12 essential oil blends perfect for summer
Summer. What’s not to love? The salt, sand and sun-bleached, lazy days to soak it all in. Yet not everyone experiences summer that way. For some, summer inflames, is drying and brings irritability, impatience and sunburn, and then there’s the lethargy …
Pure essential oils can help set you up for a summer of sensual delight. This soothing list of summer scents will help cool you off this season and energise, nourish and prepare for you for the weeks ahead.
Essential oils are pure essences extracted from different parts of fruits, trees, flowers and stems. Pure essential oils are those that have no additives at all — no fillers, extenders, synthetic materials … the only ingredient is the essential oil. For your health, it’s important to avoid cheap, synthetic oils and look for wild-harvested or certified organic essential oils, as these contain no petrochemical-derived compounds or botanical substitutes.
Energising blends of essential oils are activating, toning and renewing, countering the malaise of summer.
For example, according to David Crow of essential oil company Floracopeia, it takes “1,400,000 handpicked rose blossoms to produce a litre of rose essential oil”. Imagine. He says, “A single ounce of this oil contains the essence of 40,000 rose blossoms. Sixty-seven roses give only one drop of essential oil.” This is why pure rose oil is so expensive.
Essential oils first became commercialised in the 1920s when French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse applied lavender oil to his burnt hand after a laboratory explosion. Long before that, though, many people in cultures throughout the world, including in Biblical times and in Ancient Egypt, improved their health and beauty through the potency of essential oils.
How do they work?
The essence of oils travels through your respiratory system and sinuses to reach your brain. Smell receptors in the nose link directly to the limbic system — a set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus, immediately beneath the cerebrum — by way of the olfactory nerves. The limbic system supports the functioning of emotions, behaviour, motivation, memory and olfaction (the chemoreception forming your sense of smell).
Properties within essential oils influence your nerves, immune system, hormones and mental and emotional health. In Ayurvedic terms, David Crow explains, essential oils enhance the flow of prana (life force), nourish ojas (nutritional/immunological essence) as well as brighten tejas (mental luminosity).
You can use essential oils for specific ailments and to balance you seasonally. Blend essential oils together for use or use individually.
- Avoid using essential oils during pregnancy, particularly basil, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon leaf, clary sage, ginger, jasmine, marjoram, peppermint, rosemary and wintergreen oils.
- Avoid oils having contact with the eyes and mucus membranes. If this occurs, flush immediately for about 20 minutes and seek medical attention.
The day before application, test essential oils on a small area of the skin for allergies.
- Avoid direct exposure to UV rays after applying essential oils to the skin in carrier oils.
- When using oils indoors, keep the area well ventilated.
- Keep out of reach of children. It’s recommended to seek advice from a qualified aromatherapist before using essential oils on infants, children and elderly people.
Essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil before applying directly to the skin. Sesame, jojoba, coconut and grapeseed oils make wonderful carrier oils, with cooling, certified organic coconut oil an excellent choice for summer. Apply five drops of your chosen essential oil to one tablespoon of carrier oil. Store this in a cool, dry place. If using coconut oil, the blend can turn rancid easily, so check it regularly and discard after a few weeks to be safe.
For a summery scent, combine zesty oils like citrus with cooling scents and light floral or woody tones.
Khursheed Irani, a clinical aromatherapist at Subtle Energies, suggests further cooling base oils for summer. She says Ayurveda aromatherapy uses brahmi and amla, as well as chaul mugra and jungle jardaloo (wild apricot kernel) as they calm inflammation. Irani further suggests to add neem and saffron oils to your carrier oils, as neem is cooling and highly therapeutic, and saffron is an excellent balancer on all levels, a great toner for all skin types and an excellent blood purifier.
Easing summer troubles
Essential oils that detoxify, such as lime, tulsi, turmeric, fennel and nagarmotha, are ideal for summer, explains Irani. The diuretic and blood-purifying nature of these oils assists in kickstarting the adrenal glands. In summer, Irani advises to choose essential oils that are cooling and soothing for the skin yet heating for the blood, such as the euphoric florals of mogra, champa, juhi, rose and woods such as Sandalwood. Cooling green oils such as coriander seed, neem and rhukhus are also wonderful.
Essential oils can be applied to your entire home for therapeutic benefits that balance the family and your abode itself.
Energising blends of essential oils are activating, toning and renewing, countering the malaise of summer. Look for energising blends that are cooling and anti-inflammatory to tone excess fluid retention. Irani suggests blends that have a skin repair focus, helping to keep the skin well maintained, hydrated and enriched.
