Best Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used as natural healing products for thousands of years, but the last couple of decades have seen a rapid rise in essential oil products. People seek out essential oils to help improve sleep quality, relieve stress and anxiety, and treat various body ailments. Though the health benefits of essential oils are not scientifically proven on a large scale, many people associate plant-derived oils with physical and mental healing.

We’ll review some of the best essential oils on the market and offer additional information to help guide your search for the perfect essential oil. We will cover popular oil fragrances, common oil application methods, and how to ensure that the essential oil you are buying is of the highest quality.

Our Top Picks for 2021

Healing Natural Oils Sleep Aid Formula

Healing Natural Oils Sleep Aid Formula

Best Overall
  • Highlights
  • Features lavender and lemon balm oils
  • Formula includes celery and sage
  • May be used topically or in bath water

Sleep Aid Formula from Healing Natural Oils is a blend of essential oils that is meant to help people relax and fall asleep. The blend uses plant-based ingredients in addition to various essential oils, resulting in a formula that may help calm the body before bedtime.

There are two active ingredients: Apium graveolens 6C (celery) and Salvia officinalis 6C (sage). The inactive ingredients are cedarwood shavings, lavender, and lemon balm, as well as hazelnut oil. Both lavender and lemon balm have calming aromas that make them especially ideal for bedtime use.

The product is recommended for adults and children over the age of 4, but people who are pregnant or nursing should not use it.

To apply the Sleep Aid Formula, massage several drops onto your temples and back approximately half an hour before going to bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you can reapply the product to help you fall asleep again. Alternatively, you can mix several drops of formula into your bath water to help you relax in preparation for sleep.

Healing Natural Oils provides free shipping within the U.S. for orders over $49. The formula comes with a 90-day guarantee. If you’re unhappy with the product, you can send it back for a full refund, minus shipping fees.

Art Naturals Sleep Roll-On

Art Naturals Sleep Roll-On

Best Roll-On
  • Highlights
  • Easy roll-on application
  • Formula includes lavender, sweet orange, and rosemary
  • Convenient travel size

Art Naturals produces a lineup of skin and body care products, including an array of aromatherapy products that can be used and applied in a variety of ways. You can apply the essential oils in the Sleep Roll-On by rolling it onto your skin.

The Sleep Roll-On contains a blend of lavender, sweet orange, and rosemary oils. Lavender has traditionally been used to reduce stress and induce sleep, while rosemary is an aromatic oil intended to help relieve anxiety. The blend is intended to lull your body into a relaxed state before bedtime and may also provide relief to minor aches.

Using the roll-on applicator, you can apply the product on your wrists, neck, chest, or behind your ears. The product comes in a convenient travel size, making it easy to stow in a purse or backpack.

Art Naturals accepts returns of unopened products within 90 days of purchase.

Spark Naturals Dream

Spark Naturals Dream

Best Digestible
  • Highlights
  • Cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, lemon, and grapefruit oils
  • May be ingested, diffused, or topically applied
  • Intended as a sleep aid

Spark Naturals manufactures a wide array of essential oils and essential oil blends that are meant to help with various ailments and conditions. Dream is one of the company’s blends, and it is designed to help you fall asleep and to increase the overall quality of your sleep.

Dream contains oils of cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, lemon, and grapefruit. This proprietary blend is specifically aimed at preparing the body for relaxation and sleep. It doesn’t contain any carrier oils, which are typically used to dilute essential oils, so you’ll need to dilute the formula for use by children or people with sensitive skin.

The Dream blend comes in two sizes: 5 milliliters or 15 milliliters. The bottle is tinted to help preserve the integrity of the ingredients.

While many essential oils are too strong to ingest, Dream is intended to be safe to consume in the right quantity. Be sure to carefully read the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you’re taking the correct amount. You can also apply the oil to your skin or diffuse it aromatically.

Spark Naturals offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. for orders over $25. Orders under $25 come with a $5 shipping fee. You can return the oil within 90 days of purchase for a refund, minus return shipping fees.

