Essential Oils: The Beginner’s Guide

Essential oils are having their moment in a big way – every time I open Pinterest I see a dozen different oil focused pins, and essential oils have been popping up on my Facebook feed for months.

To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first. Before I knew more about essential oils and diffusers I thought they were glorified air fresheners.

Fast forward to now, and I’m an essential oil convert. Around two months ago I cracked and ordered a Young Living Essential Oils Starter Kit thanks to encouragement from my boyfriend’s cousin (thanks, Katie!). Since then I’ve spent hours looking into the uses and benefits of each oil, and I’ve had plenty of time to play around with my starter kit.

Now, I’m not an expert by any means, but I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can do a good job explaining essential oils to newbies, and breaking down the benefits of each individual oil.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils come from plants – they are the aromatic liquids that regulate plant function. Essential oils are to plants what the blood and immune systems are to humans. They protect the plants from bacterias, viruses, and environmental threats like sunburn.

Essential oils are (carefully!) distilled from the plants in a way that’s meant to preserve their benefits, every oil has it’s own special distillation process.

Not all essential oils are created equally, though, so you have to be careful where you’re buying from. Places like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are killer for home decor and fashion, but you don’t want to buy your oils at places like that because you don’t actually know what you’ll be getting. They might be diluted, or impure, or not even what they’re claiming to be.

My oils are from Young Living, which I’ve found to be the most reputable supplier. They have what they call the “Seed to Seal Promise” guaranteeing the oils won’t be diluted, cut, or adulterated.

Essential oils and how to use them for beginners.

How do you use essential oils?

As I’ve found out, essential oils aren’t just glorified air fresheners (though the do make for great air fresheners with added benefits!) and there are three main ways you can use them:


  • Aromatically: This means you’ll reap the benefits through scent. You can rub the oil between your palms and breathe in diffuse the oils, wear the oils on your wrists or neck as a perfume, or wear the oils in an oil jewelry (more on that later!).
  • Topically: A lot of oils work their magic when you rub them into strategic points on your body.
  • Internally: Believe it or not, essential oils are 100% edible. You can add them to your water, cook them into your food, or take them with gelatin capsules for the ones that might not be the tastiest.


What are the benefits of essential oils?

We’ll look at this from a broad standpoint before we go into specifics. Essential oils are powerful. They can fight inflammation, make your pain disappear, eliminate toxins in your body, and more.
Essentially, if you have a pain point, there is probably an essential oil that will combat it.

The biggest benefits I’ve reaped from the oils so far have been improved skin, a stronger immune system, and a better night’s sleep. Of course, there have been more that are less measurable, but those have been the most obvious.

What does each individual oil do?

I’m going to break down the benefits of each oil that is included in the Young Living Essential Oils Starter Kit here, but know that the benefits are plentiful and there are likely going to be things I miss or don’t cover.

If you are looking for an oil to help you combat a specific problem I’ve found that googling phrases like, “Essential oils for cramps” will yield great resources.

Thieves Oil

Thieves oil is a mix (or synergy) of oils including clove, rosemary, cinnamon bark, and Eucalyptus radiata.

The most impressive thing about Thieves Oil, I think, is it’s immune boosting properties. It can help get rid of your cough by rubbing a drop on the roof of your mouth, and by diffusing the oil in my room at the first sign of the cold going around my house, my symptoms only lasted around 24 hours instead of a week like everyone else.

You can also use Thieves Oil as a cleaner, mixing it with water in a spray bottle.

Copaiba Oil

Copaiba oil comes from the Copaiba Tree and is another immune system supporter. Along with it’s flu-fighting properties, it’s also great for digestion and to use in your beauty routine.

I’ve been using Copaiba (along with Frankincense and lavender) topically on my skin, mixed with Rose Hip oil and my dry skin has all but vanished and dark acne spots are almost completely faded.

It’s also great to use as a spot treatment on active acne – it’s a great anti-inflammatory so it’ll help reduce redness and size.

If you’re having tummy troubles, I’ve read that this a good one to rub on your stomach – make sure to dilute the oil for children, though!

My dad suffers from really bad gout, and mixing Copaiba in an Epsom salt foot soak helped him find a bit of relief, too!

Digize Oil

Digize is another oil mix made up of: Peppermint, Lemongrass, Juniper, Patchouli, Fennel, Tarragon, Anise, and Ginger oils. As the name implies, it’s greatest benefit is to your digestive system, but that’s not all.

In addition to supporting a healthy digestive system, Digize is great to diffuse if you’re feeling nauseous or if you have a stomach bug.

And you know that feeling when you shouldn’t have finished the cake but you did anyhow? Rubbing this oil around your belly button will help ease the discomfort – the smell is strong, though, beware!

Lemon Oil


If I had to choose – I think Lemon is my favorite of the essential oils, at the very least it’s my most used.

Lemon oil fights bacteria – so every morning I put two or three drops in my (metal!) water bottle – it’s important to use glass or metal instead of plastic if you’re using lemon oil because the oil will begin to erode the plastic and you’ll drink in the nasty plastic chemicals. I might add a few extra drops if I’m drinking water from a public fountain or tap just to be on the safe side.

