Health & Fitness over 6 years ago by Liz Adams

Everything I Know About Essential Oils

Liz Adams of Sequins & Stripes shares her favorite essential oils and ways to use them. The best essential oils to use for your family.

I’ve been getting so many questions about essential oils and how we use them (as seen on my instagram) so I thought I would try to tackle this topic in one place. Be aware that this is a very long post! I assume we are all interested in essential oils for different reasons. My knowledge of them was very minimal until a reader recommended them for insomnia issues during my first pregnancy. For a long time I never needed to learn more but slowly I’ve realized the benefits of essential oils in terms of health, home, beauty…the list goes on. Let’s start with how I was introduced to oils and what we really use them for on a daily basis…

Liz Adams of Sequins & Stripes shares her favorite essential oils and diffusers.Young Living and doTerra essential oils and diffusers.

Like I mentioned above, in 2015 when I was pregnant with Charlie I discussed on my blog that I was struggling with insomnia. A sweet reader emailed me about trying essential oils to help and I was all ears. She happened to be a doTERRA rep and very kindly sent me a petal diffuser and a few oils that were beneficial for sleep (from what I remember it was Lavender and Serenity). I noticed a huge difference in my sleep almost immediately, specifically falling asleep more easily, staying asleep longer and just generally sleeping better. I used this for the remainder of my pregnancy into the first few months of motherhood until we decided it was time to sleep train Charlie. 

Essential oils and diffusers for your home.Liz Adams Chicago fashion blogger shares her favorite essential oils and diffuser.Young Living diffuser for essential oils.

Charlie was a good sleeper but would sometimes struggle with staying asleep. He was easily startled and we could tell that he wasn’t getting into that good REM sleep (do babies ever do this? I don’t know). Again, I turned to my readers for any recommendations and someone told me about Young Living’s Gentle Baby oil. Since I had seen such amazing results for myself I ordered a few bottles off of Amazon. That night I gave Charlie my DoTerra diffuser and he slept SOUNDLY (seriously the first night he slept 11 hours straight at about 3-4 months old) with the Gentle Baby oil diffusing in his room.

For moms hoping that this is a miracle worker, I can’t promise you’ll see the same results! This obviously wasn’t what happened every night but I do think that the oils helped create more of a night time routine where he knew that it was time to sleep. Charlie has slept with oils almost every night since and we have now moved to just lavender. It has been great with travel, too. Even if we don’t bring a diffuser I’ll add some water and a few drops of lavender to a spray bottle and spray his crib sheet. 

Ok, fast forward to a month ago when I talked about Charlie’s sleep habits on the blog. A reader reached out to me who worked for doTERRA and sent me a bunch of amazing oils, another petal diffuser, etc. (also just to note, I am very aware that I am the luckiest girl ever to have the sweetest readers in the world). I immediately put the petal diffuser in our room and started sleeping with oils again. Then, a friend from high school reached out to me who happens to represent Young Living (thanks, Jill!)! She generously sent over a ton of oils and the prettiest diffuser that we keep in our living room (this is the one you guys ask about all the time). Since receiving all of this amazing inventory, I’ve been learning about all of the ways you can use these magical oils.

Now that you know the story, let me talk about why we use oils. Everyone has different reasons and I know there are a ton of benefits that I’m not even aware of! For us, my focus were oils that were calming, helped with sleep, helped to relieve stress, helped promote happiness, helped relieve headaches, were safe to use for baby, oils that can be used to naturally clean our home, ignite motivation and just generally made me feel good. Here are a few that we use regularly…

*note: when it comes to Charlie, I typically don’t use any of these oils topically since some of them are unsafe for children (especially the blends). I will diffuse them in a diffuser but I don’t let these touch the skin – just in case. 

Lavender & Lemon – not only for sleep but I love to diffuse this with a few drops of lemon during the day for a fresh, comforting scent! Together or separately. 

Young Living Peace & Calming – I love diffusing this in our room at night. It’s a great way to unwind from the day and helps you fall into a restful night sleep. We also like to use doTERRA Serenity at night. 

doTERRA Citrus Bliss – one of my favorite ways to start the day! This scent is so invigorating and wakes up all of the senses!

Young Living Purification – my favorite oil for cleaning! This stuff is magic. We pour a few drops down our kitchen drain/disposal, I’ll put it in a spray bottle with distilled water and clean our counter tops, Charlie’s high chair or even just for a general room spray, I just washed Webster’s collars/leashes and added a few drops with the detergent…the list goes on and on. Another great oil for cleaning is Thieves. Young Living actually has an entire natural cleaning line made with Thieves if you’re interested!

