Consider Quality First - An Essential Oils Buying Guide
We all understand that our modern world is one in which "buyer beware" applies at all times. Whether you are shopping online or in a brick and mortar establishment, it is your job to understand what you are getting in exchange for your payment. This is true of a new car as much as it is for a bottle of essential oil, and so we are going to take a bit of time to look at the best ways to go about successfully buying essential oils.
As that title indicates - you always (and maybe read that in all capital letters), consider the quality first. This is not as easy as it sounds because pure grade oil is not always labeled as such, and poor quality products can feature some deceptive terminology.
To steer you away from the low-quality items, always consider the following terms as big red flags:
- Fragrant oil
- Identical oil
- Perfumed oil
- Any variations on those terms, i.e. fragrance, perfume, natural identical, and so on
This sort of text is not indicative of a single, pure essential oil but is more likely an adulterated oil or a poor-quality product unfit for use medicinally or even safely as aromatherapy. Also, remember that the FDA is currently not regulating essential oils, so these less than scrupulous vendors can tell you whatever they want. If the wording on the label includes anything like what we've indicated above, avoid it. If it promises a long list of health benefits, it may be hyperbole and also something to avoid.
Instead, look for essential oils that tell you about their origins, the types of plant sources from which they were made, how those crops were grown and the kind of distillation used. Also be aware of grades. If your goal is to use an essential oil to make the house or office smell nicer, you don't need the 100% pure therapeutic oils. However, if you are going to use them medicinally and therapeutically, you must find the 100% pure oils. They are the only distilled without any solvents.
The grades you will see often grade A, B, or C and then "floral waters" or low-quality products. The therapeutic oils are grade A, the grade B oils are food grade and may even have some chemical ingredients. The lesser grades are really just for aromatic use.
Beyond Purity and Grading
Once you have considered the quality of the oil and learned if it is the proper grade for your purposes, pay attention to the way it is bottled. You may notice that most are sold in darkly colored, glass bottles. This is important because the oils themselves are sensitive to light and will degrade quite quickly if packaged in clear or plastic bottles. The best also come with glass bulb dispensers to allow you optimal control of contents.
Should you pay attention to cost? In a word: yes. Pure oils are expensive due to the difficulties involved in extraction. If it reads 100% and comes in at a bargain basement price, don't buy it.
With these simple, preliminary tips, you should be able to begin recognizing the very best oils from those best avoided.