Essential Oil Bonanza


I was organizing my bathroom the other day and realized I have quite the essential oil collection going! Some of these bottles even have their own story, like the lavender oil with the purple lid that I bought at a market in Dubrovnik, Croatia, last summer. Here’s an overview of what I’ve got in my drawer and a bit of background on essential oils.

What makes an oil “essential”?

Plant oils are characterized either as carrier or essential oils. Essential oils are produced through distillation, while carrier oils, like olive, sesame or coconut, are expressed or extracted with the use of chemical solvents. (This is why it’s important to get cold pressed oils; oils extracted with the use of solvents can contain trace amounts of the chemical solvents.)

What does one do with essential oil?

Essential oils all have different benefits but are generally used for aromatherapy- you sniff it, and it makes you feel good! You can also consume therapeutic grade oils, but most oils you can get at the grocery store are for external use only. I have a few oils I’ll talk about below that I do use internally, but usually I just use them to make room sprays, oil blends, and balms… Also important: remember to dilute them because EOs are very concentrated and can irritate the skin. Some also are not safe to use when you’re pregnant, so do your research!

Right, let’s get down to it!

Starting at the top, I have Whole Foods brand Tea Tree Oil. Tea Tree Oil is a very strong antibacterial and antifungal oil, so it’s great for treating acne. I just take a drop or two on my finger and apply straight to any blemishes. It smells like paint thinner to me though, so I definitely don’t use it for its aromatherapeutic benefits.

Next to that is Wyndmere Rose Oil in Jojoba (a carrier oil). Rose essential oil is especially valuable as extraction takes a lot of flowers for small amounts of oil. So, it’s diluted with jojoba oil so the grocery store can sell it for a price similar to other oils. It’s a very soothing and moisturizing oil and great to use on the face as well. I used this one as a perfume oil straight out of the bottle, and also mix some with a bit of aloe vera gel before adding rose water for a toner.

I have two DoTerra oils (the ones with the orange labels), and these are the only therapeutic grade oils that I have and take internally. They’re really expensive, so as much as I’ve enjoyed these, I probably won’t be purchasing any more from this company. I’m also wary of multi-level marketing schemes. We had a sales rep come into a yoga class once to talk about these oils, and it felt like I was being recruited to a cult.

The pretty bottle with the gold cap in the center is actually not an essential oil, but a perfume blend from a company called A Perfume Organic. I think the scent is called Urban Citrus?  Not sure, but in any case the scent is lovely. I’ve got quite a few other organic, oil-based perfumes as well now, and even though they don’t have much staying power, I love them. They generally come in nifty, tiny little bottles so I just stick them in my bag and reapply throughout the day. I always like to run some through my hair as well. Makes me feel quite fancy and such.

Peppermint oil is the littler bottle with the green label- a good stand-by if you DIY anything, from lip balm to body scrubs to bath salts. Combines really well with vanilla as far as fragrance. Another fun use for it is mouse-deterrent. Time for a little detour!

It’s well-known that the housing stock in Washington, DC, is in a pretty advanced state of deterioration. I have been fortunate enough to be able to verify this myself, and it’s absolutely true. People, I had never seen cockroaches before. They are HUGE, and really terrifying when you’re half asleep and walk downstairs and turn on the lights to go get a glass of water. Makes you not thirsty real fast. Susuwatari??? Not nearly as cute as My Neighbor Totoro.


So, amongst these urban-dwelling critters were mice, and one of our many attempts to thwart them was to boil water with many drops of peppermint oil in it. It makes your nose sting and in combination with those noise-deterrents, it actually seemed pretty effective (and also not cruel like traps). My roommate told our hairdresser the story, and every time I saw him after, he’d ask how the mice are doing.

So that’s peppermint oil. Alright, in an attempt to not prattle on endlessly, the rest of the oils are: clary sage, ylang ylang, neroli, geranium, rosemary, frankincense, and lavender. Mostly from Aura Cacia, available online; frankincense from my local apothecary- Rebecca’s. Each, very (?) briefly:

Clary sage- Wonderful for dry skin and supposedly helps with women’s uhhh… troubles. You are supposed to massage on your belly (in a carrier oil) when you have cramps. I don’t think it did a whole lot with this, but it’s a nice earthy smell, so I include it in some of my body oil DIYs.

Ylang ylang- Just out of this world scent. Woody, sexy, amber-y, yet floral. I love to add a few drops of this into my bath water. Yum.

Geranium- Another nice, basic floral go-to for bath salts, body scrubs, and body oils. Quite a fresh smell, but works morning and night.

Lavender is soothing. Works well for products you’ll use at night. Also a strong antibacterial, so a few drops of this into some argan, jojoba, and/or rosehip oil would make a great serum for blemish-prone skin.

Rosemary- Stimulating, warming, especially great for the hair. I add a few drops to any hair oils or hair rinses that I make. (A good, simple hair rinse is some nettle infusion with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, some aloe vera gel, and a few drops of rosemary oil.)

Neroli- One of my all-time favorite scents- up there with ylang ylang. This one is sweet and floral, but not in a fruity, gross way. Neroli is orange blossom, and citrus scents are very uplifting, proven to be effective when you are feeling sad or depressed. (Mostly it just smells really, really awesome.)

