How to Use Essential Oils

How to Use Essential Oils

Explore the many ways you can benefit from the healing power of Essential Oils.

Aromatherapy is the ancient art of perfumery and herbalism from harnessing the beneficial aromatic properties of essential oils to using them therapeutically for body, mind and soul. It is the essential oils from the plants that carry the active phyto-chemicals and have a therapeutic action. It is simple and easy to use essential oils and benefit on a daily basis from their healing properties.

Essential oils are absorbed by the body through the skin or via to olfactory senses, however they are very potent and need to be diluted before applying directly to the skin. Commonly essential oils are brought into the body by breathing in the evaporating vapour, or across the skin layer directly into the body and blood stream by bathing, aromatherapy massage, or topical application.

Applications  Essential Oil Drop Dosage 
Aromatic Wrap Soak sheeting in 10-15 drops and hand-hot water
Bathe Topically 4 drops in a dish of cold boiled water 
Bath  6-8 drops of a bath filled with warm water (can be diluted in oil, milk or vodka for sensitive skin)
Body Scrub Massage blend applied to body brush
Compress 6-8 drops in cold or warm water
Hand Friction Rub  2 drops neat to palm. Rub to heat, Cup hands and inhale deeply 
Hydrosol Room Spray 5 drops to 20mls of hydrosol spray (floral water)
Steam Inhalation  2-3 drops in bowl of steaming water 
Massage  Ration of 1 drop to 2ml base oil as general guide (Mix 30ml for a body massage)
Paper Inhalation 2-3 drops on blotting paper, kitchen roll, paper napkin or cotton wool pad.
Pillow  1 drop either side of pillow 
Poultice 4 drops to 2 tablespoonsful of poultice base (clay) 
Pulse Point  1  drop to 1ml carrier oil
Room Air Spray  50 drops in 100ml pure water in spray top bottle 
Skin Oil / Lotion Cream / Ointment  1 drop for each 2ml (body), 4ml (facial)
Sitz Bath 3-4 drops in a bowl large enough to sit in, filled with cool/warm water
Vapouriser  6-8 drops in a saucer of water (candle lit)


What you will need
  • An essential oil vaporizer. (Lit by candle or an electric vaporizer)
  • A spray bottle
  • A bowl & kettle for steam inhalation (or an electric face steamer or steam inhaler)
  • A hot bath, or basin to bath part of the body.



  • Neat Essential oils
  • Massage carrier oil (such as Almond oil or another vegetable oil) to dilute.
  • Massage carrier cream or body butter to dilute.
  • Hydrosol (flower water) or vodka to dilute.

To benefit from breathing in the oils:

There are several ways the pure neat essential oils can be inhaled. Firstly by adding a few drops diluted in water in a vaporizer, and setting a night light underneath (or plugging in if electric). The aroma will permeate the environment and slowly be inhaled. The oils can also be diluted into a mix of water and alcohol (such as Vodka) or into a flower water (hydrosol) and stored in a spray bottle. This mix can be shaken and spritzed around the chosen room. This is a lovely way to change the atmosphere and energy of an environment. A direct steam inhalation can be done by filling a bowl with boiling hot water, adding a few drops of neat essential oils and then inhaling the steam (Cover your head with a towel whilst leaning over the bowl). There are some purpose made face steamers and steam inhalers on the market that are wonderful for an aromatherapy inhalation. A steam inhalation is a great way to treat a heavy cold or headache. Neat Essential oils can be used with all of the above.

To benefit from absorbing the oils through the skin:

Again there are a few different ways to absorb pure essential oils. The neat drops can be diluted and then applied to the skin topically. The pure essential oils can be diluted into vegetable oil such as Almond oil for applying via body massage. This is a wonderful way to receive the benefits of essential oils as well as the therapeutic actions of a body massage. The pure neat oils can also be diluted by mixing with body butter (such as coconut butter), or body or face cream to apply topically. Essential oils blend very well with full fat milk, vodka or vegetable oil to mix into hot water in a bath. These mediums disperse the essential oils into water and prevent irritation or burning. There are numerous ways that the essential oils can be absorbed: by bathing the body or parts of the body in hot water, wrapping the body in soaked sheets, applying a compress or clay poultice to parts of the body, all of which ensure that the essential oil phyto-chemicals pass through the skin and enter the blood stream.

