6 Essential Oils for Beginners: How to get Started

You’ve heard of using essential oils for fighting off a cold, or healing a burn, or to clean. But, where do you begin? Which are the true must have essential oils for beginners?

And most importantly, which essential oils are used for what?

Maybe you want to try a few to get started but have no clue which essential oils to buy first.

This is a straightforward guide to the 6 essential essential oils that I use the most in my home.

Let’s jump in!

Collection of best essential oils

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Essential Oils to Buy First: Must Haves for Moms

Transitioning to taking care of your family in a holistic (ahem* natural) way can be overwhelming and expensive.

After several years of using essential oils, I have narrowed down which essential oils are truly essential.

These are the oils that I have purchased again and again because I actually use them enough to run out.

And, I’ve found a few different companies that you can trust. 

And just a note, as I’m sure you’re aware: none of the information in this post is intended to treat or cure a medical condition and should not be construed as medical advice.

Let’s start with the most versatile essential oil – lavender.

#1 Lavender

What is lavender oil good for? 

Everything. Ha! Well, maybe not quite everything but lavender is known as the swiss army knife of essential oils. 

Here are some of lavender’s top benefits:

  • Can aid symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Antimicrobial – powerfully fights and protects against infections.
  • Skin soother – great for burns, dry skin, scrapes, cuts, and canker sores
  • Improves sleep
  • Decreases pain
  • Helps with various respiratory problems like cold, flu, whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis, etc.
  • Fights acne and heals acne scars
lavender oil-beginner oil

How do I use it most?

I find myself reaching for lavender to diffuse at night for better sleep, when I have a headache, if I have a burn, when I want help relaxing, and to improve low mood.

A few recipes with lavender that I love:

  • Calming HivesRecipe 3 
  • Diffuse a blend of Lavender, Peppermint and Lemon (LPL) or dilute LPL (use this dilution chart) and apply topically to help with seasonal allergies, sniffles during season changes, or improved mood.
  • Cloth Wipe Solution (for cloth diaper fans or even use alongside disposable diapers)

#2 Peppermint

What is peppermint oil good for?

Peppermint is another excellent multi purpose oil. 

Peppermint has the ability to:

  • Prevent nausea, vomiting and any other gastrointestinal issues
  • Help with headaches
  • Reduce fever
  • Clear sinuses
  • Relieve joint pain
  • Boost energy
  • Soothe itches and dandruff
  • Relieve seasonal allergy symptoms
  • Improve concentration
bottle of peppermint oil

How do I use it most?

I find myself reaching for peppermint oil most during cold and flu season, for tummy trouble, and for increased energy and alertness in the afternoons. 

A few of my favorite recipes with peppermint:

  • Foaming Hand Soap (see full post here
    • 1 foaming hand soap dispenser
    • distilled water
    • 3 tablespoons liquid castile soap
    • 7-10 drops essential oil such as lavender, peppermint or your favorite blend
  • Chest Rub for Cough and Cold – Recipe 1
    • Equal parts peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus diluted in coconut oil. Be sure to go to Tisserand Institute’s site and use the dilution chart to make this rub. Mommypotamus also has a great dilution chart that you can refer to.
  • Headache Roll-on Blend
    • 2 drops peppermint oil
    • 2 drops lavender oil
    • Fill roller bottle with 10 ml carrier oil (fractionated coconut, grapeseed, apricot kernel, or sweet almond oil)

#3 Lemon

What is lemon oil good for? 

Lemon is an excellent cleaner, mood booster, and immune system support. 

Some of lemon oils benefits are:

  • Mood booster – creates positive feelings and overall better mood
  • Boosts energy
  • Deodorizer
  • Immune system support
  • Clear sinuses and relieves asthma symptoms
  • Aids weight loss by diminishing cravings
  • Disinfectant and degreaser
fresh lemon and bottle of lemon oil

How do I use it most?

I mostly use lemon oil to wash fresh produce, in the Lavender/Peppermint/Lemon diffuser blend for immune support and help with sinuses, and in the blend referenced above that is intended for hives that I now use as a lotion.

