A Beginners Guide to Essential Oils : The Basics 101

Essential oil bottles with plant parts: A Beginners Guide to Essential Oils

Everyone can use a beginners guide to essential oils, like The Basics 101 for when you get started and that is what this is for. This is your very basic guide and brief overview for when you are ready to dive into the wonderful world of essential oils! These amazing oils have become more and more common over the years, but with this can come some confusion. They can seem overwhelming and make it a bit intimidating to get started. My goal is to share what I have learned over the last decade since swapping to low-tox products and diving into natural remedies. 

Just a couple things before we get started. I am not a doctor, I am just a Mama who loves finding natural options for her family. My education on oils is how our family has used these over the years and the benefits we have seen. You are the gatekeeper of your home and know your family so please keep that in mind while following us on this journey. Also, when speaking about essential oils, we use Young Living in our family and have for over six years. These are the oils that I have researched and feel comfortable with for our family. Not all oils are created equal.

A few thoughts…

I do believe there is a time and a place for western medicine, but we should be taking a proactive approach to health and wellness to reduce the need for it. By supporting our bodies with movement, real foods, essential oils and supplements we can make our immune system stronger. We can help decrease health issues and the need for medications later in life. I believe God fully knew what He was doing when He designed us, and our bodies are amazingly intricate. Our immune system is designed to work to keep us healthy and to fight off sickness, but we also have to do our part in supporting it and setting it up for success.

Now, does this mean that we will never get sick? No. Sickness does happen and there are the small percentages where there isn’t a great answer and that isn’t for us to figure out. God has a plan. All of this chronic pain though, and crazy skin issues, gut issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, autism, ADHD, strep throat, constant sinus infections, asthma, infertility, etc… all of these things are not “normal”. They are common these days but not normal. We get to change our “normal” if we are willing to put in a little work.

And as crazy as it sounds…

A cold here and there is actually good to teach our immune system how to work. Think of it as exercise. When we lay around all day, we get sore and weak. If our immune system is never working, it will get weak. Fighting off small invaders helps it to stay strong when it really counts. What we do to support it can also help aid and make it stronger as well.

My goal for this guide for essential oils is to share the basics that I have learned. I want to give you the foundation for the start to your journey to support you and your family’s health and wellness.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.

Empty essential oil bottle with lavender in the background

So what are essential oils and why are they so amazing?

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. Each essential oil has a very unique composition of constituents which affects the smell, absorption and effects that the essential oil has on the body. They are obtained through distillation, cold pressing or resin tapping. 

Something to keep in mind is that not all essential oils are created equal. I dive into why we choose what we choose here.

Some fun facts!

  • They last… a little goes a long way.
  • They can reach your body at a cellular level.
  • They have been around since ancient times.
  • A single essential oil can contain anywhere from 80 to 300 or more different chemical constituents. Each oil is a complex structure of hundreds of different chemicals.
  • They work synergistically to help support our natural healing response.
  • One drop of essential oil contains approximately 40 million-trillion molecules. 40.000,000,000,000,000,000!
  • In 22 seconds these molecules can reach your brain.
  • In 2 minutes they can be found in your bloodstream.
  • In 20 minutes they can affect every cell in your body.
  • They can support the internal organs of our body.
  • By smelling an oil, the molecules go up inside your brain, supporting our emotions, mood and memory! This is another reason why the highest quality oil possible is a must.

How do I use essential oils?

Oils can be used in three different ways.

  • Aromatically
  • Topically
  • Internally

Let’s break these down a bit more…

Aromatically – Diffusing is one of the most popular ways to use oils. You want to make sure that the diffuser you are using is an ultrasonic diffuser that is a high-density grade of BPA-free plastic. If not, the diffuser can use heat which will affect your oil composition and can destabilize your essential oils. They won’t work the way you want/need them to which would just be wasteful. These are some of my favorite diffusers. You can also just inhale (open the bottle and inhale directly or place a drop or two in your hand and cup your nose to inhale slowly). Here is more information on diffusing essential oils.

Topically – EOs can be applied to the skin neat (directly on the skin) or diluted (with a carrier oil). When applied topically the essential oils are quickly absorbed by our pores and hair follicles and make their way into our bloodstream. From there they are dispersed to our various systems to support our overall health.

Internally – This can be a heated topic. Use oils that are labeled for internal use only. Make sure that you trust your oils, that is why it matters what you use. You can place in a capsule, use bilingual (under the tongue) or press a drop to the roof of your mouth. Because they are so concentrated, you only need a small amount. You can also add a drop or two to foods! Anyone like peppermint brownies or cilantro in your guacamole? 

What is a carrier oil?

