Getting Started with Essential Oils

Getting Started with Essential Oils

Whether you’ve been using essential oils for years or are brand new to them, we can all agree there is a lot to learn and it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

What are the different ways to use them? Are there really any benefits to using essential oils? What kind of diffuser should I use? I often hear these questions, and so many more, from readers and clients, so I’m here to answer your questions! With all of the contradictory and controversial information available, it can be difficult to know where to start, or if you should!

Tip: If you’re relatively new to essential oils, I want to give a word of caution as you begin researching them for yourself. You’ll find thousands of websites that discuss essential oils, their benefits, and how you should use them. In many cases, these are written by individual representatives of large essential oil companies. In this post, I’m simply sharing one of my favorite ways to enjoy their benefits, but if you have specific questions about using them, feel free to email me. If you’re interested in internal use of essential oils, I recommend working with an aromatherapist.

Essential oils are powerful plant extracts that have the ability to improve countless health concerns, illnesses, and more. They are extremely concentrated and should be used after you’ve learned the ins-and-outs of how to use them safely. See end of post for more details.

My favorite way (and one of the safest ways) to use essential oils is diffusing them into the air!
To learn why I do this, you can download my free eBook by clicking the image below:
“A Beginner’s Guide to a Nontoxic Home”

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Why high-quality essential oils matter

Not all essential oils are created equal. For example, if you see a product labeled “lavender aroma” or “lavender oil”, that is not a true essential oil. It must say essential oil on the bottle. Look for “pure therapeutic grade essential oil”, but keep in mind even with this, there are still loopholes in these regulations. The next thing to consider is the quality of an essential oil. Does the brand disclose how it is sourced, processed, and prepared? Was it treated with pesticides and herbicides before it was processed?

Tip: Beware! If the company you’re buying your essential oils from sells each essential oil at fairly similar price point, you can bet those oils are adulterated or manipulated. Different essential oils range greatly in price: some are under $10 for a 15ml bottle, and some are over $1,000 for a 15ml bottle. This is due to the cost of sourcing and manufacturing each individual plant.

Getting Started with Essential OilsThese are all important things to consider when buying essential oils, because if you’re going to be using them, you want to make sure you’re investing in a high quality essential oil that isn’t going to be contaminated with toxins (which is often the case in essential oils).

Related: How to Purify Indoor Air Naturally

Things to look for when buying a diffuser

Just like not all essential oils are created equal, not all diffusers are created equal. For the most part, the negative to buying a lower quality diffuser is that it won’t last as long. There is only one type of essential oil diffuser that I recommend avoiding (candle diffusers, as heat damages the chemical properties of the oil.) After that, it really comes down to budget and how you plan to benefit from the essential oils.

Here are two common types of diffusers

1. Ultrasonic Diffusers


Ultrasonic diffusers are one of the most common types of diffusers. They use ultrasonic electrical vibrations that result in a fine mist of water and essential oil. These diffusers do use water, so the essential oil is diluted before being dispersed into the air, which means they also act as humidifiers.

This diffuser from Buckaroo Organics is one of my favorite ultrasonic diffusers because of the design, it’s made with real bamboo, and is phthalate, PVC and BPA free. It has an LED color option that can be set to rotate between colors or set to pause on any color. (In addition to showing in the buttons at the bottom of the diffuser, the color also shows in the dark line around the top of the diffuser, the color is just turned off in this photo). It runs up to 7 hours continuous, but also has an intermittent setting. It’s quiet and easier to clean than other ultrasonic diffusers I’ve used.

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2. Nebulizing Diffusers

Nebulizers, also known as ‘waterless diffusers’ diffuse the essential oil into the air without water or heat, just pressurized air! Unlike ultrasonic diffusers which use water to disperse the oil into the air, the oil diffused by a nebulizer is completely undiluted. These saturate the air more quickly than ultrasonic diffusers and are often recommended for therapeutic use of essential oil diffusion.

For example, I’d use my nebulizer at the first sign of a cold/flu or when eliminating strong indoor odors/pollution.

They require more essential oil to operate than an ultrasonic diffuser, since there is no dilution.

The Raindrop Diffuser from Organic Aromas is what I use for a nebulizing diffuser – and I love it! The design is beautiful and easy to operate. It has an option to turn the color LED light on or off at any time. Another benefit is that there is no plastic involved in this diffuser. It’s also incredibly easy to clean. I really like that the on/off dial, as well as the color button are both on the back of the diffuser. Overall, this is a fantastic diffuser that I plan to buy several more of – to use in different rooms in my home!

Saves 10% on any purchase with code healthfullyhannah (limited time only)!

Organic Aromas Diffuser
Check out this video to see how it’s made!

Using Essential Oils Safely

While diffusing essential oils is one of the safest ways to enjoy the benefits, here are a couple things to keep in mind.

Use caution with essential oils if you’re pregnant, have young children, or pets (especially cats, fish, and birds), as there are some health hazards when diffusing essential oils around pets. Here is a helpful guide to using essential oils safely. Do not take essential oils internally unless under the care of a Certified Aromatherapist.

Essential oils can be powerful tools for health and healing, but keep in mind it’s important to use them safely and just like making sure your supplements are of the highest quality, it’s essential to make sure that your oils are high quality.  

Do you use an essential oil diffuser? If so, share what kind you have and if you like it, below!

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is the founder of Healthfully Hannah and is a nutrition professional empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Get in touch with Hannah right here.


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  1. Hi Hannah,

    Which brand of essential oils do you use and recommend? Thanks for such helpful post
    Thanks

    1. Hi Swarna! I’m glad you found this post helpful! I use Organic essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs. Based on the testing I’ve done with several brands, it’s the most suitable for me. They can be ordered directly from their website.