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Why aren’t my essential oils working?

aromatherapy Essential Oil info Guides

Have you ever been recommended an essential oil, only to try it yourself and be disappointed at the results? Essential oils have their own unique properties, which translate into different benefits. For example, tea tree oil is antibacterial and antifungal which means most people using it for acne will experience the same benefits. 

But this isn’t a guarantee that you’ll experience the same effects as someone else using the same oil. For instance, some people find that lavender makes them feel sleepy, while others may feel energised by this scent. 

There are also a few rookie errors that new and seasoned essential oil users make. Don’t panic! As you’ll see below, these are easily corrected. So if you’re struggling to see what all the fuss is about with these tiny little bottles, check out our troubleshooting tips below. 

You’re not being consistent 

How often do you apply or diffuse essential oils? Like all good habits, building a consistent routine really cements the benefits, and you probably won’t know whether something works for you after just one use. 

For example, if you’re using lavender oil to improve your sleep quality, incorporate it into your routine over the course of a few weeks. Consistency does not been increasing the concentration of the oil - a consistent amount over a short period of time will give the best results. 

One concept we’re particularly interested in is nose blindness. We’re hoping to see more research on this, especially since this could impact how receptive people are to essential oils after consistent exposure. 

You’re using too high a concentration 

Peppermint oil makes a great decongestant, and yet, too much of it could mean you end up feeling much worse. If you find yourself with a headache after running your diffuser, you’re either using too much oil, or you’re leaving the diffuser on for too long. 

Essential oils evaporate quickly, so there’s no need to run a diffuser for more than 30 minutes at a time. Overexposure to essential oils can be dangerous; leading to fatigue and even breathing difficulties. Your diffuser should have guidance on how much oil to use - always start at the lowest end of these recommendations, and gradually increase concentration.

You’re not using the right oil 

Generally speaking, the most effective oil for aiding sleep is lavender (we've used this oil a lot as an example, but stick with us!) The oil is known to help reduce cortisol levels - the stress hormone - and less stress equals better sleep. But this isn’t a guarantee that lavender oil will make everyone who uses it, sleepy. Some aromatherapy enthusiasts may prefer roman chamomile or sweet orange for their relaxing properties. 

So how do you figure out the right oil for you? Experiment! Try diluted rollerballs, diffusing and inhalation methods. Observe the effects on your mind and body. Do you feel sleepy? Energised? Focused? Self-awareness is crucial here. 

Your expectations are too high

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Essential oils are not a cure. But they can form an effective part of holistic healing practices. If you want to go deeper into your essential oil journey, consult with a certified aromatherapist on which oils best suit your needs. 

Essential oils work best when they’re combined with other ingredients and practices, but if you’re unsure of where to start, reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, or via email. We’re always happy to help!

How do you troubleshoot essential oil mishaps? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook and Instagram. We’re really starting to build a beautiful essential oils community on social media, and you’re welcome to join us there!


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  • Mary Odell on

    Great article. 👍🏻


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