I absolutely LOVE using essential oils. Essential oils have a long list of uses and each essential oil has its own unique benefits. They can be used topically, meaning they can be applied to the skin. They can be taken in capsules like medication and sometimes added to food and water in order to enhance flavor. Some oils can be added to water in a spray bottle to repel insects or other animals. Lastly, and certainly my favorite, they can be diffused into the air or added to a bath.
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Everyone has their favorite brands, some of which are more potent or more expensive than others. Being on a college budget, I tend to refrain from being picky when purchasing my oils and simply choose the cheapest option. However, I am not here to sell you a brand. This post is meant to tell you about my top 5 favorite essential oils and how I recommend using them.
My first love when it comes to essential oils will always be eucalyptus. Eucalyptus was the first essential oil that I discovered and I immediately fell in love with the scent. I fell so deeply in love that I just had to tell everyone I knew about this life-changing oil! After discovering the oil, I even tried to grow a eucalyptus plant—but it died.
I love eucalyptus because the scent reminds me of Vick’s Vapor Rub—a product that I have always loved. Using eucalyptus has similar properties to a vapor rub as well. It does wonders for sinus issues and it smells almost minty and very fresh and crisp.
Living in Michigan, the seasons are constantly changing, jumping from a bitter cold and windy winter one day, then a warm spring morning the next day. The constantly changing weather makes me feel like I have a constant cold. I am most likely to use eucalyptus during this time of year because of the sinus-clearing properties. After I started using eucalyptus before bed (and sometimes during the day) I felt immensely better.
My go-to method of using eucalyptus is through my diffuser. If you are an essential oil expert, you know exactly what I am talking about. But if you are new to the oils then I highly recommend investing in a diffuser. During the winter season, I diffuse eucalyptus almost constantly when I am home, especially at night.
I also use eucalyptus in the bath. While running my bath water I add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and let the scent mix into my bathwater. Having the eucalyptus in the bath helps to, again, clear my sinuses and improve my mood. I do not have sensitive skin and cannot attest to whether or not this would irritate more sensitive skin, so I recommend using this method with caution.
The last way I use eucalyptus essential oil is topical. When I am feeling congested I might apply a small amount of oil just below my collar bone (like you would Vick’s). Adding eucalyptus to my chest helps to keep the scent close to my nose, and opens a window for others to tell you that you smell nice!
Another one of my favorite essential oils is peppermint. While eucalyptus is my first love, peppermint is my all-time favorite essential oil. We all know what peppermint smells like because we have all eaten a mint or used peppermint in our cooking at one time or another. Because of its popularity, I feel no need to try to explain it to you. Instead, I will tell you why I love it as an essential oil.
As a student and blogger, I am almost always sitting at a desk or table crouching over my homework and laptop with a headache, struggling to focus (This is where peppermint swoops in to save the day). I started diffusing peppermint whenever I was sitting for long periods of time or required complete focus. And to my amazement, it helped lift my mood! Because of its fresh minty smell, I find it much easier to focus!
I have attempted to use peppermint in the bath, but it made my skin tingle in an indescribable way. I do not recommend peppermint in the bath, but I HIGHLY recommend diffusing peppermint oil to help increase focus and benefit your mood.
Lavender is a classic relaxation scent, so it’s only fitting that this is my favorite relaxation essential oil! The oil is delightfully useful when feeling tense, frustrated, or you just need something to help you calm down.
The number one way I use lavender is in the bath. When I am preparing a bath, I fill a small dropper with lavender and all of it (I love my baths to smell strongly of lavender). Lavender is essential to really get my body and mind calmed down for the night.
The second way I use lavender essential oil is to diffuse it. Nearly every night that I am not using eucalyptus, I am diffusing lavender. Having the scent of lavender lofting through my room at night is exactly what I need to calm the constant flow of ideas and thoughts running through my mind (that don’t seem to go away without lavender or sleep medication by the way).
Just like Eucalyptus, I also apply lavender topically. I apply it to my skin just below my collar bone and on the inside of my wrists. This is wonderful when you want to relax but are not able to diffuse or take a bath or if you just want to smell like lavender. While I do not use lavender topically incredibly often (mostly because I forget it’s an option), I think it’s a great idea and love doing it! One warning when using lavender oil topically, the brand and formula of the oil will greatly affect how long the scent will last on your skin.
And finally, I love using lavender with my yoga. For all you yogis out there, I love mixing a few drops of lavender oil with some water in a spray bottle and spraying my yoga mat down before a yoga session! Of course, you want to wait for it to dry before practicing, it is mostly water, of course, so it will make your mat a little slippery. I recommend also diffusing lavender during your session, for a fully relaxed experience!
The first three essential oils I have talked about are common and very popular essential oils to use daily. But, this next one, grapefruit, is not very common. Whether or not you will like grapefruit essential oil is fairly dependent on whether or not you like actual grapefruits. Grapefruit is one of my favorite fruits, so of course, I adore the essential oil!
The grapefruit essential oil has a very tart, yet somehow very sweet smell. It is very uplifting and I highly recommend using it in order to boost your spirits. Grapefruit oil pairs wonderfully on a sunny day because the scent instantly reminds you of warm sunny mornings. After smelling it, you can’t help but feel warm and happy! Since summer is 100%, by far, hands-down my favorite season, this is just the essential oil for me!
I really only use grapefruit oil in one way—diffusing. I am sure it would be a good addition to an uplifting bath, or as a topical scent; however, I prefer it diffused for everyone around me to smell! Since I generally take my baths at night to reduce tension and prepare myself to go to sleep, grapefruit is not a very fitting scent for my baths. Perhaps a morning bath would be perfect for a grapefruit addition. I also take my showers at night, but for all of you who take your showers in the morning, I highly recommend trying to diffuse grapefruit oil while taking your shower to brighten your day!
The last essential oil I am going to talk about is lemon. Now the scent of a lemon essential oil (as far as I have seen… or smelt) is not super strong. Lemon is much different than the other oils I have mentioned and this is why I love it.
Lemon is a very clean, crisp, a subtle scent (unless you add the whole bottle I suppose, then it might be a tad overpowering). I usually use lemon in any homemade cleaners I might make for a nice clean smell, otherwise, I diffuse it. Just as often as I diffuse lemon by itself I am adding it to other scents like grapefruit and peppermint.
Lemon is different because I don’t use it to relax or to brighten my mood—I generally use it when I’m in a good mood and wish to feel clean and cool. For a reason that I cannot explain, lemon is my crisp focusing scent. Like peppermint, it also helps with mental clarity and focus.