Behind The Scenes With Our Herbalist + Aromatherapist: Summer Essential Oils

Our in-house Herbalist and Clinical Aromatherapist, Athena, has developed our Summer Home Collection from over a decade of experience working with essential oils, the powerful plant medicine they possess and the proper dilution rates for safety and maximum benefits.

More than a sweet seasonal aroma, she intentionally formulated the Summer Home blend with plants that offer medicinal and metaphysical properties to mirror the meaning and symbolism of the season. After experimenting with different variations, our Herbalist landed on 5 therapeutic plants that offer a profound impact not only for your physical space, but for your mind, body and emotions.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes look into our Herbalist’s inspo, formulation notes, misconceptions about essential oils and the best ones for summer!

Please introduce yourself!

“I’m Athena, Primally Pure’s Product Formulator. I specialize in Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, Ayurveda, and skincare applications for optimal mind/body wellness. I joined the PP team back in February 2020.”

What drew you to work with plants and skincare products?

“I grew up around plants. Herbalism was (and still is) a HUGE part of my daily life. I grew up in farm country in southeast Minnesota where we grew our own organic food gardens, canned preserves, fermented vegetables, and made herbal infusions. I was grandfathered into herbalism through my Mother. She is an incredibly gifted horticulturist and herbalist, and she really nurtured my interest in the symbiotic relationship between humans and plants. She taught me and continues to guide me on growing techniques, harvesting methods, and utilizing plants as healing medicine. I started to embrace my skills and formulate professionally while pursuing aromatherapy certifications back in 2008.”

How did you get started in this industry?

“During college, I started a Clinical Aromatherapy and Herbalism program to better understand herbal medicine from a scientific point of view. I was required to document case studies of clients in a clinical setting where I would diagnose, formulate and treat clients according to their specific needs. I did this for over a year, and in that time, I saw incredible healing occur with therapeutic herbs and essential oils and felt a lot of what I learned as a youth from my Mother was validated by professionals in the academic world. I felt called to make this my career path, and the doors just started opening.”

Where do you often find your inspiration for formulations? And what was your specific inspo for the Summer Home Line?

“I’m deeply inspired by Nature + Aromatherapy and the transformative wellness that occurs when incorporating essential oils into your daily life. I always tie those elements into any product I formulate. The inspiration for the Summer Home Line was inspired by the natural summer fragrance of beautiful Southern California and ‘Summer nostalgia’ vibe: intoxicating blend of sweet citrus, minty herbals, and exotic flower blossoms.”

Can you take us behind the scenes and walk us through the process of creating this home collection? You can simplify this process for us since we know it’s incredibly time-consuming and complex!

“This process started with a vision. Bethany wanted to create a non-toxic home collection consisting of a room spray, hand soap, and essential oil blend. I did a fair amount of field research in Southern California to help narrow down the essential oils for this signature scent. I consistently detected notes of bergamot, sweet marjoram, tangerine, spearmint, and neroli. Together they create a powerful synergy of antibacterial Aromatherapy bliss.”

What drew you to include these five specific EOs for Summer? What are some key medicinal + metaphysical benefits they offer?

“There are a few reasons I chose these five specific essential oils. I detected each of these scents when I was out doing field research looking for scent inspiration, and they reminded me so much of Southern California. I knew this blend of five essential oils would be the perfect combo for a fresh, crisp summer scent.

I also wanted to use these specific oils for their unique metaphysical properties. Combined, these essential oils synergize and create a healing scent that relieves tension, softens stress response, and supports a more joyful and sunny outlook. Plus, this essential oil blend offers many medicinal and cleansing benefits for the home as well.

  • Bergamot: Bright and uplifting.
  • Sweet Marjoram: Warm and comforting.
  • Tangerine: Melts stress and induces feelings of happiness and ease.
  • Spearmint: Refreshing and revitalizing to the spirit.
  • Neroli: Soothing, calming, and blissful.


What do you prioritize when sourcing these essential oils?

“I favor sources that offer wildcrafted, therapeutic-grade aromatherapy oils. These oils have more potent therapeutic and healing benefits than conventionally produced essential oils. I like to run each essential oil through at least 5 tests before considering using them in any formula:

1. Organic or wildcrafted cultivation and extraction methods
2. Ethical and environmentally responsible origins
3. Analyze GC/MS reports for purity
4. Pass a perfumer’s scent test
5. Pass a skin safety test”

What is your favorite aspect about this blend, and how do you personally incorporate the Summer Home Line in your daily rituals?

“I love to diffuse the Summer Blend in my humidifier every morning. It makes my house smell so fresh, and my plants love it too! The spray works wonders for eliminating kitchen odors. I spray it on my cutting boards to remove any lingering food odors and kill any leftover bacteria. I also add a few drops to a damp cloth and wipe down surfaces for a lingering summer scent.”

And lastly, just because we get so many questions about this (and you’re the perfect person to ask!): what is a common misconception surrounding essential oils that you want to shed some light on?

“They are safer than you think. Many of the warnings you see/hear about essential oils speak directly to undiluted essential oils. Most skincare products out there dilute these concentrated essential oils to safe levels. At Primally Pure, we use a conservative dilution rate of essential oils safe for everyone in your family. I will give out one word of caution, though never ingest undiluted essential oils without consulting a practitioner.”

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Courtney O’Connor

Courtney Joy O’Connor is Primally Pure’s In-House Holistic Esthetician and Content Curator. Being in the beauty industry for over a decade, her experience + expertise with pure products, the healing power of touch and holistic skincare rituals are at the core of all she creates. She has trained extensively with industry experts across the country to offer her community the most educational content and transformative treatments. Courtney lives at the beach with her plant babies and loves road tripping, blending superfood bliss balls and exploring our big, beautiful world.