Essential Oils: What the Heck ARE They?!

Posted October 11, 2017 by Thirty-Something Angie in Clean Living / 2 Comments

Seriously, can someone please explain essential oils? I mean, what the heck are they, right?! Let's simplify this a little bit. When we're done, check out the FREE e-course!

You’ve seen me post about them for months.  Maybe you have friends on Facebook that just won’t shut up about them.  But seriously, can someone please explain essential oils? I mean, what the heck are they, right?!

First things first: When I first wrote this post, I was with Young Living as a rep, but just couldn’t deal with the prices and structure of the business anymore. I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of other essential oil lovers, and ended up finding Plant Therapy. Their missions is to have the greatest impact on as many people as possible by offering high quality essential oils along with proper education to their customers. They have on-staff aromatherapists, an extensive Kid Safe line, and product testing available right on their website for everyoneto see. Plus, you don’t have to sign up for a membership to save. If you want to give them a try you can get $5 off your purchase of $50, plus FREE SHIPPING! Just use Code “5OFF” to save.

Let’s simplify this, shall we?

Essential oils have become really popular in the last few years.  I’ve seen a lot of people resist them as something new and untrustworthy.  Others have called them a fad.

The truth is, essential oils have been around for thousands of years.  Actually, they were man-kinds first medicine!  They’re mentioned in the bible, and were even discovered in King Tut’s tomb.  So, they’re definitely not new, and they’re not a fad.

They’re just becoming more mainstream, which I love! There are still a lot of people that are still unsure and maybe a little scared, so I thought we could break it down and make this easy.

Essential Oils: What the Heck Are They?

What are essential oils?

Basically, I like to refer to essential oils as plant-juice.  In other words, they’re the aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from plants.  They can be obtained from the roots, seeds, shrub, flowers, leaves and trees and bring health and healing to the body.

Each plant is given its own natural properties for self defense, healing, and health, and when we distill parts of these plants correctly, we are able to take those same properties and use them to help the human body.

For example, when the helichrysum plant is cut, it will heal itself from the inside out. You can actually watch it “stitch” itself together right in front of you.  When properly distilled, the helichrysum oil can work similarly in the human body.  That’s why it’s such a great oil to have in your arsenal!

Related: My Top 5 Favorite Essential Oils for a Healthy Life

But, are they safe?

Essential oils are very powerful, and very complex.  But, are they safe?

The short answer is, yes.  When used properly, essential oils are safe.  However, just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous when used incorectly. Good essential oils are extremely pure and volatile, which means that you should still take some safety precautions.  I highly recommend that if you’re looking to get started with essential oils, you should look into getting a trusted referece guide. I love looking up advice on the Plant Therapy blog, and have used the Life Science Publishing Pocket Reference for years (although it’s geared towards Young Living and their advice).

Essential Oils: What the Heck Are They?

Some basic guidelines to follow if you’re looking to get started are:

  • always use a carrier oil when using essential oils topically
  • know your photosensitive oils and avoid using them before direct contact with the sun
  • keep oils out of your eyes, nose, and ears.  If oils get where they shouldn’t, use a carrier oil to rinse out
  • always put essential oils in glass or stainless steel. They are incredibly effective at pulling out toxins, including from their containers
  • know the “hot” oils, like Thieves, peppermint, cinnamon, and wintergreen
  • do not use essential oils topically on babies under 6 months, and then dilute heavily and use kid-safe oils

Related: 10 Things to Toss Today to Detoxify Your Home

How do you use them?

There are three main ways to use essential oils, based on different studies of aromatherapy.  You can use them topically, aromatically, or internally.  This is why it’s such an important thing to purchase high quality, pure oils. If you’re going to be applying oils to your skin, or ingesting them (or even breathing them into your lungs) you want to make sure they don’t have any chemical fillers or synthetics.

So, how exactly do you use them?


Since your skin is the largest organ in your body, it makes sense to use your oils topically.  Some great places to apply essential oils to your skin are your temples, spine, the bottom of your feet, or forearms.

Always be sure to use a carrier oil when applying oils to your skin, and avoid sensitive areas.  Keep in mind the safety guidelines mentioned above!


My very favorite way to use essential oils is in my diffuser.  They offer a relaxing aroma, make my house smell better, and help my entire family at the same time. Don’t have a diffuser? That’s okay! Here are some other ways to enjoy essential oils aromatically:

  • Add a drop of oil to your palms and cup your nose or inhale deeply
  • Use your oils on a diffuser necklace so you can enjoy them all day long
  • Put some oils on a cotton ball in a small area like a closet, car, cabinet, or bathroom


There has been research done that shows that some essential oils are most effective when taken internally. Only pure essential oils, proven safe should be used internally, and only under the supervisement of a licensed aromatherapist. 

What to look for in an essential oil company:








There are a lot of companies selling essential oils these days, so it’s important to do your research and find one that offers a quality product at a price you can pay. When I decided to leave Young Living, I asked a lot of people who they used for essential oils. The answers were so varied, and everyone had such strong feelings, so I decided to make a list of what I wanted in a company. Here are some of the things I think are important:

  • Excellent quality control, from the farm lands to the final product.
  • Transparency with their testing results and ingredients.
  • A focus on quality education for their customers (vs the vague usage information I was receiving).
  • Actual certified aromatherapists on staff giving advice.
  • A good selection of blends and singles.
  • Ease of purchase – I didn’t want another MLM with all their rules and business structures and sales gimmicks.
  • It wasn’t a requirement, but I’d really hoped I could find a company with a philanthropic program similar to the YL Foundation, because I loved that my money went to support something bigger.

After some research I found that Plant Therapy fit all my requirements and then some. Plus, they’re a fraction of the price of what I was using before!

Want to give them a try yourself? They have lots of kits to choose from to get you started, or you can just buy the individual oils and products you want to try most! I definitely recommend grabbing a diffuser, and at least 2-3 oils to start, so you can get a good variety of uses out of them.

Get $5 Off Your $50+ purchase and FREE Shipping! Use code “5OFF”

I hope by now you have a better understanding of what essential oils are! If you found this post helpful, be sure to pin it and share!



2 responses to “Essential Oils: What the Heck ARE They?!

  1. So much awesome information here! I feel like it can get so overwhelming at times with all of the different oils. These are all great reminders for people just getting started with oils and great reminders for people who have been using them for awhile!

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