The 12 Most Popular Essential Oils & How to Use Them

There are over 90 types of commonly used essential oils in the market. While it’s nice to have an array of options, it can be daunting deciding which scent or scents to choose, especially if you’re new to this, as different types of essential oils serve different purposes and smell different. Here is a list of popular essential oils and their uses, hopefully it will narrow down your choice and make it easier when choosing essential oils.

1. Lavender

Lavender essential oil is hands down one of the most popular and versatile essential oils being used for aromatherapy, massage, skin care and even hair care. This mild sweet and floral scent is very well known to promote relaxation hence helping to induce sleep, reduce stress, anxiety and headaches. Lavender also contains antimicrobial and anti-rheumatic properties. Furthermore, lavender also helps with scars and insect bites.

2. Lemongrass

Lemongrass essential oil doesn’t just smell heavenly; it contains various beneficial properties such as analgesic, antimicrobial, antipyretic, sedative and more. The sedative effect of lemongrass helps to promote calmness, relieve anxiety, headaches and tension. Lemongrass’s analgesic properties are also used medicinally to relieve muscle and joint pains caused by overexertion of muscles when exercising.

3. Citrus

Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are among the most common fruits that fall under citrus. Citrus scented essential oils always smell refreshing and are known to help improve mood by boosting mental energy and clarity, reducing nausea, reducing feelings of fatigue and irritability, enhancing concentration and so on. Orange and lemon essential oils blend well with other essential oils such as lavender, geranium and lime, whereas grapefruit essential oils act as a middle note when combined with other essential oils such as peppermint, ginger and rosemary.

4. Peppermint

Peppermint is another versatile essential oil on par with lavender. One of the main chemical constituent is menthol which has analgesic and local anaesthetic qualities which helps in reducing headaches, muscle pain and inflammation. Its distinctive sharp and refreshing scent when used in aromatherapy helps with breathing, relieving congested nasal passageways; reduce feelings of nervousness, tension and irritability. Peppermint oil can also be diluted coconut oil and rubbed onto the skin (provided not allergic) to ease the pain of sunburn, added to water and used as an insect spray, or used in very small amounts to rub behind the ear to reduce nausea.

5. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil is known for its purifying, antiseptic and calming properties. This fresh, strong, slightly minty and citrus-like scent helps to rejuvenate the mind to combat sluggishness, relieve nasal congestion and reduce tension and feelings of nervousness. Eucalyptus oil has many uses; it is a popular ingredient in massage blends, deodorants, mouth wash, soaps, lotions and more. Eucalyptus essential oil can also be combined with a few drops of lemon and peppermint oil in water and be used as a surface cleaner.

6. Tea Tree

Tea tree is highly reputable for its antiseptic properties, it is a powerful yet gentle immune system stimulant, and is a very popular ingredient in skin care for oily or blemish prone skin, body washes, hair care, massage oils, deodorants and more. Tea tree essential oil has a fresh camphor-like scent that may smell a bit medicinal, it can be combined with lemon and eucalyptus in a spray bottle filled with water and sprayed onto odorous materials such as the inside of shoes. Tea tree oil when used as aromatherapy helps to reduce feelings of stress and fatigue.

7. Chamomile

Chamomile essential oil contains naturally healing properties that benefits both the mind and body in copious ways. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, as well as skin and hair brightening properties makes it a sought after ingredient for skincare, hair care and body care. When inhaling the sweet, herbaceous scent with fruity nuances, it induces relaxation to the body, aiding sleep issues and alleviating negative moods. Properly diluted and used topically activates the analgesic, anti-biotic and carminative properties to assist in muscle soreness, joint pain, indigestion, skin inflammation and wound healing.

8. Geranium

Often called the “masculine” version of rose, its deep, rosy and citrusy fragrance is popular in perfumes as a middle note. You can also create a homemade version of a body spray or mild perfume by combining 1/3 cup (80ml) water with 5-6 drops of the essential oil. Other than offering pleasant aroma, geranium essential oil possesses medicinal properties that are beneficial for various ailments and conditions such as Athlete’s foot, herpes, shingles, eczema and psoriasis. Its analgesic properties also provide substantial comfort for sore throat, sinus, burn wounds, bug bites and menstrual cramps.

9. Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang, pronounced “ee-lang ee-lang”, its unique name originated from the Tagalog word, “ilang”, which means wilderness. Its deep and floral scent makes it a popular ingredient for perfumes as a base and middle note. Ylang ylang essential oil has anti-depressant and aphrodisiac properties to provide comfort to feelings of unhappiness, stress, anxiety, and boost lower libido levels. When diffused or added to a homemade room spray, it creates a fresh and uplifting atmosphere. It also blends well with floral scents (geranium, jasmine, lavender etc.), warm scents (clove, ginger, frankincense etc.) as well as most citrus scents.

10. Frankincense

The natural relaxing, musty and earthy scent that improves both the immune system and mood by reducing stress and sleeplessness. Frankincense can be added to homemade room sprays and disinfectants with or without the combination of thyme, to eliminate harmful airborne and surface bacteria. It is also believed to benefit spirituality by strengthening spiritual connection. Pregnant women and individuals with bleeding disorders are strongly advised to avoid frankincense essential oil due to the blood thinning properties which pose as a health risk.

11. Rosemary

Widely popular in French and Italian cuisines, this aromatic and woody herb has a lot more to offer than seasoning food. Enriched in anti-microbial properties and anti-oxidants, rosemary essential oil has a strengthening effect on the immune system. Inhaling the scent can clear the respiratory tract, hence providing relief for throat and nasal congestion. Furthermore, it is also believed to enhance one’s memory, it was of notable importance for that purpose among the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

12. Thyme

The diversity of thyme makes it a popular ingredient in European cuisines like rosemary, aromatherapy, remedy for multiple ailments, and dental hygiene products. Just like tea tree essential oil, it is well known for its powerful anti-septic properties. When inhaled, the soothing, refreshing and herbaceous scent affects both the body and mind positively. It reduces stress, headaches, fatigue, aids in those who have trouble getting proper sleep and suffering from seasonal colds. When properly diluted for topical usage, its anti-inflammatory properties serve to boost and support the recovery of minor wounds, sunburn and eczema.