making frugal & simple beautiful

essential oils 101, a crash course

essential oils 101, a crash course

{ I am not a healthcare professional of any kind, nor do I claim to be giving any sort of medical advice. I do not diagnose or discuss any disease or treatment. This information is intended only for educational purposes.}

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Plants have played an important role in the well-being of mankind since the beginning of time, as well as the balance of our planet. Our physical, and emotional wellness can be supported and linked to the plant kingdom in a million different ways.  Essential oils, aromatics, and balms have been mentioned over and over again in the Bible and in many historical references including Greek and Roman history. Essential oils are no fad!

What is an essential oil?

An essential oil is an aromatic, volatile liquid that is contained within many different flowers, roots, seeds, bark, bushes, etc. It is extracted usually through steam distillation. Essential oils are different from vegetable oils such as corn, peanut and olive, as vegetable oils are fatty and may clog pores. They oxidize and become rancid over time, and contain no beneficial properties. Most essential oils do not go rancid and have many beneficial components.

Essential oils are super concentrated. It takes a large amount of plant matter to produce a tiny amount of oil. Rose oil, for example, takes about 5,000 pounds of rose petals to create around 2 pounds of rose oil!

Each oil is a complex combination of sometimes hundreds of different properties, or chemical constituents. And even within a single type of oil, depending upon the time harvested, manner of distillation, or variety of botanic, the oil as labeled could contain different chemical constituents than another bottle of the same name.

If an oil is produced with very high heat, or chemically extracted with solvents, they are going to be far inferior to an oil carefully extracted by steam distillation. If not extracted properly, an essential oil may not maintain most of their beneficial constituents and may not be anything close resembling a pure version.



How do I use essential oils?

These are the 3 ways oils are used: aromatically, topically and internally.

Aromatically ~ The German model of using oils aromatically may be the simplest of all the forms. All that one needs to do is open up the bottle and take a deep breath! You may also place a drop on your hands, rub together and inhale deeply. Using a cold-air oil diffuser is also a wonderful way to benefit from oils aromatically. I recently wrote a post all about diffusing oils, you can read that here. Research shows that fragrance has a profound effect on the brain, specifically the hypothalamus (hormone center) and limbic systems (emotion center).

Topically ~  The English model of use is to apply oils topically, or onto the skin. Essential oils may be added to a vegetable oil or what is called a carrier oil, and then applied to different areas of the body. A very convenient method is to use a roller bottle, add essential oils and fill the rest of the way up with your carrier oil. Now you have a quick and easy way to get those on your body without any fuss, just roll ’em right on! All different blends may be created for different purposes. Some oils may also be applied straight onto the skin or neat, if desired. (Not recommended for super sensitive skin or for children.) Lavender, for example, is an oil that is frequently used neat.

Internally ~ Lastly, the French model of oil use is internal and neat topical use. Ingestion of essential oils is only recommended with Young Living Vitality oils that are specifically labeled for dietary purposes. These oils may be added to a vegetable capsule and taken for wellness support, added to a glass of ice water for flavor, or used in cooking and baking. When ingesting essential oils, be aware that these oils degrade petrochemicals (plastic), so always use glass, or stainless steel. Also, again, ingestion of just any essential oil bought from the store is NOT recommended, only oils that are labeled for dietary use.

How do I know if an oil is pure?

Many factors determine the purity of an essential oil, such as conditions of the soil where the plant was grown, extraction methods, handling and bottling practices, etc… Fragile components of an oil will be destroyed if exposed to high heat in extraction, or if exposed to reactive metals such as copper or aluminum. The plant should have not been exposed to herbicides, fertilizers or any other agricultural chemicals. Oils should be in their pure form, and not cut with cheaper filler oil or synthetics.

It is often wondered why an essential oil may be bought so inexpensively at a local store, and what could the difference really be?

