We already know that citrus essential oils can give a zingy and energizing boost to your beauty routine, but did you know that they’re also famous for boosting your mood? They can be used as part of an aromatherapy or DIY spa routine, and are ultra beneficial when activated in a diffuser.
Often, citrus oils are a key ingredient in mood boosting oil blends. They’re referred to as “happy” oils by aromatherapy experts because of their ability to boost mood and energy when inhaled. Different combinations of pink grapefruit, lemon, orange, and bergamot can have different benefits, and can be mixed and matched for slightly varying scent profiles. Here are our top tips for using citrus essential oils for an uplifting sensory experience!
4 Ways to Use Citrus Essential Oil for Mood
There are a few basic application methods for using citrus oil to boost your mood. We’ve broken down the four most popular methods here:
With a Carrier Oil
The simplest method is to blend with a light carrier oil, then apply a few drops to the insides of your wrists for an all day scent lift. Use a ratio of 2% essential oil to total volume of carrier oil. Our favorite carrier oils are: coconut oil, argan oil, and vitamin E oil.
In a Bottle
Alternately, add a few drop of citrus essential oil to a hydrosol, purified water, or witch hazel in a spray bottle. Use this mixture as an all-day refresher for keeping makeup set and your complexion dewy. Mixing your citrus essential oil with a flower hydrosol, like rose or lavender, makes a great room spray!
For a more intense spa experience, put a few drops in a steaming bowl of heated water and rest your head over the bowl. This will open your pores and your nasal passages, and allow for absorption of the oil molecules into your deep epidermal layers.
In a Diffuser
You can also try diffusing citrus essential oil in your home or office diffuser, to lift the atmosphere in any room. When diffused through an office or workspace, citrus oils can boost creativity, productivity, and a sense of wellbeing.
What Makes Citrus a “Happy” Oil?
OK, so how can an essential oil boost your mood? Studies have shown that the aromatic molecules present in citrus oils cross the blood-brain barrier when inhaled, having a direct impact of areas of the brain that control feelings of anxiety and depression. The nerve cells in the nose detect a smell – of sweet and lively bergamot for example – and send a message through the olfactory nerve to the brain. The brain receives this scent message through an area of the brain called the limbic system, a section of the brain directly related to emotional wellbeing, pain and pleasure. The limbic system is also tied up with memory and emotional responses, so aromatherapy can be a tool to trigger calming memories or positive emotional responses. Because of this, citrus aromatherapy is a powerful tool for treating depression.
Specific Citrus Benefits
Each citrus oil has its own set of mood-related benefits. Pampering citrus essential oils include bergamot, pink grapefruit, lemon, and orange -- all instant pick-me-ups with a variety of benefits. Plus, the whole family of citrus oils boast a range of subtle scent differences. Orange and bergamot are slightly sweeter, while grapefruit has a floral and bitter aroma, and lemon is lively and bracing.
One standout oil for treating emotional wellbeing is bergamot oil, a particularly powerful citrus oil acknowledged for its uplifting effects. A 2014 study with 58 patients did a test where every patient was massaged with a bergamot oil blend every day. Compared to the control group, who were not treated with bergamot daily, the group who received aromatherapy hand massages reported less stress and depression. Other studies looking at the anti-anxiety potential of bergamot had similarly promising results.
Lemon oil is a natural antibacterial and stimulant, so diffusing it into the air has a naturally purifying and refreshing effect. Its clean, crisp scent can also boost productivity and energize the mind.
Pink grapefruit, when inhaled, can be effective at staving off symptoms of the common cold, such as congestion and swollen nasal passages. The floral, bitter aroma of this citrus oil is bright and uplifting, making it a great room spray oil for at-home spa treatments.
Orange has a major chemical component of limonene, which has been shown to reduce anxiety by lowering the heart rate. Because of this, orange used topically or inhaled can be a highly effective therapy for physiological symptoms of anxiety.
Ultimately, citrus essential oil is a potent class of oils with the potential to alleviate stress and up your happy brain function. They’re a helpful piece of the puzzle when it comes to taking a holistic approach to both mental and physical health.