Essential oils can support our physical and mental being, but with so many to choose from, it's hard to narrow down which EO is best for your needs. My opinion as a certified aromatherapist? If there's only one essential oil in your medicine cabinet, let it be lavender essential oil. The skin benefits alone are so admired that in aromatherapy, we often say that if you had to throw out all our EOs except one, lavendula angustifolia would be the keeper.
In general, essential oils are one of the easiest ways to get an immediate response with natural skin care because of their potency. However, that also has its bad side: As German dermatologist Timm Golueke, M.D. explained to Vogue, using the most volatile part of the plant means you're more likely to have a negative reaction than you would with the gentler carrier oils.
Lavender essential oil is believed to be one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin without dilution — as long as you're not a baby, a pregnant person, an elderly person, or someone with allergies to the Lamiaceae family (that includes things like rosemary, thyme, and basil). Lavender is also a natural antiseptic, with antiviral properties that help cleanse the skin of impurities. With anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, this flowering plant has saved my skin from peeling sunburns, cysts, and signs of stress.
A note before we dive right into the recipes: Lavender comes in a variety of forms. This list of ways you can use lavender for skin and hair saving remedies applies to lavendula angustifolia, which can be found growing in some states on the east coast.
1. Bee Stings
I know from experience that applying lavender essential oil directly on a bee sting can relieve itchiness and painful inflammation. According to sources at Every Day Roots, you can even use a diluted application for the sting if you aren't comfortable using it directly on the wound. I've recommended using lavender with coconut oil for a soothing solution to a burning problem.
While there are undoubtedly more potent essential oils for severe acne, lavender essential oil can provide support for your moderate blemishes. If you love using a particular fixed oil at night, adding lavender can provide some antiseptic properties that will keep pores unclogged and even make your favorite fixed oil feel less heavy. The cleansing properties of lavender are great for mild blemishes that are forming.
3. Hair Moisturizing
Lavender is one of the few oils that I recommend using in a homemade conditioner because it's cleansing properties are gentle and the inflammatory properties create an ideal environment for healthy hair growth. According to many sources, including the University Of Maryland's Medical Center, lavender oil appears to have the potential to increase hair growth in alopecia patients.
4. Facial Mist
A facial mist add explainer link is great for when your skin is feeling dehydrated or oily halfway through the day. You can use either a lavender hydrosol made from the leftovers of the essential oil or add lavender essential oil to distilled water. Store your mist in a tinted spray bottle and spritz whenever the urge strikes. Even though lavender can be used on its own, a good rule of thumb is 20 drops to two ounces of water for this particular spray.
5. Wound Treatment
Whenever I cut myself, I am immediately looking for lavender oil. Not only does lavender clean wounds gently and efficiently, but it's also been cited as a natural way to stop the bleeding and relieve the pain caused by a wound. You can use this diluted on an open wound or a healing wound to bring down inflammation, disinfect, and promote healing without scarring. If you aren't comfortable using the oil solo, mixed it with a raw, unrefined fixed oil for dilution.
6. Hair Cleansing
I love adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to my 'pooless cleansing routine. Whether you are using apple cider vinegar, raw honey, or baking soda, a little lavender can make your cleanser more aromatically pleasing while disinfecting the scalp of oil and dirt without drying it out.
7. Minor Burn Treatment
I don't sunburn often, but a few years ago, I woke up to find my face a blotchy, dry, flaky mess. After a few days of Googling "Am I dying?" and using lavender essential oil, my skin began to flake and I realized I was dealing with my first sunburn. Of course, by the time I realized what it was the lavender had almost completely given me back my face. Lavender has soothing, calming properties and it's a famous at-home remedy for burns (though there has yet to be any conclusive study on the matter).
Eczema is a skin condition that leaves skin dry, itchy, inflamed, and often with dark patches on the skin often caused by bacteria and yeast build-up, as opposed to external factors. Lavender being both anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing makes it a go-to essential oil when treating eczema naturally.
9. Bug Repellent
Essential oils are amazing for repelling bugs. Most of my life, I've spent summers with inflamed, itchy skin and sometimes fevers from mosquito bites. For whatever reason, mosquitoes loved me — until I became an aromatherapist. Essential oils, like lavender, get absorbed into our blood stream through the skin very quickly and remain for several hours. You can use lavender essential oil in a homemade bug spray or you can simply take a whiff to keep mosquitoes at bay. Not only does lavender protect you from the visible bugs outdoors, but some claim it can even keep bed bugs away naturally.