What else you can do
Get Creative: Essential Oil neat drops can be added to loose dried herbs and flowers (Pot pourri) to slowly release an aroma into the environment. The neat oils can also be dropped onto a handkerchief or cotton wool pad and placed on the pillow to directly inhale whilst falling to sleep.  Why not make a little aromatherapy pillow, stuffed with lavender for example, and then drop pure Lavender essential oils directly onto the cushion. Inhale directly when relaxing. Essential oils can be also added to blotting paper and hung in the car, or inside enclosed spaces that would benefit from an uplifting aroma. There are many natural ingredients that can carry the essential oils such as Bath milks, Body Butters, Clay Masks, Bath Salts, Face Creams, Hand Creams, Body scrubs, Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair oil. All of these mediums make a great way to deliver the beneficial properties of the plants. It’s recommended to use 100% natural botanical products to blend the oils as this supports the work of the oils and does not hamper them with unnecessary chemicals and toxins.  
About Indigo Products

Indigo Herbs supply a range of premium quality single essential oils and carrier oils, our comprehensive range is on our Aromatherapy page. We have also blended for you a signature range of 10ml Essential Oil Blends, Pulse Point Rollars and Massage Oils, our Indigo Botanicals range is designed with your wellbeing in mind.

More Information

So how do Essential Oils work?

Essential oils interface with the body through three different pathways.
The skin is semi-permeable to water and lipid-based substances, and basically any substances that can dissolve in fat. Essential oils travel across the dermis and into the blood. They are then circulated around the body. In this way their chemical composition can have a direct effect on the biochemistry of the body. Essential oils also travel into the body through the respiratory system. The molecules penetrate the mucous membranes of the lungs and pass into the blood. The active constituents of the oils also have a direct effect on our olfactory senses (smell). The volatile oils stimulate the olfactory bulbs at the top of the nose and this messaging system carries the odorant towards the limbic system in the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for basic emotions and memory and it effects our behaviour, mood and capacity to learn.



The safety risks of essential oils depend on the amount of oil used and of course the frequency. However pure essential oils must never be used directly on the skin. They may cause burning, skin irritation and photosensitivity. A couple of exceptions would be Lavender and Tea tree which can be used neat on burns, insect bites or spots (Not advised if you have sensitive skin).

People with sensitive skin must act with caution when using essential oils; firstly a patch test should be done on a small area of skin such as the crook of the arm or back of the neck. If redness or itching occurs then try a further dilution of the oil, or choose a milder oil.

Citrus oils can irritate skin as they can photosynthesise in the sun. Avoid exposure to sunlight with citrus oils such as Lime, Bitter Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit and Bergamot. If you are using photosensitizing oils on your skin, do so at night, stay indoors, or wait at least four hours before exposing your skin to ultraviolet light.

Like when using herbs for their beneficial purpose, it is important to vary the oils you use; repeated use of the same essential oil can cause a build-up and potentially be toxic to the kidneys. Keep all essential oils away from the eyes and out of the reach of young children.

In general, when treating children with essential oils use one-third to one-half the adult dosage and select only nontoxic oils. Among the best and safest essential oils for children are Lavender, Mandarin, and Chamomile.


Practise caution when using essential oils with those who are elderly, convalescing, or have serious health problems such as asthma, epilepsy or heart disease. Using essential oils during pregnancy during the first trimester is not recommended. Even oils that are generally safe during this time may be too stimulating for women who are prone to miscarriage. In the second and third stage use only the gentle floral oils such as Rose, Neroli, Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Chamomile, Geranium, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Frankincense and the Citrus oils.


If you experience symptoms such as nausea, headache, skin irritation, emotional unease or a "spaced-out" feeling, this might be because you have over exposed yourself to essential oils. Fresh air will help overcome these symptoms. If you ever experience skin irritation or accidentally get essential oils in the eyes, dilute with straight vegetable oil, not water.