It’s easy to scoff at essential oils as ... well, inessential. After all, they’ve gotten a bad rap over the years. That’s likely thanks to Facebook posters and pyramid scheme-type sellers who brand them as a cure-all: For illness! Acne! The world! Admittedly, none of these can be solved entirely by essential oils. But that doesn’t mean they don’t actually have a lot of wonderful uses. Reducing anxiety, nourishing hair, and housecleaning are just some of them. So whether you’re an old pro refreshing yourself the basics or just unlocking your New Age side, there are a few foundational oils you’ll always want to have in your cabinet.
These are the best essential oils everyone should have on their shelf:
Best Lavender Essential Oil: Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil
Everyone knows about the calming and relaxing properties of Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil. It is, in fact, an essential. Whether you’re including it in a bath or shower, dabbing it on your pillow to help fall asleep, adding to a diffuser for aromatherapy, using it in cleaning supplies, or something else, it brings a naturally soothing effect to ... everything. I even happen to like an Earl Grey and Lavender tea, though it’s not a mix I make myself. The shade of lavender itself (like a warm pastel purple) is even thought to be calming. Its herbal/lightly floral scent is also familiar to most, so it’s a good base oil to have if you live with multiple people and don’t want to offend their sensibilities.
Best Peppermint Essential Oil: Ethereal Nature Peppermint Oil
Real peppermint oil—the good stuff, not like a candy cane—is where it’s at. Cooling, invigorating, Ethereal Nature Peppermint Oil is probably the one I end up using the most often. I have seasonal migraines and a lot of anxiety, and have found that the action of breathing in peppermint oil during periods of panic (in conjunction with my actual medication) has helped to center me. I normally just dab a little bit on the inside of my wrists, and occasionally put a few drops on my pillow as well. Plus, it just smells nice.
Best Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Nature’s Truth Pure Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Just try Nature’s Truth Pure Eucalyptus Essential Oil one time, and you’ll see why koalas like the plant so much. Refreshing and rejuvenating, eucalyptus is one of those things that just smells clean. That’s no coincidence, either: Its stimulating herbal scent can actually help improve breathing. It’s often incorporated into over-the-counter medications (like Vicks) and spa treatments (saunas, massages) for this reason. It’s noticeable and pleasant without being overbearing, which is always key for something you may be adding to your general wellness routine. A few drops in a steam shower, for example, can help open your nasal passages right up. Important for this time of year! That said, I will note that eucalyptus can cause an allergic reaction in household pets, so I don’t advise using it in a diffuser.
Best Tea Tree Essential Oil: Difeel 100% Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil
The nourishing and cleansing effects of Difeel Tea Tree Oil cannot be denied. Personally, I love to use it on my skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties help me stop itching bug bites during the warmer months and reduces the appearance of blemishes year-round. I also dab some along my hairline, where my dry skin gets particularly annoying. For this reason, tea tree oil is commonly found in shampoos and conditioners. It’s also in a lot of anti-fungal treatments. It’s just one of those things that’s nice to have on-hand.
Best Orange Essential Oil: Cliganic Organic Orange Essential Oil
Look, you know what an orange smells like: Summer. Citrus. Freshness. All of these adjectives with pleasant associations. So that alone is a nice reason to keep it in your cabinet. But honestly? Cliganic USDA-Certified Orange Essential Oil is one of the most versatile oils of them all. Its zesty, uplifting fragrance is strong without being cloying, and mixes well with nearly anything. Including ... you. You can massage it into sore muscles. Use it on your skin for a brightening glow and (possibly) a reduction in the appearance of acne. It’s thought to have antiseptic and immune-boosting properties, as well as the potential to alleviate stress and improve your mood. It’s like what Marcus from Superstore thinks about root beer, but real!
Once again: These are not medicine. Please do not use them to treat things you need to see a doctor for. I want to make that abundantly clear.