Amrita Essential Oils Deep Rest Organic

Amrita Essential Oils Deep Rest Organic

Best Stress-Relieving
  • Highlights
  • Blend includes lavender, mandarin, and marjoram oils
  • May be applied topically or diffused
  • Designed to calm the body

The Deep Rest Organic from Amrita Aromatherapy is a blend of essential oils designed to reduce stress and calm the body for better sleep. The blend contains lavender, which is known for its relaxing properties. It also includes red mandarin, sweet marjoram, and mandarin petitgrain.

To use this blend, add several drops to a nebulizer to disperse the aroma. You can also apply  it topically by diluting the oils in carrier oil and applying them directly to your skin. Amrita recommends 15 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil. For maximum benefit, apply the oil directly to the areas of your body where you are experiencing physical tension.

To use this oil for massage, dilute 10 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil before applying it. You can also use it in the bath.

Organic Deep Rest is available in three sizes: .34 fluid ounces, 2 fluid ounces, and 8 fluid ounces. Amrita accepts returns within 30 days of the ship date. You will receive a full refund, minus return shipping fees.

Plant Therapy Sleep Tight Essential Oil Blend

Plant Therapy Sleep Tight Essential Oil Blend

Most Versatile
  • Highlights
  • Includes lavender and mandarin orange oils
  • Available in a bottle or as a roll-on
  • Can be used with a diffuser or applied topically in diluted form

Plant Therapy’s Sleep Tight Essential Oil Blend is a combination of oils designed to relax the body and improve sleep quality.

The blend includes lavender, mandarin orange peel, ylang ylang, bitter orange/neroli, and hops. Lavender is a popular aromatherapy oil for calming the body and preparing it for sleep, while citrus oils can help improve mood.

Plant Therapy recommends diffusing this blend in a diffuser of your choice, or simply adding a couple of drops to a cotton ball and putting the cotton near your head during sleep. Alternatively, you can blend it in carrier oil or lotion for a 2% to 3% dilution ratio, then massage it onto your body. If you enjoy calming baths at bedtime, you may want to try adding several drops of the oil blend to shampoo or body wash and mix this into your bath water.

Sleep Tight is available in two sizes: .33 fluid ounces or 1 ounce. The oil blend is also available as a pre-diluted roll-on product for easy application.

Sleep Tight comes with free shipping within the U.S. You can return it for a full refund within 90 days of purchase.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are aromatic compounds extracted from plant parts such as bark, leaves, and rinds. For centuries, they have been used to help treat various ailments or promote general health and well-being. In recent decades, they have increased in popularity as natural remedies.

There is a wide variety of essential oils, each with different fragrances and potential health benefits. Many essential oils are especially popular for their sleep-inducing properties.

Are Essential Oils Safe to Use?

Many essential oils are considered safe to use; however, it’s important to follow dosage and application instructions. Some people may have adverse reactions to certain oils if they are sensitive to added ingredients or to the plants that the oil is derived from, so be sure to read the label carefully. Check with your health provider to confirm that a particular essential oil is safe for you before using it.

You can also test your reaction to an essential oil by applying a very small amount on a patch of skin. If the oil causes rashes, irritation, or other allergic reactions, stop using the product and contact your doctor if your symptoms persist.

Do not ingest essential oils unless the manufacturer expressly states that it’s okay to do so.

Since essential oils are highly concentrated and powerful, you should always read usage directions to find out whether you need to dilute the oils with a carrier oil. Children and elderly people are more likely to have adverse reactions to essential oils, so read the instructions with these age groups in mind. And take care to keep essential oils away from pets, as they may cause harmful reactions if ingested by animals.

How Do You Use Essential Oils?

Essential oils can be applied using a variety of methods. One of the most common ways to use essential oils is aromatherapy, which involves diffusing the oils and releasing fragrant vapors into the air. You may also mix them into bath water or blend them into lotions and massage oils for topical application.

Using Oil Diffusers

Oil diffusers are appliances that release scented vapor. They are meant to disperse oil particles at a concentration that is effective but safe. Nebulizers release a mist of fragrance and do not require water, while humidifying diffusers dilute the oil with water and distribute a moisturizing mist. Since oil diffusers disperse aromas through the air, be sure that the oil is safe and enjoyable for anyone else who may be occupying that space.

