Get the “Essentials” on Essential Oils and How To Use Them in Your Self-Care Routine

Essential Oils

Photo: Botamochy/DepositPhotos

With so many stressors affecting our lives, practicing self-care has never been more important. There are many ways you can take a break and relax, but one of the most popular and low-maintenance methods is through using essential oils. These aromatic liquids are often used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation.

Just as many enjoy lighting candles or incense in their rooms, diffusing essential oil can be a pleasant way of infusing your space with fragrance and potential health benefits from different kinds of plants. Whether you prefer the soothing smell of lavender or the refreshing scent of peppermint, each kind has something to offer.

Scroll down to learn more about how to use essential oils and see some of the best essential oils and diffusers.


What are essential oils?

Essential Oils

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As its name suggests, essential oils are liquids extracted from different kinds of flora and contain the “essence” of the plant's unique fragrance and potential health benefits.  They are most often used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, relieve headaches, and improve sleep quality.


Common Types of Essential Oils

  • Lavender — Floral scent intended to promote relaxation and sleep.
  • Eucalyptus — A leafy scent that is used to treat nasal congestion.
  • Rose — A rich floral scent that can improve mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Cedarwood — Rich woody set intended to promote healthy skin and ease anxiety.
  • Chamomile — A soft, sweet scent that can improve mood and promote relaxation.
  • Tea Tree — A strong medicinal scent that is used to treat the skin and boost immunity.
  • Peppermint — Invigorating mint scent that is used to improve respiratory function and relieve sinus congestion; it can also improve nausea.
  • Orange — A sweet citrus scent that can alleviate anxiety and stress.
  • Lemon — A tart citrus scent that may boost circulation, lymphatic flow, alleviate headaches, and more.
  • Blends — There are numerous blends that combine the scents and properties of different essential oils.

Note: some essential oils are not pet-friendly and may even be toxic to pets, so always make sure to do your own research.


How to Use Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Photo: AlexSmith/DepositPhotos

Essential oils are not meant to be ingested. Instead, they are used in other ways which stimulate our senses. The most popular of these is aromatherapy, in which the user inhales the scent of the essential oil to stimulate the limbic system. Other popular ways include topical usage, such as adding essential oil to a bath and repelling pests.



  • Add a few drops of essential oil to a diffuser.
  • Open the bottle of essential oil and take a few deep breaths.
  • Place a couple of drops of essential oil on a cotton pad or ball and let it dissipate.
  • Add a little bit of essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Place your head over the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam.



  • Add a couple of drops to a warm bath.
  • Apply scents to laundry or clothes.
  • Mix oil drops with cosmetics.
  • Apply directly to the skin. (Be cautious of skin irritation or allergic reactions.)


Other uses for essential oils

  • Some oils, like eucalyptus, tea tree, and cedarwood can deter pests such as insects.


Best Essential Oils

Want to try essential oils? If you don't know what scent you prefer or what benefits you're searching for, then a kit with several different kinds will allow you to test different kinds.


Essential Oils Discovery Kit (Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree)

Essential Oils Set

Aura Cacia | $15.99


Essential Oil Energizing Set (Orange, Peppermint, Energy Blend)


Premium Essential Oils Set (Lemongrass, Peppermint, Orange, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree)

Laguna Moon Essential Oils

Lagunamoon | $9.99


Sinus, Sleep & Immunity Essential Oils

Essential Oil Blends

Sparoom | $19.99


Essential Oil Set With Wooden Box (Peppermint, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemongrass, Lemon, Sweet Orange, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree)

Pura D'Or Essential Oil Set

PURA D'OR | $19.99



Best Diffusers

The easiest and most convenient way to use essential oils is through a diffuser. Just add a couple of drops to water, and the fragrance will be dispersed through the room, creating a pleasant environment for relaxation or work.


Aroma Bliss Essential Oil Diffuser (200 ml)

SpaRoom Essential Oil Diffuser

SpaRoom | $40


Opulence Essential Oil Diffuser with Remote Control (100 ml)

Opulence Essential Oil Diffuser

SpaRoom | $60


Textured Plastic Essential Oil Diffuser With Remote (300 ml)

Essential Oil Diffuser

Opalhouse | $34


Soft Touch Essential Oil Diffuser (300 ml)


Crystal Himalayan Salt Rock Lamp and Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser (160 ml)


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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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