Consult a Doctor for health advice! For the love of green grass, use common sense and all the health care professionals available to you (meaning NOT ME) when making healthcare choices for your family!
Do you find essential oils and natural health care interesting, but totally overwhelming? (I did!) Do you want to get started but feel paralyzed by all the choices, recipes, and jargon? (I did!) Are you worried about having to buy all. the. things. to get started and every recipe or idea you see seems to include ONE MORE THING you don’t have? And usually something you’ve never even heard of before? (Yep, me again!)
I’m just a busy momma that likes things easy but tries to do right by her family. And essential oils seemed like a good fit for that goal. Herbal and natural health care is a homesteading interest of mine–mostly stemming from the fact that I love wildflowers and so many of them are medicinal! But it took me a while to dive in because it was information overload! But we’ve made a lot of progress over the last year and a half. So if you’re a total newbie that is completely overwhelmed by all the choices and don’t even know exactly what a “carrier oil” is, here’s how to get started…
TIP #1: START WITH LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
No need to start with blends, diffusers, carrier oils, etc. Buy a single small bottle of lavender essential oils to get started. (I love this one, but have also used others.) Lavender oil can be used for a long list of home needs. It is commonly available and less expensive to get started with.
It has a rather mild, familiar, smell to it for folks that are new to aromatherapy with essential oils. The medicinal uses hit some of the most common needs of the family–headache, stress, sleep, rashes and bug bites, cuts, and burns. Lavender is a very mild oil when diluted, and is generally safe for children and pets when used properly. It can be easily diluted for use with simple olive oil or coconut oil from your pantry, no special ingredients needed! It also serves as a lovely scent for beauty products all by itself–bath bombs, bubble bath, homemade shampoo–no complicated blending of several products is necessary. Lavender oil can be used in home cleaning products, pet products, and even cooking. And Lavender is one you can grow at home!
Because you can try so many different applications with just one product, Lavender essential oil is a super-easy way to start exploring essential oils without getting overwhelmed or investing in a lot of products.
TIP #2: BUY A SMALL BOTTLE
All brands of essential oils smell different. I thought there would be a universal scent if they’re all the same type of oil, and that any difference was probably related to “quality.” I was wrong. There is a huge variation in the scent of different brands–even when they all have the same production characteristics. Even high price-point products smell different from brand to brand.
I’ve shared links to what I use in this post, but I’m not going to make a strong brand recommendation. I use different brands for different products and at the end of the day, a lot of that is just preference. But I will suggest that you buy a small bottle first (15 mL or less) and make sure you like the scent. If you don’t, don’t blame the oil in general. Just try another brand.
A few key buying characteristics to look for that do matter, regardless of brand:
- 100% pure, undiluted
TIP #3: BORROW BEFORE BUYING
People that use essential oils regularly tend to have a lot of miscellaneous supplies on hand in different stages of use. If someone mixes up their own blends, they usually have extra roller ball bottles and carrier oils. If someone diffuses regularly they’ll often have a diffuser in a secondary room that doesn’t get used every day. If they use diffuser jewelry (my favorite way to use my oils daily!) I can almost guarantee they have an unused bracelet sitting around they would be willing to share. They usually come in multi-packs. Honestly, you probably know someone that has Lavender oil in their collection right now that could give you a few mL to try out. Remember, it’s one of the most common oils available and is used for just about anything–so everyone that uses essential oils has some around! Borrowing a few drops on a diffuser bracelet is a great way to sniff-test different brands or blends.
TIP #4: IT TAKES TRIAL AND ERROR
Using essential oils is an individual journey for your family and takes a lot of trial and error. That’s one reason why I recommend starting with one oil and working into a collection slowly. Don’t get discouraged if a couple of your efforts fall flat at first. It’s just like cooking, sewing, or any other home skill, you’ll have to practice, test, and try a few things before you find methods and tools you like. And then you’ll put your own personal spin on them!
I recommend starting a Pinterest Board for Lavender Essential Oils (you can find mine here for ideas to get you started!) and pinnings all the ideas, recipes, and projects that you find there. Then try projects one-by-one.
Here’s a few super-easy ones to start with…
- 2-ingredient After-Sun Skin Soother from The Seasoned Mom (just lavender oil and water!)
- Lavender Honey Burn Salve from Wellness Mama (just lavender and honey)
- Lavender Sugar Scrub from Busy Bliss (just lavender, sugar, and coconut oil)
- Lavender Lemonade from Healthy Living Ideas (just lavender, lemons, and honey)
TIP #5: PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
Once you’ve gotten the hang of Lavender essential oil, I highly recommend trying Peppermint essential oil next. Peppermint goes well with Lavender for household uses and is a key ingredient in several allergy relief recipes–which we use a lot around here! It’s also super refreshing for shower melts, shampoo, and bath bombs and works well in some homemade dog flea-shampoos. When you feel comfortable using and understanding Lavender, create a new Pinterest board for Peppermint (find mine here) and do the same thing.
Here’s a couple easy peppermint projects…
- Peppermint Foot Soak from Freebie Finding Mom (skip the coloring and any coarse kitchen salt will work. Mr. Fix-It loves this stuff!)
- DIY Lavender Mint Sugar Scrub from Suburban Simplicity (just sugar, coconut oil, lavender, and peppermint, skip the Vitamin E)
- Simple Shower Melts from Busy Bliss (baking soda, water, lavender, and peppermint–you can easily skip the eucalyptus if you don’t have it. this is my favorite shower melt recipe for allergy season!)
If that seems too slow and you’re ready to dive in, here’s a great little Art Naturals essential oils starter pack that includes 8 common oils and a diffuser. Lavender and Peppermint are already in there, along with Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, and Lemongrass (which are 3 others I use all the time now!) and Rosemary, Frankincense, and Orange. This is the little diffuser I use on my nightstand. And it comes with a booklet of recommendations on how to use the oils included.
Essential oils are one of those things that I’ve learned there’s always more to learn! If you start out slow and small and build your confidence, eventually you’ll find you have an entire herbal medicine cabinet and you’re not even sure how!
Do you use essential oils? I’d love to hear your favorite super-simple DIY uses!