October 26, 2020

12 Best Smelling Essential Oils: Diffuser, Skin, Hair

12 Best Smelling Essential Oils: Diffuser, Skin, Hair (2020)

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Before we start, here are two crucial elements of essential oils to take note of:

  • Each scent or fragrance is a matter of personal preference and can change over time.
  • Aside from the scent, it’s important to choose an essential oil that suffices your needs (e.g., anxiety, stress, low moods, etc.)

 

Whether you need a mood boost, anxiety or stress relief, a good night’s sleep, or even cure a headache, we’ve made sure to consider your needs before choosing the best essential oils.

That being said, we’ve collated 12 of our best smelling essential oils to choose from!

Table of Contents

Our 12 Best Essential Oils

Best Anti-inflammatory 

Fragrance: Sweet & Woody

Effects: Relaxation, Good night’s rest, Concentration, Antiviral, Anti-inflammatory, Glowing skin

Sandalwood is, hands down, the best essential oil if you’re looking for wellness and health benefits.

By far, Sandalwood’s healing abilities are nearly unmatchable and product a royal, sensual, & luxurious aroma.

Aside from its antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects, it’s also a powerful astringent and can even be used as an aphrodisiac for your bedroom!

We love how Sandalwood essential oil can even aid in fighting against pigmentation and acne inflammations. The only drawback we found to Sandalwood is how expensive it is.

Due to its amazing health benefits, you’ll find many synthetic variants and copycats with lower-quality. We recommend going for Essence-Lux Sandalwood essential oil for its trusted brand quality.

Pros

  • Has anti-inflammatory and antiviral benefits
  • Aids in fighting against pigmentation and acne inflammations
  • Amazing healing properties
  • Rich scent
  • Works well as an astringent or aphrodisiac

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some users may find Sandalwood too strong

Best Mood Booster

Fragrance: Fresh & Fruity

Effects: Boosts your immune system, Mood Booster, Skin Brightener, Skin tone improvement

Lemon essential oil comes packed with vitamin C, making it perfect for nourishing your skin, scalp, and hair.

Its fresh scent makes it the best smelling essential oil for lifting your mood when you have a bad day or even while driving to work.

One can expect that by using lemon essential oil will see positive results in their skin, specifically tightening the pores, skin brightening, and improving your skin tone.

It’s also one of the best smelling essential oils if you’re worried about your scalp health. Lemon essential oil can remove any dead cells in your hair, fend off scalp itching, and fight against dandruff.

Now, if you’ve had a long day and come home to a sink full of dirty dishes, you don’t have to wash them right away!

Just pour a few drops of lemon essential oil in your diffuser, and the pre-cleaning process will be taken care of.

Pros

  • Tightens pores, brightens skin, and improves skin tone
  • Powerful astringent properties
  • Improves hair and scalp health
  • Elevates your mood
  • Immune system booster
  • Nourishes skin

Cons

  • Some products came with a defective dropper

Best Calming Effect

Fragrance: Rich, Sweet & Flowery

Effects: Reduces stress, Aphrodisiac, Alleviates Depression, Skin Rejuvenation, Cures Cough, Sedative

If you’re into a flowery aroma, Jasmine essential oil is packed with a sweet, floral scent you’ll instantly love.

What we love most about Jasmine essential oil is its healing ability to relieve stress, tension, and even depressed states.

Jasmine is the best smelling essential oil for anyone looking to combine meditation with its stress reliever benefits. Since mediation requires one to be calm and relaxed, this will instantly put you in the mood.

If you’re studying for exams or the boards, using just a few drops of Jasmine essential oil in your diffuser is the perfect cure after a long study session.

Have you been feeling restless lately? Perhaps, there’s a lot of uneasiness you’re feeling right now, and you can’t fall asleep.

Well, Jasmine essential oil has the perfect aroma for debuffing any of that restlessness and uneasiness.

Additionally, because Jasmine oil has benzoic acid and benzaldehyde, it also has disinfectant, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties!

