They do more than just smell good. Harness their healing powers with this primer to the most effective essential oils and their uses
It’s time to start thinking about essential oils as essential. The potent plant extracts aren’t just pretty fragrances; wellness experts report that essential oils can help with everything from anxiety and depression to migraines and fatigue—and even give you hair and skin a youthful boost. Here’s how to incorporate them into your life.
Uses: Sleep aid and super relaxer
There’s a lot to love about lavender. The fresh floral scent can help with migraines and PMS, plus it works like a chill pill, calming the nervous system and even helping you get to sleep.
How to: Add 1-3 drops to a cotton ball and tuck it into your pillow for a natural sleep aid.
Use: Make cleaning more fun
Bright and zesty, science says sniffing the citrusy scent can lower stress and give you a natural mood boost. The oil is also a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic, perfect for cleaning.
How to: Mix together ¾ cup baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid Castile soap, and 12 drops lemon essential oil for a chemical-free bath and kitchen scrub.
PeppermintUse: Add pep to your step
Perk up with peppermint. Research says the minty multi-tasker can give your workouts an extra push, boost alertness, calm road rage, and even silence hunger pangs. Dang!
How to: Add a few drops to a car infuser and drive happy.
Use: Take a spa tripSynonymous with spas, the sweet, clean scent instantly transforms your bath into a Zen-like space, plus science says it can act as a decongestant, helping to reduce stuffy noses and head pressure.
How to: Put your face over a bowl of boiling water with 2-5 drops eucalyptus added. Close eyes, inhale, and repeat.
FrankincenseUse: For glowy skin
So much more than an incense scent, frankincense could be the anti-ager your skin needs. A powerful anti-inflammatory and wound healer, topically it’s been shown to decrease fine lines and boost skin elasticity.
How to: Add 1-2 drops to a dab of your favorite face cream before applying.
RosemaryUses: Grow your hair and memory Rosemary gets major points for revving up the brain, increasing memory, focus, and concentration. It also gets props as a hair stimulant for fuller, healthy-looking locks.
How to: Give yourself a rosemary scalp massage. Add 4 drops rosemary oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil (like jojoba or grapeseed) and massage into scalp.
Ylang-YlangUse: Crank up confidence
Derived from the star-shaped flowers found on the tropical ylang-ylang tree, studies have found the rich floral fragrance can improve self-esteem and promote inner harmony. Talk about flower power!How to: Put 1-2 drops on your wrists for a natural perfume.
Uses: Uplifting and relaxing
Sweet orange oil has some sweet benefits. The bright, cheery scent can simultaneously raise your spirits and reduce anxiety, making it an all-in-one mood enhancer and relaxant.How to: Rub 1-2 drops of the essential oil between your palms, then inhale.
Use: Wipe out germs
A natural born cleanser, tea tree has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties to fight funky odors and germs.
How to: Whip up an all-natural yoga mat spray. Add 2 tablespoons witch hazel and 10 drops tea tree oil to a 2-ounce glass spray bottle. Fill remaining with water, shake, spray on mat, and wipe with a clean cloth.