Beginner Tips Using Essential Oils
Before I started dabbling with DIY lotions and potions, I wish I would’ve learned a few simple greenhorn tips for beginners using essential oils. To make sure I didn’t blow-up my kitchen or skin- I took an official “aromatherapy” course recognized by the Canadian Institute of Aromatherapy…
I recommend going this route for anyone who really wants to start blending essential oils on a regular basis. Believe it or not, essential oils can be freaking dangerous. You can end-up with gnarly rashes, feeling drunk or making toxic products if you don’t do it right.
DIY lotion recipes are a hot trend I hope keeps gaining steam, but there’s common mistakes we all make as green thumbs that I’ll help you avoid. Here’s some oopsies you want to avoid when working with essential oils:
DON’T STORE ESSENTIAL OIL PRODUCTS IN CLEAR/PLASTIC CONTAINERS:
Any product you make with essential oils should never be stored in a CLEAR container. Reason being, essential oils oxidize- meaning the sun exposure will ruin all the beneficial properties the oils are jammed packed with. A major no, no… Stick to AMBER, COBALT, NON-CLEAR bottles.
I also try and avoid plastics, that’s not just me being really granola… Essential oils can eat right through plastic when undiluted, they can even start leeching into plastic over time. Making an effort to use glass packaging is well worth-it the benefits.
NEVER MIX ESSENTIAL OIL PRODUCTS IN ALUMINUM:
You wouldn’t think it, but aluminum bowls + essential oils = BAD NEWS! When you use aluminum bowls for mixing your products, you can actually draw-out the aluminum from the bowl and into your now “non-organic” toxic product! Cinnamon is especially bad for this. So blend smart and stay the heck away from aluminum.
ALWAYS stick to GLASS/CERAMIC when mixing your potions.
CITRUS OILS CAUSE PHOTOTOXICITY
NEVER rock a citrus-based DIY anything lotion before hitting the sun BAD IDEA! You can really damage your skin (that’s why I avoid any citrus based facial lotions, they defeat the purpose unless you plan on living in a box all day).
And don’t think citrus lotions make you tan faster, no-no! It means you will literally expose yourself to UV damage, you’ll burn faster, and you’re actually harming your pretty skin.
It baffles me to see “Orange/Lemon etc… Face Lotions”- it’s a terrible idea, I know citrus oils are great for blending some of the best smells but avoid them if you know you’re applying it on skin that’s about to hit sun.
Essential oils prone to phototoxicity:
- orange essential oil
- grapefruit essential oil
- lemon essential oil
- lime essential oil
- bergamot essential oil
- bitter orange essential oil
- mandarin essential oil
- tangerine essential oil
- (DILL is also photo toxic- but obviously not citrus-based)
LEARN YOUR CARRIER-OILS:
Essential oils without carrier-oils, is like a car with no gas. You ain’t going nowhere if you don’t learn some basic blending techniques because essential oils can NEVER be applied without diluting them first (the technical term is “neat” on skin- don’t ever apply essential oils neat).
Certain organic carrier-oils can be bought in the oil aisle at the grocery store (but many of the top types for skincare can’t, you’ll need go to a healthcare store…)- just make sure it is “COLD-PRESSED”
Some popular types of carrier-oils:
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Castor Oil
- Apricot Kernel Oil
(the list goes on & on… for a great resource on understanding carrier-oils check-out this link by RockyMountainHerbs)
NEVER DRINK ESSENTIAL OILS:
This one smacks on common-sense but don’t drink your essential oils (unless the company says it’s safe to- Young Living tout the fact you can consumer their oils but I’ve personally never tried…) just like you never apply essential oils neat on skin before diluting them. Don’t ever touch the dropper on your bottles. Store your essentials oils properly (dark, cool place…) and write down the date you bought them since they usually expire after about a year…
WHEN TO ADD ESSENTIAL OILS IN RECIPES:
If you’re making lotions via the stove-top method, never add your essential oils to the hot pot. Only add essential oils once your product has been removed from heat and had the chance to cool down a few minutes.
Mixing essential oils at high temperatures can often ruin all the magic and therapeutic powers sealed-in them.heat is too much for the oils and will often ruin the benefits you’ll be expecting.
Another great tip I was given- when you’re mixing products into bottles. Always fill the bottle half-way (not FULL), add your essential oils, vitamin-e oil now… Next, top-up and fill the rest of the bottle. This way your essential oils are easily blended perfectly and evenly into the mix.
To wrap this up- above all though, have fun! There’s nothing more rewarding than making your own all-natural, organic products. From the moment I made my first lotion, it changed me and the way I feel about what I put on my skin. Don’t be shy to read labels or ask questions. Knowledge is power!
Thanks for reading my “Beginning Tips for Using Essential Oils”- if you ever have DIY skincare questions, don’t be shy to contact me!
Here’s some links to my favorite DIY lotion recipes on WhippedGreenGirl.com