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How To Use Essential Oils Effectively And Safely - Make And Tend
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Essential Oils And Wellness

How To Use Essential Oils Effectively And Safely

By June 15, 2019 August 31st, 2019 No Comments

There are so many benefits to using essential oils!

But in order to actually experience those benefits, you need to use essential oils properly (and safely).

There are multiple ways to use essential oils. Using different methods will allow you to enjoy a wider range of benefits.

For example, lavender is commonly used to support good sleep. You can diffuse it in the bedroom in order to breathe it in to help relax your body and mind.

But it also helps to support healthy skin and hair, so using it topically can provide different benefits.

There are 3 main ways to use essential oils – aromatically, topically and by ingestion.

Here’s how to use essential oils for all the benefits!

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Aromatically – Inhaling Essential Oils

Using essential oils aromatically means that you are breathing the aroma in. This is usually considered the most effective way of using essential oils.

This is also what most people think of when it comes to essential oils.

The receptors in your nasal cavity are very close to your brain. When you inhale the aroma of essential oils, these receptors are very quick to send various signals to your brain.

Your brain then sends signals to the rest of your body, which is when the “effects” of the oils can be experienced.

When inhaled, whether smelling straight from the bottle or diffusing, the constituents can stimulate the limbic system, which is a part of the brain involved with emotions, behaviors, sense of smell and memory.

The limbic system also plays a role with functions such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

So smelling and inhaling essential oils causes a reaction in your brain, which then affects these other areas controlled by this portion of your brain.

How To Inhale Essential Oils Properly

The most popular way of breathing in oils is by using an essential oil diffuser.

A typical diffuser uses water and essentials oils to create an aromatic mist. It then sprays that mist into the air to fill a room with the aroma.

Here’s how to use essential oils in a diffuser:

  1. Unplug you diffuser from the power source.
  2. Take the top off the diffuser to find the water reservoir.
  3. Wipe clean to remove previous oils.
  4. Add purified water up to the max fill line.
  5. Add 2-3 drops of essential oils (when you are just starting out) or up to 10 drops (if you are already used to oils). This also depends on your water reservoir size. For 100-200 ml, stick to 2-5 drops. For 250-500 ml, use more.
  6. Turn it on!

Most diffusers have different time and mist size settings. I recommend diffusing intermittently – 30 minutes on, and 30 minutes off.

There are also diffusers that don’t use water to spread the aroma. These are called nebulizing diffusers. All you do is add the oil to the diffuser and turn it on. The “mist” (which is more like a gas) is pure and undiluted for a stronger experience.

How To Use Essential Oils Without A Diffuser

If you don’t have a diffuser, I would highly recommend getting one! They are very affordable and super easy to use.

But if you don’t have one yet, there are a few others ways to use oils.

Breathing directly from the bottle

This one is pretty self explanatory. Simply open up the bottle, hold close to your nose, and take multiple deep breaths.

Another way you can do this is by adding a drop to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and cup them over your nose and take multiple deep breaths.

Steaming Essential Oils

Steaming essential oils provides a slightly different experience than diffusing. Diffusing uses room temperature water to spread the aroma of the oil.

Steaming essential oils uses hot water to create an aromatic steam.

To use this method, add a few drops of essential oils to hot (not quite boiling) water. Then, place a towel over your head and the bowl of water.

The towel then traps the steam, allowing you to effectively inhale the oils.

This method is typically used to help relieve congestion and open up your sinuses. Using steam inhalation with oils such as eucalyptus or peppermint may especially help with this.

Remain under the towel, breathing deep and closing your eyes for up to 2 minutes at a time (or until you feel you need a break).

How To Use Essential Oils In The Shower

Using essential oils in the shower is another method of steam inhalation, just not quite as direct and intense. For a more relaxing, casual steam of essential oils, simply add a drop or 2 to your shower floor once the water is hot and steam starts filling the bathroom.

When doing this, I make sure to keep the windows closed and turn the bathroom fan off, to keep the aroma and steam in the room.

You will likely stop smelling the oil pretty quickly if you are using soap or shampoo, but it’s still in the air. It also keeps your bathroom smelling like the oil for a couple hours after showering, which is nice.

Using Essential Oils As Perfume

Another way to inhale oils throughout your day is by using essential oils as perfume (or cologne!).

This serves 2 purposes:

  1. To inhale oils as you go about your day without needing a diffuser or other tools.
  2. To smell wonderful and replace your need for potentially toxic perfumes.

Here’s how to use essential oils as perfume:

  • Get a small spray bottle.
  • Add 10 drops of essential oils (a single oil or blend that you enjoy) to the bottle
  • Add 8 ounces of 70 percent alcohol (such as vodka or white rum)
  • Shake it up and spray it on

Using alcohol will help keep the scent of the oils pure (carrier oils and other substances might affect the scent). It will also keep clothing from staining, and will last longer than mixing oils and water.

For a direct application, simply make a roller bottle of your favorite oils, top with a carrier oil, and roll onto wrists and chest when going out!