Lemon oil is great to diffuse during the day, too. It freshens the air and will help you feel more energized.

I’ve even used Lemon Essential Oils in recipes, too! A drop of lemon essential oil is equivalent to a teaspoon of lemon juice. Lemon oil is great in hummus and in veggie stir fry!

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is another favorite of mine, and also one of the first oils I was ever introduced to. It’s great for helping you relax which is why I use it mostly for stress and headaches.

I get overwhelmed quite easily, but dabbing a drop or two of peppermint oil at the base of my skull will help relieve the tension that comes from overwhelm and stress. As for headaches, I’ll rub a drop onto each of my temples.

Peppermint is another great oil to diffuse when you are feeling low on energy. I prefer lemon to peppermint for this, but now that it’s almost the holidays, I’ll probably switch it up.

Panaway Oil


I’ll be honest, I haven’t done much with Panaway yet, but I’ve heard great things. Panaway smells a lot like Icy Hot, and works the same way, too.

You can rub Panaway on achy joints and sore muscles to help you find relief. The minty fresh smell is also great for helping clear up any congestion when you diffuse it or add a few drops to your hot bath or shower.

One thing you’ll notice, though, is that your Panaway oil has a different cap than the rest of the oils in your starter kit. This is because of the Wintergreen oil which is great for so many things but can be dangerous if little hands get a hold of it. Wintergreen is toxic when consumed in large quantities, so like the rest of your oils, make sure Panaway is out of reach from the tiny fingers in your house.

R.C. Oil

When I got my starter kit, this is the first one I Googled because neither the name or the smell were giving me any hints on what it might be or what it might do. R.C Oil is another blend, and it’s made up of Eucalyptus,Myrtle, Marjoram leaf oil, Pine leaf oil, Eucalyptus leaf oil, Eucalyptus oil, Lavender,Cypress,Black spruce, and Peppermint oils. Whew!

RC Oil is a great energizer and the most popular way I’ve seen people use it as a pick-me-up for extra early mornings.

It’s also a great oil to diffuse before or during your workout as it’ll have you feeling energized and perky.

Purification Oil


This oil is magic – it erases any hint of undesirable stenches that might be lurking in your home and replaces them with a fresh, slightly earthy scent.

This oil can be used for all of your stinky needs: Put a drop in your laundry each load, run it through your garbage disposal, dilute the oil and spray it on your stinky dog’s coat, or put a few drops on a cotton ball and keep it by your garbage can.

I’ve also read that diffusing this outdoors can keep pesky mosquitoes and gnats at bay.

Lavender Oil

This is the very first oil I ever used. When my dad was sick back in 2014 I was a blubbering mess of stress from the day he got admitted to the hospital until months after he was released. When I started to feel too worried or overwhelmed, lavender oil was great for calming my nerves.

I have lavender seed in a satchel by my bed and diffuse lavender oil just about every night. It’s a fantastic way to guarantee a peaceful night’s sleep.

Additionally, Lavender is another oil that is great for skin and bath products. I love taking Epsom salt baths with a few drops of lavender.

Frankincense Oil


Frankincense oil comes from the Boswellia carterii trees grown in the Middle East and has been used since the 16th Century B.C. Crazy.

Frankincense is my very favorite oil for the skin, and I use it almost every evening before bed. I will either use it mixed with just my Rosehip oil, though sometimes I’ll use lavender or lemon with it, too.

Additionally, you can add a drop or two to the bottom of each foot to promote relaxation after a long day.

Stressaway Oil

The final oil that comes with your starter kit is fairly self-explanatory, but still worthy of it’s own section. The Stressaway oil is great for – you guessed it – relieving stress.

Stressaway is made of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea, and Lavender and smells heavenly. For real – if I’m not wearing lavender as a perfume, this is my second choice!

This is also a great one to use in an Epsom salt bath when you’re feeling stressed – you’ll be able to forget about the stresses of life for at least a little while.

How to diffuse essential oils


I’m going to be honest – when I started diffusing I didn’t do my research and was going a little heavy handed.

As it turns out, in small print on the bottles it lets you know how long you should diffuse each oil for – super helpful!

You only need a few drops of oil to reap the benefits, so I wouldn’t recommend going overboard there. The diffuser that comes with your starter kit is easy to use and clean, and from someone who knew nothing about diffusers before hand – I was happy to find out that it is a cool steam as opposed to a hot one as I myself am accident prone and there is also a sneaky toddler in my house on the weekdays.

Plus! The diffuser lights up which is a fun little bonus, though if you hold the power button down it will diffuse without the lights in case you don’t want to use the light.

Interested in your own starter kit?


Real talk: The starter kits are worth it. They come with a $160 price tag, yes, but you’re getting way more value from them making the kits more than worth it. Essential oils are highly concentrated and powerful – a little bit will go a long way so you’ll have your kit for quite some time.

Furthermore, the benefits of each individual oil will help you save money on things like pricey doctor’s appointments, cleaning supplies, and yes – air fresheners.

If you’re interested in investing in a starter kit, you can follow this link and join my team! Plus! If you join send me an email and I’ll ship a special surprise your way.

(I’m actually terrible at keeping secrets – the surprise is a super cool oil diffuser necklace and a few extra goodies from me to you!)