Essential oils are extracted from plants and trees, and they contain chemical compounds that can have a therapeutic effect on the body. They’re used to relieve stress, support the immune system, improve mental clarity, and promote a healthy mood, just to name a few us their uses.
But there are a ton of fragrances out there so how do you know which ones to choose? Below, we’ve put together a list of our top 19 best smelling essential oils.
If you’re considering trying any of the oils below, check out our shop. We have a variety of 100% pure essential oils that are trusted by and used in hospitals and medical facilities throughout the U.S. All of our oils are also lab tested and very affordable.
Now let’s get into the oils…
List of the Best Smelling Essential Oils
There are over 100 essential oils, making it easy for each person to choose aromas that suit their needs. Below we put together the best smelling essential oils based on the type of scent category they fall into (i.e. citrus, floral, wood, etc.).
Citrus Essential Oils
Citrus oils help regulate emotions, often serving as mood boosters. Common application sites include the bottoms of the feet and the back of the neck.
Bergamot is a highly aromatic scent that can calm nerves and emotions, evoke harmony, and reduce stress. When used as a soap, bergamot purifies the skin. Added to tea, it creates Earl Grey.
A 2017 study observed that participants exposed to bergamot oil for just 15 minutes reported higher levels of positive feelings by 17%, compared with those not exposed to bergamot essential oil.
Blending partners: Bergamot pairs particularly well with arborvitae, patchouli, lime, and lavender.
Get your Soothing Scents bergamot oil here.
Lime has a tart, sweet citrus scent that energizes you. It also promotes a healthy immune system, boosts well-being, and enhances antioxidants.
Blending partners: Pair with scents like black pepper, cedarwood, peppermint, and lavender.
Lemon essential oil provides a fresh citrus scent that aids digestion and reduces depression and anxiety. It also boosts mood and soothes sore throats.
Blending partners: Lemon is a versatile scent that blends well with many others, from cedarwood and eucalyptus to other citrus oils.
Grapefruit invokes feelings of happiness and contentment, improves focus, and reduces anxiety. Studies also suggest that it may help lower blood pressure and stress levels.
Blending partners: Grapefruit pairs well with geranium, peppermint, and frankincense.
Orange is a sweet and tangy citrus scent. It is an adaptogen, meaning it helps regulate the body in times of stress.
Blending partners: Orange goes well with lavender, lemon, and bergamot.
Mandarin has subtle floral notes and an intense fruity aroma. It benefits the nervous, immune, digestive, and respiratory systems. Like other citrus scents, it helps enhance mood and reduce anxiety.
Blending partners: Mandarin blends well with lavender, spearmint, sandalwood, and citrus oils.
Floral Essential Oils
Floral essential oils are great for nurturing the mind and heart while promoting healthy emotional support.
Chamomile has a sweet herbaceous aroma with apple undertones. It’s excellent for skin and hair, calms the mind and body, and improves sleep quality.
A 2-week trial conducted by the National Cancer Institute determined that massages with diluted Roman chamomile oils helped decrease anxiety and other symptoms at a higher rate than massage alone.
Blending partners: Chamomile pairs well with most citrus and floral scents.
Jasmine is a sweet floral aromatic with warm, heady undertones. It has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. It encourages optimism and increases alertness. Some also use it as a home remedy for spasms.
Blending partners: Combine jasmine with wood or citrus oils.
Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile scents in aromatherapy. It calms, comforts, promotes deep relaxation, and treats skin inflammation.
One study observed that nurses who inhaled 3% lavender oil over four days had lower stress levels than their co-workers in the control group.
And according to a 2017 review, several trials propose that lavender oil aromatherapy can reduce anxiety before surgery, cosmetic procedures, and during stays in an intensive care unit.
Blending partners: Lavender blends well with most scents, particularly citrus and herb oils.
Rose is another rich floral scent that provides peace of mind, and when used topically, soothes dehydrated skin.
According to one 2015 review, aromatherapy with a rose and lavender blend reduced anxiety in a study of female college students.
Blending partners: Some popular rose combinations include orange, lavender, or frankincense essential oils.
Patchouli is an aromatic herb that treats skin and hair issues like acne, dermatitis, dry patches, and dandruff. Patchouli relieves colds, upset stomachs, and headaches while alleviating depression and anxiety. It’s also an insecticide, antifungal, and antibacterial.
Blending partners: Patchouli blends well with sandalwood, jasmine, rose, frankincense, and cedarwood.
