Essential Oil Buying Guide

There are so many different essential oil companies, and so much information (and misinformation) about essential oils in the public sphere. It can be very confusing to know what to look for when purchasing an essential oil or aromatherapy product. This guide will give you some pointers on what to look for, and what to avoid.

Shelf Life and Storage Conditions

Firstly, essential oils do have a shelf life, and storage conditions matter. You’ve probably noticed that essential oils come in amber, green, or blue bottles. That is to protect the volatile oils from heat and direct light, especially sunlight. A company that is knowledgeable about essential oils will store their product under conditions that protect them from excess heat and light.

I never recommend buying essential oils from discount stores that sell overstock from larger department stores. I also avoid buying from any store that has a sort of add-on, clearance type rack for essential oils. You just have no way of knowing how long they have been on the shelf, or how long they may have been sitting in a storeroom. You also don’t know how warm that storeroom was.

Buying directly from a reputable essential oil company can ensure that the essential oils you buy have not been sitting around on a shelf for too long, or under the wrong conditions. One of my favorite companies is Aromatics International. You can also check our Resources page.

Secondly, how do you choose the right company? The company should be able to provide transparency in two key areas: product purity, and sourcing.

Product Purity

The surest way to prove your essential oil is pure and unadulterated is through gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GCMS) testing. GCMS analysis identifies the exact constituents in an essential oil. It also lists exactly what percent of each constituent is present. Providing a per-batch GCMS report for an essential oil is the soundest scientific proof of what exactly is in your essential oil.

Why should you even care about GCMS testing? Some types of essential oils are more prone to adulteration than others. Floral essential oils are more likely to be adulterated with artificial perfume, due to market pressure. A pure floral essential oil is generally fairly expensive. If you find a dirt-cheap floral “essential oil,” it is unlikely to be 100% natural.

However, not all ethical companies conduct GCMS testing. If a company does not provide GCMS testing for their essential oils, look at the reputation of the company as a whole. Are they transparent about their processes?

Sourcing

An ethical essential oil retailer should be transparent about where their products come from. They should be able to tell you where the plant was grown and by whom. They should be clear about what steps are taken to use sustainable methods of harvesting. If a company cannot reveal those things, it means they may not have oversight of the process.

Look at the reputation of the company as a whole. How do they rank in ethics? If they are organic, do they have third-party certification? Don’t just believe what the company says about themselves. See what independent organizations say about them. One example of a company that does not provide GCMS testing, but excels in ethics and transparency is Neal’s Yard Remedies, or NYR Organic in the USA.

Two good independent organizations that rank companies by ethics and sustainability are Made Safe and Earth.org.

Conclusion

Ordering online or directly from a company can be the simplest way to ensure high quality. Check out if the company is certified organic. Can they tell you where the essential oils are harvested from?

Rest assured, Amber Heart Wellness only uses pure, organic, and ethically sourced essential oils in all our products.

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