Well, if you spray your crops with pesticides, you produce more crops to distill. If you chemically extract the oil, you get more to sell, or if you thin your oils with a cheap carrier oil or filler, you stretch the product further. If you find a bottle of cheap oil, the company most likely has cut some sort of corner to produce that oil.

The rigors that Young Living goes through to ensure the purity and perfection of an oil is staggering. Many ask if the oils are organic, and the answer is that they are even better than organic. Young Living’s standards are higher than the standards of an organic certification. All farms are completely chemical free, weeds are picked by hand, plants are tested and harvested only at the time of day when the beneficial constituents are at their highest. The distillation process is done with incredible care and attention to detail to maintain these properties. If a plant or oil does not meet their standards, they are not sold, Period. They even use oils in the fields instead of chemical sprays.

The danger of adulterated oil is real. Most oils on the market today unfortunately are. You may read on the label, 100% pure essential oil, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. There are not many regulations regarding this. That’s why trusting the company behind the product is so important.

Why would you go the extra step of using an essential oil, to end up using an oil laden with “extras” or lacking in the beneficial properties? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

We can’t live inside a fantasy bubble where there are no pollutants, or questionable/dangerous chemicals. But there are things in our life that we can choose, and we can change. We are the gatekeepers of our homes! I feel so good knowing that I am lessening strain on our bodies and supporting wellness!

Young Living’s oils are made for a purpose, not a profit.

How do I use essential oils safely? ~ There are some basic guidelines for using essential oils safely, but in the end, use your common sense. Do your own research.

Essential oils can be very potent and strong. Take care when first applying them to your skin. Dilute them with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, fractionated or regular coconut oil, even olive oil works. Some oils, such as citrus, are photosensitive, meaning that when exposed to sunlight, may increase your ability to burn. Don’t slather on lemon oil and go sunbathing.

Keep oils away from children. When using oils on or with children, please do your own research and only do what you are comfortable with. They are strong and should be used with care. Same goes with pregnancy. That is not to say essential oils should not be used for children or in pregnancy, many experience wonderful effects, but you should be fully informed and mindful.

Oils should be kept away from mucous membranes, i.e. eyes, nose, private areas, etc…

The bottoms of the feet have thick skin and are a wonderful place to start applying oils.

As with anything, please consult your health care professional with any health concerns or questions.

What do I use oils for? 

The options are limitless. Essential oils can be beneficial to everybody, anytime. I really believe every single family could benefit from oils in their home.

Let’s begin by mentioning the way in which we talk about essential oils. I will come from the angle of oils being used as a support for wellness. Not a medicine, not a cure for a disease, but as a way to be kind and support your body and mind so that your own body can do what it is best at… Functioning as it’s meant to! Everyone has a different chemical makeup, therefore one oil that is beneficial for one person might not work the same way for another. The wonderful thing, is that there are so many oils, you can just keep trying and experimenting until you find what feels good to you!

Essential oils may be used to freshen the air in your home, create a calming environment, help you unwind before bed, soothe a restless, worried child, flavor your beverage, support your immune system, encourage the maintenance of healthy skin, perk you up in the morning or in your mid afternoon slump, cool and freshen a weary body, support healthy oral hygiene habits, replace toxic candles and air fresheners in your home, take the sticky residue of a price tag off of a surface without toxic chemicals… The list could literally go on and on. For-eveh. I don’t even know all that they can do, I am still learning and always will be. They are truly fascinating.

What is Young Living?

Young Living Essential Oils is a company that has been around for over 20 years. They have been pioneers in the field of essential oils and are the fastest growing oil business around. Not only do they carry an extensive variety of essential oils and blends, they also produce many supplements, household products and beauty care products, most infused with oils. There are many reasons why Young Living is so revered, but here are a few.

First, Young Living has been committed to maintaining the absolute highest quality essential oils possible since the beginning. There is no fooling around here. They are the real deal. As I mentioned before, absolute care is taken in the growing, harvesting, distilling, and bottling of these oils. There are no corners cut. Young Living has what they call their “Seed to Seal” promise. You can read more about that here.