Because essential oils are so incredibly concentrated some need to be diluted when used topically and this is where the carrier oil come into play. They are a fatty oil that you can use to dilute essential oils or help to spread them more easily over the skin. They can also be beneficial to those with sensitive skin, when using on kiddos and babies or just if the essential oils are strong.

This is not the only purpose to a carrier oil though. Carrier oils all have their own benefits as well and some are better used than others for certain things. I cover in depth more on carrier oils here and our favorite ones.

Three jars of Carrier Oils with Lavender in the background

Where should I get my essential oils?

This is a personal choice thing. Essential oils are becoming more and more popular which is a good thing BUT it has also resulted in them being sold everywhere. The important thing to be aware of is that there is no law or regulations in the essential oil industry. Just like greenwashing on products, the same thing exists with essential oils. Companies are legally able to label their bottles as 100% pure even if there are fillers, synthetics, and/or chemical additives in the bottle. Fragrance is considered a trade secret and companies don’t have to disclose what is in their fragrance, the same thing applies to essential oils. You need to be sure to purchase oils from a reputable company and someone you trust. Ask all the questions, how are the oils distilled, how is the soil treated, when are the plants harvested, etc, because it all matters.

What you are ingesting matters. You don’t want to ingest an oil that is full of synthetics. You don’t want to apply to your skin something that is chemically distilled because you will be slathering some of those chemicals on your body. Your skin is your largest organ and it only takes 28 seconds for those chemicals to start to reach your blood stream.

When I started with essential oils, I tried several brands before landing with Young Living. These are the only ones I have used on my kids from a medicinal standpoint and the only ones I trust for us to use internally. 

How to use essential oils: A Beginners Guide with three bottles of essential oils on a white background

What are the best essential oils to get started with?

The starter kits are by far the best option because they give you an assortment of essential oils or products that you can use for all sorts of things. 

Here is a list of some of the most popular essential oils and some of my other favorites. I also have listed why I keep them on hand. Remember, you don’t have to begin with everything. One step at a time, making simple changes as you need them and work on building up your wellness cabinet. 


This is a great detoxifier and grease and stains don’t stand a chance against it. It is cleansing and great at uplifting your mood.


Amazing for all things skin, this one is very gentle. It is also great for lashes and hair, and seasonal support.


If you need energy, have this one on hand, it is also great for head tension and to aid in settling the stomach.


Breathe easy, this is a favorite for all things respiratory. 


This is our go-to for immune support. It is cleansing to the air quality as well as great for cleaning your counters and door handles. 

Citrus Fresh

Odor, laundry freshener, emotional support. This bright citrusy oil smells amazing and is very uplifting.


One of my favorites, we will always have on hand. It is great for skin, grounding to emotions, helps with clarity and focus as well as overall wellness. It is also great for scrapes and boo-boos to help the bleeding to stop.

Stress Away

Think beach in a bottle. This one is great to unwind and relax. It also makes a great perfume!


Anyone need a boost of confidence? This is amazing for kiddos and adults alike. It has a calming effect and is known as “chiropractor in a bottle”. It was my backs BFF during pregnancy and delivery!


Sore muscles, head tension, this one has your back. You can add it to an Epsom salt bath for a soak or dilute and apply to sore muscles.

Peace and Calming

Sleep, relaxation, calm on the go. This one is perfect for those times when everyone needs a reset. It also doubles as a great perfume too!


Tummy issues, constipation, diarrhea, this one has you covered. It is the oil for gut issues. It is also great at breaking up mucous on the lungs by diluting and applying over the back.

Tea Tree

This is a must to have around for cleansing, wound care, hair (lice hate this oil), and a gentle one to help spot treat acne.


Odors, blemishes, flowers? This one has a place with them all. It also is cleansing and used at the first sign of a sore throat in our home.


This one takes your immunity blends to the next level. It is also very effective for warts and skin tags. 


Not only does it taste good in spaghetti sauce but it is hands down a must have for ear support!


Teething baby? You need this one for sure! It is also an amplifier to other oils as well as helps with pain-management. 

Premium Starter Kit with oils and pumpkins and wooden beads on a blanket

I hope this was helpful for you to get started but if you have any questions just let me know!

These are the oils our family has used for years (and that we know are safe for the uses mentioned above).

Remember, I am not a doctor, I am just a Mama who loves to share natural options that we use for ourselves and our kiddos that we have found works for us. I hope they can help you too! I’d love for you to follow along on Instagram @naturallychaoticlifestyle for more of our day to day!

Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!

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  1. Is there an essential oil for stinky feet? If so, how much do you use?

    1. Focusing on detoxing the liver is essential with any type of body odor. Ningxia is one of our favorite ways to support liver function. As for essential oils, Purification is one of my favorites for anything smelly! It is also cleansing. You can add a drop to a carrier oil like Fractionated Coconut Oil (which also has anti-fungal properties) and massage into the feet a couple times a day.

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