So many containers: making sense of oil storage

Walk in to Oil Life, and you’ll see you’ve found the treasure trove of all essential oil containers. Glass, plastic, ombre, frosted, everything you can imagine.

But when to use which container? And are you missing out on

Today we’ll talk about some of our most popular storage containers and what to use them for. We’ll also introduce some less known containers and how they can help you enhance your oil use!

Essential Oil Containers

Dram Bottles:

Dram bottles are some of the smallest essential oil containers available, looking almost like vials. Small dram bottles (1/4 dram, 1/2 dram) are perfect for sharing samples. Easily transfer a couple drops of your favorite oil to these small sharing sizes to give to a friend. Full 1 dram bottles are a great size for holding pre-made diffuser blends. You can also use them to create a travel-size of your go-to EOs.

Plastic Bottles:

Wait, isn’t plastic a no-go for oils? Well, yes and no. While glass is general preferred for essential oil containers, these plastic bottles are perfect for DIY projects that include diluted essential oils. For example, use the plastic shaker bottle to store a DIY foot powder or a small plastic jar for homemade chapstick. Or opt for the twist-up plastic bottle to store DIY deodorant or balms. You can even use this plastic lotion bottle or a plastic foaming hand soap dispenser for a great alternative to breakable bottles in the bathroom or for kids. In products where essential oils are diffused in a base, plastic containers can be safe and convenient. Learn more about when to use plastic in our Glass vs Plastic post.

Roll-on Bottles:

These are a must-have for easy topical application of oils and blends. One of the benefits of using a roll on is not having to mix the pure oil with the oils and bacteria on your fingers during application. Another benefit is that these bottles can come with steel rollers (which cool and soothe) or gemstone rollers (which have varying properties and energy that can enhance the oil).

Lids-Triggers, Droppers, caps

Not only are there a plethora of base essential oil containers to choose from, you will also find your lid choice is plentiful.

Use trigger (spray) tops for DIY cleaners, like The Essential Life Fruit and Veggie Wash recipe (pg. 348), or Mold and Mildew Preventer recipe (pg. 351)

Droppers are perfect for precision. It’s not recommended to leave the rubber tops on your bottle too long (some oils will eat away this kind of material), but when you want to make sure you’re getting the right amount of oil–droppers are the way to go. You can use them for face oils, dropping pre-made blends in your diffuser, DIY recipes that call for a specific number of drops, and cooking with oils.

Caps can be used for pretty much everything else. Make sure your caps are airtight to preserve the shelf life of your oil, and make them your own by choosing colored caps when available!


Essential Oil Containers and Colored Glass

In addition to all the different shapes and sizes, essential oil containers also come in a variety of colors. Often we’ll get questions about why, and what the difference is between each color. Some glass is colored in order to better protect the oils inside from UV rays. That’s the case for Amber and Cobalt colored bottles, which you can read more about in our Amber Glass and UV Rays post. Others are for fun and decoration, like the beautiful ombre glass containers, or simplicity like the clear glass. So depending on what your aim is, you may choose any one of these colors, or a combination for different projects.


One of the best tips for learning about different containers is to start experimenting with DIY projects of your own. You can find some great ones in our Summer 2017 DIY Download, full of essential oil recipes for this season! As you go, you’ll find different containers will fit different needs and find the ones you love.