10 Ways NOT to Use Essential Oils

We often hear about the benefits of essential oils and how you can use them for practically anything, but it is also a good idea to learn about the ways you shouldn’t use essential oils. Here are 10 ways you should NOT use essential oils:

1. Do NOT put essential oils directly in the eye.

Essential oils may be beneficial for some eye problems such as conjunctivitis or cataracts, but the oils should not be applied directly in the eye. Instead, you can rub the oils around the bone that surrounds the eye. Make sure to dilute the essential oil and keep a carrier oil (such as olive oil, coconut oil, or fractionated coconut oil) on hand to further dilute the essential oil if you happen to get any in the eye. One of the best ways to dilute essential oil that has gotten into the eye is to pour a little carrier oil onto a tissue and use the tissue to dab at the eye. Remember not to use water to wash out the oils. Water and oil do not mix, and using water will actually drive the oils in deeper. Be very careful when applying essential oil around the eye, and never apply the oil directly in the eye!

2. Do NOT put essential oils directly in the ear.

Essential oils may help with ear infections and tinnitus, but as with essential oils in the eye, you should NOT put essential oils directly in the ear. You can instead rub essential oils around the ear or place a drop or two on a cotton ball, then place the cotton ball just inside the ear to help with ear problems.

3. Do NOT use a lot of essential oil at once.

Essential oil is very concentrated and should only be used in small doses. In fact, a drop or two is usually sufficient and may even need be diluted with carrier oil (especially for “hot” oils or for use on children, the elderly, or those with sensitive skin). If, for any reason, you need a stronger dose, it is better to keep the dosage small, but apply more frequently rather than using more drops per application.

4. Do NOT use essential oils on young children without dilution.

As mentioned above, essential oils are very concentrated and should be diluted if using them on children, the elderly, or those with sensitive skin. Click here for more information on diluting essential oils and the recommended dilution ratios.

5. Do NOT use essential oils internally for young children.

Caution must be used when using essential oils with young children. Children under the age of 6 do not need to take essential oils internally. The exception to this rule of thumb is when essential oils are used in cooking, because oils used this way are often diluted enough for children. For therapeutic use, topical application (diluted, of course) is usually sufficient for the needs of young children.

6. Do NOT keep essential oils within reach of children.

Children are very curious and like to imitate the things they see. They watch you apply essential oils to yourself or to them and will attempt to do it themselves if they can get ahold of essential oils. You can probably imagine potential problems with this, especially if you have been reading the above cautions about using essential oils on children. Here are some things you can do if you come across the following situations:

  • Child has poured a bunch of oil on his or her skin: Rub as much off with a paper towel as possible, then rub on carrier oil to help dilute the essential oil.
  • Child got essential oil in his or her eyes: Saturate a tissue with a carrier oil, and dab the child’s eyes to help dilute the essential oil.
  • Child has ingested essential oil: Give the child milk, yogurt, or, if older than 12 months, honey to help dilute the ingested oil. You may also want to call poison control to see if they have any further instructions.
  • Child got oil on clothes, fabric, wood, or furniture: Soak up as much as possible with a paper towel, then treat as you would a grease stain.

Click here for more troubleshooting tips when essential oils aren’t used properly or an adverse reaction occurs.

Essential oils are expensive, so aside from the safety concerns of children using the oils on themselves, you will also want to keep the oils out of reach of children so the oil isn’t wasted.

7. Do NOT use essential oils with plastic or styrofoam.

Some essential oils (especially citrus oils), when undiluted, will eat away at plastic, which can destroy the oil and create holes in the plastic, so it is best to avoid using plastic with essential oils. Same goes for styrofoam. If the oils are heavily diluted, such as in creams or lotions, they can be stored in plastic containers that use stronger types of plastic like PET or HDPE. Click here to learn more about the different types of plastics we use in our containers.

8. Do NOT put oil directly on finished wood surfaces.

Just as with plastics, essential oils can eat away at the finishing on wood surfaces. Be careful when using essential oils around finished wood pieces, and remember to clean up immediately after noticing any essential oil has spilled on your wood surface to avoid any disfiguring.

