Essential oils are everywhere. While the increase in popularity is amazing for introducing more people to the power of essential oils, it can also make it more difficult to know what to look for when starting out.
Here at Chiji, we very much believe in self-care. Part of self-care is being informed about what you’re allowing not only in but also on your body, as we only get one body in this life.
To help anyone on their essential oil journey, no matter where you may be, we’ve created our own buying guide. We hope you leave with more information about what essential oils are, how to use them, and where you can buy them from companies that care about you as much as we do.
What Are Essential Oils?
On a technical level, essential oils are aromatic compounds that have been extracted from a single plant species. These oils capture the “essence” of the plant’s unique scent and flavor, which is why they are known as essential oils. They are a powerful, liquid version of what makes that plant special, and can be extracted from any part of the plant - flowers, fruits, leaves, roots, or stems.
Essential oils are also used by the plants themselves. In fact, as we’ll learn, the way that plants use them isn’t so different from how we do! Essential oils can help the plant with controlling infection, humidity, hormonal effects, attracting or repelling animals, birds, and insects, and even wound healing. They truly are amazing natural compounds!
Depending on the essential oil company, essential oils are obtained using a form of distillation (with either steam or water) or a mechanical method (cold pressing). This is a very important part of the process, not only because it is extracting the essence of the plant, but because oils from the exact same plant that have been extracted using different methods can create very different end results. Essential oils that have been extracted using chemical methods are also not generally considered to be “true” essential oils.
It often surprises people that essential oils don’t actually feel all that “oily.” They are called oils simply because they contain chemicals from the plant that are considered oil-soluble. There are usually between 100 to 200 of these chemicals in each oil, which are what give them their therapeutic properties. Many essential oils have some overlap in the type of chemicals they contain too, which is why many essential oils provide similar therapeutic benefits.
What Are The Benefits Of Essential Oils?
Speaking of benefits, now that we know what makes essential oils so amazing, let’s talk about how they can help us with self-care.
First and foremost, essential oils are incredibly helpful for improving mood and helping us to calm down and relax.
With all that’s going on in the world today, couldn’t we all use a little stress relief? They can also help you fall asleep easier.
Self-care is taking care of your mental health, and setting aside time for yourself. Essential oils not only help on a chemical level, they also encourage you to take some necessary “me time.”
On the physical side, when used correctly, essential oils can also help soothe.
Self-care isn’t just about taking a relaxing bath, it’s about taking care of your physical health as well. You need both your mental and physical sides to be in tune to feel well-balanced and at peace. Essential oils are great for that as well.
Where To Buy Essential Oils
With so many places to buy essential oils out there, it may be tempting to just pick a few up from your local grocery store. We definitely understand how important finding them easily is! But, even more important than ease of purchase, is quality.
Your best bet to buy high quality essential oils is to purchase from established essential oil companies online. Be very careful here though--with the surge in popularity in essential oil therapy, there are a lot of non-wellness-oriented companies out there that have started to sell essential oil lines with bare minimum quality.
The best essential oil companies will be established, have a wide variety of both pure essential oils as well as essential oil blends, and will only use all natural ingredients. Be sure to take the time to browse through the company website to make sure their mission is wholesome, and try to go with organic, all-natural, or B-corporations if possible. In other words, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from Amazon or eBay and go directly to a company with their own website that you can purchase directly from.
That being said, buying locally from your neighborhood grocery store or from your local wellness market isn’t off the table either. The most important thing no matter where you buy is to make sure you spend even a little time looking into the producer of the essential oil to make sure they are providing you with a quality oil that can provide all of the benefits it should.
Is Using Essential Oils the Same As Aromatherapy?
Yes and no.
Aromatherapy refers to simply inhaling natural oils for therapeutic benefit. While far more people are familiar with what aromatherapy is, the wonderful benefits of essential oil use extends far beyond simply smelling them. That’s why people are referring to their use more frequently as “essential oil therapy.”
Also, not every beneficial essential oil smells that nice! When people think of aromatherapy, they generally picture an oil diffuser with a lovely lavender essential oil in it. While that is a large part of how many choose to use essential oils, there are plenty out there with amazing benefits that don’t smell traditionally “nice.”
German chamomile is a perfect example. It can help with relaxation, physical and mental soothing, and certain skin concerns like redness, but many people describe its scent as similar to an “earthy apple.”
In addition, there are so many other ways that people can use essential oils. To limit their use to just inhaling them is also limiting their potential benefits.
How To Use Essential Oils
Before use topically, essential oils should be combined together with a carrier oil. This helps to slightly dilute them while providing them with a way to be “carried” on your skin. When used directly, essential oils have the potential to cause irritation because they are so incredibly potent and we are not the original target they were created to help.
Carrier oils are meant to be either unscented or lightly scented, and the most common choices are usually coconut oil (look for “unrefined” when buying), jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and olive oil, although there are far more out there. Which one you choose is mostly down to personal preference and availability.
When it comes to possible uses, the sky really is the limit. Essential oils can be used in so many different ways. Here are a few that we think are best for self-care:
- With a jade roller - One of the best, most relaxing ways to incorporate essential oils into any self-care routine is to use them with a jade face roller. Before use, make sure to cleanse your face thoroughly. You’ll then want to select a carrier oil that is best to use on the face without clogging pores or triggering acne. Good options for this are jojoba, almond, and argan oils. Simply select your preferred essential oil (geranium, tea tree, and rose are often preferred for radiant skin), mix with a carrier oil, and add a few drops to your jade roller. The already amazing skin-brightening benefits of the face roller will be multiplied, and your skin will look more gorgeous than ever.
- With a diffuser - Adding essential oils directly to a diffuser is one of the more traditional ways of gaining their benefits. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful! During your set aside relaxation time, choose an essential oil known for its relaxation abilities (lavender, frankincense, and ylang ylang are good options) and add it to the diffuser in its pure form. The benefits will reach you quickly, and you can enjoy your “me time” with a larger sense of calm.
- In the bath - You can also add essential oils to the bath after it is full. It’s important to know that not every essential oil can work in this medium (some are too irritating to the skin - specifically mint, clove, and cinnamon to name a few), and they should still be mixed with a carrier oil before using them. Roughly 12 drops of essential oil mix for every tablespoon of carrier oil is a good ratio, and chamomile, rose, or lavender are great for use in the bath. You can also light an essential-oil infused candle, lay back, and enjoy the peace and relaxation. (Pro tip: You can enjoy that essential oil candle without the bath, too, to enjoy some aromatherapy throughout your day!)
Knowing not only how to use essential oils but also where to buy them to insure quality is important to get the most benefits from this amazing product. You deserve only the best when it comes to self-care. Always take care of yourself, because we only get one body in this life.
What we do with it is essential. Good vibes always!