Best essential oils 2022: Top essential oils for diffusers, massage and more

Lavender essential oil can help you relax and sleep better, but there's far more to the best essential oils than just lavender...

best essential oils
(Image credit: Chelsea shapouri on Unsplash)

There are many reasons why you might be searching for the best essential oils, and why you might be looking into aromatherapy massage and other wellness treatments. Perhaps you're feeling stressed, suffering from poor sleep, or generally in need of a tonic or a boost in mood? 

Wellness treatments use essential oils to address all of those issues and many more besides. For example, most of us know that lavender oil is used as a relaxation aid to promote better sleep, and that tea-tree oil has superb antibacterial properties. 

So if you're looking for a non-toxic and natural way to enhance your wellbeing, the best essential oils can help – and when we say best, we're talking high quality oils here. Health-boosting properties aside for one second, these types of aroma oils smell fantastic, and we all know that scent can be a powerful mood booster in itself.

Remember: if you are experiencing health issues, speak to your GP to discover what treatment you may need and what help might be available to you.

Essential oils aren’t anything new – Ancient Egypt is widely believed to be their birthplace, and if they're good enough for Cleopatra, they're good enough for us. That's why we've been trying out various oils made by a range of brands, from Aesop to Neom, to bring you our pick of the best essential oils.

These types of aroma oils, which include the likes of lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil, have gone mainstream in the past decade. Leading beauty brands are widely incorporating them into a whole world of nourishing products, from shampoos and body washes to perfumes and facial moisturisers. Albeit, these products are usually more expensive because they contain potent oils.

Once you open your eyes to the world of essential oils, you’ll notice that they’re everywhere – in ointments, gels, perfumes, candles and pillow sprays. There are a host of essential oil diffusers you can buy to make the most of them too. 

Generally speaking, organic essential oils are of a superior quality and should also be favoured, budget allowing. There are some surprisingly powerful and affordable alternatives though, and we've included both options below. Let's take a look at these best essential oils now... 

The best essential oils to buy now

Best essential oils: Neal’s Yard Lavender English Organic Essential Oil

(Image credit: Neal's Yard)

1. Neal's Yard Remedies Organic Lavender Essential Oil

The best essential oil to help calm anxiety and boost relaxation

Reasons to buy

High-quality organic oil
Soothing lavender scent
A little goes a long way

Believed to have sedative qualities, lavender is used by professional aromatherapy practitioners to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, and to aid relaxation for enhanced peace of mind and to encourage better sleep. No wonder it appears in so many wellness products.

This Neal’s Yard formula tops our best essential oils list because it is organic, potent, and has been steam-distilled from the flowers and leaves of Hampshire-grown lavender. You can either inhale it – always read the instructions before doing so – or mix a few drops into your bath oil for a relaxing soak in the tub when you're feeling stressed or anxious. 

Remember: if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, stress or issues sleeping, speak to your GP or wellness practitioner and seek their advice about what treatment or support you might need.


(Image credit: Aesop)

2. Aēsop Isabelle Essential Oil

The best essential oil for meditation and increasing mindfulness

Reasons to buy

Trusted essential oil brand
Plant-based ingredients
Great for clearing your mind

Need to refocus your mind and find clarity? This is the best essential oil for you, and a great choice when you're meditating or finding a few moments to be more mindful throughout your day. 

Australian essential oils brand Aēsop is well-established in this arena, and uses only purely plant-based ingredients. No wonder Aēsop essential oils smell so heavenly. 

Case in point is this ultra-fresh-smelling Isabelle Oil, which blends spearmint with rosemary – a perfect concoction to aid clear thinking and to refocus your mind. Simply add it to your essential oil diffuser and let it work its magic on your stressed, overloaded brain.

Best essential oils: This Works Deep Sleep Super Blend

(Image credit: This Works)

3. This Works Deep Sleep Super Blend

The best essential oil for sleep

Having trouble sleeping? Or, perhaps you sleep well and want to ensure it stays that way? Well, turn to the Deep Sleep Super Blend. This Works is a go-to brand when it comes to pesky sleep-related concerns, as anyone who’s tried their popular Deep Sleep pillow spray will attest.

The Deep Sleep Super Blend is a heavenly brew of lavender (there it is again), vetivert and camomile; a dreamy medley that aspires to calm the nerves, relieve tension and soothe the mind before bedtime. 

This is an ideal essential oil for diffuser use when you're starting your pre-sleep wind-down routine. Breathe it in deeply when you're journalling and purging any thoughts or to-do lists from your brain that might stop you from easily falling asleep.

Best essential oils: Homedics Ellia Grapefruit Essential Oil

(Image credit: HoMedics)

4. Ellia Grapefruit Essential Oil

The best essential oil for easing the winter blues

Reasons to buy

Zesty, uplifting scent
Helps you to feel more positive
Mix it with a base carrier for skin application

Zesty citrus fragrances are perfect pick-me-ups during the dark and cold winter months. In fact, grapefruit is generally believed to have an energising, mood-boosting effect, much like it’s citrus relatives (lemons, limes, oranges, and so on).

