Aromatherapy has been around for centuries. Once used almost exclusively by alternative medicine practitioners, there has now been considerable research into how certain scents can enhance our sense of well-being and even our health.
While some seek out essential oils for specific reasons, others are simply looking for something that smells good. Aromatherapy can be as easy as inhaling a drop from inside cupped hands or using a diffuser to add a nice touch to your home (or even your car), but which essential oils smell best?
The answer is, of course, subjective. But here are some of the key properties of essential oils to help hone your scent sensibility:
One of the most popular essential oils is lavender, and it’s easy to see why. If you’ve ever passed a lavender bush, you’ll know that it smells fresh and floral. Many also describe it as calming or comforting.
For those who love the scent of flowers but want to try something other than lavender, options include geranium, jasmine and ylang ylang. Of course, different essential oils can even be combined to create a custom floral blend.
There is something so clean and refreshing about the smell of lemons, which is why so many people love lemon essential oil. And scientists agree—one study found that inhaling it was more effective at boosting mood than lavender aromatherapy.
If you already enjoy the citrusy scent and want to branch out beyond lemon, other options include orange, bergamot, lemongrass and grapefruit, which offer a similar aroma while being their own distinct scents.
Tree oils, such as sandalwood, are often described as grounding, comforting and soothing. As a result, the strong, earthy smell might help dispel tension and create a calmer atmosphere. It’s no surprise, then, that sandalwood has been traditionally used during rituals and meditation for generations.
Already enjoy the woodsy, sweet smell of sandalwood but want to try something else? Cedarwood or balsam fir needle essential oils can be excellent alternatives while offering a similar aromatic profile. For something earthy but a little different, try vetiver, which is a grass.
There’s something so warm and inviting about the smell of cinnamon. Depending on your mood, it’s almost seductive. While the sweet scent might send you running to the kitchen in search of freshly baked goods, you can replicate that feeling with cinnamon essential oil.