There are several great essential oil companies out there and there are several not great companies out there. Essential oils are not regulated by any agency, which can make things a bit interesting at times. Because there is no regulation a company can claim their oil is pure even if it is not, so you need to know what to look for to find good quality essential oils that will actually be beneficial.
How do you spot which companies are quality and which ones are not from their website?
You want to look for:
- colored bottles
- third party testing
- proper sourcing
- safe usage recommendations
- additional education
Essential oils are sensitive to light, so it is very important for the bottle to be a dark glass to help slow down oxidation. Most commonly amber glass is used. There are some companies that use violet, green or cobalt-blue glass as well. All of these colors are fine. Just make sure to avoid the clear bottles and plastic bottles as the clear will not protect the essential oil and the plastic can be broken down by essential oils.
Third Party Testing
This is the first thing I look for. If they do not offer the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS) reports that right there is a big red flag.
The reports should also be third party to mitigate any false reports.
Gas Chromatography is a chemical analysis used to identify the individual components of the essential oil. The essential oil is vaporized and carried through the instrument via gas stream. The individual components of the essential oil are registered at different times and speeds. This process does not identify the name of exact components.
Mass Spectrometry is used with the gas chromatography to identify specific components that were found with the gas chromatography.
These two together are a great tool for identifying a pure essential oil verses an adulterated one. However, keep in mind they do not catch everything.
Ideally you want essential oils made from plant material that is grown in it’s native locations, as this makes a difference in the quality of the oil.
It is also important that the company uses the correct part of the plant to make the essential oil. An easy one to check that pretty much every company carries is lavender.
Are they using just the flowering tops or do they use the flowering tops plus other parts of the plant?
A good quality lavender is going to use only the flowering tops.
Promote Safe Usage
Does the company promote unsafe practices for the average person? The number one thing to look for is promotion of ingestion, especially ingestion of essential oils in water. Essential oils and water do not mix, so ingestion of essential oils when it is necessary is never done by simply adding the essential oil to water.
Ingestion of essential oils should only be done under the guidance of an aromatherapist who is certified in ingestion of essential oils.
While essential oils are natural, they are extremely powerful and need to be treated with respect.
Do they promote neat usage (applying essential oils directly to the skin without a carrier)? There are instances where you can do this, but again you need to know what you are doing, or one can easily end up with a chemical burn and that is never a fun situation to be in. Instead, the company should be promoting using a carrier oil to dilute the oil to reduce the chances of any reactions.
Essential Oils in the Tub
Another one to watch out for is promotion of adding essential oils directly to the bath water. Oil and water do not mix, so this results in essential oils just sitting on the top of the water. Hello irritated skin!
When using essential oils in the tub it is important to add them to a carrier such as coconut oil, a bath or shower gel or castile soap. Epsom salt alone does not dilute the essential oil.
Certified therapeutic grade is nothing more than a marketing term as there is no regulation of essential oils. If a company is advertising that they are therapeutic grade that automatically puts them in my do not trust bucket because they are not being honest as therapeutic grade does not exist.
This is not a must, but it is always nice to see and helps to give a better feel of the company if they have educational articles on their website pertaining to essential oils.
It is also really helpful when they mark which ones are kid safe and pregnancy or nursing safe. Overall, the additional education helps boost confidence in their product.
Time to start looking at companies!
Essential oils are a great tool to have in a natural medicine cabinet, but they are not going to be the best asset they can be if they are not good quality. Hopefully this helps you to find brands that are good solid quality and also align with your values.
If you are wanting to learn more about essential oils and how to use them properly, I highly recommend Using Essential Oils Safely, she also has a Facebook group.