Hello folks, welcome to the only place you need to be for all things essential oils. Glad you could make it.
Now, it’s no secret that this topic can get a bit murky and confusing for most. What should initially be mother nature at her simplest and very best has been turned into incorrigible jargon and rocket science.
But fear not; I am the shining torch in the darkness.
Where there’s a poor soul wondering what the heck these oils are, I’ll be there.
Where there’s doubt and confusion about how these oils are made, I’ll be there.
And where there’s a person who needs me to hold their hand all through the entire buying process, I’ll be there.
So sit down, buckle up, and prepare yourself for one wild and oily ride because this is the Olivia’s ultimate, insider’s guide to buying essential oils.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Essential Oils?
- 2 3 Essential Oil Extraction Methods
- 3 What To Look For When Selecting Your Essential Oils?
- 4 3 Questions To Ask Before Buying Essential Oils
- 5 9 Best Essential Oil Companies
- 6 Should I Buy Cheap Essential Oils On Amazon?
- 7 How To Identify The Best Essential Oil Companies?
- 8 Which Is The Best Essential Oil Company?
- 9 Price Comparison From 10 Essential Oil Companies
- 10 The Bottom Line
What Are Essential Oils?
Simply put, essential oils are the most concentrated form of volatile agents that occur naturally in aromatic plants. Imagine rubbing rosemary between the palms of your hands or inhaling fresh lavender flowers and peppermint leaves deeply.
What you’re smelling is resins and oils that plants create either to attract pollinators, warn predators, or protect themselves from disease.
But as you would expect, this is just a small, minuscule amount of oil per plant. That’s why it takes a tremendous amount of raw materials and one extremely painstaking extraction process to obtain even an ounce of the stuff.
Needless to say, all this is reflected in the high price tags that essential oil brands and companies place on their products. But before we look into how to choose your essential oils and some of the best brands in the business, let’s cast our camera lenses on the different extraction methods.
3 Essential Oil Extraction Methods
1. Cold Pressing
Commonly used for extracting citrus oils from their fruit skin, the age old method of cold pressing is highly effective for plant materials that easily release their aromatic components. In the past, the method involved manual extraction where fruits and plants were pressed with a sponge until it got saturated with the oil.
This sponge would then be pressed to obtain the oil. Today, however, mechanized processes are used for the cold pressing oranges, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, lime peel, among others. Cold-pressed essential oils have a fresh smell and a light color. They are suitable for use in aromatherapy, both internally and to diffuse.
Most plant aromatics can be easily captured through vaporization. Depending on the plant matter, distillation can be done using water, steam or both. Here, the water or steam is passed through botanicals in a closed container where the oils get vaporized, rise up with the steam and condense in a cooling chamber. You’ll find that most essential oils are produced this way including the flowers, barks, leaves, and roots. Some of the most popular examples of distilled oils include ylang ylang, lavender, fir needle, eucalyptus, sandalwood, rose, and peppermint.
3. Solvent Extracted
Some plant aromatics are so rare, delicate or too bound up in resin for distillation and cold pressing to work. This is where a solvent comes to the rescue to make an extraction possible. The type of solvent used can range from both toxic and non-toxic substances such as acetone, alcohol, propane, hexane among others. That’s why consumers are advised to look for a supplier who has listed all solvents used. In a great quality oil, all the solvents should be completely evaporated out of the final product. Some of the most popular candidates for solvent extraction include vanilla, oakmoss, jasmine, benzoin resin among others. So apart from the extraction method, what else should you look for when selecting your essential oils?
What To Look For When Selecting Your Essential Oils?
A wise man once said that beggars can’t be choosers; then again, it might have been Bob the neighborhood bum! Either way, wise words right there.
When it comes to essential oils, you need to be as choosy as can possibly be. Whenever you inhale a certain aroma, ingest a substance or apply something directly on your skin, it will always have a direct effect on your body. This is why you need to understand precisely what it is you are using and if there is any potential to help or harm you.
With that in mind, there are a few specific factors that you have to watch out for when selecting your essential oils. And yes, you guessed it; I’ve outlined them all here to make your shopping even easier.