Pros

  • Relieves stress and tension
  • Can aid in alleviating restlessness and uneasiness
  • Soothes and calms your nerves
  • Great for dry skin types and clears pigmentation

Cons

  • Its scent isn’t suitable for everyone

Best for Fighting Colds

Fragrance: Spicy, Tangy, & Sweet

Effects: Relieves stress, Fights against the flu & colds, Analgesic, Treats rashes & acne breakouts, Anti-fungal

Cinnamon essential oil has been popular since the time of royalty, especially favored by kings and queens. Its sweet, musky scent blends well with other essential oils such as ylang-ylang, grapefruit, lemon, nutmeg, etc.

For even better results and aroma, we recommend combining cinnamon with jojoba or sweet almond.

Now, what makes cinnamon one of the best smelling essential oils? For one, cinnamon has a fantastic aroma, that it’s rare for anyone to feel unpleasant to its aroma.

It’s also widely known for treating inflammations, acne breakouts, and rashes. You’d be surprised as to how powerful cinnamon can be.

It even works wonders as an anti-depressant and has anti-fungal & antibacterial properties and relieves pain. We recommend opting for H’ana Cinnamon bark essential oil for their therapeutic-grade quality.

Pros

  • Works as an analgesic
  • Treats rashes, acne breakouts, and inflammations
  • Amazing aroma
  • Anti-depressant
  • Has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties

Cons

  • The aroma can be too intense for some

Best for Calmness & Positivity

Fragrance: Sweet Floral

Effects: Relieves anxiety and mental uneasiness, Boosts positivity, Reduces wrinkles, Skin glowing and smoothening

For the true queen, Rose Damascena oil will captivate your heart simply through its aroma alone. This is not to say it’s limited to a scent strictly for women.

Rose essential oil stimulates positive emotions and can boost your happiness even on a rainy day. Sounds too good to be true?

We get that essential oils might have some skepticism, especially for first-timers. Believe us, when we put this oil to the test, we immediately felt calm, relaxed, and in a much better mood.

Rose oil is also praised widely for its skincare benefits. These include cleansing and nourishing your skin, adding a youthful glow, and enhancing skin texture.

Use Rose oil enough, and you’ll see a reduction in your wrinkles!

Although Rose oil’s benefits are immensely vast, not many find its aroma to be pleasant. However, those who do love it will consider it the best smelling essential oil they’ve encountered.

Pros

  • Wrinkle reduction
  • Nourishes and cleanses your skin
  • Works great even as a toner
  • Stimulates positive emotions
  • Relieves mental tension and stress
  • Provides skin glowing benefits

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not many enjoy the fragrance of Rose oil

Best for Muscle Spasms and Aches

Fragrance: Fresh, Sweet, Clean, & Refreshing

Effects: Soothes the body, Sedative, Pain relief, Antimicrobial, Anti-cancer properties, Improves digestion

Who would’ve thought that there would be different varieties of orange smelling essential oils? Apart from sweet orange, you also have Wild orange, Mandarin orange, Organic Tangerine, etc.

Just like lemon oil, sweet orange has a fresh, citrusy smell that we just can’t seem to get enough of.

After a session of aromatherapy using sweet orange oil, we felt energized and relieved.

Using sweet orange for your home, bedroom, or living room is a decision you won’t live to regret thanks to its soothing and pain relief properties.

On days you experience muscle cramps, spasms, or aches, a few drops of this in your diffuser at home will treat those aches instantly.

Sweet orange also blends well with Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, and Ginger, coming in as one of the best essential oil blends.

Pros

  • Great for relieving muscle aches and spasms
  • Improves digestion
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Mood booster
  • Nourishes dry and acne-prone skin
  • Can remedy high blood pressure

Cons

  • Some droppers came defective or broken

Best for Relaxation

Fragrance: Sweet Floral

Effects: Improves sleep, Emotional Booster, Strengthens hair follicles, Prevents aging

Here’s a name you don’t often hear: Ylang-ylang.

Ylang-ylang has a similar smell to Rose oil, except Ylang-ylang carries a more rich aroma to it.

One can expect Ylang-ylang to provide a wide range of health benefits and improve skincare and hair health.

With regards to skincare, Ylang-ylang reduces aging and fine lines and can even prevent hair fall! Since Ylang-ylang strengthens your hair follicles, in effect, this boosts hair growth and reduces scalp inflammation.

If you continuously battle insomnia, fatigue, and stress, Ylang-ylang provides sedative effects that combat insomnia and fatigue so you can sleep soundly and improve your sleep regimen.