A few recipes with lemon that I use:

  • Produce Soak
    • Fill a large stainless steel bowl (or your kitchen sink) with water then add 2-5 drops of lemon essential oil and ½ cup vinegar. Add produce and let soak for 20-30 minutes to remove wax and chemicals off of produce. (This helps me feel a little better about buying non-organic apples, peppers and other produce that I can’t afford.)
  • Thieves and Lemon Cleaning Wipes
    • Fill a container with 2 cups of water, 1 capful Thieves household cleaner, and 5 drops lemon essential oil. Mix then add reusable cleaning cloth wipes.
  • Degreasing Deep Cleaning Spray (recipe from One Good Thing)
    • 2 cups warm water
    • 2 tablespoons baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons castile soap
    • 20 drops lemon essential oil

#4 Eucalyptus

What is eucalyptus good for? 

Eucalyptus is my go-to essential oil for colds and any sinus issues. But, eucalyptus can do far more than just help with clearing sinuses. 

Eucalyptus oil is good for:

  • Its antibacterial properties
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Treating any respiratory problems
  • Treating fungal infections naturally
  • Reducing fever
  • Dental care
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Boosts mental clarity

How do I use it most? 

I have used eucalyptus in many different ways but I especially love this oil for treating colds.

Two recipes with eucalyptus oil:

  • Chest Rub for Cough and Cold – Recipe 2
    • 10 drops eucalyptus oil
    • 10 drops peppermint oil
    • 5 drops lavender oil
    • Dilute with coconut oil according to this dilution chart by Tisserand Institute or Mommypotamus for quick reference.
  • Cough and Cold Diffuser Blend
    • 5 drops eucalyptus
    • 5 drops peppermint oil
    • 2-4 drops lavender oil
    • Please check your diffuser’s manual for a better ratio of oils to amount of water. This recipe would be much too strong for a 100ml diffuser, for example.
meal ideas and meal organizer

#5 Thieves / Immune Strength / OnGuard / Germ Fighter

*For the sake of clarity, I’m going to be calling all of these similar blends Thieves.

Thieves oil is generally a blend of lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, clove oil, rosemary oil, and cinnamon bark oil.

What is Thieves oil good for? 

Thieves is a blend that’s great for boosting your immune system and fighting off illness. 

Its most notable benefits:

  • Reduces fever
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improves respiratory health
  • Germ killing all-in-one cleaner
  • Kills mold spores
collection of plants in essential oil bottles

How do I use it most? 

I diffuse Thieves in the house anytime we have been exposed to sickness (ex. after going to a playdate, doctor’s appointments, having been around someone who is sick), when coming down with illness (I rub diluted Thieves on our feet and along the spine after taking a detox bath), and I use it to clean everything in my home.

A few of my go-to recipes with Thieves oil:

  • Foaming Hand Soap (I put this in our main bathroom’s hand soap pump all during cold/flu season) 
  • $12 DIY Thieves Essential Oil Blend (recipe with measurements on Beauty in the Crumbs)
    • 15ml glass bottle
    • Clove oil
    • Lemon oil
    • Cinnamon oil
    • Eucalyptus oil
    • Rosemary oil
  • Thieves Cleaning Spray (you can use Thieves Household Cleaner or make this spray with any brand of “Thieves” oil) – recipe from Pure Thyme
    • Basic Thieves Cleaner – 1 drop of Thieves oil per ounce of water (1 drop per ½ ounce for stronger solution)
    • Variation 1 – ½ Cup water, ½ cup vinegar, and 8-16 drops Thieves
    • Variation 2 – 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons castile soap, 8-16 drops Thieves

#6 Tea Tree

Tea tree is that distinct essential oil that you might not use to make things “smell nice” (unless you just happen to like the scent — it’s not my personal favorite!).

But it has some amazing properties that make it a great staple in your essential oil drawer.

What is tea tree good for?

Tea tree is commonly used for purifying and cleansing, and most commonly known for:

  • Clearing skin blemishes
  • Fighting dry scalp
  • Preventing and treating head lice
  • Calming feelings of nervousness

How do I use it most? 

I add tea tree to my homemade facial cleanser that I use for my sensitive skin.  I’ve used this recipe every day for years and – no more acne!

I also like to add it to my kids’ shampoo during peak head lice “season”- just in case.  

