Essential Oils 101

I’ve been using essential oils on a daily basis for over two years now, and the obsession is real. I use them throughout the day in various different ways — and no, it doesn’t make me smell like a dirty hippie. (FWIW, I find that patchouli is what people tend to associate with that stereotype, which is not a scent that happens to resonate with me).

While I have always had a mild obsession with aromatherapy (aka delicious smelling candles), I found myself talking to someone who was very knowledge about oils for healing… She recommended a few oils to help me feel more grounded – something I, as a Pisces sun/Cancer moon/Gemini rising with mostly air and water in my chart, struggle with (most often in the form of anxiety).

I first tried Balance, a grounding blend, Vetiver, and Cypress. These oils were tremendously effective and provided me this subtle emotional support I had no idea they were capable of – and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.


My collection has gone from 3 to 20+ little bottles of goodness, and now I’ve become a rep for Doterra, a therapeutic grade essential oils company. So, if you want a recommendation or to talk more about ones to try, get in touch with me! I truly am passionate about this and hope to share my knowledge and experiences so you guys can learn and dabble and benefit from incorporating oils into your life too, if this resonates with you.

You can browse and shop all the Doterra oils here if you know what you’re looking for — otherwise, let’s get back to the basics.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are natural oils found in a variety of different plants… They have been used for thousands of years – the modern usage combines “traditional wisdom with scientific research to provide natural wellness solutions.” (Modern Essentials – a great resource if you’re interested to learn more, linked at the end of this post).

Essential oils are created by plants for their own immune defense, pollinator attraction, damaged tissue healing, and other metabolic purposes – which is why they’re so effective at treating our ailments. They are a group of chemical constituents that are volatile (meaning they can be evaporated or distilled), oil soluble (will dissolve in or combine with other lipids), and found in or are a part of various different aromatic plants.

Different types of essential oils provide different health benefits and kinds of emotional or physical support, and there are 3 main ways to use them: aromatically, topically, and internally.

How To Use Essential Oils

Essential oils have a ton of different beneficial properties. We all know of essential oils from aromatherapy – signature notes in candles, perfumes, room sprays, you know what I’m talking about. Or rather, your nose knows.

Because smell is closely tied to the memory, emotional and stress response centers of our brain, aromas of oils can have a legit impact on these aspects of our lives. Smelling oils or using a diffuser for a blend is amazing for me, and can seriously shift my headspace and positively affect my mood. I also love to make custom oil blends and unwind with them in a hot epsom salt bath, glass of wine in hand…


EO’s can be used topically and internally as well — HOWEVER, if you’re going to ingest any, make sure to follow the recommended dosage as a drop of oil is extremely potent, and make sure you’re obtaining therapeutic “food grade” (read: safe for internal use) essential oils like those from Doterra. Two topical points where you’re going to immediately absorb and make use of the oil is on the insides of your wrists, and the back of your neck.

To give you an idea of how I’ve incorporated essential oils into my life, here’s a little rundown of my fave EO’s with the what, how, and why of using them. You can go to my Doterra shop to browse all the oils, or click the names of any below to learn more.

How I Use EO’s To Control My Psycho

  • Lavender: Though this oil is notorious for helping calm people down, lavender also assists with communication and clearing any blockages that “stems from a fear of expressing one’s self” (Emotions & Essential Oils). It encourages emotional honesty and calms insecurities that are felt when one risks their true thoughts and feelings. This is why it smells so good for me — not for the calming aspect, but for the sense of empowerment it gives me to use my voice.
  • Balance (Grounding Blend)MY ALL-TIME FAVE. If you have anxiety, feel disconnected to yourself, feel like you want to “escape” your life or just feel out of balance… Try Balance. It’s a grounding blend that is calming and primarily comprised of root/tree oils that help provide inner strength to “teach individuals to ground their energy and to manifest their vision with the patience of a tree” (Emotions & EO’s). This might sound a little New Age-y and silly, but I swear to god I can go from feeling like I’m floating around in the world to feeling very centered in my body and capable of bringing my ideas to physical fruition once I dab this on my wrist.
  • Bergamot: Another fave — this is a cousin of grapefruit, a delicious citrus-y scent. I wear it on my wrists as perfume practically, as most of my perfumes also have complimentary citrus notes. It’s the oil of self acceptance — supporting individuals in need of self-acceptance and self-love. It helps you move past your limiting belief systems and self-judgement. When I’m going bananas in my brain because I’m so overwhelmed with work and life and my head starts telling me “of course this is happening, you’re not good enough, you never were good enough…” I douse myself in bergamot. And I feel better. I’m not making this up — and I can tell when I’m in a good place because it doesn’t smell QUITE as wonderful as it usually does — it’s really interesting to see how I react differently to an oil on any given day.
  • Vetiver, Lavender, Bergamot, Clary Sage: I make this blend for my diffuser often… Something about the smoky notes in the vetiver change how the other three smell and it’s equal parts comforting and compelling. Sometimes I swap the vetiver out for something fresher, like cypress or white fir. Or Frankincense! I actually make this blend for my diffuser, but more often in a bath…
  • Frankincense, Bergamot, Lavender, Clary Sage: This is my favorite personally crafted essential oil blend and my favorite to drop in a hot bath. Such an amazeballs combo, especially when you add epsom salts. This is 100% my all-time favorite pampering activity of choice, AKA self care which is critical to my life. Get into it. (2-3 drops Frankincense, 2 drops Bergamot, 2-3 drops Lavender, 2 drops Clary Sage)
  • Lemon: This seems like such a basic oil but it is SO ZESTY AND AMAZING! It’s the oil of focus, and energizes you and your mind and aids concentration. I love mixing lemon, bergamot, and a root oil in my diffuser to put on while I’m working at my desk. It’s like an instant pick me up for your brain. It also helps calm fears and insecurities to restore confidence in the self.

