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Top 10 Essential Oils for Self-Care

Essential oils are a great addition to your self-care routine with their mood-boosting aromatherapy properties and nourishing benefits for your skin. Not to mention, they’re just fun and make self-care activities even more enjoyable.

In this blog post, I’m sharing my top 10 essential oils for self-care. I’ll tell you a bit about the properties and benefits of each oil as well as a few simple essential oil recipes for using each essential oil for self-care.

I’ve stuck with easily accessible and affordable essential oils for this post. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need expensive or fancy oils to reap the benefits of aromatherapy.

1. Lavender Essential Oil

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Lavender is probably the single most popular self-care essential oil. It’s well known for its calming and relaxing properties. It can help aid in sleep and is also nourishing and soothing for the skin. I always feel a little cliche every time I hype lavender up, but the hype is well deserved.

Fun fact: The Romans were known to add lavender to their baths, and the name lavender comes from the Latin lavare, which means ‘to wash.’ (1a)

Lavender is one of my favorite essential oils because it’s widely accessible, gentle, and super versatile. I personally love lavender of all kinds, but if you’ve tried lavender and aren’t too keen on it, I’d recommend giving French lavender a try. It has a lighter, fresher scent than the more common English lavender.

Ways to use lavender essential oil for self-care:

  • Add 5-10 drops to an Epsom salt bath for a quiet, self-care evening (or try our Lavender + Geranium Bath Salts).

  • Diffuse 3-5 drops in an aromatic diffuser before bedtime while doing a relaxing activity like reading or coloring.

  • Mix 5-10 drops with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and massage onto feet.

  • Add a drop of lavender to your face cream before applying for a soothing addition.

2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

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Eucalyptus is most known for its ability to soothe and open up your respiratory system. It’s great for regular self-care but is especially beneficial when you aren’t feeling well.

Ways to use eucalyptus essential oil for self-care:

  • Fill a medium-sized bowl with hot water and 3-5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Wet a washcloth and wring out. Lay down, close your eyes, and place the warm towel over your face. Take some deep, calming breaths.

  • Mix up 20 drops of eucalyptus in a 4 oz spray bottle filled with water and a splash of witch hazel or vodka. Spritz onto shower walls before turning on the water and let the steam fill your bathroom with eucalyptus-y goodness. Shake well before each use.

  • Mix 5-10 drops with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and massage onto feet.

  • Add 5-10 drops to an Epsom salt bath when you’re feeling under the weather (or try our Peppermint + Eucalyptus Bath Salts).

3. Orange Essential Oil

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One of my fondest memories is walking through the streets of a small town in Spain (where orange trees are widely grown). The sweet oranges were fragrant and mixed with the floral scent of the blossoms on the trees. I don’t remember anything else from that town, not even the name. But I remember the smell. It was magical.

I’ve included orange essential oil on this list essential oils for self-care because its bright aroma is uplifting and mood-boosting. This is a great essential oil to work into your day for practicing mental and emotional self-care. Orange is great all day but my favorite time to use it is in the morning.

Ways to use orange essential oil for self-care:

  • Diffuse 3-5 drops in an aromatic diffuser while you get ready in the morning to bring some brightness into your day.

  • Add 1-2 drops to a diffuser bracelet in the morning and wear your mood-boosting bracelet all day, especially if you’re feeling nervous or down. Inhale deeply as needed.

  • Honestly, just inhale this one straight from the bottle. It will put a smile on your face.

  • Add 5-10 drops to an Epsom salt bath to feel uplifted (or try our Orange + Cedarwood Bath Salts).

4. Frankincense Essential Oil

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Though some varieties of frankincense are expensive, you’ll find that the boswellia serrata variety is rather affordable so you can easily work it into your everyday self-care.

Frankincense essential oil has a warm, woody, comforting aroma that provides a sense of calm and grounding. Many massage practitioners use frankincense for its ability to deepen breathing and aid in relaxation. (1a)

On top of that, frankincense is also great for your skin with its rejuvenating and toning effects.

Ways to use frankincense essential oil for self-care:

  • To a small spray bottle add 10 drops of frankincense essential oil and fill the rest with witch hazel. Shake to combine and spritz on your face as a toner (you can also add vitamin E oil if you have it on hand).

  • Diffuse 3-5 drops in an aromatic diffuser during yoga or meditation.

  • Add a drop of frankincense to your face cream before applying for a rejuvenating addition.

5. Rosemary Essential Oil

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Rosemary isn’t just for roasting chicken. Rosemary essential oil is a great resource to have in your self-care toolkit, especially when it comes to dry skin and muscle relaxation. Similar to eucalyptus, it’s also beneficial to your respiratory system when inhaled.

