Essential Oils – Everything You Need to Know

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As you would know if you favour mom-related social media platforms, essential oils have made a big comeback. And even though we can thank social media for this new awareness, the use of essential oils have date back thousands of years to ancient civilizations. Aromatherapy – or the use of aromas/smell to enhance physical and mental well-being – is a wonderful gift given to use by Mother Nature. And all of this is right at your fingertips!

Essential oils are, in fact, not oils at all. They are concentrated plant extracts, used in an anecdotal manner to treat various ailments or to replace products used in and around the house.

So here are a few basics every mom considering essential oils should know:


Essential oils are distracted directly from different parts of plants, including the flowers leaves, bark and roots. You get the essence of the plant in it’s most concentrated form.


For an essential oil to mean anything therapeutically, it needs to be a good quality oil that is 100% pure. Unfortunately essential oils are not well regulated, and you cannot always just follow a label. Oils that we love include Young Living, DoTerra) and Burgess and Finch. Essential oils are also used in some great South African natural skincare ranges, including Pure Beginnings and Beautiful Earth.


Essential oils all have their own properties. Some are more mild and gentle, while others are stronger and can cause irritations. It is important that you used it correctly, but more of that later in this blog.

Essential oils are generally not recommended for use in small babies. Most sources suggest slowly introducing oils somewhere between 3-6 months of age. The skin and airway of an infant is sensitive, and can be easily irritated.

Because there is not a lot of research done, not all oils are recommended for use in babies. Lavender, Copaiba, Lemon, Tea Tree and Roman Chamomile are some of the oils regarded as safe for use with babies.


Oils are popularly used topically (thus applied to the skin) or aromatically (smelling an oil like in a burner, a candle or diffuser). Knowing which oils to use, how much to use and where to apply them is crucial to having a successful oil-journey.


This is by far one of the most important things any mom considering oils should know. Never apply undiluted oils to you or your baby’s skin. Oils are highly concentrated, and applied undiluted they can irritate or even burn the skin. An essential oil should always be mixed into a carrier oil. Carrier oils include Grapeseed oil, Jojoba oil or Sweet Almond oil or good old Coconut oil.

Dilution guidelines:

6-8 months: 1-2 drops Essential Oil in 10ml Carrier oil

8-12 months: 2-3 drops Essential Oil in 10ml Carrier oil

1 year-3 years: 3-5 drops Essential Oil in 10ml Carrier oil


These days, oils are diffused using fancy ultrasonic diffusers. These diffusers disperse the oils into the air using vibration, rather than heat. A good quality ultrasonic diffuser also humidifies the air, especially handy in winter.

If you don’t have an ultrasonic diffuser you can also use a more old-fashioned candle-lit or lamp-lit ceramic diffuser. Put some coarse salt into the bowl and add a few drops of the oil to that. Some companies sell wax melts that you can use directly in a burner.

2-5 Drops of pure essential oil is all you need in your diffuser. Always make sure the room is well ventilated.

ALSO READ: What to do when your baby has a fever


Some oils are available on the shelf, while other companies distribute their products using agents or a multi-level marketing platform. In short, you buy your oils through an existing member, who acts as your mentor to help you get to know your oils.

This system is both a blessing and a curse: moms who are new to the world of oils often pursue the business of essential oils without knowing how to use oils in a safe manner themselves. This often leads to advice based on a need to sell, rather than a need to serve oil users with proper guidance.

On the other hand, it is a blessing when you have a mentor who is passionate and knowledgeable about oils, guiding you properly and ensuring you use your oils safely, especially when kids are around.

If you are unsure you can also speak to an Aromatherapist for some professional guidance.


Oils are used for a variety of reasons – medicinal, cosmetic or to replace household products.

Essential oils are not used as medicine, as is often the popular belief. But it can support various systems in the body, and can help to supplement other treatments that you are using. By promoting overall well-being it can help to prevent illness.

We mainly use essential oils in our home as a way to eliminate harmful toxins from our cleaning regiment. A quick search for anything from home-made dishwasher-soap to air-freshner, you’ll quickly learn that essential oils are a crucial ingredient in most home DIY’s.

Oils are widely used for emotional support. Citrus oils are uplifting oils, Lavender oils is a calming oil and Tree oils are known for their grounding effect.

An oil like Tea Tree has been used for years to support clear skin, as well as being staple in many DIY cleaning recipes.

Tree oils such as Cedarwood and Frankincense are widely suggested to support deep sleep.


It is important to know why you want to use oils, what you would like to achieve and educate yourself on these oils.

My golden rule when using oils in our home and with my kids: use when needed, not just because you have it.

Follow our family’s oily journey on Instagram @schoon_skoon

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Celesté is a Pretoria based lifestyle photographer and mom of two. Her photographs focus on capturing emotion, unposed moments and timeless imagery.

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