Essential Oils For Your Chakras

The below list is from a great little cheat sheet on the chakra centers from Amazon (get it here). These are oils that will have a vibrational resonance, and therefore positive effect, with each chakras and all that it governs. Each of these oils has many different uses and benefits, but this is one way to look at exploring them.


Root: Juniper, vetiver, cinnamon, rosewood, ylang ylang
SacralJasmine, patchouli, orange
Solar Plexus: lemon, rosemary, ginger, peppermint
rose, ylang ylang bergamot, lemongrass, eucalyptus
chamomile, clary sage, geranium, cypress
Third Eye:
lavender, pine, sage
 Frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, lavender

Aromatherapy: Find Your Scent

I use such a variety of EO’s on a day to day basis – depending on what smells particularly good, I know I need. Whatever resonates through scent I know has some deeper internal craving that is being satisfied. Oils provide both physical benefits and emotional support, so there are countless ways to use any single one – trust your nose and follow your gut towards an oil, then learn more and start to contemplate what drew you to it in the first place.

Often times, what we are drawn to can have an underlying reason – a specific oil may lend us support and we need it, whether consciously or unconsciously. I’ve smelled a bunch of new oils and wondered WHY I’m so into them – it’s like smelling candy or something. Then I’ll read about the properties of the oil and realize it’s one that I literally neeeeed in my life. Essential oils just make me feel better in so many ways.

For example, in this essential oils and emotional healing workshop, I had just moved and was just experiencing a ton of anxiety daily. I talked about that, and she said basil oil would help – she passed it around and when I smelled it, I literally wanted to like bury my head in the bottle, or take a shower with basil oil, or SOMETHING. It smelled like a mix of mental/emotional freedom and pizza… So, basically heaven. The scent took me over! So powerful. I legitimately felt more clear headed and in control of my brain after taking a few big whiffs of it. As someone with anxiety and a psycho-overactive mind, knowing I have a tool that can provide me some mental/emotional space is a huge relief and weight off my shoulders.

PS. If you haven’t seen it yet — I was just featured in Mad Girls Mag and interviewed about essential oils for anxiety! Antonella and I had a very candid and REAL conversation about what we both do when shit happens in life and you gotta keep going — enter, essential oils for depression and anxiety.

scb mad girls feature

I know this post was a bit of a doozy, and honestly I combined two after holding off on my initial intro post for far too long. I know a lot of you have been waiting for this one and asking where it is, so HERE IT IS! Hopefully everything made sense and wasn’t too overwhelming if this is your first time learning about essential oils.

If you have any questions, or  want to chat one-on-one with me about recommendations for oils to try, leave a comment on this post or shoot me a note at! You can browse and shop all the Doterra essential oils and blends here.

To learn more, check out some of my fave articles and go-to reference books:

If you’ve tried essential oils before, talk to me: what’s your fave oil and why? What do you use it for? How do you use it — topical, aromatherpay, diffuser? What’s your fave way to indulge with self-care?


5 thoughts on “Essential Oils 101

  1. This is so cool. I love essential oils and use all different kinds, but only have a general understanding (lavender oil for sleep, peppermint for headache/sinuses, rose hip oil to moisturize…) and was having kind of a bad day Wednesday. Going to bed that night, I mixed a few drops of lavender oil and water in my hand and wiped it off all over my pillow to unwind and fall asleep. The next day I went into work and had this epiphany. I walked right into my boss’s office and ended up getting a sort of promotion by time I walked out. It was so empowering. I’ve been on a high ever since. I didn’t even link it to using the lavender oil the night before… But as soon as I read this I knew! Awesome!

  2. I love EO’s and I’m so happy you’re using them and helping others learn about them too. When you inhale them they actually get into your blood stream and effect your central nervous system. So, I hate when I see people using EO’s that aren’t good quality! (Doterra is the best!) Have you tried Serenity? It’s great for diffusing at night and helps calm anxiety as well.

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