Beginner’s Essential Oil Guide

Whether you’ve just bought your first essential oils or are still just gathering facts, this post is for you!

It can be intimidating to know how to get started using essential oils and to know where to get good factual information.  In this post you’ll find the best consolidated basics guide that I could put together.   It’s all the things I wish I knew, supplies I needed, and questions I had when I started.

And after having personally coached hundreds of beginner essential oil users, I came up with this guide of the most commonly asked questions and most helpful tools you’ll want to bookmark and refer to often.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are the volatile (aromatic) liquid that is found in plant leaves, wood, roots, needles, flowers, and more.  Essential oils are usually extracted using steam distillation, cold pressing, or in the case of absolutes: with a solvent.

How do you use essential oils?

Beginner's Essential Oil Guide


You can apply essential oil to your skin.  Some oils can be applied directly from the bottle, other oils need to be mixed with a fatty oil (called a carrier oil) first.

Essential oils work topically by passing through the skin into the bloodstream.  There they circulate through the body and deliver their aromatic benefits.


Beginner's Essential Oil Guide


Breathing in essential oils is another good way to use them.  Breathing them in directly from the bottle or using a diffuser makes it easy to do.

The aroma of essential oils can be detected by the limbic portion of the brain.  The limbic center is often known as the emotional center of the brain.  Many studies show direct links between the sense of smell and our feelings.  Being able to use essential oils to soothe and manage emotions is one of the most awesome “surprise benefits” we’ve experienced as a family.  I say surprise benefits because originally I just considered the health benefits.

Beginner's Essential Oil Guide


Some essential oils can be used to flavor foods and others can be taken internally as dietary supplements.

While some internet sources try to make this way of using oils controversial, it really doesn’t need to be.

As with any natural health choice, using common sense and a good reference guide will help you stay safe and get good results.

You would only use 1-3 drops per use when taking oils internally.  Using more drops (unless instructed to do so by a quality reference or holistic practitioner) is unnecessary.

Young Living has made it easy to know what oils are appropriate to use internally by designating them as Vitality Essential oils with distinctive white labels.

How can you use essential oils internally?

  • As a flavoring in foods
  • In a gelatin capsule with a small amount of carrier oil as a supplement.
  • On a sugar cube, piece of bread, or spoonful of honey
  • In a glass of water, milk, or almond milk

Want more fact based info?  Click/tap to read these:

Beginner's Essential Oils Guide


Essential oils are perfect for cleaning.  There are many good DIY recipes that let you use natural ingredients with your essential oils for effective, green cleaning.  In fact, it is some of the simplest recipes that work the best.

My personal favorite is this simple 2 ingredient cleaning powder.  It’s the basis for many useful cleaning products.

I also use the powerful essential oil infused Thieves Household Cleaner for the rest of my cleaning.  But no matter what oils you want to use, recipes abound for natural cleaners that use oils.

Personal Care

Many essential oils are very good to your skin.  That makes them a perfect companion for facial creams, serums, body washes, lotions, and shampoos.  I even make my own homemade deodorant, foaming hand soap, moisturizing hand soap, and many other products.

Beginner's Essential Oil Guide

Basic Safety Guidelines:

Are Essential Oils Safe?

No substance is completely safe all the time, including water.   Ingestion of too much water can lead to water toxicity, for example.  The unifying factor with all things is common sense.  Just like a product as pure and natural as water can cause death and harm, any other natural product that is used incorrectly has the potential to cause discomfort or potential harm.

With that said, genuine essential oils, when used properly, can be very, very safe.

Common Sense

Whether you choose to ingest a product, apply a cream, use a shampoo, take a supplement, the same amount of responsibility is there as if you want to use an essential oil.   No matter what product you choose to use, you should be informed on how to safely use it.

With that said, having a reliable reference guide specific to the products you are using is key.  Reading it is critical, too.