Topical Application

Some essential oils may be applied directly to the areas of your body that are experiencing physical tension, such as your neck, temples, or sore muscles. Carefully read the label to determine how to safely apply the oil to your skin. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, you may need to dilute the oil with a carrier oil or lotion before applying it.

Diluting Into Baths or Skincare Products

Essential oils can be diluted into bath water, lotions, and massage oils. Read the manufacturer’s label to find out how many drops of oil should be added. Often, you only need several drops.

Essential oils are also often diluted and used for full-body massages. Following the manufacturer’s recommended ratios, add drops of oil to a carrier oil then massage it onto your skin.

What Carrier Oils Can You Use for Topical Application?

Many manufacturers recommend that you add a carrier oil to essential oils before use. Carrier oils have little to no fragrance, and their main function is to dilute the essential oils, making them safe to apply to your skin. When choosing which carrier oil to use, consider how the oil smells and whether you might have an adverse reaction to it.

Carrier Oil Description
Coconut Oil Coconut oil is known for its moisturizing properties. It also contains fatty acids that may have anti-inflammatory properties.
Almond Oil Almond oil is an edible oil derived from sweet almonds. It is lightweight and absorbs easily into the skin, making it a popular carrier oil. Keep in mind that it does have a nutty scent and may not be the optimal choice for those seeking a scent-free carrier oil.
Jojoba Oil Jojoba oil is technically not an oil; it’s a wax derived from the jojoba plant. It has excellent moisturizing properties and is easily absorbed by the skin without blocking pores. Jojoba oil is a good choice for people with acne-prone skin.
Grapeseed Oil Grapeseed oil is a lightweight oil extracted from the seeds of wine grapes. The oil is enriched with vitamin E and omega fatty acids, both of which can help tone your skin and reduce inflammation.
Olive Oil Olive oil is high in fatty acids that are ideal for moisturizing your skin. But keep in mind that the oil is heavier and more fragrant than some other carrier oils.
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How Do You Dilute Essential Oils?

When diluting essential oils, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure a safe and proper ratio of carrier oil to essential oil. Manufacturers will typically recommend a specific number of drops of essential oil per certain amount of carrier oil, depending on the dilution percentage you are aiming for. If you experience adverse reactions to a specific ratio, stop using the oil and consult your doctor.

Essential Oil Popular Uses
Lavender Lavender is a popular oil most commonly associated with reducing stress and anxiety. Many people use lavender in aromatherapy and body care products to promote better sleep.
Tea Tree Tea tree oil is derived from the Melaleuca plant in Australia. It is typically used topically or in aromatherapy and is said to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Bergamot Bergamot comes from the peel of bergamot oranges and is commonly used in aromatherapy to help improve sleep and reduce stress. Inhalation of bergamot may improve mood and help with fatigue.
Lemon Lemon is one of the more popular citrus oils and is considered to be an energizing scent. Inhaling lemon scents may also help reduce stress.
Ylang-Ylang Ylang ylang can be used in aromatherapy or in skincare products. It is most often associated with reducing stress, promoting calm, and improving mood.
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Are Essential Oils Regulated by the FDA?

Many essential oils do not require FDA approval before they’re brought to market, as they are considered cosmetics rather than drugs. The FDA regulates cosmetics and drugs differently, exercising stricter oversight over drugs.

That said, the FDA may take action against an essential oils manufacturer if a product is shown to be unsafe for consumers who have correctly followed usage directions on the label, or if the product is misbranded. In the past, the FDA has also issued warnings to companies that were making unsubstantiated health claims.

Getting the Most Out of Using Essential Oils

If you are interested in trying out essential oils, you should start by researching which oils are most likely to meet your needs, whether you’re looking to relieve stress, improve sleep, or heal muscle aches.

High-quality products should list ingredients by both their common and Latin names, as well as which part of the plant the oil is derived from. This lets you know the exact plant species and plant part that the oil is derived from.

Essential oils should be packaged in tinted glass bottles, since UV light can degrade the quality of an essential oil. You should also pay close attention to a manufacturer’s recommended dose to avoid using oils in unsafe amounts, and consult the expiration date to ensure the oils are still effective.

If you have a negative reaction to an essential oil, stop using it and speak with a medical professional about any persistent side effects.