The 10 Actually Essential Essential Oils

The experts weigh in

When it comes to the world of homeopathy and natural skin care, essential oils are basically miracle workers.

Essential oils hold properties that can benefit the skin, body, and mind in a number of ways—from relieving stress and anxiety to regulating hormones, boosting our immune systems, healing skin ailments such as acne and rosacea, and more. These oils can be used in various ways, whether in aromatherapy through the use of an inhaler or a diffuser, mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin, sprinkled in your tub along with your favorite bath salts, or, in some cases, even ingested directly.

The real question is, though, how do we know which ones are right for us? There are more than 90 oils out there, many with similar benefits, so where should we start? The essentials, of course.

We turned to the experts—aromatherapists and natural skin-care specialists—to find out which essential oils are actually, well, essential. Click through the gallery below to check out the top ten that they swear by.

Please note: When working with essential oils, it’s extremely important to do your research beforehand. You should always check the best usage for each oil, as they are powerful and have the potential to be irritating to the skin and dangerous to ingest.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

You’re probably familiar with lavender being used for its relaxing and calming properties considering it's the scent of choice for tons of bath and body products. While it’s true that lavender is a great option for relief from stress and anxiety, you probably didn’t know that it can also be used for antibacterial purposes.

“We use lavender for our stress relief and anti-anxiety blends since it’s known for its calming properties, but it’s also great as a hand sanitizer when mixed with aloe gel,” says Fannie McWatt, Ph.D, certified aromatherapist and co-founder of EVER Brooklyn. “It’s perfect for small cuts and scrapes because of its antibacterial properties.”

Negin Niknejad, founder of JustBe Skin Line, who uses blends of essential oils in many of her skin-care products, agrees that lavender is one of her favorites. “It’s extremely soothing for the skin and great for blemishes, which is why we use it in our Blemish Spot Treatment and Rejuvenating Face Oil,” she says.