Ways to use rosemary essential oil for self-care:

  • Add up to 30 drops of rosemary essential oil to your shampoo and shake to combine for dry scalp relief.

  • Add 4-8 drops to an Epsom salt foot soak.

  • Mix 5-10 drops with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and massage onto chest and feet.

6. Cedarwood Essential Oil

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Cedarwood is an unassuming self-care essential oil, but one that’s worth having in your arsenal. Cedarwood essential oil can help calm your nerves and is great for problematic skin.

One reason I love having cedarwood around for self-care is that it’s a nice break from lavender but still helps me relax. It’s a more masculine, warm, and woodsy scent that blends well with orange and frankincense.

It’s an essential oil that can help bring on a sense of grounding and strength.

Ways to use cedarwood essential oil for self-care:

  • Add a drop of cedarwood to your face cream before applying to soothe problematic skin areas.

  • Diffuse with frankincense and orange for a calming blend.

  • Mix 1-2 drops with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and apply to the insides of your wrists, especially before yoga or meditation.

  • Add 5-10 drops to an Epsom salt bath to feel grounded (or try our Orange + Cedarwood Bath Salts).

7. Peppermint Essential Oil

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When people ask me what my favorite essential oil is, I tell them peppermint. It’s one of the most widely used essential oils. It’s affordable and easy to find, making it a great every-day essential oil for self-care.

Peppermint essential oil can help relax the nerves and soothe tired muscles. It is also good for uplifting the spirit and helping you stay focused due to its stimulating scent.

Ways to use peppermint essential oil for self-care:

  • Mix 1-2 drops with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and massage onto the abdomen after a large meal.

  • Diffuse 3-5 drops in an aromatic diffuser to help you stay focused during the day.

  • Add 4-8 drops to an Epsom salt foot soak for tired feet (or try our Peppermint + Eucalyptus Bath Salts).

  • Mix up 20 drops of peppermint in a 4 oz spray bottle filled with water and a splash of witch hazel or vodka. Spritz onto the back of your neck for a cooling and revitalizing sensation.

8. Black Spruce

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Like walking through a quiet forest, black spruce essential oil is both calming and energizing - which is exactly what we want out of our self-care. I especially love to use black spruce in the winter when it’s harder to go outside for a walk in nature. Diffusing black spruce can help transport me to the woods and uplift my spirit.

Ways to use Black Spruce Essential Oil for self-care:

  • Mix up 20 drops of eucalyptus in a 4 oz spray bottle filled with water and a splash of witch hazel or vodka. Spritz around your house during the winter months to feel connected to nature.

  • Diffuse 3-5 drops in an aromatic diffuser when you’re feeling stressed.

  • Blend with lavender essential oil and a carrier oil like sweet almond oil. Massage onto feet and the back of your neck as a soothing, evening ritual.

9. Coriander Essential Oil

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Coriander is a less common essential oil. I had been using essential oils for over 2 years before I ever tried it. At first, I thought the essential oil might smell like something I’d put on tacos. Luckily, it doesn’t, and it quickly became one of my favorite essential oils.

Coriander seed (coriandrum sativum) smells sweet, spicy, and herbaceous all at the same time - a very well-rounded scent. It’s known to lift the spirits and restore a sense of calm (1a).

Ways to use coriander essential oil for self-care:

  • Diffuse 3-5 drops in an aromatic diffuser when you’re in a bad mood.

  • Mix 1-2 drops with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and massage onto the abdomen after a large meal.

  • Add 1-2 drops to a diffuser bracelet in the morning and wear your mood-boosting bracelet all day, especially if you’re feeling nervous or down. Inhale deeply as needed.

10. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

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Ylang ylang is a floral essential oil that can help relax both the body and mind (1b). It’s one of those essential oils that makes you feel like you’re at a luxurious spa.

Ylang ylang essential oil is said to both relax and stimulate the mind at the same time (1a) which makes it a great choice for self-care. It can help you rest but also feel rejuvenated, creating a perfect balance.

On top of that, ylang ylang essential oil is also great for nourishing skin and hair, so overall it’s a great tool to keep in your self-care toolkit.

Ways to use ylang ylang essential oil for self-care:

  • Diffuse 3-5 drops in an aromatic diffuser at bedtime.

  • Add 1-2 drops to a diffuser bracelet in the morning for all-day calming and stimulating aromatherapy (as an added bonus, it smells like perfume).

  • Mix 1-2 drops with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and massage onto your feet and the insides of your wrists.

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