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Discovering Essential Oils: A Beginner's Crash Course to Finding What's Right for You

Posted by on 8/21/2018
Discovering Essential Oils: A Beginner's Crash Course to Finding What's Right for You
Essential oils go back as far as ancient Egypt. It’s believed they were used by priests in rituals and as perfumes. In fact, archaeologists are still finding traces of the oils on mummies. The Greeks adopted aromatic oil use from the Egyptians, and soon it spread across Europe.

Today, essential oils are being used more than ever, with people incorporating a vial of liquid feel-good into their everyday routine. 

Now, you may be asking yourself two questions: Did I really need that history lesson? And what do I need to know before buying essential oils? 

If you’re asking the latter then you’re in luck. With help from our essential oils information chart, you can discover some of the most popular oils and how to use them.

11 of the Most Popular Essential Oils

Take a look at our essential oils information chart to see a variety of the most popular oils, including descriptions of what they smell like and what they’re best used for.

11 of the Most Popular Essential Oils

Essential oil use is at the epicenter of aromatherapy and has tied cultures together through its therapeutic use. But how do you find the oil that’s right for you?

How to Choose Essential Oils

The first step in choosing which essential oils are right for you is to decide what you intend to use them for. Do you want to incorporate them into your skincare routine? Or are you trying to establish a feeling of relaxation in your bedroom that will send you into a peaceful night’s sleep?

A diffuser emitting steam

The Variety of Applications

There are a handful of ways to use oils, and it all depends on the type you are using.

  • Inhaling - Breathing in essential oils is one of the ways to receive their benefits. First, you’ll need a diffuser to hold the oils and disperse a mist or steam through the air while you’re sleeping relaxing.
  • Bathing - Adding a drop of essential oil to your bathwater is another fun way to experience the relaxation essential oils can provide. 
  • Skin cream or body oil - Mixing your essential oil with a carrier (a cream or a base oil) will allow you to rub the oil on your skin. Lavender oil is a popular choice for those who wish to have clearer skin.

Dilute Before Using

It’s important to note that before using any essential oil on your skin you should dilute it, appropriately, with a carrier oil first. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate skin if applied directly out of the bottle. 

Carrier oils are commonly oils such as olive, coconut or grapeseed. A few drops of your chosen essential oil(s) into your carrier oil will impart the scents and benefits into the carrier for use.

Consider the Tisserand Institute’s guide for how to dilute your essential oils.  

Using a carrier oil will also prevent evaporation from happening, and lead you to use less essential oil. Not only is using carrier oil safer, it’s cost-effective. 

Essential oils can last up to a year, but some oils like lemon and other citrus essential oils will expire quickly, so always make sure you’re staying up to date with your collection.

Safety Tips for Essential Oils

There are potential dangers you should be aware of with essential oils. Skin irritation is the top side effect, so use precaution if applying directly. 

Here are a few more examples:

  • Lemon and orange essential oils should never be applied to the skin before sun exposure. These oils will increase your likelihood of skin damage.
  • Lemongrass, tea tree and ylang ylang are known to irritate users with sensitive skin.
  • Women who are pregnant should also be aware of oils to avoid. This includes peppermint, rosemary and sage, but consult with your doctor before using any essential oils.
It’s important to remember that essential oils are not a replacement treatment for any serious injury or sickness. Oil use is more of a mood-boosting agent that’s best deployed to improve your way of life, not cure serious illnesses. Always consult with your physician before beginning an essential oil routine.

Where Can You Get Quality Essential Oils?

Essential oils can be found in department stores across the country, but the variety and potency of the oils may be limited and unclear. 

Avoid taking a shot in the dark and choose from San Francisco Herb Company’s selection on our website. You can choose from 24 different oils, including the 11 listed in the essential oils information chart.