With aromatherapy having become a huge part of our wellbeing routines, essential oils are now a modern wellness staple. From diffusers to candles and even skincare - they have undoubtedly taken the market by storm. 

But, when stripping back all the shiny reviews the wellness industry gets, one thing remains rather unclear: how do essential oils actually work? With a cohort of wellness enthusiasts always on the hunt for the best options out there and plenty of praise around their stellar benefits, the market can get rather tricky to navigate. We’ve done some much needed digging and are here to bring you all the findings. 

What are essential oils?

Let’s kick it off with the basics: essential oils are, essentially (no pun intended), unique aromatic compounds extracted from plants, obtained through distillation or cold-pressing. They have actually been around for over six thousand years as an alternative or complementary therapy to help improve both health and mood. Their renowned benefits have led to the wider practice of aromatherapy, which harnesses their holistic properties to support your physical and emotional health

The benefits of aromatherapy

Aromatherapy works as the wider practice of infusing the therapeutic properties of essential oils into our daily routines, primarily by harnessing the power of inhalation. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel directly to the brain, delivering their mood enhancing properties and leaving you feeling lighter and brighter. Depending on the kind of essential oils you use, the practice can work wonders to improve your life - from promoting better sleep, to reducing stress and banishing anxiety. 

With a huge array of aromas that bring endless therapeutic benefits, it is now easier than ever to find the best essential oils to help you tackle any situation. 

How to use essential oils 

 The beauty of essential oils is that there are plenty of systems and pathways for them to make their way into your body. You can either enjoy their benefits by applying them directly to the skin, or by inhaling them - allowing the sense-soothing scents they produce instantly enhance your mood. The latter is a definite fan-favourite way of using them, however, the market now has plenty of options for you to enjoy the benefits. From skincare and body care, to scented candles and aromatherapy diffusers, there are so many sides to this wellness practice for you to explore and indulge into. Here are some of the most popular ways to enjoy the stellar benefits of essential oils and their properties: 

Essential Oil Diffusers 

A low-effort intro to self care, essential oil diffusers are a space-transforming staple, allowing you to infuse moments of serenity into your day. Acting almost like an aromatic room freshener, these clever devices help you up your self care game. By diffusing calming essential oils into your space, you are allowing the broken-down molecules to be dispersed around the room. 

Essential Oils & Skincare 

The soothing properties of essential oils have made their way into many skincare formulations, however, experts advise that you stay in the know when it comes to dosage (the typical concentration recommended is 0.5%, according to Allure). 

Essential Oils & Body Care

Aromatherapy massages and baths have become a key wellness practice and are known to facilitate relaxation, help with pain management and improve your overall mood. Additionally, adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to a bath can work wonders in calming you down and relaxing your muscles, allowing you to indulge in the most tranquil tub time. 

Essential Oils in Candles 

Nothing screams self care quite like lighting a scented candle. Not only do they create an uber-relaxing atmosphere, but burning relaxing (or energising - why not) essential oils can massively help with stress and anxiety. 

The best essential oils (and their properties)

Whilst there is a whole world of essential oils for you to explore, we’ve gathered some definite fan favourites to help you kick-start your collection and navigate the crowded market. 

1: Essential oils for anxiety 

One of the most sought-after categories of essential oils, there are plenty of scents that will help banish those scaries and help you feel more at peace with the world. 

  • Chamomile: a daisy like herb, this potent plant is a hero for massage therapy due to its calming scent 
  • Rose: known to help relax the mind and body, this aromatic oil is a reknown aromatherapy hero 
  • Clary sage: this medical herb is a known natural antidepressant, with many experts incorporating it in stress-relief related therapies 

2: Essential oils for sleep and relaxation

Using aromatherapy to promote a restful night’s sleep is a popular practice; that being said, we’ve done some digging into the most nighttime-friendly essential oils: 

  • Lavender: the benefits of lavender oil are endless: from calming your nerves, to helping you fall (and stay) asleep, this soothing scent is a stellar self-care staple 
  • Bergamot: hailed by insomnia sufferers, bergamot oil is known to reduce blood pressure and get your body all ready to fall asleep! 
  • Sandalwood oil: a sleep promoting staple, sandalwood is known to help even you out emotionally and is great for before bedtime 

3: Essential oils for mental focus

When looking to boost your mood and motivation, there are a few essential oils that come to the rescue:

  • Peppermint: known to fight fatigue and infuse a lil’ ooph into your day with its punchy aroma, peppermint is a known motivation booster 
  • Lemon: this punchy essential oil helps fight fatigue and exhaustion with its zingy aroma
  • Rosemary: believed to boost brain function, rosemary is a known concentration booster 

4: Essential oils for energy

If you’re feeling low on energy, fear not: your collection of essential oils can help save the day 

  • Eucalyptus: not only does this gem help stimulate the mind and body with its punchy scent, but it also reduces tension and anxiety. Win-win!
  • Basil: a renowned natural source of energy, basil has a crisp yet sweet scent that helps boost those energy levels
  • Grapefruit: this will help balance your mood and banish all blues away, leaving you feeling lighter, brighter and more energetic in an instant

There you have it… your complete guide to using essential oils, as well as the most popular ones to help you with everything from stress, to low energy levels. Whether you’re a novice to the practice of aromatherapy, or have already tried incorporating the practice into your life - getting clued up on all the stellar benefits essential oils can bring will lead to a happier, healthier you.