Frankincense! Used historically for religious rituals, I love using this with myrrh in my DIY facial toner. The piney loveliness always brings me into the present. This oil supposedly helps to boost elasticity.

Phew! Happy Mother’s Day!


15 thoughts on “Essential Oil Bonanza

  1. Hi Silvy! Thank you so much for working so hard to get a post out 😀 Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you’re having a great weekend. This is such a great recap of the EOs. Love using peppermint oils for common roach problems as well – from time to time, these huge red ants camp out in my bathroom, I guess due to the heat and moisture in Texas, and nothing else works to eradicate the problem, except for peppermint! My husband thought I was crazy, but hey, it works!

    I love Rosemary, Lavender, and Tea Tree (have the same bottle!) too 🙂 And Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Rose…I want to invest in Clary Sage after reading your post because I deal with severe monthly cramps.

    What are your thoughts on Young Living Essential Oils? I wonder if their reps have a commission structure similar to DeTerro? Young Living seems pretty darn expensive!

    1. Ruhi! Aw, thank you for supporting me! I have trouble staying consistent with things, and I really, really appreciate the extra nudge here and there! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

      Oh no! Cramps are the worst. Mine would actually put me out of commission for about 3 days every month (but I now have an IUD- sorry- maybe TMI!), so I know how that goes. Have you tried raspberry leaf tea and organic blackstrap molasses? I was never able to stay consistent with it (here I go again…), but it sure can’t hurt. 🙂 And molasses have so much iron and minerals in them. Definitely organic makes a difference with molasses, I’ve noticed.

      I had never heard of Young Living! It does sound like the same type of marketing/sales structure, which is just always off-putting to me for some reason. I don’t doubt that their oils are high quality; doTerra’s are really great. I just don’t know if the price difference is worth it.

  2. Love Love this post !!!! Silvy love the bit where you describe the feeling about being recruited into a cult ! 😀

    And really loved the Totoro reference. My husband and I have been obsessing over Totoro and we have been trying our hardest to get the Studio Ghibli collection but it isn’t available as a boxset in the UK. (sorry about the detour 😀 )

    Glad to know there are essential oil hoarders like me. I got the clary sage because it is great for hair growth. However i am not too big a fan of the scent.

    For some strange reason, peppermint doesn’t work for me (for my zits) BUT it works a treat for my husband!!!

    I picked up frankincense incense sticks on my recent travels and it feels like heaven.
    I love the Neroli scent however i do think i am allergic to it 😦

    Have you tried jasmine essential oil ???? I am addicted to it , so is my husband. He said he was buying me a gallon of it 😀 😀

    1. Aw thanks! I’m so glad you liked the Totoro reference! Could you buy the collection online? I’ve seen most of them, but I only have Totoro (best one anyway, IMHO ;)).

      Yeah I don’t like the smell of clary sage much either. I didn’t know that you could use it for hair growth though- I’ll have to try adding some to my coconut milk hair mask! Thanks for the tip!

      Frankincense incense sounds incredible. I’ve been burning palo santo sticks in my apartment for some time, and I am obsessed.

      Jasmine?? You must smell incredible! Ahh maybe jasmine EO will be my next purchase. 🙂 I looove the scent- I drink jasmine tea too. Can’t believe I don’t have the EO yet! May be a good excuse to head to the local apothecary I just found out about- and nerd out about all the oils.
      Does your husband use the jasmine too? Or does he just like the scent of it?

      1. Oh Silvia😊 very few people get the Totoro reference. Whilst i was stalking your insta profile i saw that adorable Totoro key chain and i just knew i had to buy something similar soon 😊. I love Ponyo too. The wind rises: was slow in my opinion but i adored the animations. In the UK, we do have the individual DVD’s but wanted the collector’s edition 😍
        Jasmine is one incredible essential oil. If i am allowed to swear : it is f***ing brilliant. My husband loves the flower, the scent and anything associated with it. I think Monoi de tahiti tiare has a similar aroma profile. Gorgeous 💕💕All you have to do is: swipe a bit near your ear lobe, on the tips of your hair / hairline, or on the nape of your neck and you are set for the day. BRILLIANT!
        I have never been enamoured by anything so much!
        Clary sage stimulates hair growth.
        Palo santo : heard so much about it. Hopefully it smells as good as the frankincense 😊

      2. Isn’t that keychain awesome?? My brother got it for me. I’ve turned my whole family into Totoro fans! 😛 Ponyo was great, but I haven’t seen the Wind Rises- I will definitely be looking that up!

        What a beautiful ritual with jasmine- sounds romantic and indulgent. 🙂 I’m excited to get some so I can partake!

    2. So I figured out a good fragrance combo with clary sage! I’ve been putting it in my ACV hair rinse and been using all of these in equal proportion: rosemary, clary sage, ylang ylang, and lavender. Smells soooooo good!

      1. So trying this out in the weekend. I have never tried ylang ylang before!!! Silvy how are you? Looking forward to your blog posts!!! Have you planned any?

      2. I’ve been so busy!! I’m looking for a new job, and getting ready to move! Hopefully will have some time off between jobs so I can get all my posts up. I have so many planned… Any requests for this summer??

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