That time I spent over $100 on essential oils


It's a bit odd how rapidly I went from ignoring the array of essential oils at the health food store to owning over 20 of them.

It started with my desire to get the Nancy Boy smell in my home. It's the best smelling store in San Francisco, IMO, which comes from their Signature scent. I once bought the Signature hand lotion and 90% of the time I whipped it out, someone would comment on how nice it smelled. I came pretty close to buying the essential oil and reed kit but the price always made me put it off. Then it occurred to me that I could just buy the 3 components of that scent--rosemary, peppermint, and lavender--and mix the essential oils myself.

Is it just me or did essential oil diffusers blow up last year? All of a sudden you had 20 different models to choose from--cheap ones, too. I got the one that Wirecutter proclaimed to be the best for less than $20. Sweet. Next step: get the 3 oils.

After googling around a bit I found out that essential oils can be a lot cheaper from online health stores like Vitacost and Lucky Vitamin--as in, starting from less than $5 a bottle. I started getting ideas in my head (inspired by this Into the Gloss post) of creating a ton of custom blends, not just for my diffuser but also hand soap and shower gel so I would never get bored. Before I knew it I had spent over $100 on something that originated from a way to save money. Whoops.

Anyway. I've had them for a while and a few things I learned from the process:

  • There's huge variability in how many drops you have to use to scent something--a lot of the citrus oils seemed to require like 20 drops in my diffuser, and others were so pungent that more than 2 were obnoxious. 
  • Floral essential oils (aside from lavender) can be expensive AF. If it's cheap, I suspect it will not actually be the essential oil but just some fragrance that looks like one. When you take a closer look at Now's Jasmine, for instance, the ingredient list says "jasmine oil with other fragrances (synthetic)". So...maybe just get a candle with jasmine or rose or neroli, instead of getting those essential oils.
  • My hopes of creating a super yummy body wash with every citrus oil that ever existed (for my morning shower) didn't quite work out. As mentioned before, they weren't very strong smelling, and when I tried to add a LOT of drops my body wash ended up getting runny. I'm not exactly sure how THAT happened, but I suspect (from my brief googling around) that it might be due to the limonene that naturally occurs in these oils. So when I want a citrus note in my hand soap, I have to restrain myself and then make up for it by adding a bunch of bergamot.
  • A lot of them just smell, well, crappy. Shame on me for just buying up a bunch online and not smelling them first, but one would think if you smelled a scent in other things and liked it, why would the essential oil version be bad? 
So has my essential oil diffuser supplanted all other methods of home scenting? Am I DIY-ing all my personal fragrances from now on? Well, no. But I still love my Nancy Boy dupe (2 parts lavender, 2 parts rosemary, 1 part peppermint) and so does everyone who visits my bathroom. 

Tomorrow: short reviews of every other essential oil I bought. So that maybe you don't have to spend $100+ on essential oils...

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