Essential Oils 101

A certified herbalist and aromatherapist shares which scents help calm, energize and more

Essential Oils 101

Essential oils can actually help improve your life, shares Julie Quinn, certified herbalist and aromatherapist and owner of Quinntessentials Organic Essential Oil Products here in San Diego. “Essential oils are the life blood of plants. They are concentrated plant extracts, retaining the natural scent, essence and healing properties of their source, that are combined with carrier oils.”

Their efficacy comes from this chemistry, and they can be used to boost your health and wellness practices. Start by removing as many synthetic beauty and cleaning products from your life as possible, Julie says. “It comes down to what you are exposing your body to. We need to be cautious about what we put into our pores, bloodstream and into the air we breathe. Eliminating chemical products and embracing natural alternatives is beneficial and simple. [For instance], replace your harsh bathroom air freshener with a lovely eucalyptus or lemongrass spray; forget goopy face creams and turn to lavender or geranium-based face serums to refresh your skin naturally.”

Essential oils 101

What is the difference between diffusing your oils and using sprays?

“Diffusing your essential oils is better if you want the scent to be subtler and more dispersed throughout a space,” Julie explains. “Whereas a spray allows for a stronger scent in specifically targeted areas—on yourself or in your environment. Try lavender spray on your pillow before bed for an extra-restful sleep or on your body after a day at the beach to combat sun damage, or spritz a room with lemongrass for a quick dose of citrus cheer after a long day.”

Various scents affect your mood differently. As we already mentioned, there are specific smells that are meant to help you unwind or energize you, but essential oils can aid in shifting your attitude in other ways too. Here, Julie breaks down what each aroma inspires—in terms of how we feel:

Grounding Earthy oils like patchouli, sandalwood and cedar ground you and bring you balance.

Uplifting Citrus-based oils are uplifting and infuse spaces with a sense of cheer.

Comforting Floral oils, like geranium, lavender and rose, are great comforting scents.

Energizing Minty oils open the mind and rejuvenate you with their cooling properties.

Cleansing Similar to sage and cedar, Palo Santo is the essential cleanser. Julie uses these infused sprays with their hints of pine, mint and lemon, for purifying important spaces.

Relaxing If you’re feeling overworked, Julie recommends sage- and citrus-based products, which are great for getting you out of a funk and promoting a tranquil state. Afterwards, she says, add a comforting oil like lavender.

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