Sometimes I’ll add it to my own shampoo when the weather changes and my scalp is feeling dry and itchy.

tea tree oil beginner essential oil

Other recipes for tea tree oil (from Rocky Mountain Oils):

Tea Tree All-Purpose Cleaner:  Combine in spray bottle:

  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 30 drops Lemon
  • 20 drops Tea Tree
  • Spray Bottle

Soothing foot soak: Add ingredients to the bowl of warm water and soak feet for 20 min:

  • 6 drops tea tree  
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 2 quarts of warm water 

Bonus #7 – Frankincense (if you can afford it – but, I never have)

What is frankincense good for? 

As my friend says, “when in doubt – frank it out!” Frankincense is a powerful oil that can be used for many things.

Thus far, I haven’t personally owned a bottle of frankincense because it is rather expensive and I think I get along just fine with my top 6. 

Frankincense is an antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, and a vulnerary substance. (source) Now that’s a mouthful! 

Here are some of frankincense oil’s many proven benefits:

  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves oral health
  • Natural astringent
  • Reduces arthritis
  • Reduces scars
  • Helps with digestion
  • Helps with respiratory issues such as asthma
  • Speeds healing process

How is it used the most?

A common remedy that many have mentioned is that when you feel a cold coming on, take a drop of frankincense oil in a spoonful of honey and you may wake up feeling much better.

honey and essential oils-frankincense remedies
Glass pot full of honey on rustic wooden background

Many women also swear by frankincense for relieving cramps and other PMS symptoms.

There are dozens of ailments associated with frankincense as a natural remedy.

Healthline reports that it may even help fight certain cancers.

Maybe I should bite the bullet and try it myself!

Where to Buy Top Essential Oils for Beginners

Over many years, I have tried a handful of different essential oil companies and have found a few that I recommend.

Note: I do not currently sell essential oils from any of the following companies, but I am an affiliate for Amazon (where I purchase Plant Therapy oils) and Rocky Mountain Oils. This simply means I may receive a small commission when a purchase is made through links to those oils.

Young Living – MLM Company

Young Living was my first introduction to the essential oil world. And, I still love Young Living! I think their essential oils are top-notch – I love their seed-to-seal promise and that you can visit their farms.

Their essential oils are high quality and I trust these oils purity.

The downside of Young Living: Their oils can be too expensive for my budget. 

DoTerra – MLM Company

DoTerra essential oils have been used in my home a time or two. I’ve just honestly never known anyone that I could order through so that I didn’t have to become a member (once again, too pricey).

But, I have several friends who are loyal DoTerra users and have had a great experience using DoTerra’s oils.

The downside of DoTerra: Oils are expensive and they offer fewer oil blends and singles than Young Living.

Rocky Mountain Oils – non-MLM (can purchase directly through their site)

Rocky Mountain Oils is a company that I have trusted for a many years now – I believe that their oils are high quality and are third party GC/MS tested twice for purity.

Their essential oils are priced lower than the MLM brands, for the most part.

I continue to recommend RMO oils over nearly every other brand for these reasons.

Rocky Mountain Oils- beginner oils

FYI: They offer a 90-day product return if you end up unsatisfied with the essential oils.

Plant Therapy – Non-MLM (can purchase directly from their site or on Amazon)

I am somewhat newer to Plant Therapy’s essential oils but I have heard countless positive reviews from trusted oily friends. Plant Therapy (like Rocky Mountain Oils and Eden’s Garden) does not participate in MLM and strives to keep essential oils prices low while maintaining pristine quality.

All oils are GC/MS tested and results are posted on each essential oil description.

So far, I am loving their essential oils — their germ fighter (version of thieves) is my favorite — and I will continue to buy from them.

Must Have Essential Oils for Beginners Are Multipurpose, Affordable, and Easy to Use

I hope that reading through the benefits, usage tips and information about my top 7 essential oils for beginners was helpful to you! 

With these tips, you should be ready to dip your toes into the world of aromatherapy by choosing oils that fit your specific needs, your budget, and that are proven to be beneficial.

You might also like:

•Practical Ways to create a more Natural Home this Year

•The Easiest Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

•Homemade Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

•The Best Grove Collaborative Products (and the worst!)

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