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Essential oil information

To put it simply, essential oils are concentrated natural oils from plants. They are extracted using various methods including distillation and cold pressing. They can be applied topically, diffused, inhaled and even taken internally (although I recommend you do the latter only under guidance from a qualified practitioner). Used correctly, essential oils are a brilliant and natural tool for cleaning, body care and wellbeing.

Essential oils are generally regarded as safe, and typically don’t have many side effects, as long as they are used correctly. Improper use can cause serious harm including skin irritation, allergic reactions and even burns. Keep them out of reach of children at all times.

These precious oils are my perfume now. I love knowing that the fragrance I am applying to my skin is safe and beneficial to my body, serving more than just an aromatic purpose.

Tips when choosing and using essential oils

1. It is so important to source top quality, 100% pure essential oils. Choose a brand whose oils are either certified organic, or from a company that is transparent in their processes, from seed to seal.

I am very reluctant to promote only one specific brand of oils as I believe there are a number of reputable companies out there. Over time, I have developed a great love for the oils at Plant Therapy, and despite the fact that they are based in the US, their prices are very competitive (mainly due to them not selling in a MLM structure), plus they have the knowledge of Robert Tisserand behind them, and Robert is the master of EO safety!

I also use and love Young Living and doTERRA oils. There are local brands such as Twenty8, Tinderbox, Eco. Modern Essentials and Edens Garden, that I have heard are good. 123 Nourish Me also sell some certified organic oils, as do Biome and Flora & Fauna.

2. Avoid fragrance oils at all costs, if leading a less toxic lifestyle is your aim. Fragrance oils are basically perfume and, unless naturally derived, full of nasties.

3. The dilution rates I suggest in my recipes feel right to me, however I encourage you to do your own research and testing, and remain aware that some essential oils are best avoided by infants, children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, the elderly, some animals and those with compromised immunity or medical conditions.

4. If you want to use any of my recipes on children and you’re not confident in your knowledge on appropriate essential oil dilution rates, play it safe and leave them out

5. Avoid applying undiluted essential oils to your skin.

6. It is a good idea to patch test products containing essential oils before using them, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

7. Essential oils don’t mix with water. Don’t add them directly to the bath as they sit on top of the water and can cause serious discomfort when you hop in!

8. When using essential oils in predominately water-based recipes, you will need to shake well before each use to distribute the oils (unless your recipe contains castile soap, like my foaming washes, as this ingredient does the job well). Remember, we’re stripping it back and avoiding extra additives, and I’m yet to find an effective, truly natural and easily accessible solubiliser. While very high-percentage (90+) alcohol is effective, it’s not easy to source and I personally don’t like using alcohol in body care applications.

9. Be aware that citrus oils are best avoided prior to sun exposure as they increase the skin’s photosensitivity.

10. When it comes to essential oils, I’m giving you my favourites in each recipe. But you may have other ideas (or a completely different collection), and that’s okay. You have permission to experiment, substitute or leave them out. Just make sure you make a note, so you remember how to recreate the combo if you love it.

11. You might like to use a particular recipe as a base (this super salve for example), and change up the essential oils to give the same base multiple purposes.

12. Be especially careful when using and diffusing essential oils around pets. Speak to your vet and do your research.

Essential oil inspiration

I often get asked which oils are suitable for eczema, dry skin, wrinkles, pimples; what blends make for a kid-friendly lip balm scent; what oils could be swapped out of various recipes due to dislikes etc. And the list goes on, and on, and ON! So I hope you find this a great reference tool for all of your DIY-ing sessions! Remember that not all oils/blends will be suitable for everyone. Many suggestions are simply ideas and recommendations from the TILP community, based on what they love and what works for them; some come from my experience and research and others have been sourced (see reference links).

 

My absolute favourites

  • Ylang ylang, patchouli and orange
  • Orange, ylang ylang and ginger
  • Bergamot, lavender and geranium

Deep, spicy and woody

  • Ylang ylang, patchouli and vetiver
  • Rosemary, cinnamon and orange
  • Clary sage, lime and cedarwood

Popular staples

  • Lavender, orange and frankincense
  • Peppermint, orange, lemon and lime

Fruity

  • Lemon, lime and grapefruit
  • Lemongrass and ginger

Energising, refreshing, wake-me-up

  • Orange, lemongrass and wintergreen
  • Peppermint and orange
  • Lemon, lime and spearmint
  • Peppermint, orange, lemon and lime

Clean and fresh

  • Cinnamon, peppermint and grapefruit
  • Lemon, lime, eucalyptus
  • Lavender, lemon and rosemary
  • Lime, grapefruit
  • Orange, ylang ylang and ginger
  • Lemongrass, orange and wintergreen

Relaxing, sleepy, mental tension, unwind

  • Lavender, cedarwood, ylang ylang and vetiver
  • Lavender, orange and frankincense
  • Ylang ylang, cedarwood and marjoram
  • Lavender and geranium

Festive

  • Orange, cinnamon and ginger
  • Clove, cinnamon and lemongrass

The Inspired Little Pot community suggestions

I asked the beautiful crew in my Facebook Group what blends they are in love with, and this is some of what I got. Love them!

Orange, cinnamon and cedarwood – as a nice cosy homely vibe
Ylang ylang and bergamot – as a perfume
Ginger and lime – in the kitchen diffuser
Vetiver, roman chamomile and cedarwood – to wind the kids down
Peppermint and lemongrass – in the office
Lemongrass and grapefruit – great for the dishwashing liquid
Geranium, lavender and patchouli or lavender, patchouli and ylang ylang – in body wash
Lemongrass and cedarwood – relaxing and cleansing
Vetiver and lime – loving it in the diffuser at the moment
Spearmint, ylang ylang and black pepper – smells like frangipanis
Ylang ylang, bergamot, lavender – swear by it for anxiety and stress
Clary sage, ylang ylang, lavender and sandalwood (or cedarwood) – a fresh start

A tip before adding oils directly to a large batch…

Pop a teaspoon of coconut oil into a dish and add a smaller ratio of oils. Apply it to your arms and legs and see if you like the smell. Tweak it until you have reached your version of perfect and go ahead with your larger batch. REMEMBER to make notes or you’ll kick yourself when you’ve forgotten what you added to your little dish and can’t replicate it (or avoid it)!

 When diffusing…

The size of your diffuser and the size of your room will determine how many drops you require. For a small room (bedroom or office), 4-6 drops total is plenty. For a large living area, 8-10 drops is acceptable. But have a play around and add/subtract depending on the strength of aroma you’re after. Also, it is best to diffuse for short periods of time, rather than non-stop. When diffusing in my children’s rooms, I run the diffuser before they go to bed, and then switch it off.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

With a background in health promotion, Krissy's passion is to educate and increase awareness on reducing the number of toxins that people expose themselves to on a daily basis, through an honest, simple and realistic approach.

She has sold over 20,000 self-published books and is now published as the author of Naturally Inspired, Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning.

Her recipes have taken her to the screen on more than one occasion, with morning TV appearances, and she received recognition as a ‘Woman Who Will Change The World’ in the AusMumpreneur business awards in 2018.

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