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Are you purchasing high-quality Essential oil?

Are you purchasing high-quality Essential oil?

How do you tell whether what you're buying is a knockoff or a genuine article? And even if it is genuine (i.e., no synthetic scent oils), how can you tell whether it is of high quality?

The FDA does not monitor or control the purity or quality of essential oils (EO), even though the fact that evidence suggests they have health advantages.

Essential oils are concentrated botanical extracts that are typically derived via the steam distillation or expression of plant parts (this will be covered in another blog).

If you're anything like me, you're utilizing essential oils to treat headaches, find balance during meditation, or simply infuse a room with an energizing aroma to give your day a boost.

Essential oils have been utilized for hundreds of years, but with wellness becoming a thriving industry, EOs have recently become more widely available than ever before.

Not all brands care about authenticity and purity which means you must be your own advocate when sourcing EOs for yourself or others (just like cosmetics). 

Unfortunately, this implies that some of those brown bottles on the shelves are packed with low-cost synthetic fillers, extenders, or even merely "fragrance oils" in order to make a profit.

How to tell if you are buying high-quality Essential Oils

Check the bottle

A quality supplier will sell their essential oils in a tightly sealed dark (usually amber) glass bottle.

Sometimes they’ll come with an eyedropper cap (like ours), but more often they’ll come with an orifice reducer (the round, plastic part fitted into the bottle’s opening that helps meter out one drop at a time).

Light and heat can damage essential oils (hence why the bottle needs to be dark), and the highly volatile chemical compounds in EOs don’t mix well with plastic, so they must be kept in glass. If you ever see an essential oil in a plastic bottle, do not buy it!

Read the label

It should clearly state the common and the Latin name of the plant used to make the oil.

The label should also specify that it is “100 percent pure essential oil” and list the net contents (including metric measurement). If it says, “essence oil,” that’s not a pure essential oil but typically a premixed blend of essential oil(s) in a base of carrier oil (like jojoba). This is great for certain applications but is not a pure essential oil.

The label should clearly list all ingredients, and if you’re shopping for a pure EO, it should have only one ingredient.

Give it a sniff

Due to their high concentration, they usually smell quite potent right out of the bottle. Some, such as rose or chamomile, are more mild yet still recognizable. When you’re buying oils, they should smell pleasant and natural. Trust your nose.

If you notice a hint of alcohol, or if an oil smells more like household cleaner than aromatherapy, avoid it. If you're buying anything online and can't smell it, read the reviews to see if anyone has had any negative experiences.

Common signs an oil is fake

Sometimes it’s easy to tell right away if an essential oil isn’t the real deal. Other times, the clues are more subtle. At least lookout for these three main things:

You see the word “fragrance” or “essence”

If a label outright says fragrance oil or “essence” it’s not an essential oil.

There’s no Latin name

If it doesn’t list the Latin name as well as the common name, don’t buy it. It’s likely a mix of synthetic perfumed “fragrance oil.” It might contain some essential oil, but who really knows?

For example, a label shouldn’t just say “lavender,” it should specify which of the many species of lavender it was extracted from. Lavandula angustifolia is very different from Lavandula latifolia, for example.

Do a price check

Compare the price. A very low price is something to be wary of. But the highest-priced bottle might not be the best choice either. In recent years the sale of essential oils has become retail-driven, whereas it used to be more practitioner-driven.

These days, certain multilevel marketing giants may be marking up their prices because they’re really selling a *brand.* These oils are mass-produced, and the companies are not always forthcoming about their sourcing or sustainability efforts. These oils are typically overpriced.

The bottom line

Suppliers won’t claim to sell low-quality or adulterated essential oils, so it’s important to learn to see through clever marketing.

Look for essential oils sold in dark glass bottles that are clearly labeled with the Latin name.

Pure Essential Oil should not Feel Greasy or Oily.

Steer clear of plastic bottles, labels with vague or little to no info, and anything labeled simply “fragrance oil or essence oil.”