Young Living Tea Tree – I’m obsessed with adding this to my eye cream! My eyebrow person always lathers my eyes with the most insane tea tree lotion that is cooling and cleansing. I’ve been adding this to my lotion after a shower and it is like I’m at a spa. Dave also got a pretty bad cut that wouldn’t heal and we mixed Tea Tree with coconut oil (the carrier oil) and it healed up quickly! I’ve also read amazing things about the benefits of Frankincense making your skin glow when mixed with your moisturizer. 

doTERRA On Guard – protects against sickness and is something I’ve been diffusing in our home once a week. It is a natural immune support that protects against seasonal threats (hello allergies). For a household that always gets sick when the weather changes, this has been a life saver. doTERRA has an entire line of products that helps with this!

Young Living Stress Away Roll On – I’ve been using this throughout the week when my stress levels get a little high. It just helps me to press the reset button, take some deep breaths and relax. 

doTERRA Motivate Touch Oil – I put this on almost every morning. Whether I’m tackling a to-do list or heading to the gym. It helps clear my head and when I’m on the treadmill I’ll use it to keep my breath in check! 

These are the oils that I have genuinely used over and over again but I have so many more to try! I am a firm believer in mind over matter so I can’t promise that the benefits I see from oils will be the same for everyone. But I do believe that they help! In terms of brands, I really like both Young Living and doTERRA! However, I will say that I love the fact that Young Living has their own farms where all of their oils come from. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which diffuser would you recommend? For someone just starting out and looking for a diffuser that is easy to use, easy to clean and a great price – I highly recommend the doTERRA petal diffuser. All diffusers do the same thing! Our Young Living diffuser also plays peaceful music, has LED lighting and you can attach your own music to play through it. I love this diffuser but it is definitely not necessary. 

What is your favorite essential oil brand? There are so many options out there! So this is easy because I have only tried Young Living and doTERRA! I highly recommend both if that helps you. 

What are your top 5 favorite oils? Here are six…I would say Lavender, Lemon, Tea Tree, Peace & Calming, Purification and On Guard are the most used in our household. You can read more about them above or on their websites!

Do you mix oils? I haven’t gotten this advanced yet, especially since both brands make blends that tailor to anything you could need! However, my friend Jill at Young Living recently sent over this recipe for her favorite diffuser blend:

  • 4 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
  • 4 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • 2-3 drops of Purification Essential Oil
  • 2-3 drops of Orange Essential Oil
  • 1 drop of Jasmine Essential Oil
  • 1 drop of Neroli Essential Oil

Can you recommend any oils for pregnancy or morning sickness? I drank a lot of ginger tea when I was sick during the first trimester so I would imagine that Ginger would be an amazing oil to diffuse while pregnant! Citrus blends tend to be the most invigorating and refreshing which is exactly what I want when I’m pregnant. I would ask your doctor about this. Always read the labels and do your research!

What oils are safe for baby? Again, I’m not a pro when it comes to oils! I generally like to assume that none of them should be in direct contact with your baby. This is why I choose to diffuse oils and I stick to the basics. If you’re wanting to use oils topically, I would do your research and make sure they are correctly diluted. From what I’ve read that means 1 drop of oil for every 4 teaspoons of carrier oil (I use coconut oil). This article seemed to be very helpful!

That’s that! I hope this post was helpful. Like I said, I’m still learning so I’ll share another update as I go. If there is a question you have that I didn’t answer, feel free to leave it in the comments. As always, thanks so much for reading and engaging and asking questions. It means so much to me!


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  1. Great post – thanks Liz! I’m a huge fan of ‘on guard’ & ‘breathe easy’ and natural all the way!

  2. Great post! Just started getting in to using essential oils. Lavender has helped me sleep better during this pregnancy, and I think I’ll start diffusing it in my 3 yr olds room at night!

  3. this is so interesting- i really appreciate reading this from someone not trying to sell either brand! i like that you mix them!

    xo, brittany
    pretty summer dresses for mama + babe on my blog today!

  4. This is so helpful, thanks Liz! I’ve been hearing more and more about essential oils as natural remedies, but didn’t know where to start. I appreciate you sharing your favorite oils and what you use them for.

  5. Thanks for posting and all of the details! I’m 35 weeks and sleep is difficult…I’m going to give these a try. I also love the idea of diffusing for the baby too. Xx

  6. Great post, Liz! I had been wanting to try essential oils for a while, but I know these brands can be a bit pricey when just getting started. I bought an inexpensive diffuser and some oils from Amazon to give them a try and just see how often I would use them before making a deeper investment. Who knew there were so many uses? Thanks for your tips, I look forward to getting to know different uses for oils as I continue to use them. Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. Thank you for compiling this list! I love to use vitamin E oil and jojoba oil in my skincare routine. Recently I got the Peter Thomas Roth Oil-less Oil and it made my skin feel soooo smooth, it’s great!