American essential oil specialists Ellia use only 100 per cent pure, therapeutic grade oils, which can be used in a diffuser (add five to seven drops per session) or blended with a base carrier to be applied to your skin during massage. 

Using grapefruits sourced from South America, this tangy concentrate is ideal for bringing out, as Ellia says, ‘when you need a positive perspective’. Motivating and refreshing, it’s also a brilliant scent to fill your home with during that next big spring clean.

Best essential oils: Muji Cedarwood Essential Oil

(Image credit: Muji)

5. Muji Cedarwood Essential Oil

This deeply woody fragrance is ideal when you're in need of rejuvenation

Reasons to buy

Works with aroma diffusers

There are several different types of cedar tree, so Cedarwood oil properties are numerous, and the benefits you'd get from a Cedarewood essential oil can depend on the type of tree the oil is harvested from. In short, it's a good oil for rejuvenation, and when you're in need of a pick me-up.

Muji does a great line of affordable essential oils, which they sell alongside their own Aroma Diffuser. There are lots of aromas to choose from, including lime, eucalyptus, pine and, our personal favourite, Cedar. 

Steam distilled from the the American Cedarwood Virginian tree, this heady essential oil is described as having ‘balsamic undertones’ and a ‘comforting, passionate effect’. Sounds good to us.

Buy Muji Cedarwood Essential Oil direct from Muji.

Best essential oils: Neom Organics London Perfect Peace Essential Oil

(Image credit: Neom)

6. Neom Organics London Perfect Peace Essential Oil

The best essential oil for use with an essential oil diffuser

Reasons to buy

A potent blend of 25 oils
Ideal for diffuser use
All-natural ingredients

Blending a whopping 25 pure essential oils, including pine, myrrh and lime peel, this intoxicating scent is designed to mellow you out – especially when incorporated into a warm bath or therapeutic massage at home. 

Neom pride themselves on cooking up fragrances that boost your wellbeing and mood, with the helping hand of 100% natural ingredients, and this one’s a beauty. The only problem is that it keeps selling out, so if you like the sound of it and see a bottle at a good price (the RRP is £20), buy it.

Buy Neom Organics London Perfect Peach Essential Oil direct from Neom (opens in new tab).

Best essential oils: Tisserand Muscle Ease Bath Oil

(Image credit: Tisserand)

7. Tisserand Muscle Ease Bath Oil

The best essential oils-packed bath oil for soothing tired muscles

Reasons to buy

Uplifting scent
Versatile in its use

Tisserand have been a key players in the essential oil game since 1974, and top-notch ingredients are at the heart of their brand. Relieve those achy, overworked joints and muscles by splashing a few drops of this blend into your bath...

Invigorating ginger meets refreshing lemongrass and uplifting rosemary, all to create a replenishing tonic for both the body and mind.  

Best essential oils: Kiehls Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate

(Image credit: Kiehls)

8. Kiehls Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate

The best essential oil blend in facial oil form

Reasons to buy

Highly nourishing
Created to calm stressed skin

Kiehls have been doing their thing, pharmaceutically speaking, since 1851, so we trust that they know a thing or two about good skincare. A dedication to old apothecary-style, natural ingredients has led to some curious pairings – this facial oil blends Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil with Green Oregano Oil. 

Intended for ‘skin prone to blemishes, visible redness and discomfort’, this lightweight concoction strives to calm stressed skin. 

Buy Kiehls Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate direct from Kiehls (opens in new tab).

Best essential oils: Ren Atlantic Kelp And Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Toning Body Oil

(Image credit: Ren )

9. Ren Atlantic Kelp And Microalgae Body Oil

A sumptuous body oil for aiding post-workout recovery

Reasons to buy

Locks in moisture
Tones skin
Helps to relax muscles

For a spot of post-workout pampering, look no further than this Anti-Fatigue Toning Body Oil by iconic British skincare brand Ren, which is rich with oceanic ingredients like kelp extract, microalgae oil and red algae extract. Collectively this powerhouse body oil replenishes skin, locks in moisture and works towards toning skin and relaxing muscles. One to throw in your gym bag.  

Best essential oils: Cowshed Indulge Bath & Body Oil

(Image credit: Cowshed)

10. Cowshed Indulge Bath and Body Oil

The one to turn your bath into a spa experience

Reasons to buy

A luxury bath and body oil
Smells divine
Nourishing for your skin

Cowshed is one of the UK’s go-to spa brands, founded deep in rural Somerset by the same brains behind Soho House. This feminine bath and body oil is fragranced with Madagascan Ylang Ylang, Moroccan Rose, Indian Palmarosa, French Lavender and Linden Blossom. This essential oil blend is devised to soften and relax you. Plus, the pretty packaging boosts its credentials as a gorgeous gift to give at any time of year, especially for anyone who wants to nourish their wellbeing.  

Grace Allen is a homes style and interiors writer, and has written for other trusted Future brands including Real Homes.