When you shop for clothing, appliances, and items taking a piece of your hard-earned paycheck, one of the first things you should consider is quality. You don’t want to spend your money on clothing that doesn’t last past the third or fourth washing or appliances that break within a year. You want (need!) your stuff to last as long as possible, and you should be just as picky when buying essential oils.
But I’m going to clue you in on something — high cost doesn’t always equal more quality (I mean, hello TJ Maxx!). So before you decide that you need to believe your neighbor that the MLM essential oils company she signed on with is the end all, be all of essential oils, keep reading to find out what you really need to know about why quality is important and how you can know when you have found it.
The quality of essential oils varies considerably and it can be very confusing, especially for those new to aromatherapy. When used for aroma only, such as in perfumes and fragrances, quality may not be as important as the scent. However, when used in aromatherapy, quality is of the utmost in importance in essential oils.
There are the two main reasons quality is important in essential oils:
1. Therapeutic Value – Not to be confused with the term “therapeutic grade” (a made-up marketing term some MLM companies use to try to convince you their oils are somehow special), the therapeutic value of an essential oil is determined by its purity. Pure, high-quality grade essential oils are all natural and very powerful. Therefore, they offer the most therapeutic value available. These are the oils you want to use in aromatherapy to ensure you’re receiving all of the benefits they have to offer. Low-grade essential oils (such as some used in perfumery or soap-making) will not provide the same benefits and may even be harmful to your health, which brings us to the next reason quality is so important.
2. Safety – First and foremost, your safety and that of your family is the most important thing to consider when using essential oils, and quality has a direct effect on your health. High-grade quality oils are pure. In other words, these oils are not altered in any way during the growing, extraction or manufacturing process. They are not adulterated with synthetic compounds or chemicals (often used to make them cheaper to sell) that could have an adverse effect on your health. Therefore, they are safer to use. The risk of having an allergic reaction or any other adverse effect is greatly reduced when your essential oils are pure, provided you’re following all safety guidelines.
Now that you understand why quality is so important, you should understand what impacts quality.
What Impacts the Quality of Essential Oils?
The three main things that impact the quality of essential oils include the growing process, extraction method used, and the manufacturing process. Let’s take a closer look at these three factors:
1. Growing process – During the growing process, no pesticides or other chemicals should be used. When growers spray pesticides on the plants to protect them from insects, they’re inadvertently spraying them with chemicals and toxins that seep into the oils. When this happens, they’re no longer pure and can have an adverse effect on your health. Therefore, only organically grown plants produce pure, high-quality oils. Now, to be realistic, getting certified organic is an expensive process that many growers cannot afford. This doesn’t mean their plants are not organic. This makes it vitally important for you to have good information from your essential oils supplier about where their oils are purchased. And that they are able to supply you with the lab testing that proves purity (aka: GC-MS testing).
2. Extraction process – It takes a lot of plants to produce a small amount of essential oil. It is unbelievable to me that it takes 10,000 pounds of rose petals to make one pound of rose oil. And when done right, it’s a slow, drawn-out process that takes time. Some companies rush the extraction process in order to increase profits. However, speeding up the process usually means applying more pressure or altering the temperature used during extraction, which ultimately lowers the quality of the oil. Even the time of day the oil is extracted can affect quality.
3. Manufacturing process – Some companies alter the oil by adding synthetic compounds to them. These additives not only lower the quality of the oil but they can also be harmful to your health. Many chemicals have been linked to cancer and other life-altering diseases. You don’t want to intentionally allow these chemicals to enter the body, which is what happens when you inhale or apply essential oils to the skin. Pure, high-quality oils are also packaged in dark bottles to preserve the integrity of the oil.
As you can see, everything from how and where the plants grow to the way they’re packaged and stored has an impact on the quality of the oil. You can’t know for sure where these oils come from or how they’re processed. Therefore, it’s vital that you buy from a reputable supplier you trust to follow the guidelines to ensure the oils you purchase are truly pure, high-grade oils. The benefits you receive and your safety depend on it.
How to Choose an Essential Oils Supplier
There are several essential oils companies we recommend buying from (and from whom we buy our own essential oils). One such company is Plant Therapy. When deciding from whom you will purchase your essential oils, there are a few things to look for.
If you’re like me, you’ll soon want one of everything. Making sure your supplier carries a tremendous variety of essential oils and blends could be important to you. There have been very few oils I’ve wanted to purchase that I have not been able to purchase through my top essential oils suppliers. And the couple that I have not been able to find are not easily found anywhere.
There are several online suppliers that provide GC-MS test results from a verified third party, independent lab for each one of their products. GC-MS tests verify purity and quality of the oils, so you can be sure you’re using the highest quality oils available. You might be surprised to know that the popular direct sellers of essential oils (Young Living and doTERRA) do not provide this information to their customers. For this reason, I do not purchase oils from either company.
Money Back Guarantee
My top favorite companies provide a money back guarantee. If you are not 100% satisfied with their oils, they will give you a 100% refund within 60-90 days of purchase. Yes, even if you’ve used the whole bottle to decide.
Essential oil company websites and blogs should be a wealth of information about essential oils, how to use them, dilution, and how to safely use essential oils with both adults and children. I personally believe (and I am not alone) that if a company pushes the idea of ingesting essential oils, said company is not teaching the safest use of them. Be wary of this. Rarely is there a need to ingest essential oils, and doing so should only be done under the supervision of a certified clinical aromatherapist or a physician well-versed in the use of essential oils.
I list it last because while cost is always an important factor, it’s not my number one consideration. Most online sellers of essential oils are cheaper than the MLM counterparts, and for customers in the U. S., shipping is often free. That’s value why maintaing high quality.
For those of you with children between the ages of 2-10, it might be important to find an essential oil supplier that has a line of essential oil blends dedicated to your little ones or that at least indicates on their website which oils can be safely used with them. Using essential oils safely with children is an important issue in the world of essential oils, and not always respected as it should be.
Whether you choose a local store, and online supplier, or a direct sales company from which to purchase your essential oils, be sure to do your research so that you are 100% sure you are using high-quality, pure essential oils. Otherwise, there is little reason to use them at all.
You might also enjoy:
- 5 Ways Essential Oils Can Support Your Health
- 18 Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief
- The Best Essential Oils for Everyday Wellness
Never use essential oils undiluted, in the eyes or mucus membranes. Do not ingest unless working with a qualified practitioner. Keep essential oils away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier oil).
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.