If you’re a fan of natural beauty products (and we hope you are!), then you’re likely familiar with essential oils. Whether they’re used as a source of natural fragrance or other benefits, essential oils are in everything from skin cleansers and moisturizers to shampoo and deodorant.
But you can go deeper with essential oils than just finding them in your beloved personal care products. In fact, they can be a natural beauty lover’s BFF. Check out our favorite reasons why.
What are Essential Oils?
First things first, what are these peculiar (and pricey) little bottles, anyway? Essential oils get their name from “essence” or the pure extraction of a botanical—usually a fruit, seed, leaf, flower, root, or bark. There are hundreds of botanicals used in making essential oils. While a bit more complicated a process, if you’ve ever squeezed a lemon rind until you get an oily residue on your fingers, you’re getting the “essence” of this extraction method.
Why Use Essential Oils?
Botanicals in most any form are nature’s first healers. Many of our medicines come from botanicals, so do our personal care products, and of course, so does our food. Unlike synthetic fragrances that can be irritating and even cause allergic reactions, essential oils are about as natural as you can get—and that concentrated aroma can have some pretty amazing results. While the scientific research is still being created around the use and benefits of essential oils, they’re commonly relied on for relief of minor ailments.
How to Use Essential Oils
Because essential oils are so concentrated, they should always be diluted before using with a carrier oil like jojoba, almond, apricot, or grapeseed. This is particularly true for topical applications. Some inhalation methods or recipes that use essential oils may require full-strength. Essential oils are never for internal use.
Here are some of our favorite reasons to use essential oils:
- Stress-busting: No matter how big or how small, we’ve all got stress levels to manage. Essential oils might be a good choice in reducing your stress. Lavender is regarded for its calming and balancing effect without making you drowsy or irritable. Other stress-reducing essential oils include frankincense, rose, and chamomile.
- Energize, naturally: Running out for a latte at 3 o’clock can help push you past the mid-day slump but it can also lead to our next issue—insomnia. Boost your energy and focus levels without the caffeine boost (and crash) with essential oils. Try orange, lemon, peppermint, bergamot, lemongrass, or thyme.
- Improve sleep: Insomnia—both chronic and acute—affects as many as one out of three people. If you’ve experienced insomnia, you know how challenging it is to go without a good night’s rest. Essential oils of tangerine, lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood may help.
- Aide during allergy season: Watery, itchy eyes, runny noses, difficulty breathing, and irritated skin are among the lovely symptoms of allergy season. Essential oils like rosemary and eucalyptus may assist in opening up your sinuses, and lavender may help to calm irritation.
- Clear skin: While chronic acne is usually a sign you should schedule a visit with your dermatologist, mild occasional breakouts affect us all. A dab of tea tree essential oil (or tea tree and lavender) can help to dry out and speed the healing of the blemish.