I’ll talk about these first because it is extremely important to use essential oils carefully.
* Since they evaporate easily, it’s a good idea to keep them away from heat and light.
* Exercise caution when using essential oils on the elderly, pregnant women, children or those with health problems e.g hypertension. Some are strictly prohibited in persons with hypertension.
* Keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets.
* Don’t put essential oils directly on your skin or scalp. They are highly concentrated and can cause serious reactions. Before applying to the skin, they have to be diluted first using a carrier oil. A carrier oil is basically a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts. Carrier oils help to carry the essential oil onto the skin and scalp.
Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic properties and characteristics. The choice of carrier oil can depend on the therapeutic benefit being sought. Examples of carrier oils commonly used to dilute essential oils include Jojoba oil, Castor oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil , Grapeseed Oil, Sesame Oil, Hemp Seed Oil , Sunflower Oil, etc.
* Although carrier oils do not evaporate easily like essential oils, they can go rancid over time. What this means is you should only mix small batches of carrier oils and essential oils at a time. If you do mix a big batch, it is a good idea to refrigerate the mixture to prevent it going bad. Essential oils lose their therapeutic benefits by oxidization but they don’t go rancid.
* Before using essential oils, it is advisable to do test your skin’s sensitivity by doing a patch test. Put a little bit of diluted oil in the bend of your elbow and wait 24 hours to see if itching or redness develop.
11 ways you can use essential oils in your daily routine.
1. Add a few drops to your shampoo e.g tea tree oil is great for dandruff and itchy scalp relief.
2. Add a few drops to your deep conditioner.
3. Add a few drops to your regular hair oil and use as a daily scalp oil. I usually add a few drops of cedar wood, lavender, thyme and rosemary oils to lavender JBCO or to my deep conditioner.
4. Add three to eight drops to your bath water. Add it just before you get in and soak for at least 10 minutes. Lavender, patchouli and sandalwood oils are great for soothing the skin. You could also use rose, ylang ylang, jasmine or neroli.
5. If you have nasal congestion, you can use eucalyptus oil. Put four drops in a bowl of hot, almost boiling water. Cover your head with a towel to trap in the steam. Inhale this for a few minutes.
6. After a stressful day, you can also do a sandalwood or peppermint oil steam inhalation. Drape a towel over your head to make a tent and breathe in the steam for a few minutes.
7. Make a body massage oil. 10 drops of essential oil to 1 oz of carrier oil. Suggested carrier oils are olive oil (for normal skin), coconut oil (for dry skin) and grapeseed oil (for oily skin).
8. Put 20 drops per 5 oz. of water in a spray bottle to make a room spray. Patchouli, sweet orange and lemon grass are great essential oils for making a room spray.
9. Add a drop or two to a basket of dried flowers.
10. Make a foot bath with five to seven drops of oil in a quart of warm water; soak for about 10 minutes. Try lemon, mint, tea tree or juniper oils.
11. Add lemon oil to your facial cleanser if you have oily skin.