Some oils may be safe to use topically but must never be consumed orally while others are completely non-toxic but may irritate the skin in high concentrations. The following suggestions have been obtained from The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils.
Whether you’re massaging yourself or another, adding essentials oils into the mix can deepen the sense of relaxation or stimulation, depending on which oils you use. Dilute essential oils in a carrier oil—like sweet almond oil or coconut oil. For every teaspoon of carrier oil, use 3 to 5 drops of essential oil.
Best essential oils for massage: Marjoram may be used on the neck and shoulders to ease stiffness and aches while peppermint (in small doses), may be massaged on the belly in a clockwise direction to improve digestion. Lavender and chamomile may be used in massage to relieve mental tension.
2. Hair care.
To make an essential oil hair treatment, mix several drops of essential oil into a carrier oil and massage the mixture onto your scalp and then wrap your hair in warm towels for an hour. Shampoo as usual.
Best essential oils for hair care: Rosemary, West Indian bay, and chamomile condition hair and encourage healthy hair growth. Bergamot and tea tree oil can help reduce dandruff while lavender is your go-to for combatting lice and fleas.
3. Facial toner.
Save your money and skip purchasing an expensive toner. Add 20 to 30 drops of essential oil to a bottle of spring or de-ionized water. Leave the bottle in a cool, dark place for a few days. Filter the water and oil mixture through a coffee filter and into a clean bottle. The oils will not remain in the water—but their fragrance and beautifying properties will! Spritz onto freshly cleansed skin.
Best essential oils to use for a facial toner: For mature skin, use nourishing rose and neroli. For oily or acne-prone skin, try geranium, bergamot, and lemon.
4. Skin serum.
I’m hooked on this DIY Clear Skin Serum that I made a few weeks ago. Depending on your specific skin concerns, you can concoct a serum that will moisturize and treat skin in one fell swoop! Make sure to select a high-quality carrier oil like organic argan or avocado oil. Apply a few drops of serum to your fingertips and gently massage onto recently cleansed skin.
Best essential oils for skin serums: This is really up to you! When in doubt, start with smaller concentrations of gentle oils (like chamomile, clary sage, and rose). Then include oils that could help target particular skin problems (like tea tree oil for acne or white birch for dermatitis).
5. Beauty bath.
When your tub is full, add 5-10 drops of essential oil then ease yourself in for a luxury experience!
Best essential oils for baths: A little ylang-ylang and jasmine can inspire a sense of euphoria and passion. To unwind, chamomile and lavender, as you may have guessed, will serve you well. Achy? Try a bit of rosemary or pine.
Forget synthetic room fragrances and smoky incense. Instead, try using an essential oil vaporizer to create a beautiful atmosphere in your home or office. Alternatively, you can also place a few drops of essential oil on a light bulb.
Best essential oils for vaporization: Frankincense and cedarwood may be used to create a sacred and spiritual setting. Meanwhile, citronella and lemongrass can help repel pesky insects. Myrtle and eucalyptus may help reduce stuffiness brought on by the common cold.
7. Steam facial or steam inhalation.
A tea steam facial can be supplemented with essential oils—or, if your sinuses are stuffed up, you may find relief through steam inhalation. Simply boil water in a medium-sized pot then add 5 drops of your essential oil of choice. Remove the pot from the heat, place a towel over your head, and lean your head about 15 inches over the steaming water. Take deep breaths, and relax for 15 minutes or longer.
Best essential oils for a steam facial: Lemon and tea tree oil can help keep the pores clear while peppermint and thyme can make breathing a little easier.
What are your favorite ways to use essential oils?
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Related: 12 Amazing Benefits of Essential Oils
9 Essential Oil Blends for Summer
Photos: Tara Aveilhe via Flickr, Bill Barber via Flickr