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How To Use Essential Oils – Newbie Guide

How To Use Essential Oils

So, you have gotten your first bottle of essential oil and you want to know how to use it?

A lot of people think that you can just diffuse essential oils and that is the only use for them.  I used to think that but as I got more experienced in aromatherapy I quickly learned lots of different ways to use them. However, there is so much more to aromatherapy than just diffusing essential oils. In fact, if that is all you do you are missing out big time!

So, down below I am going to show you the most common ways you can start using your essential oils.

Diffuse In A Electronic Diffuser or Nebulizer

There are common ways you can diffuse essential oils. You can use an electronic diffuser or a nebulizer. I am going to discuss the best ways to use them down below.

Electronic Diffuser

Probably the most common ways to use essential oils is with an electronic diffuser. Sometimes electronic diffusers are referred to as ultrasonic diffusers.

For instance, you fill a diffuser with water and then put in a couple of drops of essential oil. Then you turn on the diffuser. It will emit the essential oils into the air. Within five minutes the room will be filled with a fine mist.

Different diffusers can cover different sized rooms. Some of them put out more mist than others. Some of them are more expensive, have more features, and come in different styles.

There are several kinds of electronic diffusers on the market. I have reviewed a number of them which include Smiley Daisy Hibiscus (see review), doTERRA Petal (see review), Plant Therapy’s NovaFuse (see review), Young Living’s Dew Drop (see review), etc.

According to Robert Tisserand it’s best to diffuse essential oils 60 minutes on and then turning it off for 60 minutes. The body can actually get stressed running your diffuser all day long.

To see a full list of the best electronic diffusers click here.


Nebulizers get essential oil into the air just like electronic diffusers except they don’t use any carrier like water.  However, I can’t stress this enough the potency is so much higher and you can really smell the oil much better.

Nebulizers cover larger areas of space, leave the oil in the air longer (about 70 minutes), but do typically cost over $90. Also, they are typically a little louder than electronic diffusers.

In fact, once I discovered nebulizers I stopped using diffusers altogether.

They do have nebulizers that screw into a bottle.  For instance, the  Advanced Aromatherapy Essential Oil nebulizer by Diffuser World is one that screws into the bottle (see full review here).

There are lots of nebulizers on the market. Some of them are much better quality than others. I have reviewed several different nebulizers like the Organic Aromas Raindrop 2.0 (see review) and ArOmis Orbis Nox Merus (see review).

To see a full list of the best nebulizers click here.

Heat & Essential Oils

Also, a less common way to diffuse essential oils is by using a tea light diffuser.

These can get the essential oil into the air quickly. However, essential oils are “volatile”, which means they can break down easily and evaporate at normal temperatures.

Additionally, essential oils are highly flammable, so using a tea light diffuser can be a fire hazard. Not to mention pets and children can easily knock them over, too.

If you are on a super tight budget you can get one at the thrift store for typically under $3.

Do make sure you have a lot of tea light candles, though.

For more information on the different types of essential oil, diffusers click here.

Use An Inhaler

It’s not always practical to carry a diffuser or nebulizer with you everywhere you go. Also, it might not be a smart idea to carry bottles of essential oils with you to take out and smell them whenever you’re on the go.

Thankfully you can use an inhaler which you can take out an inhale anytime you want. I recommend the inhalers by Plant Therapy (see review).

Typically, you put in 10-15 drops in the inhaler and can breathe it in for 30 seconds to a minute throughout the day. Also, the inhalers last for 3 months before you need to apply more essential oil to them.

Remember that when you inhale essential oil from an inhaler you don’t need to just take a quick sniff. You need to focus on your breathing, which many people that meditate have already learned to do. You want to breathe in deeply. This will relax your body and mind. This is a very powerful way to combat anxiety and stress with essential oils.

Not to mention inhalers are fairly cheap, too.

Applying To Your Skin

One common way that people apply essential oils to their skin is topically.

This doesn’t mean you should just put a couple of drops of essential oil on your skin and rub it in. This is a term that is called applying essential oils neat.

