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What are Essential Oils: A Quick Start Guide

Essential Oils 101 Guide

Everyone is talking about essential oils these days. I see them everywhere: from Target to Anthro. I am sure you are wondering what are Essential Oils? Do they really work? I’m sure these are the questions running in your head. Let’s dive in. At the most basic level, they are the most powerful part of the plant or the life-blood of plants. They are usually distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, fruit, rinds, and herbs. Oils consist of over 100 different natural, organic compounds (very tiny small molecules).

My Journey With Young Living

My journey started three years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest son Bodhi, I was dealing with severe insomnia at night and just couldn’t relax and feel comfortable. As a result, I was desperate to try anything to unwind at night without having to turn to sleep aids or any kind of over the counter solution. Meanwhile, while I was food shopping in Whole Foods one day I bought a big bottle of Lavender Essential Oil…and it was only $10 great I thought! In short, I like to think that it worked, it did make my bedroom smell like a spa and made me feel relaxed, but after Bodhi was born I really didn’t think much of it again.

Fast forward 1.5 years later I start seeing several ‘influencers’ on Instagram talking about essential oils everywhere. I started hearing about the quality of oils, and about the regulation of oils (there is none). At the same time, I started to hear about Young Living and their products, especially Thieves cleaning products. Since I was already slowly trying to make a conscious effort to swap out all harmful chemical products around my home I was intrigued by trying the cleaning products too. The Premium Starter Kit went on sale back in January 2019 and I jumped on it and purchased.

Essential Oils Support Your Body

In humans, many essential oils provide support for every system in the body:  your skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system, endocrine system, and hormones, respiratory system, and immune system. They support brain health and a healthy weight. Oils have been used for thousands of years as beauty aids and for emotional support. Additionally, an oil in a diffuser can soothe a child’s tough day at school and provide a calming effect when you’ve had a stressful day at work. Oils can be used as an alternative to cleaning chemicals in the home. You can literally start swapping out every single chemical in your home to live a purer lifestyle, and you can do it without breaking the bank!

What Essential Oils Do You Need to Get Started

There are about 300 oils on the earth, but you only need ten to twenty of them to build a good kit and get started.

How to apply Oils

You do not need to be an aromatherapist to use them. In most cases, just rub it topically into the skin.

There are three main ways to get oils into your system: 

  • Apply it topically—rub it on the skin;
  • Ingest and cook with it
  • Diffuse and inhale, which is the most effective method because it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system.

How do they enter our bodies—and how long do they last?

Tests have shown oils reach the heart, liver, and thyroid in three seconds when inhaled; they were found in the bloodstream in 26 seconds when applied topically.

Expulsion of essential oils takes three to six hours in a normal, healthy body.


In the United States, there is no rating system for essential oils (crazy I know!). It would be wonderful if there were, because then you’d know what you were buying! If you walk into a grocery store and look at a box of cereal, you’ll see nutrition facts on the side. There are no “nutrition facts” on the side of oils. That means you have to trust the source. You have to know the company you are purchasing from. What sets Young Living aside? Seed to Seal. It’s their promise of purity. You can learn more about Seed to Seal here.

All of the oils ship from around the world to Spanish Fork, Utah, where it’s run through vigorous 8-point testing to ensure purity. Those tests run in triplicate; at the farm, and a third time before bottling. It’s why Young Living has never had a recalled essential oil in over 25 years of business. You can trust their integrity. Seed to Seal is based on three pillars: sourcing, science, and standards. Young Living’s oils are tested by scientists with over 180 years of combined lab experience. They also do third-party testing with two accredited, respected, independent labs.

Young Living is a global leader in essential oils, with over 1.5 billion dollars in sales annually. There is a reason why those that use the oils keep coming back! There are 3-thousand global employees, 600 life-changing products, 16 corporate and partner farms, more than 20 international markets, 50 highly trained scientists, 12 independent partner labs, and four million global members. What does that mean? The testing is thorough and exact. It’s why I don’t buy from a mom and pop oil shop and I no longer buy from food stores—they don’t have a team to perform testing that’s needed to stay on top of hundreds of oils and blends.

Why can’t we just buy oils at the grocery store? Purity. You get what you pay for. I have seen bottles of Frankincense for $7 at the grocery store—but it costs more than that just to distill! It’s a BIG red flag!

The Four Categories of Essential Oils

All oils in the world fall into one of four categories:  Authentic, Manipulated, Perfume, or Synthetic.

Authentic or Therapeutic means the oils are 100 percent pure, with no added synthetics or other species in the bottle. These are Young Living oils!

Manipulated means the final product has been made to smell more pleasing and less earthy. Some of the heavier molecules have been stripped out, or another species introduced, to enhance the aroma.

Perfume oils are not pure. They are mixed with synthetics to enhance the aroma. These oils have no therapeutic action. Frequently, solvents are used to extract the plant.

Synthetic oils are not true oils at all. They smell nothing like the original plant, and are typically labeled as “scented products.” These are synthetic.

A little more about Seed to Seal

Authentic is the only true pure oil. Synthetic oils would be like opening your fridge, taking a glass of orange juice, and diluting it 95% before you drank it! (And diluting it with chemicals!) It wouldn’t have the same benefits as a full glass of only orange juice. That’s why you only want authentic or therapeutic oils. Before you purchase, check to see if the company grows its own plants, has Seed to Seal promise, and controls the entire process—from the farm to the sealed bottle. Pesticides, pollution, previously farmed land; all of it can affect the quality of an oil. Why would you go the extra step of using an oil to get away from a chemical—only to use an oil-laden with chemicals? It makes no sense.

