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Your essential guide to essential oils

25th October, 2021

Whether you’ve been using them for years, have only recently started dabbling, or are not entirely sure what essential oils  are, they’re here to stay. But what makes these aromatherapy powerhouses so special, how can they be used to their full potential, and why should more of us be incorporating them into our daily wellness rituals? Here’s your handy guide.

What are essential oils, exactly?

Essential oils are so called not because they are key to human survival (though some fanatics would argue otherwise), but because they are the essence of a plant in liquid form. They are extracted through various methods, the most common being steaming or pressing to distil the plant’s fragrant essences. It can take a large volume of plants to make just a single bottle of essential oil.

Why are they popular?

Essential oils have been around since ancient times, and many people and cultures around the world incorporate them into their lives on a daily basis. But why are they so widely used? First and foremost, because they’re so concentrated, they tend to have intense aromas – and who doesn’t love things that smell great? But there’s more to their fantastic scent – inhaling the aromas from essential oils can actually interact with your limbic system, stimulating the part of the brain involved in emotions, memories and behaviours.

How do I use essential oils?

True multi-taskers, different essential oils have various practical uses. You’ll also often spot them in products you’re already using on a daily basis. Here are three different ways to use essential oils:

1) Skin and body care

Because they are 100% plant based and smell great, essential oils are frequently used in skin and body care products, and some can even be applied topically when diluted (though care should be taken if you have ultra sensitive skin). For an uplifting morning, we love this invigorating Spa Refreshing Body Wash by doTerra, with zesty essential oils of grapefruit, bergamot and cedarwood.

2) Aromatherapy

Essential oils have long been used for their mood-shaping benefits, via the practice of aromatherapy. Different oils are traditionally smelled for different purposes – lavender, for instance, is known for its ability to help you drift off to sleep, whereas jasmine can be uplifting and lemongrass is often used to curb worry and anxiety. Using an essential oil diffuser – like the minimalist, ceramic CASA Home Atmosphere Diffuser – can be a practical and stylish way to incorporate aromatherapy into your everyday life. Read more about using a diffuser here.

3) Natural cleaning

Keep your home spick-and-span – and avoid the harmful chemicals that can be in many commercial cleaners – by making your own cleaning products from essential oils, some of which can have excellent disinfectant properties. We love to use essential oils as a yoga mat cleaner – try adding a few drops of lavender and tea tree oil to a small spray bottle filled with water, and use it to pep up your mat between sessions.

What about mixing essential oils?

Essential oils can be mixed together in various combinations depending on the result, atmosphere or scent you’re after – but finding that perfect blend can require a fair bit of trial and error. That’s where CASA Home’s bespoke essential oils come in – working with fragrance experts from Grasse, France’s perfume capital, we have combined the finest oils into three mood-shaping blends. Good Mornings combines cardamom and neroli to rejuvenate the body and mind, Bright Moments with jasmine and rose helps get those creative juices flowing, and Quiet Evenings features French lavender and Asian benzoin to help you chill out and unwind.

Are essential oils safe for everyone to use?

While essential oils are all-natural superstars, care should be taken when using them around kids or pets, as certain oils can be toxic if swallowed, and / or harmful to certain animals when diffused - for instance, ylang ylang essential oil is known to be toxic to dogs and cats. Always do your research before choosing an oil, and be sure to keep bottles out of reach of little hands!

Does it matter what brand of essential oils I use?

Not all essential oils are created equal. Make sure you purchase yours from a reputable company that is transparent about where their ingredients come from, to ensure that they are pure and don’t contain any additives. CASA Home essential oils – which are also a key component of our signature mood-shaping candles – are all responsibly sourced from ethical farms around the world, for that extra feel-good factor.

Discover CASA Home essential oils