Citrus Essential Oils: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Citrus Essential Oils: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Citrus essential oils are packed with benefits for your body, mind, and household! You should be using these cold-pressed essential oils as a staple in your holistic practice. Of course, it’s not easy to keep track of all of the many citrus oils and their unique purposes. So, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide so you’ll quickly feel confident using these bright and cheerful citrus fruits in your daily life. You’ll be experiencing their benefits in no time!


What Science Says About Citrus Sinensis Essential Oil (Sweet Orange)


12 Citrus Essential Oil Benefits As Proven by Science


6 Benefits and Uses of Citrus Hystrix Essential Oil (Kaffir Lime Leaf)


28 Citrus Essential Oil Uses That Will Blow Your Mind

Sweet Orange Citrus Essential Oil (Citrus Sinensis)

Bottle of orange essential oil with cut and whole oranges in the background
Orange essential oil can boost your mood and can help you deal with your anxiety.
  • Aroma: Sweet, orangy, and fresh.
  • Blends well with: cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, lavender, ginger, and other citrus oils.

Sweet orange essential oil is fantastic to brighten a room with its potent, lingering aroma. Citrus sinensis essential oil can also potentially ease anxiety and improve your mood. Not to mention, it can help treat acne because it contains some antioxidant properties for your skin as well.[1]

Just make sure to use it with a carrier oil before placing it on your skin to avoid any irritation.

Citrus oils are photosensitive and can cause your skin to burn when exposed to UV rays. Wait at least 12 hours before going into direct sunlight if you’ve used a citrus oil topically!

Bitter Orange Essential Oil (Citrus Aurantium)

Different sized bottles of bitter orange essential oil, surrounded by bitter orange leaves
The slightly bitter aroma of bitter orange essential oil makes it one of the most unique essential oil scents.
  • Aroma: Slightly bitter, fresh, potent, and slightly sweet.
  • Blends well with: cinnamon, clove, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, and other citrus essential oils.

This oil smells like a cross between sweet orange and grapefruit essential oils. It’s a multifaceted oil that’s been shown to improve mood and even increase sociability in one study with rats.[2]

Plus, it has antibacterial qualities, making it ideal for soaps and cleaning products.[3]

Blood Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis)

Small bottles of orange essential oil surrounded by freshly cut blood oranges
If you’re after an essential oil with health benefits and a distinctive fruity aroma, blood orange essential oil could be a great choice.
  • Aroma: fruity, sweet, fresh, and slightly tart.
  • Blends well with: lavender, clary sage, myrrh, nutmeg, clove, and other citrus oils.

Blood orange is nearly identical to sweet orange essential oil in terms of smell and benefits. Therefore, it can be substituted for sweet orange recipes or vice-versa.

This oil can serve as a skin-safe insect repellent too, as it contains repelling chemical components like most other citrus oils.[4]

Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus Limon Osbeck)

Bottles of lemon essential oils next to a whole and cut lemons
Feeling stressed? Lemon essential oil will help you lower your stress levels.
  • Aroma: sharp, invigorating, sour, and sweet.
  • Blends well with: eucalyptus, ylang ylang, lime, peppermint, frankincense, geranium, and other citrus essential oils.

Fragrant lemon essential oil might have the most citrus essential oil uses. It has lightening properties that you can use on skin, hair, or your home.[5]

It’s also known for being a great natural stress reliever — perfect for those hectic days when you just need to unwind.[6]

Don’t forget to mix essential oils with a carrier oil! Coconut essential oil is one of the most popular choices. 

Lime Essential Oil (Citrus Aurantifolia)

A bottle of lime essential oil with a dropper next to a plate of limes
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of lime essential oil are just two of its many benefits.
  • Aroma: sweet, slightly earthy, bright, and citrusy.
  • Blends well with: cedarwood, black pepper, cilantro, ylang ylang, lavender, and other citrus essential oils.

It may come as a surprise, but limes were often used in folk medicine for treating mild cold or flu symptoms.[7] Not only that, but lime essential oil is also anti-inflammatory.[8]

This multi-purpose citrus oil can even be used in your home for its antibacterial and insecticide properties.[9]

Kaffir Lime Essential Oil (Citrus Hystrix)

A vial of kaffir lime essential oil next to a halved kaffir lime
Inhaling kaffir lime essential oil can aid in treating respiratory sickness.
  • Aroma: sweet, citrusy, bright, and slightly earthy.
  • Blends well with: frankincense, jasmine, ylang ylang, and other citrus essential oils.

Citrus hystrix essential oil originates from South East Asian countries where its cold-pressed from wrinkly-looking, bright green kaffir lime peels and leaves.

This oil is strongly antibacterial and can be inhaled to treat respiratory sickness.[10] Also, it’s high in linalool which may help ease mild depression.[11]

Grapefruit Essential Oil (Citrus Paradisi Macfady)

Tiny bottles of grapefruit surrounded by freshly cut grapefruit
Grapefruit essential oil is one of the most versatile essential oils to make DIY recipes.
  • Aroma: tangy, sweet, uplifting, and light.
  • Blends well with: geranium, peppermint, lavender, frankincense, basil, rosemary, and other citrus essential oils.