  8. I love young living’s peppermint oil. I’ve found it is great for sore muscles. I add a drop it into my moisturizer and apply to my arms/legs/etc.

  9. Thanks so much for this post! I was going to reach out to ask you about essential oils, but now this has everything I need to try them. I appreciate you!

  10. Hey Liz, Great post. We are oil obsessed over here. For when Charlie starts getting tons of bruises, cuts, scrapes, etc…Owie by YL is amazing. I use it on my burns from when I’m cooking 😉

    Have you tried Thieves Cleaner yet? It’s our favorite for cleaning every surface of the house.

    Just a heads-up though…buying YL or DT oils on Amazon, Walmart, etc can be dangerous. You have no clue if they have been tampered with. Before I signed up with YL, I bought a bottle of Thieves off of Amazon to check it out. I was a total oil skeptic. Once I finally purchased a starter kit, I tested the Amazon oil on a paper towel, and the one straight form YL…..the Amazon one made a huge oily ring on the paper towel, and the YL one didn’t. The one from Amazon was tampered with and cut with extra carrier oil.

  11. I think someone needs to learn about essencial oils before they give advice. Rral oil are back by science. Their are Sooo many oils that should NEVER be used fur pregnancy. If it want the truth about pure true essential oils may I suggest getting a aroma therapy certificate at the Aromatic Windom Institute. You will learn the science behind pure essential oils and how to use them to help others.

  12. I enjoyed reading Your post SO Much!! I have actually obtained a sizeable collection of essential oils over the past Year. Mostly Young Living, but also some Oak Leaf ones that were Recently a Mother’s Day gift with an oak leaf diffuser that will run for 8 hrs and automatically shut off. Needless to say I Love it!! I have suffered with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis for almost 17 Years now and Young Living’s Deep Relief is a MUST have in My Household. I also suffer from insomnia, and have noticed that when I diffuse lavender, lemon, and my New Favorite Peace & Calming that I get a Much Better Nights Sleep!! My Next Must have purchase is going to be a Car Oil Diffuser! I’ve been eyeing them on Amazon now for at least 6 months and they are Quite low priced. So with that being said I see one of those in My Near Future. I also recommend purchasing the Carrier Stick (from Amazon) it’s a little pricey but SO worth it!! I purchased the Bundle, One Large Carrier Stick, and 2 travel size ones. I keep one travel size one in My purse to use with oils, and the other stays on My Nightstand and I Only Ever Use it as a lip balm!! It’s SO Much better than chap stick, or any other lip balm that I’ve Ever tried!! Plus it’s Rich and Creamy and so Great for Your skin, and I’ve also noticed that by using it over the last Year Every night that My fine lines around my lips have also diminished!! So it’s a Win Win in My Book. I am Still Learning SO Much about Essential Oils, and I Just tried Your Purification tip in My Garbage Disposal!!Thanks Again for Your post.

  13. Great info! I love wild orange, lavender, breathe and on guard the most. Breathe got us through the winter. My kids both enjoy diffusing them in their rooms for times when they are sick and just in general. I want to try more at bedtime.

  14. Hi Liz! Thank you- this is awesome. Do you have any perspective on the safety and effectiveness of essential oils and dogs? We have a 3month old lab puppy and I have a full essential oil addiction- but don’t want to hurt her. Would love to hear what you think.

  15. This post was so timely as I have been looking at diffusers on Amazon for a couple weeks now. Read this post and finally pulled the trigger! My fiance is a terrible sleeper, hopefully this will help. Thank you!

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  17. Hi Liz!
    I was wondering if you are using any essential oils during this pregnancy that you would recommend? Or does this list still apply?

  18. Love this post! As a doTerra girl, I love seeing people get into oils.
    Most oils are safe for pregnancy and babies, and can be apples topically if diluted. We’ve been using them on our 13 month old since he was a few months old.
    I’d recommend the book Modern Essentials as your go-to handbook (but get the 6th version or earlier to keep it simple; the later editions had to be more cautious with their labeling, so instead of saying ‘allergies’ it says ‘seasonal threats.’ I like the old fashioned straightforward version, personally.
    Also, you mention Young Living growing their plants on their own farms. This is a great concept.
    DoTerra on the other hand sources from where the plant naturally grows best, like Frankensense from Somalia, etc. They work with the people who live there to employ and sustain them. Win win!
    Either way, doTerra or YL, we all have the same end goal to live as healthily and holistically as possible. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Breathe from doterra is also really good helps open up sinuses, I like to combine it with the on guard. They have a lot of recipes for making combos for diffusers on their Instagram page…am a huge fan of the doterra oils – also have great blends ….Got sore muscles try the deep blue cream – really good!!!