In summer, your skin is at risk of dehydration and damage from overexposure to the sun. Here, Irani suggests the rich oils of mogra, kewda, rose and rhukhus to help. Antimicrobial oils such as peppermint, black pepper, ginger, tulsi and eucalyptus, meanwhile, will help hydrate and alleviate cold and flu symptoms that occur from moving in and out of air-conditioned places.
Blends for summer
For a summery scent, combine zesty oils like citrus with cooling scents and light floral or woody tones. In addition to the above recommendations, consider the blends below and explore your personal preferences for positively transforming your mood and health. If using for massage, add these blends to a carrier oil; otherwise, follow our instructions for using essential oils in the home.
In your choice of around two tablespoons of carrier oil, add 5 drops of the first oil, 3–4 drops of the second and 1–2 drops of the third and fourth oils.
- For cooling zest: tangerine, lemon, peppermint
- To uplift: lemon, rosemary, lavender
- To reduce intensity: peppermint, coriander, geranium
- For cool florals: rose, jasmine, gardenia, mint
- For cooling freshness: lemongrass, orange, peppermint
- For calming freshness: lavender, lime, spearmint
- For cool, calm and collected: lavender, chamomile, sandalwood
- For nurturance: neroli, frankincense, rose
- For an afternoon pick-me-up: grapefruit, wild orange, lemon, bergamot
- For allergies: lavender, peppermint, lemon
- For mosquito repellent: basil, eucalyptus, lemongrass, thyme
- For calm, try any of these blends: lavender, bergamot, rosemary; orange, bergamot, chamomile; chamomile, lavender, vetiver
Benefits of summer essentials oils
Which oils will you choose this summer for your body and mind? The list below will help in considering what you might like to blend together.
- Basil. Uplifting and clarifying, helps alleviate mental fatigue. Mosquitoes don’t like basil.
- Black pepper.Detoxes the blood and relieves aches and pains.
- Refreshes, reduces stress and helps relieve nervous tension.
- Chamomile (German).Has anti-inflammatory properties, relieves allergies and is a mild sedative, aiding sound sleep. An antidepressant, is comforting, calming and helps suppress anger.
- Champa. A floral, fruity oil, it calms and relaxes.
- A relaxing yet stimulating oil and soothing to the body.
- Eucalyptus. Invigorating, clarifying, good for respiratory disorders, colds and flus. It cleanses.
- Fennel. Warming yet also rehydrating, calming and revitalising.
- Frankincense. Rejuvenating, fortifying. Has astringent, purifying and anti-heat qualities. A sacred, soothing, spiritual oil, it aids meditation. Benefits the respiratory system and skin, enhances immunity, is calming and comforting.
- Ginger. While warming, this woody oil is anti-inflammatory. Helps reduce stress and is an antiseptic. Also good for muscle and joint pain.
- Jasmine. An aphrodisiac, jasmine is relaxing, uplifting and helps boost energy.
- Gardenia. Calms irritability, is an anti-inflammatory, cools the blood, is antibacterial and helps reduce stress.
- Lavender. A first-aid essential. Antibacterial, activating immune defence, cell rejuvenation and healing. Calming, relaxing, cooling, soothing and revitalising. A mosquito-repellent and pain reliever, also great for burns. A relaxant, it uplifts, helps reduce insomnia, especially on those hot nights. Brings calm to kids.
- Lemon. Light, uplifting and refreshing, lemon helps combat depression and mental fatigue.
- Lemongrass. A fortifying oil, it tones the skin, detoxifies, purifies and cleanses.
- Lime. An astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial oil, it’s an antidepressant that helps to relieve arthritis.
- Mogra. Helps alleviate negative thoughts. An aphrodisiac and antiseptic.
- Nagarmotha. A woody oil, it regulates prana. It has analgaesic properties, is astringent and anti-inflammatory.
- Neem. Rejuenvates the skin cells and restores elasticity. An antioxidant, it is rich in glycerides and fatty acids, is therapeutic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
- Neroli. A sensual, calming oil that stimulates cell growth. It helps reduce anxiety and stress.
- Orange. A joyful oil, refreshing and uplifting. It’s tonifying and can help relieve headaches.
- Peppermint. Cooling, detoxifying, energising and invigorating. Cools skin irritations, itchiness, redness and inflammation. Helps relieve sunburn.
- Rhukhus. A woody, warm oil, also known as wild vetiver, it’s uplifting, stabilising and helps relieve depression and overcome mental fatigue.
