Review: Living with essential oils


Last Sunday evening I stood in the kitchen grating orange zest for a citrusy sponge mix. The sweet orange smell brought joy to my baking and the cake rising in the oven fragranced our house with the taste of home. It reminded me what a difference scent can make to daily life and got me thinking about a review I was recently invited to do.

I was over-the-moon when Buff & Butter offered to send me five essential oils to review. Given that winter came in February, I chose rose geranium and myrrh for warmth and comfort, and cedarwood, mandarin and peppermint to uplift and energise.

As an aromatherapist I love to make fragrance a part of everyday life. I also like to share recipes that anyone can make with ingredients and equipment they already have at home. For my review of Buff & Butter, I used one essential oil for five days of the week. I hope that you find the recipes as easy and enjoyable to use as I did.

Monday: Mandarin-and-vinegar fabric conditioner


I opened my bottle of mandarin oil on Monday. The sweet citrus scent with a touch of flower blossom was pleasing and playful. Mandarin is a lovely essential oil that is gently uplifting and soothing.

Inspired by the aroma of Sunday baking, I used my mandarin oil as a homemade fragrance for Monday’s laundry. I like my housekeeping to be as natural as possible and use washing soda, or substitute washing powder for part bicarbonate soda, for laundry detergent and use distilled white vinegar for fabric softener. These clean clothes nicely and don’t leave them smelling of either soda or vinegar.

Add a teaspoon of mandarin oil to half a cup of distilled white vinegar for the laundry rinse cycle to give bedsheets and towels a beautiful sweet orangey fragrance, while the vinegar softens fabric beautifully.

Buff & Butter mandarin essential oil (Citrus nobilis).

Tuesday: Cedarwood room spray


Tuesday 1 March was the start of meteorological spring but someone forgot to tell the weather. It was cold, windy and rainy in Ickenham, not the sort of day for opening the windows to let in fresh air.

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) is a wonderful essential oil with the clear scent of lofty trees. Some find the aroma calming and others find it strengthening, like a walk through a mountain forest. It’s also a good oil for inhaling due to its decongestant properties – helpful for those leftover winter colds.

Cedarwood is ideal as a fragrance for the living room. If you don’t have an aromatherapy burner or vaporiser, you can use a plant spray. Add 10 drops of essential oil to 300ml of water then pour into the bottle and shake well before spraying the room.

I spray two or three times in the air to finely disperse in the middle of the room and avoid polished surfaces or leather furniture. The cedarwood room spray has a subtle and lingering sweet leafy aroma.

Buff & Butter cedarwood essential oil (Cedrus atlantica)

Wednesday: Myrrh room fragrance


I opened myrrh as my midweek essential oil. It had a dark spicy scent that would make an exotic room fragrance. Some find myrrh’s rich resinous aroma calms the nerves. I find the fragrance has a tranquillising effect when used in small amounts, which is sometimes more helpful to an overtired mind than an essential oil with a sedative effect such as chamomile.

This is another simple method to fragrance a room when you don’t have an aromatherapy burner or vaporiser. I poured boiling water into a small bowl and added six to eight drops of myrrh oil. I left the bowl on the dressing table in the bedroom, closed doors and windows and let the scent evaporate into the room.

Buff & Butter myrrh essential oil (Commiphora myrrha)

Thursday: Lazy peppermint lip balm


One of my favourite uses for peppermint oil is in lip balm. A lip balm is so easy to make by melting a little beeswax in olive oil, but this week’s recipes were for everyone to make using other ingredients around the home. Not everyone has beeswax in their kitchen cupboard unless they’re a beekeeper or aromatherapist! But most people have a tub of vaseline in the bathroom cabinet. This peppermint lip balm is even easier to make.

I never buy perfumed vaseline when I can add a few drops of natural fragrance. Add two to three drops of peppermint oil to a 25g jar of vaseline and use a cocktail stick to stir. (I warm the vaseline in sunshine first to make it easier to stir.) The method can be a little messy, smooth the mixture with the back of a teaspoon and wipe off excess around the sides with a kitchen towel.

My lazy peppermint lip balm smelt delicious – sweet, sharp and so clean it almost made my lips feel sparkly!

Buff & Butter peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)

Friday: Rose geranium cream bath


On Friday I opened my bottle of rose geranium oil and smelt a fragrance that was like a rose slowly unfolding. Its floral scent was simply sensational, I wanted to bathe in it. So I ran a bath and poured in rose geranium oil blended with cream. A luxury bathtime treat worthy of Cleopatra!

Pour 150ml of double cream into a small jar adding 15 drops of rose geranium oil. Shake well to blend and then add the contents to a hot bath, swoosh around thoroughly.

This rose geranium cream bath would also make a lovely homemade gift for Mothering Sunday. Pour the blend into a pretty jar and label for mum to use same day!

Buff & Butter rose geranium essential oil (Pelargonium species)

So there you go, five ways to use five essential oils at home every day of the week.

The iced orange bundt cake also turned out well.


Disclaimer: I received Buff & Butter‘s five essential oils for free in return for a review and, as you can see, they were beautifully versatile to use. I loved their particularly fresh fragrance which evoked memories of summer meadows.


14 thoughts on “Review: Living with essential oils

    • It’s the fat in the double cream that allow the essential oils to bind to the blend and disperse more easily in bath water. I’ve tried this with semi-skimmed milk, but it doesn’t work as well.

      • Ah I see! Happen to have some double cream left over from a potato bake, seems like a good opportunity to try it out in a nice hot bath, so chilly outside at the moment.

      • Remember during pregnancy rose geranium is sometimes contraindicated in different sources, and dilutions are usually much lower.

        Mandarin is a lovely substitute using about 3-5 drops in 150ml double cream. Or you can use double cream by itself in a bath.

        Run a warm bath then when it’s almost finished running, pour in double cream and swoosh around thoroughly. It leaves skin feeling lovely and softly cleansed afterwards.

        The only downside is the bath will need a good rinse to get rid of fatty residue afterwards. But as I clean my bathrooms with washing soda or bicarbonate soda, I don’t find this a problem.

  1. It is so strange – today I opened a bottle of hypo allergenic fabric softener and nearly choked on the strong perfume. But it was all right the product contained less than 15% perfume ??? Now I can try your vinegar and essential oil. I was just going to try to find an alternative! The review ideas are really helpful. Amelia

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