Essential oils are unique; they have great benefits and can be found in everything from cosmetics to the foods we eat. But each oil has its place because there is a reason you won’t find patchouli-flavored brownies or oregano-scented hair spray.
This post will cover the best-smelling essential oils, the worst-smelling oils, and when and where to use them.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are aromatic compounds most often used for aromatherapy, adding scent to cosmetics, and used in household items such as air fresheners.
But what about the essential oils that don’t smell good? What is the point of those oils if they smell bad? Believe it or not, even the worst-smelling essential oils can be used to benefit your body.
This post is all about the worst and best-smelling essential oils, unique essential oils, and the uncommon oils.
Best Smelling Essential Oils
Each person is going to react differently to the different smells. Every individual smells things differently and, as a result, will like or dislike the scent based on their own preference.
In fact, the scents you enjoy most may change over time, for the better or worse.
Depending on your mood or whatever you are dealing with on that particular day may change which scents are appealing that day. So here are, what is considered the best-smelling essential oils.
The best smelling essential oils
- Wild orange
So, what is the best smelling essential oil of all?
According to Forbes, lavender is at the top of the list for best smelling essential oil.
And I have to admit, after using pretty much every single essential oil out there, I think I would have to agree.
Essential Oil Smells Categories
There are 7 different essential oil groups, and each one gives off a distinct aroma. Please note that this is how I categorize my oils, and many can overlap or fall into multiple categories.
Citrus: Citrus essential oils give off a fresh, fruity, and bright smell. They smell clean and have a sweet aroma.
Everyone I have ever talked to enjoys the scent of citrus oils.
Earthy: Earth essential oils, such as citronella, eucalyptus, frankincense, spikenard, and tea tree, have a musky or grassy smell. These essential oils can remind one of the damp summer forests after a rain.
Floral: Floral essential oils are among the most popular essential oils and are high on the list of “best scents.” They have a soft smell that is often described as powdery, relaxing, and calming.
Herbal: Herbal essential oils have a fresh and sharp smell. Each herbal essential oil gives off a unique aroma that will remind you of your favorite kitchen dishes.
Minty: Minty essential oils have a cool, spicy, and refreshing scent. These oils include wintergreen, spearmint, and peppermint.
Spicy: Essential oils that fall under this category give off a hot, pungent aroma.
Woodsy: Essential oils in this category give off an aroma that will remind you of being outside in the woods.
Woodsy essential oils like Siberian fir, sandalwood, and cedarwood have a very distant smell that can relax and calm the body.
Worst Smelling Essential Oils
What are the worst smelling essential oils, you ask? Well, some of the oils on this list may surprise you. A scent you may love may be hated by others. The number one oil on this list is patchouli.
This is a big shock to me because I love the scent of patchouli and often add it to my diffuser blends.
However, I am not surprised because I have been in the essential oil world long enough to know how many people despise the smell of patchouli.
Worst smelling essential oils list:
- Star anise
- Tea tree
How to Use the Worst Smelling Essential Oils
Even though certain essential oils may not smell good, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit your body. If you need to use an oil that smells unpleasant, there are a few ways to mask the smell.
My number one tip is to apply the oil to the bottom of your feet and then put on your socks and shoes so you can’t smell them.
The bottom of your feet is a great place to apply essential oils because your largest pores are there and reach the bloodstream quickly.
Of course, you’ll need to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil and add a more pleasant-smelling essential oil to the blend to change the smell and mask the unwanted scent.
Sweet Smelling Essential Oils
I often get asked which essential oils give off a sweet-smelling aroma. Typically, if you are looking for sweet, you will want to stick to citrus essential oils. Use the list below as a starting point.
- Wild orange
Pair these sweet aromas with a floral oil to make the perfect diffuser blend!
You may recognize citronella as a bug deterrent, which it does a wonderful job at. It makes this list because of its mild, sweet, lemon-like scent.
Unique Essential Oils
Unique essential oils come in the form of pure oils or blends of oils.
Some of the most unique essential oil blends serve very specific purposes, such as doTERRA’s ‘On Guard,’ Young Living’s ‘Gentle Baby,’ or Rocky Mountain Oil’s ‘Purify’ blend.
Each of the blends above uses very specific oils to serve a particular purpose.
But the best smelling essential oil blends are not all there is to this topic. I have found several essential oils, that, on their own, have a wonderfully unique aroma.
- Clary sage
- Ylang ylang
Wondering how long essential oils last? Learn how long EOs last and more here.
Uncommon Essential Oils You Should Try
Once you enter the essential oil world, you will quickly notice there are lots of oils beyond lavender, lemon, and peppermint.
Several of the “weird” or uncommon essential oils will become your favorite once you smell them for the first time or learn how to use them. Check out these less popular oils below!
Cypress: Promotes vitality, provides a natural boost of energy, and has been used to help reduce skin imperfections.
Helichrysum: Known as “liquid stitches,” this oil is a great one to keep around to stop bleeding.
Marjoram: This one is often applied to muscle aches and discomforts for a soothing effect.
Mandarin: Used to provide a natural boost of energy as well as cleanse surfaces and purify the air in diffuser blends.
Ginger: Aside from smelling like a spice, this oil has been used to promote a healthy digestive system.
Lemongrass: This oil has a wide range of uses, including repelling unwanted insects and strengthening hair. (I told you it had a “wide range of uses”)
Top 3 Essential Oils
Lemon, lavender, and peppermint are among the most popular essential oils, followed closely by tea tree and frankincense.
Peppermint has an incredibly soothing effect and can come in handy for muscle discomfort or head tension.
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If you find yourself in need of your own oils, maybe a diffuser, or even want to try your hand at mixing up your own blends, it is going to be helpful to have the supplies on hand.
So check out the oils and equipment I use right here!
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Frequently asked questions
What does frankincense smell like? Frankincense essential oil has a pleasant aroma that I would describe as a warm and woodsy note with just a hint of a spicy, resinous scent.
What is the most relaxing essential oil scent? The winner in this question would have to go to lavender. I would, however, have to include chamomile and ylang ylang as the runner-ups.
What are the best scents for a diffuser? So, hands down, citrus oils are the most loved scents for a diffuser. For more information on blending oils for a diffuser, check out this post here.
What is the strongest-smelling essential oil? Peppermint, cinnamon, and cassia rank at the top of the list when it comes to oils with the strongest scent.
Whether you’re a fan of their delightful scents or not, there’s no denying the positive effects essential oils can have.
While opinions may vary on how to classify these oils, I’ve based my categorization on personal experience and extensive research.
So if you have differing opinions on the way I categorized some of these oils, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you!