I'll admit I have grown weary with the essential oil overload on IG and among some bloggers. (I've felt the same way about bubble necklaces, chia pudding recipes, and Facebook game requests a time or two as well. I think an overexposure to trends tends to have that effect on people.)
I do believe essential oils have benefits, and people genuinely feel helped by them, but like many fads, it can get inundating after a while. The mid-level marketing structure lends itself to proselytizing, and the cost can be quite exorbitant. To be frank, I don't understand why on earth I should pay upwards of $50 (in some cases, and depending on the brand) for a single 15mL vial of essential oil to make my own counter spray when I can buy a bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day for four bucks.
I'm a woman of science, which in some ways makes me a skeptic by nature (empirical evidence!). But I am also a proponent of the use of non-chemical, non-pharmaceutical remedies whenever possible. I've used alternative treatments to ease everything from eczema to eye allergies to anxiety. (Lest you think I'm taking a swig of haterade here. I do, however, swig raw ACV on the regular.) In fact, I have a small collection of essential oils I've used to make homemade deodorant and other bath products. (Though they were all purchased locally at natural food stores and did not cause sticker shock.)
Although I have not experienced a complete 180 when it comes to the matter of essential oils, I have embraced their use in certain situations. (Though I maintain my stance on the marketing + social media front. But that's true for most products sold via a pyramid scheme. Buyer beware, for sure.)
It all started with a recent solo trip to the beach: I needed a getaway something fierce, so I packed an overnight bag and made the 90 minute trek to the coast. While wandering around the quaint town of Cannon Beach one afternoon, I stepped into a small shop selling a carefully curated collection of organic wares. I took a moment to sniff through the essential oil offerings, and was strongly attracted to one particular blend. Just one whiff and my mood was lifted. It's hard to explain, though I'm sure we've all had similar sensory experiences.
The mental boost it imparted stayed with me, and I decided to fork over the money to have a vial of my very own. In the morning, upon waking, I take a sniff to jump start my day; add a few drops to my bath; the occasional dab on my wrist.
A couple weeks ago, after a naughty late afternoon latte, I found myself restless at bedtime. Wishing that, at my age, I could once and for all settle on the ideal bedtime. Seeking a greater sense of balance, always. It turns out, there's an essential oil blend for that.
I read reviews and settled on a particular formula, then took it a step further and bought a diffuser. I set it up, added a few drops of oil, and let it do its thing. I slept soundly through the night, minus my usual tossing and turning, and woke up a little easier. (I'm not a morning person, much to my lifelong dismay.)
What I'm saying is, I'm a (sort of) convert. I admit they make life a little better, and have me eating crow (a little bit, anyway) when it comes to the whole essential oil thing. I don't have plans to buy more (nor am I brand loyal), but I'm certainly open to it if the need arises.
I've chosen my small collection based solely on how closely the attributes of a particular formula align with my needs. Others were purchased because they were called for in a bath product recipe. I possess little to no knowledge regarding mixing my own blends or the uses for most individual oils (black pepper?! myrrh?!), but without a doubt they've helped me improve my mood and obtain a more restful sleep... naturally.
And that's nothing to sniff at.
What's working for me:
dōTERRA Elevation Joyful Blend
dōTERRA Balance Grounding Blend
NOW Foods Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser
For bath/personal care products:
Calming Lavender Oil
Cooling Peppermint Oil
Activating Rosemary Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Sweet Orange Oil (purchased in Costa Rica)
Apricot Kernel Oil (as a carrier/moisturizer)