9. Do NOT apply citrus oil while sitting in the sunshine.

Some essential oils (typically citrus oils) are photosensitive and contain natural substances called furanocoumarins. Furanocoumarins can react with ultraviolet light to create substances that may cause hyperpigmentation or burning on the skin. While these essential oils have many beneficial properties, care should be taken after applying these oils on the skin to protect these areas from direct, prolonged ultraviolet light exposure for 1–3 days.

10. Do NOT leave your oils in the cabinet unused.

Even though we have talked about the various ways you should use caution when using essential oils, we hope we haven’t scared you into not using your oils at all. Essential oils, when used appropriately, can be very beneficial to the health and well-being of our bodies. If you have essential oils, don’t let them sit untouched in your cabinet—use them! A great resource to help you learn how to use essential oils is the book Modern Essentials™: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.
Disclaimer: The essential oil bottles in these pictures were filled with water rather than essential oils. No children (or adults) were harmed while taking these pictures. We do not recommend trying any of the photographed situations at home.

Source: Modern Essentials™: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Soft & Squishy Soap Jellies

Kids love how soft and squishy these soap jellies are! They are perfect for making bathtime and learning about hygiene fun. You may even want to try them out on yourself! They make a great sensory experience for all!

Soap Jellies

  • Servings: 12+
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (about 2–3 small packets)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) distilled water
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Castile Soap
  • 30 drops essential oil (lavender, melaleuca, lemon, orange, and peppermint are good options)
  • Body-safe soap coloring (optional) (a drop or two of blue tansy essential oil is a natural way to get a nice blue color)
  • 1 tsp. (6 g) salt
  • Silicone mold or small soap mold
  • Small Spray Bottle of alcohol (optional)
  • 16 oz. PET Jar

Instructions:

  1. Place mold on a cutting board or cookie sheet or another flat, movable surface.
  2. Place water in a pan, and sprinkle the gelatin on the water. Allow gelatin to bloom for 5 minutes; then bring the water to a boil to dissolve the gelatin.
  3. Once boiling, remove from heat and add the castile soap, coloring, and essential oils. Stir gently until combined.
  4. Stir in the salt last. (Don’t skip this step! It makes a big difference!)
  5. Pour the mixture into your molds.
  6. You can get rid of air bubbles by spritzing the soap with a little alcohol from a small spray bottle.
  7. Place in the refrigerator until completely hardened.
  8. Store in a PET Jar in a cool, dry location (such as the refrigerator) for up to 1 week.

EO Life Hack: Teething Baby?

It’s no fun when teeth are coming in…for the baby or the parents. How can you help numb the pain and calm the baby down? Use essential oils!

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Homemade Sunscreen

Protect your skin naturally while out in the summer sun with this all-natural homemade sunscreen. It is easy to make and looks and feels just like store-bought sunscreen! Your family won’t know the difference, but you will feel better knowing what you are putting on your children’s skin! A few things to know about this sunscreen:

  1. This sunscreen has an SPF of 20+ because the zinc oxide has an SPF of 20, the coconut oil has an SPF of 4, and the essential oils used in this recipe are also beneficial for protecting against the sun’s rays.
  2. It may need to be reapplied every hour or so, especially during water play. The beeswax in this recipe does help it be a little waterproof, but stay on the safe side and reapply fairly often.
  3. Even though it looks like it goes on pretty white in the above picture, it doesn’t stay that way. Just rub it on the skin, spreading it all over, and after a minute or so it will melt and disappear.
  4. This sunscreen will last through the summer—possibly even 2 summers depending on how fresh your ingredients are.

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Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray

Rest peacefully tonight with the help of this pillow spray! This can be especially helpful for children—try placing these bottles on a bedside table for your kids to use during the night to spray away bad dreams and other nighttime fears!
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Homemade Essential Oil Dilution Sticks

While some essential oils can be used “neat” (without dilution), many do require dilution, especially when used on children, pregnant women, or people with sensitive skin. The most common way to dilute essential oils is to mix them with fractionated coconut oil. Sometimes this can get a little messy—especially when you’re on-the-go or applying oils to a wiggly child. We found a dilution solution by creating a thickened blend of carrier oils stored in a twist-up container: a dilution stick. This stick contains a formula of carrier oils that are good for sensitive skin and will remain solid at room temperature.

