By Katrina Scampini, Certified Aromatherapist
If you’ve purchased a bottle of Vetiver Essential Oil without knowing much about it, you were probably pretty surprised the first time you cracked open the cap. With just that very first whiff, you’re going to realize that Vetiver is nothing like your typical essential oil. Its consistency is thick like syrup, it has a unique goldish, brownish, greenish kind of hue, and the aroma? Well, it’s one of those divisive smells, like Patchouli or Blue Tansy. People either love it and can’t get enough…or, it goes straight into the pile of essential oils you can’t figure out what to do with.
Either way, it’s hard to deny Vetiver’s incredibly relaxing and balancing properties.
Historically, it’s been used for a variety of purposes; everything from personal fragrances to emotional issues to skin care routines can get an extra boost when Vetiver is added. So if you’re struggling to figure out how to include Vetiver in your life, hopefully, these suggestions will help.
But first — the smell.
Vetiver Essential Oil is steam distilled from the strong, intricate root systems of the Vetiveria zizanioides, an aromatic perennial grass. The oil has a scent that can be described in many different ways, which may be the reason many people disagree on how they feel about it.
It has an intense aroma that is earthy, woodsy, smoky, and slightly sweet. Some like to compare it to the smell of a campfire, and others find it to be more herbaceous and reminiscent of damp forest soil. If you find that Vetiver isn’t particularly appealing to you, try blending with a citrus essential oil to help round out the smell, or maybe something floral if you find the aroma too earthy.
In addition to its unique scent, Vetiver has a very complex chemical composition, with dozens of different constituents contributing to its many therapeutic qualities . Here a few simple ways to incorporate the benefits of this ancient, exotic essential into your life:
Use it to promote healthy skin.
For a fresh face, Vetiver is highly cleansing and excellent for overall skin health. It helps balance sebum production, which is great for both oily and dry skin struggling with blemishes, redness, or irritation . Its cooling abilities are useful for soothing skin that has been overexposed to the sun, dehydrated, or wind-chapped.
To use, it’s as easy as adding a drop to your favorite face wash and cleansing as you normally would. This seemingly tiny addition to your skincare routine can support a smooth and even-looking skin tone. For a lovely facial serum, try blending 3 drops each of Vetiver and Frankincense Frereana with 1 drop of Neroli in an ounce of your favorite carrier oil. Please keep in mind that we recommend a 1% dilution for facial applications and up to 3% for other areas of the body.
Let it help lull you to sleep.
Diffuse Vetiver about 30 minutes before going to bed to benefit from its deeply grounding and relaxing qualities. It’s perfect when you have a racing mind and are struggling to wind down. Plus, Vetiver is safe for young children, who may also benefit from a bit of relaxation support in the evenings. If you would rather passively diffuse Vetiver, add a drop or two to a cotton ball and set near your pillow.
It helps promote positive thinking when negative feelings are bringing you down.
In folklore medicine, Vetiver has been used to treat a variety of mental and emotional issues, including symptoms resulting from stress . Stress can reign supreme over our lives if we let it. Negative feelings, like anger and irritation, can be positively influenced by the calming and soothing properties of Vetiver . It can also help promote feelings of hope to people who feel disconnected and lack motivation.
Try adding it to your personal aromatherapy inhaler and use it whenever negative thoughts begin to creep up. This is also a wonderful essential oil to include in a warm, relaxing bath. Blend it with other oils known for their relaxing qualities, like Ylang Ylang or Rose Absolute, to help wash away a stressful day. Don’t forget to add the oils with an emulsifier! Use as a carrier oil or body wash with the oils before adding it to your tub.
Use it to help calm the mind before or during meditation.
There are many essential oils that are fantastic to use during meditation practices, and Vetiver fits itself perfectly into that group. Because of its ability to calm, center, and ground the mind, it’s great to inhale while you’re settling yourself down for some quiet, introspective time with yourself.
To learn more about Vetiver, check out our blog Everything You Need To Know About Using Vetiver Essential Oil.
 Vetiver Essential Oil. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.nah.org/blog/vetiver-essential-oil
 Lawless, J. (1995). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books), 56-67.
 Cheaha, D., Issuriya, A., Manor, R., Kwangjai, J., Rujiralai, T., & Kumarnsit, E. (2016). Modification of sleep-waking and electroencephalogram induced by vetiver essential oil inhalation. Journal of intercultural ethnopharmacology, 5(1), 72-8. doi:10.5455/jice.20160208050736
 Worwood, V. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2016, 629.]