Instead, you should always use a carrier oil. For instance, you can use fractionated coconut oil (my favorite), sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, etc.

Essential oils are “fat soluble”. This means that they absorb into your skin within minutes after applying them.

It’s important that you do a skin patch test prior to applying essential oils topically, though. This is a good way to make sure your body doesn’t have any negative reactions to the essential oil.

It’s very common for people to apply essential oils to their wrist, bottoms of your feet, behind your ears, temples, etc.

Steam Inhalation

Steam InhalationSteam inhalation is a very efficient way to combat colds, chest congestion, sinus issues, and even the flu.

I recommend boiling 3-4 cups of water. Once the water reaches boiling temperature pour the boiling water into a bowl. Add in 5-7 drops of essential oil like eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, etc.

Put a towel behind your head and slowly breathe in the steam. Make sure your face is at least 8-12 inches away from the bowl.

Do this 3-5 times each day. You will notice that you will get instant relief from your cold, chest congestion, sinus issues, and even the flu.


Massage With Essential OilsMassages are a great way to use essential oils.

Again, using essential oils should never be applied without a carrier oil. Personally, I recommend using jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, or sweet almond as a carrier oil.

Two very popular essential oils to use for massages are geranium and lavender. Geranium is known to be relaxing and uplifting. Lavender is known to relieve stress and increase relaxation.  Not to mention both are good for reducing acne.

A lot of massage therapist will actually charge extra to use essential oils along with their message. However, the benefits are very therapeutic. It will help your muscles relax, ease your mind, etc.

Use In A Bath

Essential Oil BathBaths are a very common way to use essential oils.

Baths are very relaxing and help soothe your muscles, joints, mind, etc. However, the way that people use essential oils in their bath is commonly misused; I have learned this from reading on

A lot of people think you can just put a few drops of essential oils into your bath. However, oils and water separate so this isn’t the best way to use essential oils for baths.

Instead, you want to use 4-5 drops of essential oil with .50 ounces of carrier oil. I would recommend using Solubol or Polysorbate 20. So, you’re going to mix your carrier oil in a glass container and then you drops of essential oil in with it prior to pouring it into your bath.

You can also use Epsom salts and Dead Sea Salt, which does have a lot of healing properties when mixed in with your bath. I would recommend soaking in the bath for 20 minutes at a time.

I would avoid using cinnamon, cassia, wintergreen, thyme, nutmeg, lemongrass, clove, and lemongrass because they can irritate sensitive skin.

Things To Keep In Mind When Using Essential Oils

Not all essential oil brands are the same. Some of them are actually adulterated or synthetic which don’t have as many healing properties.  For instance, Green Health (see review), Radha Beauty (see review), and ArtNaturals (see review) are brands I would avoid. I have already compiled a list of the best essential oil brands.

It’s important that you store your essential oils in a cool dark place to get the most shelf life out of them. You can store them in the refrigerator which will help double their life.

Keep in mind that there are essential oils that are not safe for kids. I have written an article on essential oils and kids which you can check out here.

Some essential oils like lemon, orange, and bergamot should not be applied topically prior to going out in the sun. They can cause phototoxicity which will cause your skin to burn.

Do you have any questions on how to use essential oils? Please leave a comment down below.

2 thoughts on “How To Use Essential Oils – Newbie Guide

  1. Good that you point out that certain essential oils should not be used on the skin immediately prior to going out into the sun.

    I have an applicator bottle with a roller ball. The essential oils and a carrier oil are put into the bottle. I can then roll the oils on my hands, rub my hands together and inhale. This has been such a blessing when my hay fever or sinuses act up. I had not thought about a nasal inhaler; this may be a good option for me.

    1. Hey Suzanne,

      There are a lot of essential oils that you shouldn’t use prior to going out in the sun. It’s recommended that you avoid excessive sunlight for 12-18 hours according to Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition). See my list of recommended essential oils book here.

      Roll-ons are a good way to use your more expensive essential oils, such as vetiver, too. 5 drops in a 10 mL roll-on will go a long way.

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