A Beginners Guide to Using Essential Oils + My Top 5 and How to Use Them

By now you’ve probably seen people using essential oils everywhere. I feel like I blinked and all the sudden, boom, everyone is talking about them. They came in like a magical unicorn that could solve all our problems, at least according to Instagram. OK, maybe not all of them, but a ton, especially around the house. If you’re still unfamiliar with them, I’ve decided to put together this little guide that breaks down how and why you should use essential oils. Hope it helps!

A Beginners Guide to Using Essential Oils

First and foremost, let me tell you exactly what essential oils are. Simply put, they are oils extracted from plants. They usually come from plants that have medicinal purposes, (also, most plants have this to some extent). And that’s basically it! You just want to make sure you’re buying high quality, pure essential oils, so as to not wind up with a product made from a bunch of chemicals.

As for how you can use essential oils, the possibilities are nearly endless. I’ve personally used them in a lot of different ways, but they can go so far beyond even what I’ve used them for. To give you a general idea of what they’re capable of, here are a few categories in which using essential oils can do SO much.


This is probably the most well-known use of essential oils. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and bought a diffuser (I like this one), I highly recommend you do ASAP. It’s the easiest way to reap the benefits of essential oils. Plus, it makes your house smell amazing! From giving you energy to helping relieve anxiety and easing you to sleep, the benefits from diffusing your favorite essential oils are basically endless!

Household products

There are so many chemical-filled household products that can be swapped out for at-home DIY options using essential oils. A few examples include spider repellent, shower spray, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, furniture polish, scents for dryer balls and the list goes on and on. I’ve started to make swaps around our house in an attempt to make it more of a “non-toxic” environment. Better for us and all the animals!

Personal care

This is my personal favorite use of essential oils. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you probably already know this because I’ve done a bunch on DIYs for personal items that include essential oils. We’ve made several bath bomb recipes, which you can find here, here and here. We have also shared soy wax candles, a shampoo bar and room spray. You’ll also find a lot of different variations of essential oils in body oils and soaps because of their ability to hydrate and heal inflammation.

My Top 5 Essential Oils


Lavender essential oil is good for just about everything in my book, but I especially love to diffuse this scent because of its relaxing and anti-anxiety benefits. Set up your diffuser on your nightstand and fill it with lavender essential oil before going to bed. You’ll be in heaven, promise. I also recommend making a spray for your pillow and misting it on right before bed as well (we’re working on a DIY version of this!)


Lemongrass essential oil makes for an excellent household cleaner! Or I like to diffuse it during the day because it helps to energize and awaken. Nothing beats that clean, bright fragrance.


My DIY shampoo bar is scented with rose essential oil for a soft, romantic vibe. And nothing beats the real smell of rose (I am super sensitive to scent, and faux rose smell is the worst!). Associated benefits include being a natural aphrodisiac and helping to fight depression.


Eucalyptus essential oil is another excellent option for any household cleaners or room sprays. It leaves such a fresh smell, which is why I love it so much. I also really love combining it with lavender.


I love having rosemary essential oil in the house! Its smell reminds me of summer, which makes it perfect for soaps and bath bombs! Who doesn’t want to smell like summer?! It is also great for stimulating your scalp and has been known to help boost circulation.

Our DIY Projects with Essential Oils:

We’ve shared tons of DIY tutorials that incorporate essential oils, too. Here are some faves you can easily do at home:

And that’s the 411 on using essential oils! What are your favorite scents and ways to use them? I’m always looking for new ideas!

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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