Other Ways Of Inhaling Oils

Inhaling essential oils in the car is super easy to do, which is perfect for those who get stressed while driving or for those who need to stay awake and alert.

Just add a few drops of oil to a cotton ball and stick it in your air vent to fill the car with the aroma.

Or you can get a car diffuser for something a little more effective.

You can get a personal essential oil inhaler to take with you anywhere. Add a few drops to the soft wick and keep in your purse, bag or pocket.

Just open it up, place it right under your nose and take a deep breath. Great for traveling or while outdoors.

Can You Use Essential Oils In A Humidifier?

You should not use essential oils in a humidifier. They are only meant to hold water. Using essential oils in a humidifier could cause damage since they were only designed for water, not extremely strong oils.

Make sure to get an actual essential oil diffuser, which can double as a humidifier.

Topically – Using Essential Oils On Skin

Using oils topically means that they are applied directly to the body (skin).

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Using essential oils on skin serves 2 purposes:

  1. To care for, cleanse and support healthy skin for appearance and comfort.
  2. To absorb the oils into your body and bloodstream and experience the benefits throughout your body.

We definitely recommend diluting your essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or grapeseed oil (since essential oils are so concentrated and powerful).

At least until you are aware of how your body and skin reacts to certain oils. There are certain oils that many people consider gentle enough to use directly, such as lavender or frankincense.

For children, you should always dilute all oils with a carrier oil.

Here’s where to apply essential oils:

  • Your wrists
  • Your neck
  • Your chest
  • Your shoulders
  • The bottom of your feet

Avoid getting oils anywhere near your eyes or ears.

How To Use Essential Oils On Skin

Here’s how to apply essential oils on skin:

  • Add a drop or 2 of oils to your hands, with a pump of a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil). Then rub into skin such as neck, shoulders, feet or back.
  • Make a roller bottle with a few drops of essential oil and a carrier oil. This will be easy and ready to use whenever you want to apply oils. Great for keeping in your purse or bag.
  • Apply 1-2 drops of a gentle oil directly to skin. Simply add a drop or 2 to your hands, rub together, and rub onto the bottom of your feet, wrists or chest.
  • Using a roller fitment on your essential oil bottle. This just allows you to roll the oil directly on the desired area, without having to add it to your hands first.

You can also use oils in your hair. Many oils are great for keeping hair healthy and looking fantastic.

You can add a few drops to existing hair products or make your own hair products.

You can also add essential oils to a bath for dual purposes – breathing in as the steam fills the air with the aroma, and soaking into your skin.

Use a gentle oil like lavender before bed. (Adults only – I tried this with my toddler, but the oil was still too much and gave him a rash. Plus, he usually gets bath water in his eyes, so be careful).

Ingestion – Using Oils Internally

Using oils internally or ingesting oils simply means swallowing them.

You can add oils to beverages or food. You can also add oils to vegetable capsules in order to swallow them straight up.

Not everyone recommends ingesting essential oils. I only recommend ingesting the oils that are GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe), which include Young Living’s Vitality oils (clearly labelled on the bottle).

Even then, I do not do this everyday (though I know people who do). For us, it’s a once in while thing. You should also consult your doctor.

Common ways to ingest oils:

  • Adding a drop to tea or water
  • Adding a drop to season food (such as lemon oil on fish or pasta)
  • Adding drops to a veggie capsule and swallowing

My husband loves using peppermint this way. He will occasionally add a drop to herbal tea, which provides awesome support and relief for your throat.

Oregano is also a popular oil to use in a veggie capsule for support when you are starting to feel sick.

Is It Safe To Use Oils?

The short answer is YES.

As long as you respect the oils and use them wisely and sparingly. You can (and should) consult a physician when beginning to use essential oils.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again –

Less is more when it come to essential oils!

Especially with kids. Always dilute (more so for kids than adults) and be wary of what oils to diffuse around kids. Avoid eucalyptus, basil, juniper, peppermint, hyssop and wintergreen until they are a bit older.

Some oils do require special attention.

For example, citrus based oils (such as lemon, orange or bergamot) are photosensitive and can react when the sunlight hits it. This means you shouldn’t apply these oils to your skin before going outside.

Other oils are considered “hot” meaning they will leave a warming or cooling sensation on the skin, and are recommended to use with a carrier oil to dilute (such as cinnamon or peppermint).

Each bottle of Young Living oils comes with instructions for each of these 3 uses, since every oil is different. And of course, every person is different, so you will likely find out what works best for YOU over time.

And when in doubt, ask!

I am here for you if you ever have questions about using oils, or getting started with oils.

Send me a message on Instagram!


If you are interested in starting your essential oil journey, a Starter Kit from Young Living is the perfect way to do that.

When you order one with me, I will invite you to an amazing Facebook group full of knowledge, experience and tips on using oils effectively, safely and creatively!

You can learn more about getting started here!

Disclaimer: The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to be medical advice. Suggestions here are specific to Young Living and should not be combined with oils from other sources. Examples and experiences do not guarantee similar results. Read our full disclaimer here


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