Young Living has a loyalty program called Essential Rewards. Essential Rewards is a monthly auto- ship program that many YL members choose to participate in. You select how much you wish to spend each month (50 points, [typically $50] and above), which products you want, and when to receive them. You earn points to redeem for free products every month, as well as promotional freebies and gifts. Essential Rewards is a wonderful way to do what we call “replacement shop”. Instead of buying your household cleaner, toothpaste and makeup at the big box store, receive them in your monthly wellness box. Also a wonderful way to build your oil stash a little at a time. When I first purchased my kit, I wondered if I really needed or could spend money every month on essential oils. Surely I don’t need them every month! Ahem. Once I started using them, (and running out of them) I understood! I’m not even sure at this point how many free products and oils I have received through ER. A bunch.

Another wonderful thing about Young Living is the community. There is a vibrant oily family that belongs to Young Living. Every person that signs up as a member has a community and support team to reach out to. The goal is that no one is ever left behind, wondering what to do with their oils. There are always Facebook groups, education opportunities and people to talk to and ask questions. Team Young Living has your back!

Young Living is active in charity work within their very own organization, the Young Living Foundation.

And lastly, Young Living has a wonderful business opportunity for those who are interested. You can be the boss of what and how you choose to grow your oil business, how fast, how slow. It is a totally real, within grasp possibility to be basically getting your oils payed for very quickly out of the gate. And that can be just the beginning if you choose.

Let’s talk about the oils in the Premium Starter Kit a bit and what they are good at, shall we?



What is the Premium Starter Kit?

The Premium Starter Kit is the best way to start with Young Living. This kit is priced at around 50% off of the value of the products. You will get over $300 worth of products for $160. There will never be a better deal on YL oils than the Premium Starter Kit. With it, you become a wholesale member and receive 24% off of retail price on any other products or oils you may wish to purchase. No further purchases are ever required though.

The kit includes a diffuser of your choice, 11 bottles of essential oil, plus loads of other goodies to help get you started.

The oils are 5 ml bottles each of:

Lavender –  Oil of relaxation. Calming and soothing when diffused. Add a few drops to epsom salt and unwind in a hot bath. Another great multi purpose oil, also amazing for the skin. Called the “Swiss army knife” of essential oils. This is the oil that sealed the deal for me with Young Living. I never was much of a lavender fan… Until I smelled this lavender. Ahhhh…

Peppermint Vitality – A favorite of mine. Wonderfully supportive for a healthy digestive system. Refreshing and awakening when diffused. I love to apply to the back of my neck in an afternoon slump for a soothing pick me up and natural energy booster.

Lemon Vitality – It’s wonderful flavor enhances food and water. Diffuse for a fresh, bright start to your day and enhance mental alertness. Also great to use in your DIY cleaning products, as it’s a great grease cutter. Lemon oil will take the sticky goo off of glass or metal from a price tag, (Remember when I said oils eat through petrochemicals?) so much nicer than using that stinky stuff from the store that gives me headache.  I like to mix lemon with a bit of baking soda to scrub and freshen my kitchen sink.

Copaiba Vitality – ( Pronounced Coe- pa-eeba.) Never heard of it? Neither had I. Apparently I was missing out, because it’s quite the oil. Promotes overall wellness, supporting nearly every system in the body. Great skin oil. Known as a magnifier, this oils can help magnify the benefits of other oils when added to them. Diffuse, apply topically, ingest… A truly unique and gentle oil.

Frankincense – Frankincense is one of the top skin oils and helps smooth it’s appearance. A great addition to your skincare routine. Enhances focus and grounding. A multi purpose power house, when in doubt use frank!

