Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: How to Use Essential Oils for Beauty, Health, and Spirituality


Almost everyone loves fragrance in the home. Some buy candles, others use potpourri, fragrance oils, or even plug-in air fresheners. Using essential oils to replace artificial fragrance in the home is not only a natural and more “green” alternative, but it can also trigger fewer allergies and irritations than their chemical counterparts do.

Home scents tend to change with the seasons - light florals in the spring, fresh and fruity smells in the summer months, followed by spices in autumn and winter. Real essential oils can achieve all of this and even help elevate the mood in the household with their aromatherapy benefits.

Spring scent choices include lavender, clary sage, orange, tangerine, bergamot, jasmine, geranium, petitgrain, lemon, chamomile, grapefruit, and lime. In the spring, most people want the fresh scent of flowers and plants in the house. Mixing citrus oils with florals makes a fresh and pretty smell. Combined, they are both relaxing and cheering.

Summer scent choices include lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, bergamot, palmarosa, lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, citronella, juniper berry, peppermint, spearmint, and rosemary. You will notice that we have repeated the citrus oil. However, this time we are going to mix them with essential oils that come from grasses, green plants, and berries. In fact, if you include a little lemon eucalyptus and citronella into your blends you will find that it repels mosquitoes and ticks.

Autumn and winter scent choices include clove, cinnamon, frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, cypress, palmarosa, chamomile, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, bergamot, and lemon. A blend that is heavy on the palmarosa and chamomile with the slightest touch of cinnamon added will create a natural version of apples-and-cinnamon. True, it won’t smell just like the fragrance oil but it will certainly be in the same family and natural, to boot. Citrus oils blended with cinnamon and cloves create a warm smell reminiscent of the holiday season.

Please keep in mind that there a no hard and fast rules for creating scents throughout the seasons. It is all a matter of personal taste. The oils I chose above create scents similar to those found in stores during specific times of the year, scent profiles that remind you of the fresh days of spring, the warm and juicy fruits of summer, and the comforting spices of those cold months of autumn and winter.

One of the most often asked questions I receive in our store is, “what can I use to make my teenage son’s room smell better?” It is true – most teenage boys have bedrooms that smell like locker rooms. When you want to mix a blend of essential oils good for odors, the mints and eucalyptus types are king. However, most people do not want to use straight eucalyptus or white camphor because they have a medicinal smell. Adding spearmint into the mix creates a fresh and vibrant blend that masks unpleasant odors. Peppermint is an alternative, but I have always found the sweetness of spearmint to work better as a room deodorizer. Keep in mind that mints are a stimulant, so it would be better to use them in the morning. This will allow the essential oils to do their job but not keep anyone up at night. Blending lavender into the mix would not be a bad option to counteract the stimulating effects. (See recipe section for an odor-spray.)

Oil burners are a great way to spread the aroma of essential oils throughout the house. When I refer to an oil burner, I mean the type with a small bowl for a top and a reservoir for holding a tea light candle underneath. I prefer the soapstone oil burners because more water can be added to them easily. With the glass-top oil burners, pouring more cool water into a hot glass dish will crack it almost every time. Many retailers will try to tell you to pour straight oil into the top, mainly because they want you to use it all up and come back to buy more. I never suggest this to my retail customers. Giving them proper instructions and money-saving tips has created life-long customers that trust me. So, fill the bowl with mainly water and about twelve to fifteen drops of essential oil, light the tea light candle underneath and within minutes the house fills with aromatherapy scents.

Several drops (about ten to fifteen) sprinkled on a coffee filter is perfect for placing over air vents in the house. Every time the air conditioning or heat turns on, it fills the room with natural scent.

A subtle method of scenting the home is by filling small bowls with Epsom salts or sea salt that you have premixed with essential oils. This method is popular for people who have trouble sleeping. Several customers tell me they use this method with essential oils of lavender and clary sage (sometimes chamomile) and keep the bowl on the nightstand beside the bed. I have also used this method when I had a cold or the flu – except the essential oils I used were eucalyptus, white camphor, lavender, basil, and ravensara. When it is a mild cold, I may only use eucalyptus.

There are several diffusers on the market. The one I have used the most is “Scentball” by the Earth Solutions company. I was so impressed with them that we began carrying them in our retail store. The Scentball is a plug-in diffuser with a small grill on top. Tightly woven pads are slid under the grid where they are heated, dispersing the essential oils that you had dropped onto the pad. The longest-lived Scentball I owned lasted nine years. However, I always unplugged the unit when it was not in use, which undoubtedly lengthened its life.

The description on the Earth Solutions website is as such:

ScentBall Aromatherapy Diffusers enable you to enjoy beautiful, natural fresh fragrances, safely and with minimal effort.

Before ScentBall Aromatherapy Diffusers were launched, the only known affordable electric room fresheners were made with artificial fragrances. The ScentBall was itself, once a bug repellent diffuser and is now a natural air freshener. To provide consumers the option of selecting their own natural essential oils, Earth Solutions expanded the consumer choice from chemical fragrance air fresheners to a naturally derived plant extract - plug in wall aromatherapy diffusers.

Add 10-20 drops of oil to the refill pad and insert it onto the warming element on one of your ScentBall Aromatherapy Diffusers and plug into any outlet. Aromatherapy scents will begin to diffuse within 5 minutes.

Add essential oils as often as desired. ScentBall Aromatherapy Diffusers pads are reusable and each diffuser includes 5 extra long pads, ideal for large spaces.

I know what you are thinking. No, this was not a paid testimonial by Earth Solutions – it just happens to be my favorite aromatherapy diffuser.

You can also use your essential oils to spruce up old potpourri that has lost its scent. Most commercial potpourri scent comes from artificial fragrance oils so invigorate that lifeless potpourri that has been gathering dust in your den. If you have to buy new, choose the least scented so that you can cover it up with your natural oils. Making your own potpourri is another option. A simple bowl of pinecones you have collected from the neighbor’s yard (ask first) is the only thing you really need. Some craft stores sell unscented potpourri, although this is not available in all areas. I knew someone years ago, that kept a wooden bowl filled with twigs collected from the back yard, and he would drop essentials oils onto the pile each morning. When he tired of the scent, he let them dry thoroughly and burned them outside in his fire pit – instant homemade incense!