Our dilution stick recipe does not contain essential oils, so it can be used with any essential oil you need at the time. To use the stick, simply twist it up and rub it onto your skin before (or after) applying your essential oils.

If you have a favorite essential oil that you use frequently, you can also add it to the melted liquid before pouring the mixture into your containers. Or you can add the essential oil after pouring the carrier oil mixture into each container. Just be sure to stir the essential oil in with a toothpick or bamboo skewer before the mixture cools. A good dilution ratio is 1–2 drops per .15 oz. (4.25 g) of carrier oil mixture, or the following:

If you love this idea but don’t want to make it, you can always buy the Essential Oil Carrier Oil Stick that is ready to go. A smaller On-The-Go Essential Oil Extender is also available.

The following recipe fills at least 2 dilution sticks—1 large and 1 small. (Or make 1 round one and 2 small ones, or many little ones—any combination of containers totaling 3 oz.) Keep a big one at home and a small one in your purse or travel bag. That way, you’ll always have one when you need it!

Essential Oil Dilution Sticks

  • Servings: Yield=3 oz.
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Place the mango butter and beeswax in a double boiler on the stove over medium-low heat. You can create a double boiler by placing a glass measuring cup (containing the ingredients) in a pan filled with an inch or so of water.
  2. Once the mango butter and beeswax are melted, reduce the heat to low, and add the coconut oil. When the coconut oil is melted, add the sweet almond oil, and remove boiler from heat. Continue stirring until all the oils have melted together.
  3. Make sure your containers are clean and twisted all the way down. Pour the oil into your containers, and allow them to cool. You can place them in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
  4. To use, rub the stick over the skin before applying essential oils.

NOTES:

Other twist-up containers also work, including our Round Twist Tube (2.2 oz/63.4 g) and our Lip Balm Dispensing Tubes (.15 oz/4.25 g). When choosing containers for this recipe, just use as many containers as needed to hold a total of 3 oz.

*Shea butter contains latex (a natural rubber). If you are allergic or sensitive to latex, do a skin patch test before making this recipe with shea butter.

“Oils to the Rescue” First Aid Kit and Coconut Oil Soothing Balm

Do you have a first aid kit in your home or car? First aid kits are great to have on hand when a little emergency presents itself. But wouldn’t you want to have your essential oils available too? The Oils to the Rescue First Aid Kit combines the basic supplies you need in a standard first aid kit. It also allows space for adding essential oils and customized products that you’ve prepared for common ailments and injuries.

Recommended Essential Oils

If you aren’t sure which oils to include in your kit, try these emergency essential oils:

Cuts and Scrapes
Lavender
Frankincense
Melaleuca
Peppermint
Insect Bites and Stings
Lavender
Melaleuca
Protective Blend
Cleansing Blend (backs ticks out)
Peppermint
Burns
Lavender
Burn Spray
(Spray bottle, water,
Lavender, Peppermint,
Melaleuca)
Headaches
Peppermint
Soothing Blend
Frankincense
Seasonal Discomforts
Lemon
Lavender
Peppermint
Digestive Issues
Digestive Blend
Peppermint
Ginger
Sprains, Strains,
& Splinters

Peppermint
Soothing Blend
Lavender
Protective Blend

You can purchase a card with this information to keep in your kit. Then you’ll know what to do with the oils when an emergency arises.

The Oils to the Rescue First Aid Kit includes 4 large slots that fit 2 oz. size bottles and 6 small slots that fit 15 ml essential oil bottles.

Recommended Additional First Aid Items

Other suggestions of helpful products:

First Aid Coconut Oil Soothing Balm Recipe

This soothing balm is specially formulated to have antiseptic, antimicrobial, analgesic (pain-relieving), and antibacterial properties. It soothes and moisturizes the skin and works well for all first aid injuries, including children’s boo-boos.

This recipe yields 6 oz. So, if you use 2 oz. salve containers, you can keep one at home, take one on-the-go, and give one to a friend.  Or, you could host a make & take class and send your attendees home with their own 1/4 oz. salve jar of balm.