Ylang-ylang is an earthy aromatic with sweet floral notes that boosts memory, helps with relaxation, and encourages a positive outlook. It can also help relieve tension when added to an Epsom salt bath.
Blending partners: Mix ylang-ylang with geranium, lemon, bergamot, marjoram, grapefruit, or sandalwood oils.
Minty Essential Oils
Minty essential oils are stimulating, revitalizing, and uplifting with a crisp, fresh feel. The cool sensation created by minty oils boosts your energy levels and stimulates the mind.
Tea tree is a minty herb that aids with coughs and colds, soothes skin inflammations, treats dandruff and dry skin, and prevents oily skin.
It’s also antibacterial and antifungal. Some use it as a hand sanitizer, to repel insects, and in deodorants. It is a camphoraceous herb, meaning it creates a cooling effect.
Blending partners: You can mix tea tree oil with eucalyptus, bergamot, pine, rosemary, lemon, lavender, or grapefruit.
Eucalyptus essential oil contains a high concentration of eucalyptol (cineol), a compound that helps with deep breathing.
It is a camphoraceous, woody scent that soothes the respiratory system and invokes feelings of refreshment.
Blending partners: You can pair eucalyptus with cedarwood, frankincense, or citrus essential oils.
Peppermint is an aromatic mint hybrid used to alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It also helps with headaches and colds. It also serves as a topical treatment for muscle pains and itching. It has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
Blending partners: Combine peppermint with eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, or tea tree oil.
Woody Essential Oils
Woody essential oils come from the leaves, branches, wood, or resin of trees.
Cinnamon is a sweet-spicy fragrance with a robust scent. It reduces inflammation and serves as a natural remedy for colds, constipation, and coughs. It also repels insects.
Blending partners: Combine cinnamon with lavender, wild orange, lemon, tea tree, clove, ylang-ylang, frankincense, black pepper, or grapefruit.
Cedarwood increases energy and vitality and treats blemishes and minor wounds. It also eases arthritis pain and inflammation.
Blending partners: Cedarwood pairs well with other woody scents or scents that have a spicy undertone.
Sandalwood is a woody floral with sweet accents used to treat mental and physical disorders, such as digestive problems, fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia. It also helps with inflammatory issues, skin problems, and other infections.
Blending partners: Combine sandalwood with florals or citrus scents.
Fir is a crisp, clean scent that promotes a positive mood and improves focus. In addition, it reduces stress and soothes skin irritations.
Blending partners: Add fir oil to orange, lemon, pine, lavender, or rosemary oils.
Use this buyer’s guide to help ensure you pick safe, high-quality essential oils.
How to Select Essential Oils
- Limit your choices to essential oils that are 100% pure
- Use the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health to check the safest ways to use certain oils
- Stick with trusted manufacturers
- Don’t buy oils stored in plastic bottles. Glass is best.
- Do not purchase oils made via chemical distillation.
Things to Remember about Essential Oils
While essential oils are safe to use, there are some things to know before using them.
- Be careful with essential oils around pets and babies
- Never ingest or swallow essential oils
- Dilution is crucial for safe use on skin
- Keep essential oils stored in a dark place, away from direct sunlight
- Oils can expire – expired oils are not safe to use
Essential Oil Usage
Here are some things to know about essential oil usage.
Essential Oils: Blending
Essential oil blending is when you combine different aromas to create a scent. The benefit of blending oils is that you can develop scents tailored to you and your aromatherapy needs.
When blending, choose a top note (a characteristic scent that doesn’t last long), middle note (body), and base (fixative) note. Make a small amount first so you can determine if you like the mix.
Essential Oils: Diffusing
When using essential oil diffusers, you should keep in mind that ratios matter. It only takes three to five drops of oil per 100 mL of water. In contrast, a 500 mL tank requires 15 to 20 drops of oil. Start at a low concentration and work your way up to the one you feel comfortable with.
Essential Oils: Topical Use
When using essential oils topically, it’s crucial to use carrier oils to dilute them. Carrier oils are good for your skin and typically don’t have a scent. Full-strength essential oils can irritate the skin. Common carrier oils include coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, olive, avocado, or grapeseed.
The Bottom Line
While everyone will have different preferences for scents, there is something for everyone. We’ve listed some of the most loved aromas for essential oils, from florals to woods and citruses to mints.
Essential oils have many benefits, whether inhaled or applied topically. Explore our site to see our signature blends and learn more about how aromatherapy can improve your health!