3 Reasons Essential Oils Don’t Work

Happy Saturday, friends!

Today I want to share a post that I have been wanting to write for a long time!  Those of you who know how much I love my essential oils might be confused by my title. 

But that title has been in my mind for quite sometime, and over the past four years of using essential oils, I have talked to people who say to me, “I don’t think my oils work?”

Well, they probably didn’t.  And I have learned why.

There are three main reasons why your essential oils didn’t work.


1.  One reason is because you are not using the oils often enough.  

I remember when I first started using oils, I would read about an oil that I wanted to use for a symptom I was having. Then I would apply the oil, and my symptom(s) wouldn’t go away, and I would think, “Dang.  These oils don’t work.”

The problem was that I wasn’t using the oils often enough.  When applied topically, it takes 2 – 3 minutes for an oil to reach the bloodstream, 20 minutes to affect every cell in the body, then metabolized within 2 ½ hours.  Did you read that?  They metabolize out of the body within 2 1/2 hours, so they need to be applied more often.   I usually apply my oils every 2 to 3 hours.

When I started applying my oils more frequently, it was a game changer.  I saw great results with my oils!

It is also important to know that there are three different ways to use the oils.  

Aromatically means to inhale the essential oils.  Most of us think of diffusing our oils in a diffuser, but lately, I enjoy inhaling my oils right from my hands.  I put a few drops of the oil in my hands, rub my hands together in a circular motion to activate the oils, cup my hands around my face, and inhale the oils deeply.  It sounds crazy, but y’all, it is heaven on earth.  And did you know that when you inhale, it takes 22 seconds for the oils to reach the brain?!!  The only way to reach the limbic system is through smell.  Medications cannot do that. 

You can also take the oils internally.  


I do this mostly through the supplements that I buy through Young Living, but I have also put oils in veggie capsules at home and taken them.  I also like to put lemon essential oil in my water when I drink it. 


Here is a graphic with more information on how to use essential oils: 



2.  Another reason essential oils might not be working for you is because you might not be using the right oil. 

Here is something else I didn’t know when I first started using oils….Every oil works differently with every individual.  Since all of our bodies are different, the oils may work differently in each of our bodies.  It’s kind of a trial and error process.  But it is SO worth it when you finally find the one that works best for you. 

So when I don’t know what oil to use, I usually get on this app on my phone:



Then I click on the guide button and find my symptom.

Let’s say that I have a cough.  Here is a screenshot of “cough.”



At the top of the list is the oil RC, so that is the first one I would try.  If I didn’t have that oil, I would try the next one on the list, and so on and so forth.  Sometimes you can find “blend recipes” in the guide that you could try.  Each time I try a different oil, I would make sure that I was applying it often or diffusing/inhaling it regularly until I found one that worked.

Usually, the first one or two I try works and helps me feel better, but if it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a oil that can help me.  Believe me, there is!  This oils are amazing and are fiercely effective.

Another great resource for help with which oils to use are Facebook groups like the one I am in, “Dream Catchers.”  It is a great support group of people that help me understand the oils better.  And it is a great place for me to ask questions about the oils when I have them.  


3.  The third and most important reason essential oils do not work is because you are using cheap oils.

Sweet friends, if you want your oils to work, you are going to have to invest in good quality therapeutic grade oils.  You cannot purchase essential oils at Kohl’s, Marshall’s, or Kroger’s and expect them to work.  They won’t.  They may smell good, but they will not improve the wellness of your body.  

If the bottle says, “do not ingest,” or if it has an expiration date, then you do not want to buy or use that oil.  RUN!!   Also, store bought oils that say “pure” are usually not really pure.   A cheap bottle of Lavender may say 100% lavender, but what it means is that the 10% of lavender that is in that bottle is 100% lavender.  Get it?  There are other ingredients in that bottle that are not good for your health.   Basically, you get what you pay for. 

There are just a couple of REALLY good essential oil companies, but of course, I feel Young Living is the best.  I know.  I’m biased.  But even if you do not use Young Living oils, PLEASE promise me that you don’t purchase cheap oils.   Promise?

You will not get the wellness benefits that you deserve and it will be a complete waste of money if you do. 


If you start using essential oils, there is a learning curve.  It takes a little bit to get use to a different way of thinking about your health.  Four years ago, when I wasn’t feeling well, I would immediately grab an over the counter medicine out of our medicine cabinet.  It took a while for me to start naturally thinking about oils to help improve my wellness.   But now, when I am not feeling well, I immediately search for what oil to use.  And the good news is, so do my kiddos!  I love that!  They will ask for an essential oil before they will ask for an over-the-counter medicine every single time.  



Well, that’s it.  I hope you found this post helpful.  I’m glad I finally wrote it. :)

I hope it helps you on your “oily journey.”   If you haven’t started using the oils yet, but want to, click HERE. 

Have a blessed weekend!!




  1. Hi Traci, thanks for your post on essential oils. I would agree with each point that you made. You have to be consistent in using them to see the proper effects of the oils. I was pleasantly suprised at the results of doing so.

  2. Tracey, loved this post! Can you give us a link or a pic of what the YL app looks like? When I search for it in the Apple App Store lots of apps come up. Thanks!

  3. Traci, this is an awesome blog post. Seriously great content here. I have been using essential oils for years and I have learned so much just from this post!!! Thank you! I’ll be sharing this now :)

  4. I also use young living oils, I have tried cheap oils and am allergic to them even though it says it’s pure oil.

  5. Hey I love your post but I’m a little confused when you say don’t buy oils that have expiration dates on the bottle… I’ve been a Doterra customer for almost 5 years and every single one of their bottles has an expiration year on the bottom.

    1. Hi Meghan! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, Doterra oils have expiration dates on them, which has always been a concern of mine and why I use Young Living. True, Pure essential oils never expire. So there must be something else in the doterra oils that is making them have to put an expiration date on them. right? Big red flag to me. I want to use the purest of essential oils, and Young Living has the “seed to seal” guarantee that is second to none. Hope that helps! xoxo Traci

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