First Aid Coconut Oil Soothing Balm

  • Servings: Yield=6 oz.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Melt the beeswax in a double boiler.
  2. Once the beeswax is melted, add the coconut oil. Remove from heat when melted, and add the melaleuca, frankincense, and lavender essential oils.
  3. Slowly add witch hazel to the mixture, using a hand blender to combine. Blend on high for a few seconds until well incorporated.
  4. Spoon the cooled cream into sealable glass containers. The salve is ready to use. It should go on smooth, and you can expect a waxy, balm-like texture. To avoid contaminating the cream with stray bacteria, try not to touch it directly with your hands. Instead, use a cotton swab or clean tissue to apply it to a wound.

What would you include in your first aid kit? Comment below.

An Essential Oil-Filled Easter

Easter has become a commercialized holiday, often involving candy-filled, plastic eggs. Many parents don’t want so much candy but still want a fun and meaningful Easter. If that’s you, take a look at these ideas for a healthier holiday!

Easter Eggs and Easter Baskets

Easter Food

Try some of these delicious dishes for your Easter dinner:

Try making these dessert recipes into Easter-egg shapes for a fun treat:

Easter Egg Decor

This holiday project makes a great Easter decoration: Essential Oil Transfer on Easter Eggs.

These candles are a fun family project, and they make a beautiful Easter centerpiece!

Easter Egg Beeswax Candles

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Supplies:

  • Awl/Knife
  • Eggs
  • White Vinegar
  • Boiling Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Beeswax Pellets
  • Essential Oil
  • Waxed Candle Wicks with Metal Base (available at most craft stores)

Instructions:

  1. Start by poking a tiny hole in the top of your egg with a sharp object, such as an awl or paring knife. Then carefully chip away the top of the egg until you have a nice, wide opening.
  2. Wash out the inside of the eggs and let them dry while preparing the dye.
  3. Combine 2 Tbsp. of white vinegar, 1 cup of boiling water, and 10–20 drops of your desired food coloring in a disposable paper or plastic cup (or other container that you don’t mind getting dye on). Submerge the eggs in the dye 1–20 minutes until you obtain your desired color.
  4. Let the eggs dry. We dried our eggs in the sun on bamboo skewers in a vase, as pictured to the right.
  5. While the eggs are drying, melt the beeswax in a double boiler on the stove. A heat-proof glass measuring cup in a pot of boiling water works great for this (and the measuring cup makes it easy to pour the beeswax later). You will need about 1 oz. of beeswax for each egg you make.
  6. Mix a few drops of essential oil into the melted beeswax (1–2 drops for each candle). If you want to vary the type of essential oil you use in each candle, you can add the essential oil after you pour the beeswax into the eggshells.
  7. Carefully pour the beeswax into the dried eggshells. Then place your wick in the middle of the eggshell and let the beeswax harden. You can put your egg candles back in the egg carton to stabilize them while you pour the beeswax and insert the wick.
  8. Once the beeswax has hardened completely, move your egg candles to egg cups or any decorative container that will hold them upright.
  9. Enjoy your beautiful Easter creation! These eggshell candles look great as a table centerpiece or on a mantle or shelf.

‘Tis the Season for Sickness

Seasonal changes can stress our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness. Diffusing Protective Blend and using it on household surfaces can help avoid trouble. But it’s also best to be prepared with some “simple solutions,” should sickness strike.

Easy tips and recipes for colds, cold sores, congestion, cough, earache, and fever can be found in our new booklet, “Modern Essentials: Simple Solutions”—along with 150 entries for other common ailments.

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Colds:

  • Blend 5 drops each lemon and thyme in 1 Tbs. (15 ml) jojoba oil. Apply a small amount to throat, forehead, chest, and back of neck 2–3 times daily.
  • For adults and children, you can also diffuse thyme oil in an aromatherapy diffuser.

Cold Sores:

  • Combine 4 tsp. (6 g) beeswax pellets, 1 Tbs. (10 g) cocoa butter, and 3 Tbs. (45 ml) jojoba oil, and melt in a microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between) or in a double boiler. Cool slightly, and add 5 drops each helichrysum, melissa, and peppermint. Pour into small jars or lip balm containers, and allow to cool completely. Apply a small amount to cold sores as needed.

