In my growing efforts to be as self-sufficient as possible and use products made with quality ingredients, using essential oils seems like a step in the right direction. However, while I’ve been wanting to incorporate essential oils into my everyday life for a while now, I got completely overwhelmed every time I began to research the world of aromatherapy. Then, something clicked: I realized that the reason why I got so overwhelmed is that I felt like I needed to understand the ins and outs of aromatherapy, as well as every use for every essential oil in order to properly use them, and at the very least, write a legitimate blog post about them. No need, my friends. There are countless essential oils out there, and from what I’ve learned, it seems like there is a household use, skincare use, culinary use, and medicinal use specific to just about every essential oil on the market. Lesson learned: start small, and gradually learn as you go.

As you can imagine, it was difficult to determine exactly how to start my collection. I was finally able to narrow it down by A) considering the practicality of the essential oils in which I was leaning toward purchasing, and B) limiting myself to just five essential oils for my initial purchase. Being a newbie to essential oils, I’m not quite ready to believe that essential oils have the ability to treat serious ailments (for instance, using lemongrass oil and myrrh oil to regulate the thyroid gland and essentially cure hyperthyroidism), but I’m sure as hell ready to put them to more sensible, everyday use. So, without further adieu…

1 // Clear blemishes with tea tree oil
Melaleuca alternifolia
Origin: Kenya

Simply apply a couple drops of tea tree oil onto a cotton swab and dab onto your blemish(es). Leave overnight and wake up to significantly less redness and inflammation. My Aunt Denise introduced me to this as a pimply teenager, and I’ve been a believer ever since.

2 // Scare bugs away with citronella oil
Cymbopogon winterianus
Origin: Nepal

Combine 1/2 cup boiled water, 1/2 cup witch hazel, and 50 drops of citronella oil. Pour into an 8 oz. spray bottle, generously spritz onto your bod and clothes, and you’ll be ready to take on Mother Nature… or your patio.

3 // Clean and disinfect household surfaces with lemon oil
Citrus limon
Origin: Argentina

Lemon not only smells fresh, but also has naturally-occuring antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Combine 1 cup boiled water, 1 cup white vinegar, and 30 drops of lemon oil, and pour into a 16 oz. spray bottle. You’ll be left with a trusty, all-purpose cleaner that you can make on a whim.

4 // Clear sinuses with eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus globulus
Origin: China

This is one of my favorite uses of essential oils because my mom introduced me to it as a kid, and it works like a charm. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add several drops of eucalyptus oil. When the heat becomes tolerable, place a towel over your head and breathe in the steam. Your sinuses will be immediately cleared, guaranteed.

5 // Unwind with lavender oil
Lavandula angustifolia
Origin: Bulgaria

Before bed, place a couple drops of lavender oil onto a cotton swab and apply to your temples and behind your ears. Alternatively, place several drops onto your pillow(s). The calming effect of lavender will occur almost instantaneously and will rock you to sleep better than the sweetest lullaby ever could.

So, what are essential oils, anyway? Well, in actuality, they’re not oils at all. Instead, they are 100% pure, super concentrated extracts of the plants from which they are derived. Needless to say, a little goes a long way. While there are many companies that offer high-quality essential oils, I chose to purchase mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, as their products are both fair trade and sustainable. Furthermore, the vast majority of their essential oils are organic. Ultimately, however, the essential oils that you choose to purchase, as well as where you choose to purchase them from, are entirely dependent on your personal needs and values. This post is solely a guide that is meant to inspire people to use essential oils, however that may be. :)