When I was younger, essential oils were the domain of my hippie-dippie aunt who didn’t eat meat and whose house smelled “weird” (I realised later it was lemongrass being diffused).
They popped back into my life a few years ago when I started hearing from friends who were using them for everything from baking to weight loss to making their own cleaning products. This was pretty radical – they were safe enough to cook with? And they were actually good for me, not just for making a room smell pretty?
I went to a few Tupperware-type parties at friends’ homes – where instead of wine, we sipped on green smoothies (less fun, but more in keeping with the health benefits I suppose) – and I heard more about essential oils. In all honesty, I thought a lot of it was bollocks. But as you do at those events, I bought a load of products anyway (they getcha every time) and vowed to “get into oils”.
Not surprisingly, the $400-odd assortment of oils sat in my kitchen cupboard. For months. Apart from using them aromatically – a fancy word for using them in ways you inhale them, like in a diffuser or smelling them directly from the bottle – I had no idea what I should do with them. And I really didn’t like the wishy-washy BS like “this oil will really open up your heart.” Um… what?
So I started slowly – literally with just one oil, lemon – and once I felt comfortable using that a few different ways, I moved onto a second oil. Then a third, then a fourth, and so on, until I developed a regular routine with about 8 gorgeous oils.
After moving overseas my supply dwindled and I went through a lull for about a year. But despite not using them, I knew how much I loved them and how beneficial they were. So when I found out I was pregnant, it was the perfect opportunity to start using them again.
I contacted my lovely friend Sarah Kate (who I bought the oils off originally) and she gave me great advice on how to get back into them. (Her wisdom and passion is totally inspiring, especially being a mum of two and showing how they can help your family thrive.)
I’ve since been using them every day for about 4 months, and continue to be head-over-heels in love.
- I love how I’ve replaced chemical-laden cleaning and beauty products with natural alternatives. A less toxic household is good for me and my especially for my growing family.
- I love how versatile they are – one oil can be used 20 (or more) different ways.
- I love how they’re a gentle reminder to take time out for self care: massage, baths, meditation.
- I’m constantly blown away how powerful they are: I only need 1 drop on my temples for a headache, or 1 drop to flavour a whole meal.
- I love the community and support system around the brand I use (Doterra).
Also I should point out that the brand I use, Doterra, is extremely high quality – I would not use any old supermarket oil or even a lot sold at health food stores.
So below I’ve shared the 11 oils I now use daily. I never thought I’d be one of those “hippie-dippie oil addicts” – but here I am! And I’m so much better off as a result.
Disclaimer: Please note I’ve made the decision to use Doterra oils aromatically (diffusing them in the air), topically (applying them to my skin) and internally (having them in food or drink, and putting a drop under my tongue) during my pregnancy based on my research on what is safe for me. I am not advocating others should do the same during their pregnancy, nor advising it is safe for everyone. Many women choose to only use oils aromatically or topically during pregnancy and breastfeeding (not internally), or even stop using them altogether. This post isn’t a comment on whether they’re safe for you. This is only providing insight on my experience. Please consult your health practitioner on what’s right for you and your circumstances.
I should point out that there are hundreds of ways to use these oils every day, but I’ve chosen to focus on just the main ones. Otherwise this list would be never-ending!
Lemon is known for its cleansing, revitalising and detoxifying properties. I use it:
- To detox: First thing in the morning, I add 1 drop to 500ml warm water with a capful of apple cider vinegar. I also add the juice of half a lemon (Doterra’s lemon oil comes from the peel, so I feel it’s double the lemon power!). Drinking water first thing + ACV + lemon is so is hydrating, uplifting and good for digestion.
- For cleaning: It’s part of my all-purpose cleaning blend below, plus I add a drop to the kitchen dishcloth and dishwasher every few days.
One of the most precious essential oils, Frankincense is rejuvenating, renewing and beautifying. It’s been used throughout history including by the ancient Babylonians in religious ceremonies, by the ancient Egyptians in health and beauty products, and of course in the Bible (as one of the gifts given to baby Jesus with gold and myrrh – and yes I had to Google how to spell myrrh!). I was raised Catholic (though I’m no longer practicing) so it brings me back to the days of being at mass, and because of this it has a beautiful majestic quality. I use it:
- For overall wellness: After breakfast and brushing my teeth, I put 1 drop under my tongue.