Congestion:

  • Diffuse Respiratory Blend in an aromatherapy diffuser.
  • Drop 2 drops eucalyptus and 1 drop peppermint on the floor of the shower to inhale the vapors while showering.
  • Combine 6 Tbs. (90 ml) coconut oil and 1½ Tbs. (7.5 g) beeswax pellets, and melt in a microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between) or in a double boiler. Let cool slightly, and add 20 drops eucalyptus, 15 drops lemon, and 20 drops peppermint. Pour into small jars or salve containers, and allow to cool completely. Apply a small amount on the chest and throat as needed.

Cough:

  • Diffuse Respiratory Blend in an aromatherapy diffuser.
  • Mix 1 drop each eucalyptus and lemon with 1 Tbs. (15 ml) honey (local and raw preferred). Blend about 1/3 of this mixture in 1 cup (240 ml) warm water, and drink slowly.
  • Combine 1 drop each eucalyptus, lemon, and melaleuca with 1 tsp. (5 ml) jojoba oil, and apply over chest and back.

Earache:

  • Put 1 drop each basil and melaleuca on a piece of cotton ball. Place over (not in) the ear canal for 30 minutes.
  • For children, dilute above combination with carrier oil or garlic oil extract (can pierce and use garlic capsules)—which also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Fever:

  • Blend 2 drops each eucalyptus and peppermint in bowl of cool water. Moisten a washcloth with this water, and sponge the forehead, back of neck, and feet.

Source: “Modern Essentials: Simple Solutions” Booklet

For more helpful tips, see our article on Staying Healthy This Winter Season.

’Tis also the season for sharing, so be sure to pass along these tips for making winter days more merry and bright.

Essential Oils for Children

While essential oils can benefit people of all ages, it is important to be cautious when using them on children. Because essential oils are very concentrated and children have such small bodies, it is important to know how to use oils safely with kids.

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Essential Oils Safe for Children

There is a lot of controversy about which essential oils should or shouldn’t be used on children. Several oils that are generally considered safe for children include the following:

  • Cypress
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Lemon*
  • Marjoram
  • Melaleuca
  • Orange*
  • Rosemary**
  • Sandalwood
  • Thyme
  • Ylang Ylang

*These oils are photosensitive; always dilute, and do not use when skin will be exposed soon to direct sunlight.
**This oil should never be used undiluted on infants or children.

Always Dilute Essential Oils for Children

When using essential oils on children and infants, it is always best to dilute the pure essential oil with a carrier oil. Roll-on bottles work really well for diluting the oils and allowing older children to apply the oils by themselves.

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Ways to Use Essential Oils with Children

Essential oils can be used topically and aromatically with children, but they should not be given internally for therapeutic use. Here are a few ways you can use essential oils with children:

  • Rub essential oils (diluted with carrier oil or cream) onto feet.
  • Diffuse essential oils around the house occasionally. Young children learn about their environment through smell, so be careful not to overload their senses with constant essential oil diffusion.
  • Add essential oils to bathtime. A drop of lavender or Roman chamomile added to a bath gel base before mixing with the bathwater can help create a relaxing bath before bed.
  • Use essential oils in cooking. When used appropriately in cooking, essential oils are diluted quite a bit and are safe for children to consume.

Safety Tips

It is important to keep essential oils out of reach of children. Kids are inherently curious, so if oil bottles are left out, it is very likely your children will try to mimic what they see you do and try to apply the oils to themselves.at_eoschildren_keepoutofreach

Here are a few things you can do if you encounter the following situations:

  • Child has poured a bunch of oil on their skin: Rub as off as much oil as possible with a paper towel, then rub on carrier oil to help dilute the essential oil.
  • Child got essential oils in their eyes: Saturate a tissue with a carrier oil, and dab the child’s eyes to help dilute the essential oil.
  • Child has taken essential oil internally: Give the child milk, yogurt, or honey (if older than 12 months) to help dilute the ingested oil. You also may want to call poison control to see if they have any further instructions.
  • Child got oil on clothes, fabric, wood, or furniture: Soak up as much oil as possible with a paper towel; then treat as you would a grease stain.

Essential oils are expensive, so aside from the safety concerns of children using the oils on themselves, you will also want to keep your oils out of reach so they’re not wasted.

Source: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, pp. 247–49.

For more information about essential oils and how to use them on children, please see Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils for more information.

These are a few of our favorite ways you can use essential oils with children: