Between work, family obligations, and trying to keep up with all the new shows on Netflix, life can get crazy at times. And sadly, making time for yourself is usually the first thing to go when things get busy. If you’re looking to treat yourself to some self-care without having to add another item to your already long to-do list (sigh), then maybe it's time to try essential oils.
Essential oils are nothing new. In fact, the practice of aromatherapy, which involves breathing in essential oils or applying them in diluted form to your skin, has been around for centuries. You have probably heard that essential oils can help you relax, sleep better, or feel more energized. And some people swear by it!
Read on to learn more about the benefits of essential oils and why you may want to try them if you’re looking to indulge in a bit of self-care.
What are essential oils, exactly?
Your kitchen is probably already stocked with common household oils like olive and coconut oil. But can any oil be considered an essential oil, and really, what is the difference?
Essential oils actually differ slightly from other oils you may have lying around your kitchen because of the process used to create them. Essential oils are extracted from plants to capture the essence of the plant’s scent and are usually created through a process called distillation, which uses steam and/or water to distill the oil. Some oils, such as mandarin essential oil, are made manually through cold pressing.
Essential oils on their own are usually not safe to apply to the skin directly, so they need to be combined with a carrier oil (like that coconut oil in your kitchen cabinet). A carrier oil dilutes an essential oil so it can safely be applied to the skin without causing irritation.
What are the benefits of essential oils?
The science behind essential oils is mixed. When used in aromatherapy, essential oils can be energizing, calming, and/or relaxing. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to your diffuser or humidifier to take in the scent. Some facial and skin care products even incorporate essential oils into their formulas to help hydrate and calm the skin.
On the other hand, there isn’t any scientific evidence that essential oils help with known health conditions. Still, there are plenty of anecdotal cases of people who swear by them for various ailments such as headaches or congestion.
Note: Always check with your doctor before trying essential oils. They may not be safe if you have a medical condition, are pregnant, and/or breastfeeding. Stop and avoid using them if you have an adverse reaction.
Essential oils to try and their benefits
- Eucalyptus essential oil: This essential oil, which is extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, may reduce congestion, energize the senses, and soothe sore muscles. Apply with a carrier oil to skin to soothe sore muscles or put a few drops in a humidifier or diffuser to clear congestion. We use it in The Adventurer to give it that refreshing, outdoorsy feeling.
- Chamomile essential oil: Chamomile oil, like the tea, is said to have calming properties. It may help you feel calm, sleep better, or help with digestive issues. Use a few drops in a humidifier for a calming scent or apply to the stomach with a carrier oil after a big meal. (Avoid this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.)
- Peppermint essential oil: Extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant, this oil may boost energy, freshen air, and feels cool and refreshing. Add a few drops in a humidifier or apply with a carrier oil to the skin for a cooling sensation. You can also find it in The Achiever, where it adds a little pep.
- Sweet orange essential oil: This fruity oil is extracted from orange peels and may ease anxiety, freshen air, and improve your mood. Use a few drops in a diffuser or humidifier for a quick pick-me-up.
- Tea tree: Tea tree oil comes from a small tree that grows in Australia. It may help clear acne, clear congestion, and can be used as a natural insect repellent. Just make sure you mix it with a carrier oil before applying to skin.
Aloe Vera carrier oil: Aloe Vera is a universal skin soother that helps reduce inflammation (especially if you've had too much sun). Mix with a few drops of eucalyptus oil to soothe tired or sore muscles after a long run.
Coconut oil: Liquid coconut oil can be used as a carrier oil (not the hardened stuff you normally reserved for cooking). It’s nourishing to the skin and works well even for people with sensitive skin.
The next time you’re looking to enjoy some self-care, try squeezing a few drops of essential oil into your humidifier. It may be just what you need to help get you through your day.
Our non-toxic deodorant scents are crafted with essential oils. Safe deodorant + essential oils are a self-care win-win!
Written by Jane Chertoff