A few basic precautions will help you stay on the straight and narrow:

  • Don’t crowd-source product recommendations (aka don’t take to Facebook to find out how to use your oils).  Use your book.
  • Use just a few drops of essential oil at a time.  Using a small amount (a few drops) more often is both safer and more effective than using more drops less often.
  • If you don’t like the way you are feeling stop and assess!  Add a little more carrier oil and then wash off the oil with soap and water.  If you are new to essential oils you’ll want to use just one oil at a time in a small quantity, and observe how your body responds to each oil.

Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils


It is wise to dilute some essential oils with a fatty carrier oil before applying them to your skin.  Generally dilution ratios are given in a quality reference book, and in some cases on the essential oil bottle itself.

Diluting essential oils with a carrier does not lessen their effectiveness, but does protect the skin from unnecessary irritation.

When using an oil for the first time, always do some quick reading about how to properly dilute that specific oil.  That information can be found in a reference guide.


The best safety precautions for adults are to:

  1. Go slow and start with small amounts of essential oil if you are new to oils.
  2. Follow all package directions
  3. Use instructions from a quality reference book.


Using essential oils with children is not scary nor is it complicated.

Essential oils should be diluted for children:

  • 1-3 drops of essential oil per 1 tbsp of carrier oil for a child under the age of 2
  • 1-3 drops of essential oil per 1 tsp of carrier oil for a child 2-8

Kiddos really only need a small amount of oils to get the same result that a teenager or adult would need slightly more oil to achieve.  Parents definitely need to own a child-specific reference guide and rely on it for safe usage suggestions.

I strongly suggest that parents avoid “crowd-sourcing” ideas for what to use for their kids on social media, Pinterest, or Google.  There’s just so much unsafe information and conflicting information from well meaning people.

A quality reference guide eliminates those issues.

Storing oils in glass when possible, or PET plastic.

Essential oils have a tendency to try and “detox” everything.  That’s great when you are using them, not so great when you are storing them in synthetic containers.

If you are choosing to use Vitality oils in water to drink, always make sure you use a glass, stainless steel, or ceramic container.  Do not drink oil infused water from plastic (unless that plastic is marked as PET plastic, a harder plastic designed to withstand degradation by essential oils).

Essential oil based cleaners, cosmetics, and projects should also only be stored in glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or PET plastic containers.  Avoid reusing old plastic spray bottles, cosmetic containers, etc.

Beginner's Essential Oils Guide

Things you will want as you get started:

When you first start using essential oils there are a few things you may want to have on hand.  Quality essential oils, a carrier oil, and a reference book are a necessity.  If you’d like to make DIY projects you may need some containers and other supplies.

Good Quality Essential Oils

The quality of the essential oils you buy will directly impact your experience.  Professional aromatherapists (who only stay in business by getting results and avoiding adverse events) don’t use bargain brands.  If you are looking for results you owe it to yourself to do some research and find a brand that is known for high, qualitly oils.

Even in my own personal experience I noticed a drastic difference in results between premium oil brands and bargain oil brands.

Read More: Do Cheap Essential Oils Work?

5 Reasons You Should NEVER buy Essential Oils at the Health Food Store

I personally have used Young Living Essential Oils since 2012 and after exhaustive brand comparison and getting excellent personal results, it is the only brand that I personally am able to recommend.

Read More:  Is Young Living Really Better?

Beginner's Essential Oils Guide

Reference Materials

The most important thing you can do after getting quality essential oils is to have a reliable reference guide.  If you are serious about getting good results with the least amount of risk, you need a good book to guide you.

It is tempting to search Google or Pinterest for answers, but that can be risky because you can’t always verify the safety or reliability of that information.  In fact a quick internet search of almost any subject will find “expert” testimony to back up both sides of almost any question.

Asking a friend for diagnostic or oil usage ideas is convenient, but also has a few problems.

  1. Your friend only knows what worked for them, not what the best option is for you.
  2. A reference guide gives tested, expertly formulated protocols, not opinion or urban legends.
  3. Asking a friend to tell you what to use puts them at risk of diagnosing and prescribing without legal authority or training to do so.