To our surprise, Ylang-ylang is the best essential oil that can fight against negative emotions such as rage, jealousy, depressed mindset, and even low self-esteem!

For the best oil blends, we recommend combining Lavender, Wild orange, and Ylang-ylang.

Pros

  • Reduces aging and fine lines
  • Boosts hair growth and strengthens hair follicles
  • Relieves insomnia, fatigue, and stress
  • Mood-booster
  • Aids in fighting against negative emotions

Cons

  • Some users mentioned it having a funky smell

Best for Skin Nourishment

Fragrance: Fresh & Earthy

Effects: Cures acne, blemishes, imperfections, scars, and redness, Calms babies, Provides healthier hair

Tea tree oil is the best smelling essential oil when it comes down to skin nourishment and an excellent skincare ingredient.

Additionally, it provides a healthier scalp, clears dandruff, and removes any dead cells. If you need a solution to treat rosacea, this is it!

Using tea tree oil will especially fend off any pimple scars, acne, redness, blotches, blemishes, and dark spots to reveal clearer skin.

Thanks to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, using tea tree oil is undoubtedly highly effective.

Last but not least, diffusing tea tree essential oil produces a fragrant smell that energizes your body & mind and uplifts your spirits.

Pros

  • Promotes clearer skin
  • Removes dead cells for a healthier scalp
  • Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial
  • Can also be used as an antiseptic
  • Revitalizes your body and mind
  • Great for treating rosacea

Cons

  • Some users may have allergic reactions

Best for Health and Wellness

Fragrance: Minty

Effects: Boosts your immune system, Alleviates headaches, cough, colds, asthma, & sinusitis, Stimulates positivity, Energy booster

Whether it’s haircare, skincare, wellness, or health, peppermint essential oil provides all these benefits for your skin, body, and mind.

We also love its pleasant smell, which isn’t too strong nor too faint. If you’re looking for a minty aroma, peppermint is the best smelling essential oil to go for.

So what exactly are these amazing benefits peppermint essential oil provides?

For one, the cooling sensation of peppermint essential oil surrounding your home improves blood circulation and can even enhance skin glow!

Against damaged skin, acne, germs & bacteria, peppermint essential oil fends these off effectively thanks to its antimicrobial properties.

It also doesn’t just fight dandruff. Peppermint essential oil prevents hair loss and stimulates hair growth.

Concerning health and wellness, diffusing peppermint essential oil in your home can cure a cold, cough, asthma, congestion, and, surprisingly, bronchitis!

After all, it’s a nightmare to sleep when your nose is congested, wouldn’t you agree?

With peppermint essential oil circulating your home, its soothing smell will leave you refreshed, clear from stress, and even on a bad PMS day, peppermint can come to your rescue!

Pros

  • Improves hair and scalp health
  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Excellent antimicrobial properties
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Revitalizes body and reduces stress
  • Enhances skin glow and provides clear skin

Cons

  • Some products came with no peppermint scent

Best for Uplifting Moods

Fragrance: Fruity, Crisp, and Herbaceous

Effects: Uplifts your mood, Alleviates headaches and depression, Calms down irritated babies, Immune booster

We all know Chamomile tea, and it’s amazing digestive and sleep benefits. As an essential oil, how does it flare?

If ingesting Chamomile aids sleep, then the smell of Chamomile essential oil produces a sense of relief over any negative emotions you have. These include anger, disappointment, stress, sluggishness, sadness, etc.

Chamomile is the best essential oil if you’re having a rough day and are overwhelmed by sadness. Using chamomile essential oil brings a sense of relief to both your mind and body to calm you down after an overwhelming day.

We also love how Chamomile essential oil worked amazingly well on irritable babies.

If your child continually wails through the night, add a few drops of this to your diffuser to give your child a sweet, fragrant smell that will calm him/her down.

With regard to skincare, Chamomile oil is packed with antioxidants to reduce puffiness around the eyes and under-eye darkness.

Since Chamomile is widely used for commercial purposes, we recommend going for Diffuse Essential Oils among all Chamomile smelling essential oils.