- For wrinkles and blemishes: After cleaning my face at night, I mix 1 drop with a few drops of carrier oil across my whole face. (The amazingly ageless Sarah Wilson does the same!)
- During mini-mediations: When I need to slow down, I rub 1 drop neat in my hands and inhale deeply for a minute or so.
Cooling and energising, peppermint is one of my favourites. I use it:
- For nausea: Useful for general nausea, plus for the 8 weeks I was hit with terrible morning sickness! I inhaled it from the bottle for 10-15 seconds while breathing deeply.
- For headaches: I rub 1 drop mixed with 1-2 drops carrier oil on my templates when I feel a headache coming on.
- In baking: I use 2-3 drops in these divine Choc Peppermint Bliss Balls.
- If I’m feeling stuffy: If I have a sniffly nose or having trouble breathing, I put my thumb on the bottle and invert it, then hold my thumb on the roof of my mouth for about 10 seconds. It immediately makes me feel fresher, more alert, it opens up my nostrils and helps me breath better.
Tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca) is cleansing and purifying. I use it:
- For blemishes: After cleansing my face at night, I apply the smallest amount to any new pimples I have on my face. Two nights of this stops them progressing.
- In my shampoo: I add 1 drop when I wash my hair.
Lavender is calming, soothing and relaxing. I’m allergic to it topically (*cries*) so I stick to diffusing it. I use it:
- Before bed: I diffuse lavender in the evenings a few hours before bed to help me sleep. Also when my husband lets me (he’s a bit of an oils sceptic!), I mix 1 drop with carrier oil and rub it into the soles of feet before bed to help him sleep.
Uplifting and zesty, I use wild orange:
- As an afternoon pick-me-up: I inhale it from the bottle (at work) or diffuse it (at home) when I get a little tired.
- In baking: I add 2-3 drops to anything chocolate-related, like muffins or my vegan chocolate mousse.
This is the newest oil in my collection and I adore it. My mum grew geraniums when I was younger so it’s an instant childhood flashback! It’s sweet and floral. I use it:
- For moisturising: Since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve rubbed a nourishing cream into my whole body twice a day to prevent stretch marks. Since discovering geranium, I add a drop or two at the same time.
- In the bath: Nothing’s better than a bath with candles, Epsom salts and oils. I love adding geranium and soaking in the tub while
watching Real Housewivesreading a magazine or listening to a podcast.
Natural cleaning products? Yes please. I love using essential oils instead of toxic conventional products around the house. I use it:
- For all-purpose cleaning. I use the simple recipe of ¼ cup white vinegar, 1¾ cups water and 30 drops of essential oils (in a spray bottle) on hard surfaces in my kitchen and bathroom. I use a mix of tea tree, lemon, lime and eucalyptus. Doterra has lots of recipes for other homemade cleaning products here.
Doterra’s DigestZen blend is made up of seven oils including aniseed, peppermint, ginger and fennel. It promotes healthy digestive and gastrointestinal health. I use it:
- For digestion and bloating: I rub 1-2 drops plus 3-4 drops carrier oil on my lower stomach every morning. Doing this pre-emptively each morning has helped enormously.
- For stomach aches: If one comes on, a drop sorts it out astoundingly quickly.
Doterra’s OnGuard blend is made up of six oils including cinnamon and clove. It smells deliciously warm and spicy. I use it:
- When I feel run down or if I’m around someone who’s sick, by rubbing 1-2 drops plus 3-4 drops carrier oil into the soles of my feet (usually before bed).
- When travelling: I rub 1 drop neat into my hands, cup them around my nose and mouth, and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
Doterra’s Balance blend includes six flower and leaf oils like chamomile, blue tansy and frankincense. It’s designed for “grounding and to balance emotions”. I use it:
- For calming and focusing: I diffuse it on weeknights or weekends around the house, especially when I’m journalling or working on my blog.
As I’ve mentioned, that’s just a small snippet on how I use these oils. I’m discovering new uses every day, creating new blends every week and get excited about new oils I can add to my collection every month!
Over to you – what are your favourite oils? What couldn’t you live without every day?