So a good reference guide is the way to go.

Using Young Living essential oils?  Recommended reference books can be found at:

Carrier Oil

Most of the time you will need to dilute your essential oils with a good liquid vegetable oil when you apply them to your skin.  That’s why it’s important to have one handy.

Good options include:


Different containers make it convenient to make your own custom roller bottles, personal aroma inhalers or DIY projects.

Here’s where to grab some to have on hand:

Butters, Waxes, and Additions

Creams, lotions and body butters require some special ingredients.  So do toners, spritzers and sprays.

Here are some of the most common ingredients:

Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils

Things to Think About:

What do you want to do with essential oils?

It seems pretty basic, but being able to be clear about what you want to get out of essential oils is key to how successful you’ll be.  Knowing what you expect from them will help you choose the right tools for the job.


If you desire serious results you will want to be sure that you’ve chosen a company that puts quality first, not price.  I know it sounds counter-intuitive, because so many of us are cost conscious, but cheap oils honestly and truly don’t do the same thing as genuine essential oils.

If you are only interested in casual scenting, candle making, and perfuming lotions and lip balms, then you could potentially get away with a bargain oil.  But you’d want to still be concerned about some of the low quality oils and the risk of undisclosed synthetic chemicals in some of them.

Desired outcome

Cheap oils can provide some basic outcomes, but if you’re desiring something very specific or are expecting consistency, you owe it to yourself to be sure the company you buy from shares those values.

How serious are you about it?

If you just want to dip your toe into things to see how well oils work, get a few oils of the highest quality you can source to try.  See how they work for you and your family.  Experience what they actually do for you.  Ultimately there is no other person’s testimony that will give you as much personal data as your own experience.

If you’re unsure of what oils are good beginner absolute must haves, I suggest Lavender, Peppermint, and the Thieves blend.  I could not do daily life without those three.

Others who want to try a wider range of oils (tends to be about 95% of people I talk with) will want to get a premium starter kit that has 11 oils for the most common uses.

But trying them for yourself is key.

I’d be happy to help you if you’re looking for an oil mentor!

Ground floor info that will help you keep things straight as you start

As you’re starting it is easy to get pulled in many different directions.  So I’m going to share with you some sources of info about common “hot button” oil issues you may run across.  You don’t need to read them all now unless you want to.   Just keep this page bookmarked somewhere to refer back to when you need to.

Schools of thought in aromatherapy

This argument over different viewpoints of aromatherapy is the root of most conflicting information you’ll find.  I’ll spare the extra explaining and just link you to the fairly extensive write ups I’ve got for you here

Schools of Thought in Aromatherapy

French Aromatherapy (the truth)

People blogging to get your clicks

Just like me, there are many people who blog about essential oils for a variety of reasons.  The only way that any of us make money to run our businesses(and anyone blogging about oils is likely doing it for business purposes) is if you visit our websites.

Unfortunately, in an effort to stand out some bloggers resort to presenting information with lots of “Shock Value.”  This typically gets a lot of clicks and shares, but may not be reliable or true.  Just judge each article you read on the merits of the information, not on how persuasive the presenter is.  Dig into their sources and other works to see why they’re qualified to ask for a piece of your time and attention.

Common Sense Safety Info

Common sense is the name of the game when it comes to using any natural product (or any product for that matter).

Here are my favorite resources that discuss essential oil use, common sense, and safety:

Are Essential Oils Safe?  A Critical Look at Safety.

7 Places You Should Never Put Essential Oils

Using Essential Oils with Kids?  6 Things Not to Do.

3 Essential Oil Safety Myths: BUSTED!

So there you have it!

What other questions do you have?

If you’re looking for an essential oil mentor, CLICK/TAP HERE to shoot me a message and let’s see if we’re a fit!

If you’re curious to learn about my personal favorite essential oils that have already helped 1000s of people get the powerful results they were looking for, click here to learn more.