Ask the Gwyneth Paltrow of your barkada, and she’ll tell you that essential oils can solve just about everything. Caught the flu? Massage peppermint oil over your temples for comfort. Suffering from a bad memory? Put a few drops of rosemary oil in a diffuser and let the fragrance permeate your mind. Whatever the issue, there’s an essential oil for it!
So what’s the deal: are essential oils really as effective as the fanatics say? Skeptical yet intrigued, I decided to become an oilbolaryo for a week, using oils in the place of personal essentials like analgesics and skincare. For this experiment, I used Zellaroma’s Basic Essential Oils Kit, which contains 6 assorted premium oils, as well as a few other oils by local brands. See the full recap of my oil-or-nothing week, below!
TOPICAL APPLICATION: Essential oils are extremely potent, so it’s always important to dilute them in a carrier oil before you apply them directly on your skin.
A safe ratio would be 4 drops of carrier oil for every drop of your chosen essential oil. Blend the oils in a glass dropper bottle that you can easily bring with you!
I used Skin Revolution’s Olive + Jojoba Beauty Oil for my carrier oil, but you can also use pure olive, jojoba, coconut, or grapeseed oil.
DIFFUSER: Put 5-10 drops of essential oil to water and turn on your diffuser.
FOR ACNE CARE
THE ESSENTIAL: Pimple cream
THE REPLACEMENT: Tea tree oil
Just as my luck would have it, I was graced with a pimple as soon as the week started. I couldn’t wait to smother it with tea tree oil! Tea tree has long been celebrated for its natural antiseptic properties, which effectively treat acne. All I did was put a few drops of oil on a clean cotton bud and dab it directly over the pimple.
Since I’m a Korean pimple cream devotee, I was very surprised when the pure tea tree oil calmed my angry zit. It only took a couple of days and didn’t leave a scar. A godsend, just in time for my monthly hormonal breakouts.
FOR WAKING UP
THE ESSENTIAL: Coffee
THE REPLACEMENT: Sweet orange oil
Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee for my usual morning pick-me-up, I put a few drops of sweet orange essential oil in the office diffuser. Sweet orange has a refreshing scent and an invigorating effect on the body, which is why it can be used as a pick-me-up.
Now, did it work as well as a cup of java? If you’re a big coffee drinker like me, no way. This day was hard! I will say, though, that the smell of the sweet orange had an uplifting effect on my mood, so I was kind of sleepy but still happy. Hopefully, my workmates felt the same way, too!
FOR FACIAL HYDRATION
THE ESSENTIAL: Moisturizer
THE REPLACEMENT: A blend of rosemary oil and argan oil
To replace my daily moisturizer, I used a DIY oil blend. After doing a little research, I found that rosemary oil has antibacterial properties and argan oil can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. That sounded pretty great to me, so I used equal parts rosemary and argan oil as a day and night cream.
I’m accustomed to using cream or gel moisturizers, so I had to adjust to the sensation of applying oil all over my face. Other than that, I experienced no skin problems, no breakouts, nothing. This was a pretty good oil blend, because my face stayed soft and supple throughout the whole week!
Note: I used Be Organic’s Pure Argan Oil for this, since Zellaroma’s kit doesn’t include argan.
THE ESSENTIAL: Painkillers
THE REPLACEMENT: A blend of peppermint oil and clove bud oil
Being a bona fide oilbolaryo meant having to find essential oil alternatives for my usual analgesics. So, whenever I had a headache or experienced eye strain from staring too long at my laptop, I massaged a blend of peppermint and clove bud directly onto my temples. In all fairness, this brought me instant relief!
THE ESSENTIAL: Chamomile tea
THE REPLACEMENT: Lavender oil
A cup of chamomile tea is the perfect nightcap for me—it really helps put me to sleep at night. As my oilbolaryo alternative, I massaged lavender oil on my temples and wrists right before I hit the sack. I really wasn’t sure about this—and yet it worked like a charm, each and every time. I slept like a baby this whole week! I’m now officially a believer in lavender and its calming properties.
THE ESSENTIAL: More painkillers
THE REPLACEMENT: A blend of peppermint oil and lavender oil
As mentioned earlier, I was expecting my monthly visit from Aunt Flow. So along with the pimples came the nasty stomach cramps and bloating (tough week, right?).
What I did was make my own Vicks VapoRub. I blended some peppermint and lavender oils, massaged a few drops over my stomach, and then kept adding more to ease the pain. This smelled really wonderful and worked pretty well.
After a week of being an oilbolaryo, I was impressed with how effective essential oils actually are. Yes, they actually work—at least, for the six things they replaced in my life! (Maybe not the coffee, though.)
There were a few adjustments I had to make, of course. The effects of the oils didn’t last very long when I put them in the diffuser, so I found that using them topically was most effective. (And I’m sure it was quite bizarre for my workmates to see me randomly sniffing my wrists.) Nonetheless, this was a minor price to pay for all the benefits of these potent liquids.
There were some standouts: tea tree for breakouts, lavender for sleeping, and peppermint for my PMS symptoms. My skin didn’t show any negative reactions, which was great, since I kept using these three over and over again.
That being said, while I loved the sweet orange scent, I’m not ready to replace my morning coffee with it yet (or ever). But I can definitely vouch for its mood-enhancing properties, so if you’re having a bad day, you should give it a sniff.
If you’re considering making the switch to natural products for skincare or minor aches and pains, essential oils could be a great place to start. Just make sure you read up on what oils are best for your needs, and do a patch-test for allergies.
What do you use essential oils for? Do you have other recommendations? Sound off in the comments section below!
The Zellaroma Basic Essential Oils Care Kit (15ml x 6 Bottles) is available on BeautyMNL for P2,699. Shop it right here.
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