If you’re anything like me, you’ve amassed quite a collection of essential oils but have no idea how to use most of them beyond the occasional sniff to help with a headache or to get a quick mental boost.
We’ve talked about which oils to use for detox, women’s health, and gorgeous skin, but what are the best ways to use essential oils in your everyday routines? Whether you want to help battle fatigue, reduce tension, or improve focus, read on for 5 ways to make the most of these powerful oils.
5 Ways to Use Essential Oils Every Day
Diffusion is one of the most popular methods of using essential oils. Diffusing oils in the morning is a great way to get your day started on the right note. Then, throughout the day, try stimulating oils for work or study or uplifting oils if you need an energy boost. Finally, try relaxing and sedating oils at bedtime.
Or, if you simply want to enjoy the aroma of essential oils, aren’t really looking for an energy boost, and don’t need help relaxing, just grab your favorite ones and diffuse away!
Another thing to remember is that diffusion is also a fantastic way to help freshen up the aroma in the house. Citrus and cinnamon oils are excellent at deodorizing and helping to spruce up the air indoors.
If you don’t have a diffuser, or maybe you’re traveling or at work, consider simple inhalation. Just clear your mind, then inhale directly from an open bottle or rub a drop of oil between your palms and breathe in the aroma. Do this as needed throughout the day.
The benefits to using a hanky or essential oil inhaler are that you don’t have to carry around bottles of essential oil with you everywhere (no oily spills!), and the aroma is strong enough for you to experience it, but not so strong that others around you will notice.
As an added bonus, essential oil inhalers, essential oil jewelry, and even a cotton ball or handkerchief will hold the aroma for several hours—if not days.
Bring some essential oils to your next massage or give yourself a massage at home to help ease tension and get your circulation moving [source] (or even help with cellulite!) Massage is a wonderful self-care practice to start incorporating, and I promise you won’t regret it!
You can make your own massage oil by adding 15–20 drops diluted with 1/2 cup of carrier oil. I know it may sound sort of boring to give yourself a massage, but you’d be surprised at how relaxing and effective a few minutes of gentle massage can be.
A great place to start massaging would be the feet and then work your way to other areas of your body, especially where there are sore muscles or the circulation is sluggish.
I have just started to get back into the practice of taking baths for self-care. After a particularly rough day or if my body is feeling sore and tired, a nice warm bath does wonders for me! And a great way to kick those relaxing baths up a notch is to incorporate essential oils.
Simply add 2–5 drops of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil and mix with Epsom salts. If you’re needing some inspiration, try one of these aromatherapy bath salt blends. Then, release the worries of the day while you let the detoxing bath salts and the alluring aroma of essential oils lure you into a state of relaxation.
Just make sure to avoid using cinnamon, cassia, oregano, wintergreen, and lemongrass in baths with essential oils as they might irritate sensitive skin.
There are a number of ways to use essential oils topically but always mixed with carrier oils. The most common places to apply oils are the bottoms of feet, chest, temple, and pulse points. Once you’ve mastered these areas, you can move on to different places on your body that align with specific ailments, aches, and pains.
You can create personalized formulations based on your needs, or simply combine 5 to 10 drops of essential oil with 1 ounce of a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed, or olive oil and apply where needed.
Remember, not all oils, or brands of oils, are safe to apply topically. Before applying any essential oil to your skin, check with the manufacturer to see if it’s safe to use that way. Note: never use essential oils (even topically safe ones) in your ear canal, in the nose, or near your eyes!
While scientific research on essential oils is growing every day, studies are still pretty limited. However, there are a number of ways essential oils have been used throughout the years.
Below, I’ve listed some of the most common traditional uses for several essential oils, as well as some ideas for where to apply them on the body to make use of their beneficial effects.
Temples or back of neck: lavender, basil, and peppermint for stress, nausea, motion sickness, insomnia, headaches
Outside of ears: juniper for tinnitus, and lavender, basil for earache, swimmer’s ear
Behind ears: peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus for headaches [source], dizziness, anxiety, muscle fatigue and lavender, chamomile for insomnia
Shoulders: ylang ylang, clove, and wintergreen for shoulder or joint pain
Chest: eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemon for chest congestion, cough, bronchitis, asthma
Over heart: bergamot for depression, stress, and ylang ylang for self-esteem [source]
Abdomen: clary sage for menstrual cramps and peppermint, ginger, fennel for digestive issues, nausea
Wrists: vetiver, basil, lemongrass, and myrrh for carpal tunnel syndrome
Heels: clary sage, myrtle for the reproductive system
Sole of foot: peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus for respiratory issues, and ylang ylang, bergamot for stress, heart, high blood pressure
Outer arch of foot: grapefruit, juniper, and lemongrass for colon, bladder, liver
Bottom of big toe: peppermint, rosemary, and lavender for headaches
Essential Oil Tips
This guide is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. Always be sure to talk to your doctor about the use of essential oils for certain health issues to ensure this is safe for you!
If you have easily irritated skin, be sure to do a patch test and always dilute essential oils appropriately.
Citrus oils can increase sun sensitivity [source], so avoid sun exposure for at least 12 hours after applying.
To retain their potency, keep essential oils stored away from sunlight and moisture. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and can rub off nail polish and even melt plastic.
Oils and carrier oils can stain clothing, towels, and furniture—so be careful when using them!
Avoid using metal or plastic utensils or containers to mix or apply essential oils. Stick to glass or ceramic.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Holly Smith, a board-certified physician in nephrology and internal medicine with a background in nutrition. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.159