  • Hand weeded plants
  • No Pesticides
  • No chemicals
  • Weed killers not used
  • Harvested at their peak
  • Vigorous testing process
  • From the farm to the home

Young Living’s Seed to Seal process is a promise of integrity. Then they go from the farm directly to your home. Seed to Seal is not a slogan, it’s a promise. Young Living also allows anyone to go visit their farms and partner farms..no other company allows that. How amazing is that?

SEED TO SEAL: It is not a slogan, it’s a Promise!


Companies cut corners to save money. If you spray your crop with pesticides, you have more crop to distill. Use a chemical solvent. Extract the oil. Pull more out. If you dilute it with a cheaper oil or carrier oil, you stretch the oil you have distilled, and can easily sell more cheaply.

How Are Essential Oils Made

It takes a great deal of work to produce a tiny amount of essential oil!

  • 60,000 rose blossoms provide only one ounce of Rose oil
  • Lavender is abundant—220 pounds will provide seven pounds of oil
  • Jasmine flowers must be picked by hand before the sun becomes hot on the very first day they open, thus making it
  • one of the most expensive oils in the world! It takes eight million hand-picked blossoms to produce 2.2 pounds of oil
  • A Sandalwood tree must be 30 years old and 30 feet high before it can be cut down for distillation. Gary Young’s Sandalwood trees must be 90 percent dead before they are harvested.

A Little Goes A Long Way

Most oils cost $10 to $30 a bottle. Depending on the oil thickness (called viscosity), a 5-ml bottle contains about 90-100 drops, and a 15-mL bottle contains about 200-240 drops. Each application is one to three drops, meaning even a small bottle will get you 45 to 90 applications. Thieves cleaner is made of plants only and costs about $1.50 a bottle to make. You can’t even get that in the organic section at the grocery store! It replaces a multi-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and floor cleaner. The organic versions of those can run you $4 to $6 a bottle.

Are Essential Oils Safe?

Here are a few general guidelines to follow when when using oils:

  • Certain oils are photosensitive, so don’t use if going outside
    • Examples: Lemon, Grapefruit, and most citrus oils
  • When using on your skin, always watch for redness and dilute with a carrier oil
  • Dilute oils on children, because their skin is more permeable and absorbs the oils more quickly (Young Living has a whole pre-diluted Kids Line called KidSence we use everything from line in my house for the boys).
  • Do not EVER put oils near your eyes

Internal Use:

Young Living has created a line of oils called Vitality with distinctive white labels so you can easily recognize which oils are safe to take internally. One of my favorite things to do is put a few drops of lemon Vitality oil in my water every morning.

What are Carrier Oils

It’s a fatty oil like olive oil or coconut oil, and its molecules are much larger than those of essential oils.

Using a carrier oil with an essential oil slows down the rate the body can absorb the essential oil because it has to ping pong through the large molecules of the carrier oil to get into your skin.

Some oils, like Cinnamon or Oregano, are rather strong, so you may not want to diffuse them. Be wary of putting the oils topically near your eyes. Some oils, like Peppermint, can cause a burning sensation. If you are placing an oil near your eye, apply the oil to a Q-tip instead of tipping the bottle toward your face. You can become desensitized to an oil if you use the same one day after day, so I rotate my oils every three to four days.

Another Way to Look At All of This

Look at the ingredient list of what you have in your bathroom and kitchen. Every day we put products on our skin, in our body, and breathe them; but many of these products contain damaging chemicals. The average woman applies over 300 chemicals every day to her body just through soaps, makeup, shampoos, and hair care products. Eighty of those products are applied before breakfast!

When you use Young Living’s essential oils, you’re using a product with one ingredient, like Lemon, Oregano, Tangerine—no synthetic additives and no YUCK.

Where to Start with Essential Oils

I know this post is long and a lot of this information is a bit overwhelming. When anyone asks me how to get started with essential oils, my answer is always hands down the best and easiest way to get started is with the Premium Starter Kit. It’s how I started my own oils journey. I said Yes over a year ago to purchasing a Premium Starter Kit. And its changed our lives for the best.

It’s the only item on the Young Living website that is half off! If you’re a frugal mamma, this is the best bang for your buck! It comes with 12 bottles of oil and a diffuser, a sample of Thieves Cleaner and NingXia, and bottles to share oils!

You can’t even get them that cheap at the grocery store!!! Each bottle has 90 drops of oil in it – that is 90 applications.

How To Get Your Own Premium Starter Kit

Awesome! You want in on this! $165 gets you 12 premium oils + 1 diffuser. No strings attached ever.

Follow these easy Steps:

Click on the button above or head over to this page on how to enroll. Becoming a member is how you get the starter kit and your 24% discount on any additional oil purchases – Don’t click “retail” – this is important. No starter kits here, and you pay more. NO THANKS!!

Final Note on Why Oils

One final note on oils (this is it I promise) !

Because you need them in your home as part of a simple, less-toxic lifestyle. It is time to kick chemicals to the curb! Only you control what you allow across the threshold of your home.

When you see what they do for your body and begin to kick chemicals out of every room in your house, it is impossible to walk into the home of your friends and family and not share what you know– especially when you see the ingredient lists in the products they use every single day.

You share it because you love and care for your friends and family, and you want them to live a healthy life. When you take care of yourself, you can fully do what the universe has intended you to do!

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