Running out of your favorite essential oil is the worst! Trying to mix up a diffuser blend becomes impossible. Those roller blends just aren’t the same. The kids aren’t sleeping well and everyone’s cranky. Don’t fret! There are substitutions for almost any oil, so you can get back to oiling fast. Check out these easy essential oil substitutions for all your favorites.
Every essential oil is made up of specific compounds and properties that make it unique. This is influenced by botanical family, native soil, and even climate. Essential oils can be grouped into categories by scent, usage, and individual system support. Finding a good substitute for an essential oil will depend on your use for that oil.
We use essential oils for a variety of reasons. They make a wonderful addition to your cleaning, beauty, cooking, and wellness routine. The most common use is perhaps for scent when diffusing essential oils.
How to Find a Substitute for Your Favorite Essential Oil
Substitution by Scent
Many essential oils have similar aromas, which makes finding a substitution easy. A diffuser blend mixed with Bergamot would smell very similar if Grapefruit was used in its place. Tangerine and Orange, for example, are nearly identical in smell. Nearly all citrus oils have a parallel scent.
Tree oils like Idaho Balsam Fir and Idaho Blue Spruce could be aromatic twins. Floral essential oils like Ylang Ylang and jasmine are delightfully similar. If you run out of a blend, it can easily be recreated by combining the individual blend ingredients. Thieves, for example, can be made by combining Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary.
Substitution by Usage
Some essential oils are polar opposites when it comes to the aroma but they can be used in the same way. Frankincense and Geranium would probably not make the best diffuser blend, but together they can give skin a more youthful appearance.
Tea Tree and Lavender are both wonderful choices for supporting healthy skin, but they smell very differently. Rose and Geranium can both be used to promote radiant skin. A good substitute for Rose would be Geranium. Geranium has similar constituents to Rose such as citronellol and geraniol but in different strengths. If Rose is not in your budget, try Geranium instead.
No two essential oils are identical, but finding a substitution is achievable when you understand their compositions.
Essential oils can also be used as powerful cleaning agents. Limonene, found in citrus oils like Lemon and Orange, has anti-viral properties. It is wonderful for sanitizing and degreasing. When making your favorite DIY cleaner, you can substitute Lemon, Orange, or Lime with a similar effect.
Substitution by System Support
If you’re using essential oils to promote health and wellness, look for substitutes with similar compositions. Think of essential oils like vegetables. Not all vegetables have the same nutrients or even the same chemical makeup. If you are trying to improve your health with vegetables, you would select vegetables that contain the nutrients you may be lacking.
When looking for a substitute, look for oils with similar therapeutic actions. For respiratory support, tree oils have been shown to have a positive effect. Eucalyptus Radiata and Eucalyptus Globulus have similar amounts of the constituent eucalyptol, so they could both be used to support a healthy respiratory system.
When you find yourself in need of a specific oil but don’t have it on hand, try using one of these essential oil substitutions instead!
Easy Essential Oil Substitutions
Essential Oil Singles
Out of this —> Try this
- Bergamot – Grapefruit
- Ylang Ylang – Jasmine
- Rose – Geranium
- Frankincense – Elemi
- Helichrysum – Lavender
- Orange – Tangerine
- Peppermint – Spearmint
- Thyme – Basil
- Lemon – Lemongrass
- Lime – Lemon
- Copaiba – Myrrh
- Cassia – Cinnamon
- Sandalwood – Cedarwood
- Ginger – Cardamom
- Cypress – Pine
- Rosemary – Thyme
Essential Oil Blends
- Valor – Harmony
- Gentle Baby – Peace and Calming
- Purification – Citrus Fresh
- Christmas Spirit – Winter Nights
- PanAway – Cool Azul
- Thieves – Cinnamon Bark
- Sacred Mountain – Believe
- Northern Lights Black Spruce – Pine
- Joy – Palmarosa
This is not an exhaustive list. There are more than 90 essential oils and nearly as many blends. Play around with how an essential oil makes you feel when you make a substitution. Keep trying until you find the perfect fit! These are the therapeutic-grade essential oils I use in my home.
More essential oil strategies and tips you might enjoy:
- How to Make Your Own Essential Oil Blends
- 15 Things I Wish I Knew About Essential Oils
- How to Replace Extracts with Essential Oils
- What are Essential Oils?