Grapefruit essential oil, when used in a study on rats, was shown to suppress appetite when inhaled. Researchers have suggested that inhaling this citrus oil may help curb your sugar cravings.

Plus, it is antibacterial, making it a great addition to your DIY countertop cleaners.[12]

Bergamot Essential Oil (Citrus Bergamia Risso & Poit)

A large bottle of homemade beragmot essential oil next to a pile of bergamot fruit
Studies have shown that bergamot essential oil can assist in reducing mild pain.
  • Aroma: orangey, sweet, light, and slightly floral.
  • Blends well with: clary sage, cypress, nutmeg, jasmine, black pepper, frankincense, lavender, rose, and other citrus essential oils.

This fruity oil is great for use in perfume thanks to its light, nose-friendly aroma. It can also influence the way you process pain and, therefore, reduce mild pain according to some studies.[13]

Additionally, like most other citrus oils, it’s great for your skin and full of antioxidants.[14] Try adding it into some massage oils for some extra benefit.

Mandarin Essential Oil (Citrus Reticulata Blanco)

Bottle of mandarin essential oil with a dropper next to a pile of mandarins
Stop your search for a multi-functional, sweet-smelling essential oil: mandarin essential oil is it!
  • Aroma: very sweet, fresh, and intense.
  • Blends well with: basil, spearmint, lavender, sandalwood, and other citrus essential oils.

Mandarin is antibacterial and antifungal, and excellent for both your skin and lungs. In fact, it can potentially help reduce tumors in lungs based on some recent scientific studies using mice.[15]

It’s the sweetest-smelling of the citrus essential oils and is a fantastic addition to any DIY aromatherapy candles or soaps.

Tangerine Essential Oil (Citrus reticulata)

Top-down view of a freshly bottled bottle of tangerine essential oil surrounded by whole tangerines
Tangerine essential oil blends well with numerous other essential oils including frankincense and ylang ylang oils.
  • Aroma: fresh, citrus, bright, potent, sweet, and slightly sour.
  • Blends well with: frankincense, clary sage, lavender, geranium, ylang ylang, and other citrus essential oils.

This oil is a total burst of calming energy. It has antioxidant properties that are great for your skin. Also, tangerine essential oil contains antimicrobial properties too.[16] Therefore, there are plenty of tangerine citrus essential oil uses.

One popular use is combating mold growth in your home.[17] It’s a great oil to keep in the bathroom to drop in with a hot shower. Just let the steam work its magic on your walls while you get a refreshing aromatherapy treatment!

Petitgrain Essential Oil (Citrus aurantium L.)

Two amber-colored bottles of petitgrain essential oil surrounded by petitgrain leaves
Petitgrain is a powerful ingredient in skin care due to it’s anti-aging properties.
  • Aroma: woodsy, tree-like, citrus, sweet, and mild.
  • Blends well with: chamomile, lavender, juniper berry, clary sage, rosemary, ylang ylang, and other citrus essential oils.

Petitgrain essential oil is one of the most powerful radical-scavenging citrus oils and has been noted for having potential benefits when used alongside traditional cancer treatments.[18] This ability also means it’s a perfect ingredient for anti-aging creams or face masks.

Plus, it’s antibacterial and can be used in household cleaners in combination with other citrus oils.[19] This oil is more woodsy-smelling than the other oils, yet still maintains some great citrus and floral notes. It’s a great base for a diffuser blend with other citrus oils.

Neroli Essential Oil (Citrus aurantium L.)

An open bottle of neroli essential oil with a neroli flower in the opening, with freshly cut neroli flowers and leaves in the background
Did you know neroli essential oil is the most floral of all of the citrus essential oils?
  • Aroma: sweet, honey, floral, lightly citrus, and light.
  • Blends well with: chamomile, clary sage, coriander, ginger, jasmine, myrrh, frankincense, palmarosa, and other citrus essential oils.

Neroli oil comes from the blossoms of sweet oranges, and is the most floral of the citrus essential oils. Despite being more “flowery,” it’s still a powerful tool for potentially reducing minor symptoms of insomnia typically caused by anxiety.[20]

There’s evidence that it improves sexual desire in post-menopausal women too.[21] It’s also great to use as a room spray if you’re still experiencing menstruation as well. That’s because it aids in relieving symptoms such as mood, blood pressure, pain, bloating, and indigestion.[22]

Yuzu Essential Oil (Citrus junos)

Yuzu hanging from a branch
It’s simple to naturally ease period symptoms with yuzu essential oil.
  • Aroma: tart, citrus, orangy, and sweet.
  • Blends well with: chamomile, geranium, lavender, clary sage, sandalwood, rose, vetiver, frankincense, and other citrus essential oils.

This oil comes from the yuzu fruit peel that originates in Japan. When tested on menstruating women, it proved to be beneficial for improving anxiety, encouraging a positive mood, and relieving mild fatigue.[23] It’s a great citrus oil to have on hand for “that time” of the month!

Also, it’s anti-inflammatory and has been linked to treating bronchial asthma.[24] It’s a lovely essential oil diffuser blend for any time!

Citrus Essential Oils: A Complete Beginner's Guide