With the popularity of essential oils on the rise, it’s important to understand how to choose the best quality oils. Not all essential oils are created equal, and there are a few things you need to watch out for when purchasing poor-quality ones. In this blog post, we will outline what to look for when choosing high-quality essential oils, so you can be sure you’re getting the most benefits from your aromatherapy treatments!
What about “therapeutic grade”?
Simply stated, there is no such thing as a grading system for essential oils.
Shopping for essential oils is similar to buying diamonds in that you must shop from reputable sellers and both are high-value items that aren’t always genuine.
Unattributed essential oils are worthless since they may not be graded. Some vendors will advertise that EOs can be graded A, B, C, and so on, but these bottles should all be regarded as questionable.
How to tell when oil is high quality
One of the most reliable methods to determine which essential oils are genuine and high-quality is to enhance your sense of smell (really).
You could wish to take an introductory aromatherapy course or at least devote some time learning about essential oils with the help of a professional in order to become more aware in an olfactory way.
It does, however, require time — some people, such as aromatherapists and perfume makers, dedicate their entire lives to perfecting their sense of smell. The professionals, even the masters, still rely on the following three techniques to guarantee quality:
Check the bottle
A good supplier will usually sell their essential oils in a tightly sealed dark (usually amber) glass container. These are generally less than 4 ounces in size, although the most frequent size is half an ounce (15 milliliters).
They sometimes come with an eyedropper cap, but more frequently they come with an orifice reducer (the circular, plastic component inserted into the bottle’s opening that aids in measuring out one drop at a time).
Essential oils are damaged by light and heat, therefore the bottle must be dark. The highly volatile chemical compounds in EOs don’t mix well with plastic, so they must be stored in glass. If you discover an essential oil in a plastic container, walk away!
Read the label
The botanical name should be stated clearly. It should also state what plant components were used (e.g., the bottle of niaouli should say “Plant part: Leaf and twig”), how it was extracted (distillation or expression), and how it was cultivated (traditional, organic, wild-crafted).
The information on the label should also include that it is “100 percent pure essential oil,” as well as the net content (including metric measurement). If it says “essence oil,” it’s not necessarily a pure essential oil; instead, it’s frequently a premixed combination of essential oils (like jojoba) in a carrier oil (like jojoba). This is ideal for some uses, but it isn’t a genuine essential oil.
If you’re looking for a pure EO, the label should clarify all components in the mix and if you’re shopping for a genuine EO, it should only contain one thing.
Verify the source
You should be able to figure out where it came from with little effort. If the label doesn’t explicitly state where the product was made, you might see a “lot#,” which you may look up.
Even if the bottles on individual lots aren’t labeled, if you’re purchasing from a website, make sure it informs you where the oil comes from on the product page (since labels can be tiny).
Common signs an oil is fake
Sometimes, it’s straightforward to spot a phony essential oil. Other times, the signals are more subtle. At the very least, look for these three key indicators:
You see the word “fragrance”
It’s not an essential oil if a label simply says “fragrance oil” and there is no Latin name listed.
Some plants, such as violets, are simply unable to generate an essential oil. If you come upon a bottle labeled “violet oil,” please be informed that there isn’t any violet essential oil from the plant Viola odorata (aka sweet violets). Traditional extraction methods are ineffective because they’re too small and delicate to extract an EO with.
Another side note: Violet leaf essential oil, which is made from the leaves rather than the blossoms, is extremely green in both color and fragrance. It’s not suggested for aromatherapy.
There’s no Latin name
Don’t buy anything that doesn’t include the Latin name as well as the general name. It’s probably a blend of synthetic fragranced “fragrance oil.” It may contain some essential oil, but who knows?
It’s also critical to avoid mixing up different varieties of lavender. A good example is that a label shouldn’t simply say “lavender,” but rather should indicate which species of lavender was utilized. Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia are two examples of distinct lavenders.
Do a price check
Determine the price. It’s vital to be wary of a really low price. However, the most expensive bottle may not be the greatest option, either. Essential oils have lately become retail-driven rather than practitioner-driven, according to recent trends.
In recent years, certain multilevel marketing firms have been marking up their prices because they’re selling a brand, which is why. These oils are produced in large quantities and are not always forthcoming about their sourcing or sustainability efforts. These oils are frequently overpriced.
For example, if you’re searching for a high-quality bottle of pure bergamot essential oil to include to your home aromatherapy kit, the going rate as of this writing is between $11 and $26 per half an ounce (15 milliliters). It will be towards the higher end if it’s organic certified.
But if you pay $40 for the same size bottle at a department store, be wary — you’re probably paying for brand premium.
Price fluctuations occur over time, depending on crops and what specific harvests may produce. Madagascar is the world’s largest producer of vanilla, with more than 80 percent of it cultivated there.
Vanilla bean costs have increased ten times in recent years, owing to poor crop yields. This drove the price of vanilla for everything from baked goods to beer to ice cream up by tenfold. There is no shortage of synthetic vanillas, and vanilla absolute (not an essential oil since it’s extracted via solvent extraction) is still in short supply.
Choosing the best quality essential oils
It’s important to be aware of the signs that an essential oil is fake in order to make sure you’re getting the best quality product. Be sure to watch out for oils that don’t have a Latin name, are too cheap, or have a synthetic fragrance. Additionally, it’s helpful to know how pricing can be indicative of quality. By being aware of these indicators, you can make sure to choose the best quality essential oils for your needs.