- Rose. Rose is the beauty oil. Rose rehydrates and rejuvenates, benefiting all skin types, especially irritated, dry and sensitive skin. Rose oil is a great skin toner. An aphrodisiac, it also relaxes the mind, uplifts and restores energy. An antidepressant, this beautiful, cooling oil is the “love” oil. Use rosewater as a compress for the eyes and skin during excessive body temperatures.
- Rosemary. Enlivens. Helps with lethargy, fatigue, drowsiness. It’s very stimulating with a strong effect on the nervous system.
- Tangerine. A refreshing oil, it’s cleansing, uplifting and good for stress reduction.
- Thyme. Energising, detoxifying and cleansing, it’s antibacterial and purifying. Excellent for the respiratory system.
- Tulsi. Known as holy basil, it’s a herbaceous, minty oil, that’s uplifting, purifying and boosts vitality.
- Turmeric. An anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic oil, great used with frankincense for pain relief.
- Sandalwood. A cooling astringent with heat-reducing properties, it’s calming and relaxing, and is used to bring peace. Soothes cracked or dry skin. Helps bring courage.
- Vetiver. Relaxes, calms the nerves, soothes skin irritations and regenerates. It’s anti-inflammatory and helps release anger.
- Ylang ylang.A sensual, aphrodisiac oil, it uplifts and soothes. Helps with depression.
Essential oils can be applied to your entire home for therapeutic benefits that balance the family and your abode itself. Consider these applications this summer:
In ceramic vaporisers, essential oils are diluted in water and placed under the flame of a tea-light candle. The flame gently warms the water and oil to fill the air with aromas. Try summer scents that freshen and energise in your home
Ultrasonic diffusers and nebulisers use the vibration of water molecules to disperse the essential oils throughout the home.
Fill a clean spray bottle with water mixed with your essential oil blend and use as an air freshener, as well as on carpets and soft furnishings. Include citrus or a romantic oil such as rose
Add essential oils to natural surface and floor cleaners, especially citrus and woody oils in summer to freshen your home.
Bring essential oils with you when out and about. Simply open the bottle and breathe it in
Hydrosols are the aromatic waters produced during the steam distillation process. Hydrosols are safe for children. Use as a mist spray on the skin during the summer heat, as a toner to cool down on hot days, or use in the bath. Lavender and rose hydrosol refreshes.
Floral hydrosols are beautiful and essential summer tools. According to Khursheed Irani, “Using waters like the rose and kewda are easy to use and instant cooling agents that help keep the skin lightly hydrated.” She suggests hydrosol of rhukhus, explaining that, “in India fans are made out of the roots of the rhukhus and cooling drinks are made from it”. Irani also suggests Indian lime, saying she has seen people who were feeling dehydrated or out of sorts come into balance immediately with this particular hydrosol.
Keep your hydrosols in the fridge to extend shelf life.
Add the essential oil blends direct to your bath water or add through a hydrosol and soak in the serenity. Use energising blends for the beginning of the day, and the sensual or calming blends for evening.
Use hot compresses for migraines and sore muscles. Try peppermint, rosewood and neroli oils.
Place a few drops of essential oil on a piece of material then soak it in hot water. Wring out and wrap it onto your head or sore muscle area, leaving there for 10–20 minutes while still warm. Repeat until you feel better.
Use essential oil in a cold compress to cool off on hot days. Apply the same process as you would with hot compress, using cold water instead
Essential oils can be massaged into your head as a hair treatment. Blend together sandalwood, ylang ylang and patchouli essential oils in a carrier oil and apply to sun-bleached hair during summer.
Before sleep, or at least 30 minutes before washing your hair in the morning, massage this blend into your skull for about 15 minutes.
Add essential oils to carrier oil for self-massage. Abhyanga self-massage is usually performed in the morning, about 30 minutes before showering. However, you can use the same technique, adding essential oils to the base oil, around 6–8 hours before showering at another time. Consider also creating your own serum of essential oils in a carrier base, to massage into the skin throughout the day.
Avoid directly applying essential oils, even in carrier oils, to the eyes, broken skin and the inside of ears during massage.
At night, gently massage a calming summer essential oil blend in a carrier oil on the temples, neck and soles of the feet before sleep.
How to perform abhyanga
Warm oil in your hands, then massage it into your scalp in circular motions. Massage your face, using circular, upward movements. Massage your earlobes. Apply oil to your limbs using long, upward strokes towards the heart, and circular movements at the joints. Massage your abdomen, up the right side, across to the left, down the left. Let the oils soak in while you meditate.
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