I’m often asked about how I use essential oils at home – do I clean my house with them? Do I add essential oils to my cooking? Do I make all my own beauty products from scratch? Do I have diffusers in every room of the house? Am I applying oils and blends to my skin all day long? Do I wash all my fruit in essential oils? Have I chucked out my entire medicine cabinet and replaced it all with oils…?
Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but I don’t actually use essential oils all the time and for everything.
Of course, I love essential oils – it’s the reason I started The English Aromatherapist blog. The chance to sit and “play” with my oils never gets boring.
I can happily spend hours experimenting with different blends, browsing through my aromatherapy books, mixing up roller bottles – even just taking the time to sit and smell the oils, and enjoy their individual aromas.
Recently, I watched an interview with the fabulous Marian Keyes, who described her pure joy at just “playing” with her nail polish collection. With great enthusiasm, she spoke of her love for organising the bottles, admiring their amazing colours, swooning over their beauty in an almost hypnotic way – just looking at them brought pure pleasure! That’s similar to how I feel about my essential oils – I will never get bored of them!
If I’m visiting a new place, I can’t walk past an aromatherapy shop without popping in for a quick peek. If I’m browsing a charity sale, I can’t resist buying any aromatherapy-related books I find – the more vintage, the better! (and you can never have too many aromatherapy books, right?) I still find it exciting when I discover a new combination of essential oils that I absolutely LOVE. And, believe it or not, there are still some oils that I have never tried! Just like you, I’m learning all the time – there is always new knowledge to be gained, new research to discover and new ideas to consider. Only a fool would claim to “know it all”.
My life is enriched by aromatherapy – but it is not the only aspect of my life. Healthy living is about more than just essential oils – and, despite what we’re led to believe, there is not always “an oil for that” (see Essential Oils are Not a Magic Wand). Personally, I feel uncomfortable with the growing amount of online advice that suggests essential oils are a universal cure-all. How many times have you seen posts with titles like “Find out how I replaced everything in my medicine cabinet with OILS” ?
The internet is full of people talking about their “essential oil routines” – some are absolutely terrifying! Such as this one, which advocates using over 18 drops of neat essential oils on the skin every day and ingesting 14 drops! There are countless blog posts and YouTube videos about how people incorporate essential oils into their daily routine. Usually, these involve applying the same oils to the skin on a daily basis (often undiluted!). There’s a growing mindset that we should be liberally applying oils to our skin all day long, as well as diffusing them 24/7 and drinking them in our water.
Personally, I believe there is such a thing as overexposure. I have read too many stories about people who have become sensitized to certain essential oils and can never use them again. This can happen with any oil – yes, even lavender. Is it worth the risk?
Should we use oils all the time?
For the record, I do not use essential oils for everything.
I don’t always reach for essential oils in the first instance. I don’t use my diffusers every day. I don’t add essential oils to my food. I don’t apply them topically every day. I don’t spray them on every surface of my home. I don’t routinely apply them to my children to “prevent illness” and I am not constantly inhaling them 24/7. I never apply the same oils to my skin day in, day out. If I feel stressed, I don’t add a drop to my cupped hands and inhale – I use an inhaler stick instead. If I want to flavour my water, I use a slice of real lemon. If I want fresh air, I open the window.
And to those who say “yes, but surely it’s better than using toxic chemicals all day?” Well, everything is a balance! I’m not suggesting it’s a good idea to inhale artificial plug-in air fresheners all day, either. But overdosing on essential oils is no more “natural”. Fear of toxic chemicals and the “Big Pharma” does not validate the overuse (or misuse) of essential oils.
So, what is my essential oil routine? The truth is – I don’t have one!
To me, essential oils are precious – I will use them when I feel it’s appropriate. Improving your wellbeing involves taking a holistic approach – this means considering your whole lifestyle. Essential oils are not a silver bullet.
If you want to diffuse essential oils – go ahead! But you don’t have to diffuse all day (or all night) long. Sometimes 15 minutes can be enough. You don’t always have to apply them to your skin – sometimes a few deep breaths from an inhaler stick can suffice.
My life involves essential oils, but essential oils are not my whole life. I think a healthy balance is important. I can go all week without switching my diffuser on. Sometimes I’m so busy with the kids that I don’t have time to use my roller blends or body oils. That’s just life!
If you don’t get chance to use essential oils every day – don’t worry about it! Give yourself a break.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – do you have an essential oil routine? Let me know in the comments below!
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