Pros

  • Relieves negative emotions (e.g., sadness, anger, sluggishness, etc.)
  • Treats under-eye darkness and reduces eye puffiness
  • Helps calm down irritated babies
  • Boosts your immunity

Cons

  • Some users mentioned the bottle seal broke, which caused a leak

Best for Relieving Stress

Fragrance: Floral, Herbal, Slightly Fruity

Effects: Provides stress and anxiety relief, Alleviates PMS symptoms, muscle pain, and headaches, Promotes a good night’s rest

Who would have thought Clary Sage to be one of the best smelling essential oils?

After all, Clary Sage is a common flavoring component for liquor and wine. And while it’s widely used for perfumes, it came as a shock when we tried its excellent restorative properties.

Clary Sage also carries a similar smell to lavender essential oil. What stands out is its ability to alleviate PMS menstrual cramps! Even the mood swings and menstrual anxiety/stress is no match for Clary Sage!

This is one reason why among all the best smelling essential oils listed, it proves to be our top pick for relieving stress.

Clary Sage also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that relieve muscle aches, headaches, and even back pain.

Aside from its stress-relieving effects, studies also showed that Clary Sage produced lower diastolic blood pressure levels, improved blood circulation, and improved oxygen intake.

Pros

  • Alleviates muscle pain, back pain, and headaches
  • Improves blood circulation and oxygen intake
  • Relieves PMS menstrual symptoms
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves thyroid hormonal levels
  • Anti-depressant properties

Cons

  • Might have different effects on other users

Best for Relieving Pain

Fragrance: Rich Woody

Effects: Relieves pains and aches

Being last on our list of best smelling essential oils, Rosemary is the perfect candidate for soothing pain and relieving stomach problems.

It’s also well known for its mental clarifying effects and immune booster properties.

Rosemary oil is also great if you’re looking for a smell that repels insects in your home. We all know how annoying insects and bugs can be.

Rather than disinfect your home using powerful chemicals, just use Rosemary instead!

Studies have also shown that Rosemary reduces joint inflammation and strengthens brain functions, although more evidence is needed to fully confirm this.

As for recommended oil blends, try combining Rosemary with Lavender essential oil or with Peppermint and Lemongrass.

Either of these oil blends circulating around your home would spice up an amazing concoction of fragrances and aroma.

Pros

  • Cleanses and hydrates skin
  • Improves concentration and mental focus
  • Repels insects and bugs
  • Immune booster
  • Pain reliever and reduces stomach problems

Cons

  • Scent might be too strong for some

Do Essential Oils Really Work?

Before we can determine whether essential oils do really work, let’s take a short detour into the origin of aromatherapy.

Origin of Aromatherapy

The use of essential oils, or aromatherapy, is a practice that has captivated and astounded many. However, some might disagree with the effects of essential oils.

In fact, aromatherapy has been around for quite some time. The term first originated in 1937 by the French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse.

After an accidental burn, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse used lavender oil as a spur of curiosity, and it was cured! Additionally, Jean Valnet, a French surgeon, used essential oils to treat soldiers’ wounds during World War II.

Fast forward to today, the use of medicinal herbs has evolved into new essential oils such as bergamot essential oil, for example.

Other essential oils you may not be familiar with include:

  • Vetiver oil
  • Frankincense oil
  • Myrrh oil
  • Atlas Cedarwood oil
  • Blue Cypress oil
  • Manuka oil
  • Nutmeg oil
  • Chocolate Peppermint oil
  • Pimento Berry oil
  • Coriander oil
  • Hinoki oil
  • Hyssop oil

 

It’s worth noting that essential oils have grown immensely over the decades, with over 130 essential oils available today!

The Truth Behind Aromatherapy: Real or Fake?

By no means is aromatherapy a pyramid scheme or scam.

While evidence pointing towards the use of essential oils isn’t as clear, that’s not to say aromatherapy is a fake practice.

One crucial element worth noting about essential oils is how potent these substances are.

This is one reason inhaling essential oils is safer rather than ingesting it. Ingesting essential oils results in higher potency levels, which could cause adverse reactions.

Now, essential oils are more than just your typical oil. Broken down, these are plant extracts made by either pressing or steaming the plant material to capture the aroma compounds.

Even without clear scientific evidence behind the effectiveness of essential oils, studies have shown positive results.

One study showed that a mixture of cardamom, spearmint, ginger, and peppermint reduced the effects of nausea after surgery.