Thieves Vitality – One of my favorites for sure. There is a story about this particular blend of oils that originates during the 15th century. There was a group of thieves that are said to have taken advantage if the the Black Plague by robbing bodies and homes of the dead, and they were able to do this without becoming ill themselves. When finally caught, they divulged that the secret was a certain blend of spices, the one that is similar to this oil blend now. Thieves contains clove, which has the world’s highest antioxidant count for essential oils. Thieves Vitality helps support healthy immune and respiratory systems. It smells amazing, like Christmas, spicy, and warm… Soooo good. I love to put this on the bottoms of our feet, and  diffuse during the fall and winter months.  Add a drop to a cup of tea for a spicy zing! Also excellent for oral hygiene.

Purification – Magnificent oil for freshening air and eliminating odors. Like really amazing. I keep a paper towel with a couple drops on it in the bottom of my trash can. Does wonders. Diffuse for getting stinky cooking smells out of the kitchen. Use in a spray to enjoy an annoyance free outdoor experience.

R.C. – This blend contains cypress, spruce and eucalyptus. This is the breathing blend! Rub on feet before bed, or on chest to encourage an atmosphere of comfort.  Uplifts and energizes the body, and is great to use topically before exercise.

DiGize Vitality – Top oil for supporting the digestive system. Take in a veggie capsule internally, or rub on your abdomen after a big meal. The use of fennel, one of the key ingredients, dates back to the Egyptians. Love this oil! Has been so wonderful for me during pregnancy. It may not smell amazing like a lot of other oils, but it sure is a workhorse.

PanAway – Apply (diluted) after exercise and enjoy the stimulating, fresh aroma. Apply to the back and neck after sitting at a computer, and on temples for a soothing and refreshing experience. Also a great addition to a foot massage!

Stress Away – One of the top emotion oils! It lives up to it’s name. It is helpful when adapting to stress, and supports emotional well-being.  I love to wear this in my diffuser necklace, or apply to my wrists and neck like a perfume. It smells like the beach… Vanilla, lime, cedarwood… The starter kit comes with a roller ball lid and this oil is where I put that! I can roll it on whenever in need it! Oh, and If you diffuse it with peppermint, it smells just like a thin mint cookie! You’re welcome.

Three Cabinet Challenge 

I’d like to issue you a challenge.

Go into 3 cabinets in your home and start turning bottles around and reading ingredients. If there are things in there you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are, go look it up online and see what that ingredient actually is. Is that an ingredient that you want entering your bloodstream and coursing through your body? Or your child’s body? You may decide it’s time to start swapping some things out.

I have learned that just because it’s sold in a store, doesn’t mean it is safe or healthy.

I have been able to swap all my cleaning products for 1 product from Young Living. The Thieves cleaner concentrate. It comes in a 22 oz. bottle and you add a small cap full to your own spray bottle with water. The cost comes to around $1.50 per spray bottle. You can’t buy a natural (or any, really) cleaner from the store for that price! I clean toilets, counters, and windows. You name it, it does it beautifully. I even add a bit to my laundry for a boost!

Many toxic chemicals in our homes just aren’t necessary! Do I need scrubber with bleach to clean my bathroom? No! I use baking soda, Thieves cleaner, lemon oil and a scrub sponge or brush! Do I need hormone disrupting synthetic fragrances in my laundry routine? No! I use Thieves Laundry Detergent, Purification essential oil, some vinegar and wool dryer balls.


Join the family! 

If you are ready to begin your oil journey and purchase a Premium Starter Kit,  just contact the person who sent you here or me and I will be happy to help you! —–>




Use this link and fill out the form! —->

With your purchase of a PSK,  I will get you started with resources and information, and some goodies.  When you join Young Living, you join a family! You are not left to your own devices wondering “what do I do with this?” I want to provide you with support as you begin exploring essential oils.

I hope you will join me on this oily journey! Taking steps toward a cleaner home and life for our families has never been simpler.


Want to read more about oils? Visit My Journey With Essential Oils page.