An Introduction to Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is one of the most popular and well-known essential oils. This oil is derived from the fresh flowers of the lavender plant, which grows throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States. It has a floral scent that many people find calming and soothing. Lavender oil is found in a variety of products, ranging from soaps to shampoo and lotion. It is also available in a fully concentrated form. Lavender essential oil can be used in many different ways and has a variety of applications.
Diffusing Essential Oils
I use essential oils in my diffuser at least 3 or 4 times a week. A diffuser looks a like a small humidifier. You simply fill it with water and add a few drops of your desired essential oil (follow the exact directions of your particular diffuser). When you turn it on, the essential oil is diffused into the air and scents the room. A diffuser is preferable to adding essential oils to simmering water because heat can damage them.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy describes aromatherapy in this way:
Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process (source).
Lavender is of course one of the best known essential oils for aromatherapy; it has a calming and soothing effect.
Lavender Essential Oil for Improved Sleep
There is evidence to suggest that lavender may slow nervous system activity and improve sleep quality in persons suffering from sleep disorders (source). Lavender has been found to positively impact the length of sleep, time it takes to fall asleep, and restfulness during sleep (source). Diffusing lavender in your room at night may therefore help address sleep issues.
Lavender Essential Oil for Stress and Tension
Because it has a calming effect, lavender can be used to help cope with stress and nervous tension. You can add a few drops to a diffuser or your bath water when you want to relax (just be sure the water isn’t too hot). Applying lavender oil to your skin has a similar effect (more on how to use essential oils on the skin later).
Skin and Hair Care Applications for Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender has many skin care applications. As was noted above, it is frequently used to scent natural personal care products like soaps and lotions. Lavender essential oil can help treat acne as well. Dilute lavender oil with a carrier oil (see Diluting Essential Oils below), and dab the acne with a cotton swab.
Lavender can also aid in healing the skin and is therefore good for dry and/or itchy skin, eczema, and insect bites. To treat these conditions, again add lavender essential oil to a carrier oil, and apply it to the affected areas.
Lavender oil has antimicrobial properties (source), making it useful for the treatment of minor wounds and burns, sunburns in particular. Lavender and peppermint essential oils together are especially effective in helping to heal sunburns. (Our After-Sun Mist contains both of these essential oils for maximum effectiveness in treating sunburns).
Massaging lavender essential oil into the scalp can help relieve dry skin and dandruff and can even help in the treatment of lice, lice eggs, and nits (source). Dilute lavender oil as directed below, and then massage into your scalp. Leave on for a few minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly.
There is some evidence that lavender essential oil also helps promote circulation, stimulating hair growth and proper function of hair follicles (source). When used in combination with other essential oils, lavender oil can aid in hair growth. Add 10 drops each of lavender and rosemary essential oils and 5 drops of basil essential oil to 4 ounces of jojoba oil. Shake gently to mix, then massage a small amount into your scalp. Again, leave on for a few minutes before rinsing your hair and scalp well.
Household Uses for Lavender Essential Oil
Because of its antiseptic properties, lavender is also found in various cleaning products and sanitizers. You can also make your own all-purpose cleaner with lavender essential oil (see recipe below). Lavender oil makes a wonderful, natural air freshener as well. Use it in a diffuser to freshen the air. Or, fill a spray bottle with water, and add several drops of the essential oil. Shake before each use.
Diluting Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated. In most cases, they should be diluted with a “carrier,” or plant, oil before applying them on the skin. Using essential oils without diluting them is known as using them “neat.”
It is important to be aware that undiluted essential oils have the potential to cause irritation and allergic reactions, such as contact dermatitis in some people (source). This can be especially true if the undiluted essential oil is put on broken or injured skin. Repeated use of undiluted oils can also cause painful burning and stinging of the skin. When a reaction to an undiluted essential oil occurs, a person can become “sensitized” to the oil and may continue to have reactions to it (and possibly other oils), even if they begin using it diluted. Symptoms of sensitization include a severe and/or itchy rash and even respiratory problems. Whether or not a person has a reaction or becomes sensitized to an oil may simply depend on the type of oil used, how often it is used, and a person’s own unique chemistry. While essential oils are safe, they should always be used carefully and responsibly.
Some individuals find that they can safely use lavender essential oil neat. However, it is best to use the oil diluted over a period of time before doing so. Do not use lavender oil neat if you have never used it before. A 2% solution of lavender oil is still extremely powerful and is effective in addressing a range of issues. A 2% solution works out to about 12 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil (source). To make a 2% essential oil solution, add the essential oil one drop at a time to 1 ounce of your carrier oil. If you have never used the oil before, apply it to a small area of skin, and wait at least 24 hours for signs of a reaction before using it on larger areas.
Verefina Products Containing Lavender Essential Oil
We use lavender essential oil for aromatherapeutic and healing purposes in a number of our products. Our Sugar Scrubs, Olive Oil Lotion, Aloe and Calendula Cream, Foaming Hand Soap, Shea Butter Bar Soap, Baby Soap, and Baby Lotion are all available in a lavender scent. These products are scented with pure lavender oil (NOT artificial fragrances) and allow you to reap the aromatherapeutic benefits of lavender in a pre-diluted form. So you can enjoy the calming, soothing properties of this essential oil every time you use these products. Lavender oil is further diluted in our baby soap and lotion in order to protect your infant’s delicate skin.
Several of our First Aid products contain lavender oil as well. Its healing and antimicrobial properties make it an important ingredient in our First Aid Stick, First Aid Ointment, and After-Sun Mist. As an oil that is repellent to insects, it is added to our Bug Defense Roll-On.
Lavender is one of my favorite essential oils and is a staple in our house. With its wide variety of uses, you’ll find it’s an essential oil that you always want to have on hand.
All-Purpose Household Cleaner with Essential Oils
* Spray bottle
* White vinegar
Pour equal parts water and vinegar into the spray bottle. Add 5 to 20 drops of essential oil (the amount you use just depends on whether you’re making a large or small amount). Use a single essential oil or any combination of the above oils.
Use to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Also good for walls, glass, and mirrors. Shake before each use.
Note: Do not use vinegar on stone surfaces, such as granite counter tops. Instead, mix water with 1 or 2 tsp. of Castile soap and 10 to 20 drops of essential oil. Essential oils can break down plastic over time, so be sure to use up your all-purpose cleaner fairly quickly, or store it in glass.
Axe, Josh. “7 Lavender Oil Benefits for Healing.” Dr. Axe. Web 16 May 2016.
"Does Lavender Oil Work for Hair Growth?" Hair Loss Revolution. 17 June 2015. Web.
“Exploring Aromatherapy.” National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. Web. 16 May 2016.
“Guide to Diluting Essential Oils.” AromaWeb. Web. 16 May 2016.
“Lavender.” University of Maryland Medical Center. 7 May 2013. Web. 16 May 2016. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender
“Lavender Essential Oil.” Aromaweb. Web. 16 May 2016.
“Using Undiluted Essential Oils: A Cautionary Tale.” Aromaceuticals. 16 January 2007. Web. 16 May 2016. https://www.aromaceuticals.com/blog/using-undiluted-essential-oils-a-cautionary-tale