Other studies showed the microbial benefits of using tea tree oil and oregano oil for treating dandruff and toe fungus.

With aromatherapy being a constant practice for decades and various users revealing its positive effects and benefits, we can say that essential oils really do work. 

After all, medicine as an industry is constantly growing and learning new things. It’s essential to keep an open mind, especially with treatments like these.

That is to say, there are also risks involved when using essential oils. In the next section below, we’ll discuss the risks of essential oils.

Essential Oils Risks

A significant contribution to the risks behind using essential oils is being ill-informed about the product and the oil itself.

You might just grab the oil with the freshest smell or whichever piques your interest out of curiosity or enthusiasm.

Remember what we said earlier. Essential oils are potent substances, so choosing the wrong one can easily lead to adverse reactions.

What most consumers don’t realize is that the concentrations can vary from highly concentrated to diluted types.

For example, if you purchase bergamot essential oil without reading the product label properly, you might find yourself inhaling an oil with a highly potent smell.

In effect, this wouldn’t benefit you at all and, instead, could lead to allergic or adverse reactions.

Now, how can we safely use essential oils? Read the next section to find out!

How to Use Essential Oils Safely

Before you jump into choosing the best smelling essential oils for your home, we have a few tips to share with you.

Using these oils in a safe manner is crucial to your health, so here are 6 tips to take with you:

  • Don’t forget to read the product label. You’ll find various brands manufacturing the same oil, which can vary in terms of concentration and quality. Differing qualities can affect the smell and effects the oils provide, so make sure to verify this information firsthand.
  • Use only a few drops or follow the recommended number of drops in the label. Using more drops than needed increases the potency level, which if not regulated, can cause harm to the body. Typically, 2 to 3 drops per oil are enough.
  • Consult your doctor. Now, we know that sounds cliche, but essential oils are no joke. In particular, children aged below 3 years old are more susceptible to adverse or allergic reactions. Some oils provide a kid-safe formula, so we recommend going for these.
  • Don’t diffuse essential oils for more than 60-minute intervals. Prolonged exposure to tea tree oil, for example, can cause an irritated throat.
  • Do proper research on the brand. Choose companies that have been producing essential oils for years and have proven their quality as a reputable brand.
  • Go for dark-colored glass bottles. This protects the quality and prevents any tainting of the oil.

 

Finally, take note of these oils as they might produce allergic reactions. We recommend using fewer drops for these oils and taking proper precautions as well:

  • Jasmine
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Bergamot
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Chamomile

 

When using the oil, try a small amount first. If you notice an allergic reaction, stop the process right away. You can dilute potent oils in a carrier oil to prevent any allergic reactions from occurring for safety measures.

5 Essential Oil Blends Worth Trying

Before we end this review, we’d like to share with you 5 oil blends perfect for specific occasions!

  • Allergy Relief Recipe – 3 drops each of Peppermint, Lavender, and Lemon
  • Mental Focus Recipe – 2 drops each of Peppermint & Cinnamon, 1 drop of Rosemary
  • Slow Down and Breathe Recipe – 2 drops each of Lemon, Peppermint, & Eucalyptus + 1 drop each of Lime, Rosemary, and Clove
  • Good Vibes Recipe – 3 drops each of Bergamot & Lavender, 1 drop of Geranium
  • Morning Alert Recipe – 4 drops each of Wild Orange & Peppermint
  • Sleepy Mode Recipe – 4 drops of Cedarwood, 3 drops of Lavender

 

If those allergies are bugging you, a mixture of peppermint, lavender, and lemon blends well to counter those annoying sniffles.

Still feeling like a zombie? That’s why you have peppermint, cinnamon, and rosemary, which blends well to give you the mental alertness you need.

Now, what about just winding down and relaxing? Take lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, lime, rosemary, and clove for the perfect day-ender. Sure, it’s quite the handful, but you deserve this treat after a long day!

Final Thoughts

With so many best smelling essential oils, trying various recipes is where the fun starts! Once you experiment and try out recipes of your own, we’re warning you. You just might get hooked!

We know many of our friends who have become addicted to essential oils! And if you’re planning to use them for your face, you might want t check first if they’re comedogenic or not. Read through our article on What are Non-Comedogenic Oils to find out.

What are you waiting for? Are you ready to dive into aromatherapy? Let us know down below!

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.