If you’re new to the worlds of aromatherapy and plant therapy, and have questions about using essential oils as a tool for health and wellness, I wouldn’t blame you for feeling a bit overwhelmed! There’s a lot of information about essential oils out there, but it isn’t usually very beginner-friendly.
But that’s exactly why I’m writing this post—to provide a beginner-friendly overview of some of the best essential oils out there! In addition to that list, this post also contains useful information about how to identify high quality essential oils (and how to avoid low quality and potentially unsafe oils too!)
By the end of this post, even the newest newbie to essential oils should feel more informed about the best essential oils to add to their collection, and feel more confident about successfully navigating the essential oil market!
How To Identify High Quality Essential Oils
Essential oils aren’t regulated by a government agency, which means they don’t have to meet any particular requirements for quality, purity, etc. So as with any other unregulated product, it’s up to you as the consumer to use your best judgement and look for “green flags” (like red flags, but that are positive signs instead of negative ones) that can help you identify high quality oils.
Green Flag #1: 100% Pure Essential Oils
Make sure to choose oils that are labeled as 100% pure essential oils, and that are completely natural and free of fillers, synthetic chemicals, or synthetic fragrances. (Some people will hype up oils that are certified organic, but I personally feel that purity is much more important than whether or not the plant was organically grown!)
Tread lightly when you see the term “aromatherapy” used as a blanket descriptor, because it’s sometimes applied to oils that have been diluted or contain synthetic rather than organic additives.
Green Flag #2: Transparency About Production
The more detail you can get about the production of the oils, the better. Companies who sell essential oils can be as vague or secretive as they want to be about how their oils are produced, but the good ones will make that information readily available for you.
Knowing the country of origin for a specific oil is always a good thing, as is a label about how the oil was extracted from the plant. “Cold pressed” and “steam distilled” are considered “clean” extraction methods (but steer clear of chemical distillation, which can lead to dilution or contamination.)
Green Flag #3: Third-Party Testing
If a company that sells essential oils has them tested by an independent organization or laboratory, that is definitely a good sign! It suggests that the company takes pride in the quality and purity of their products, and it’s another layer of transparency that can help earn your trust as a potential customer. Ideally, you should also be able to access the results of third-party lab testing online somewhere.
All of these factors have been important to me as a user of essential oils since I was first introduced to them a long time ago. So when I decided to launch my own line of essential oils a couple of years ago, I knew from day one that purity, transparency, and independent testing would be central to Essentials by Jillee essential oils (and they always will be!) 🙂
The Best Essential Oils
So now that you’ve learned how to identify high quality essential oils, here’s a look at some candidates for the best essential oil around! (In truth, there isn’t one “best” essential oil, but this list will provide you with a few of my favorite oils that you can use for a multitude of different needs…)
Lavender oil is not only the first essential oil I ever purchased for myself, but it’s the one I recommend to many other essential oil newbies too! Most people know lavender oil for its calming and relaxing effects and ability to improve sleep quality, but it can also help support skin health too. (Don’t be surprised if you use this one every day!)
The minty fresh scent of peppermint oil can give you an all-natural boost of energy and increase alertness. Whether you choose to use a few drops in a diffuser or simply smell it right out of the bottle, peppermint can help you re-energize and refocus.
With its bright citrus aroma, lemon oil can help you look at the bright side of every situation. Between enhancing positive mood and its many uses in both cleaning applications and cleaning products, lemon is one oil I would never want to live without!
With its earthy, slightly medicinal aroma, tea tree oil isn’t exactly the most diffuser-friendly oil, but don’t count this powerhouse out just yet! Tea tree oil is often used for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to promote healing.
Eucalyptus oil may not have the same name recognition of other popular oils, but that doesn’t make it any less useful! Its muscle relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects work well together in improving respiratory problems for free and easy breathing.
When you’re feeling down, the benefits of sweet orange oil can help turn your mood around. Studies have found that its mood lifting effects might even be helpful in alleviating symptoms of PTSD, as well as pain and anxiety.
Geranium oil is most well known for its skin care applications, especially those related to anti-aging. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties can be useful for reducing breakouts and skin irritation.
Bonus Tip: Consider An Essential Oil Blend!
The essential oils listed above can be used in many ways , and each deserves a place in your collection! However, if you’re looking to target a specific issue or problem, don’t rule out essential oil blends as an option! Blends are formulated with multiple individual oils that can help target a specific issue, such as headaches, stress, stomach aches, trouble sleeping, and more.
Using Essential Oils Safely
While essential oils are natural and useful in a variety of different ways, it’s important to remember that these ultra-concentrated plant oils need to be handled with care. Here are my top safety tips for using essential oils safely:
- Dilute With A Carrier Oil. When applying essential oils topically on the body, always dilute them with a carrier oil like coconut oil to reduce the chances of skin sensitization or skin irritation. (Learn more about how to dilute essential oils here.)
- Don’t Ingest Them. There are a lot of potential risks and side effects that can occur from ingesting essential oils, which is why I choose to err on the side of safety by avoiding ingesting them at all.
- Exercise Caution Around Pets. If the essential oils smell potent to us, imagine how much stronger they smell to cats and dogs! If you do use a diffuser at home, ensure that your pets can leave the area and have access to fresh air.
- Know They Aren’t Always Safe For Children. Some products that contain essential oils can be safe for children, but not every essential oil is kid-friendly., so check with your child’s pediatrician.
More questions about essential oils? I’ve got more answers! Check out my Essential Oils FAQ here.