Currently, there is no quality control for essential oils in the US. This is why you need to make sure that you get your products from reputable sellers. This especially applies to those using essential oils for health purposes.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have any authority over essential oil products, nor is there any governing body that certifies essential oils.
Some time ago, I had come across a grading system (Grade A, B, C) based on the quality of essential oils, however this has proven to be inaccurate information.
Again, there is no official or standardized definition for purity in essential oils.
So as you would expect, the high prices of essential oils will always attract several substandard commercial products. The problem with those is that they are actually adulterated and diluted with synthetic extenders and contain very small amounts of the ingredient if any at all. These essential oils can be very detrimental and can cause skin irritation and more.
To get a much better idea of what you are buying, conduct some research on the brand and look at the label for specific aspects. This includes the country of origin, distillation, its botanical name as well as warnings against their various application.
Let’s get things clear straight off the bat; essential oils are some of the most expensive products per ounce or ml you will ever find. However, it’s important to remember where these wonderful little helpers come from when you purchase a bottle.
For instance, did you know that it takes up to 250 pounds of rose blossoms to produce just one measly ounce of rose oil? Sure, other oils are easier to produce, but they all basically require large amounts of plant matter to get a small bottle of oil.
Combined with the insanely rigorous process of extracting, it’s easy to see why essential oils come with such a high cost to volume ratio. This means that a great quality oil will never come cheap. As such, it would behove you remember the old adage that if it seems too good to be true, top marks it probably is!
Don’t be fooled by discount retailers and online sites that offer essential oils at throwaway prices – chances are they really are throwing them away! There is one benefit of investing in pure, premium quality essential oils though. It’s that these oils not only offer therapeutic benefits, but because they are highly concentrated, you’ll require only a few drops for most applications.
4. Bottling and Storage
When purchasing essential oils at some stores or even online, it’s not entirely uncommon for larger sized bottles to be shipped in plastic containers. Not only does this avoid breakage, but it saves the retailer a lot on shipping fees. However, any essential oil connoisseur will tell you that this is ONE BIG MISTAKE.
See, essential oils can dissolve plastics, and the quality of the oil will deteriorate faster and more rapidly. If you receive essential oils that are stored in plastic bottles, then be sure to transfer it to a dark colored glass bottle ASAP to guarantee as much longevity as possible. Storing the essential oil in a cool, dry place also helps a lot.
3 Questions To Ask Before Buying Essential Oils
Before you go out shopping for essential oils, here are some important questions that you need to ask to ensure that you are getting the best quality essential oils that are best suited for your particular needs and budget.
Q1: Are essential oils safe?
Can I be totally honest with you? The answer is well… yes and no. As such, I like to say that quality matters and that a little goes a long way with essential oils.
For those who may not realize it, high-quality essential oils are concentrated substances, therefore use with absolute care. These concentrated aromatics enter through the olfactory system, skin and digestive system and proceed directly to the brain and bloodstream. This is what allows the plant’s properties to alter your emotional state and physiology of your body.
In the end, essential oils need to be detoxed by our livers and kidneys. Which is why large amounts of oil can be harmful to kids, pets, babies, pregnant women and people with health issues.
Q2: What will you use the essential oil for?
Knowing the purpose of your intended end-use will really go a long way towards fulfilling your needs. As we established, the grading system points you in the right direction.
For starters, people who just need essential oils to make candles, soaps and home fresheners will be well suited by fragrance oils or food grade oils made for aromatherapy, and these oils tend to be fairly cheap.
However, anyone intending to use essential oils to promote the health and well-being of themselves and their family, kids and pets will need to use pure high-grade oils. That’s because they meet the stringent distillation and testing procedures set forth. They also contain no synthetics and solvents, making them safe to diffuse, for topical use and in some instances, ingest.
There are a few trustworthy essential oil brands and suppliers worldwide that handle this niche due to the high costs involved. But as you’ll all soon find out, there are even more companies than that who claim their essential oils are 100 percent pure.
Q3: What’s the best way to use my essential oils?
Essential oils have the innate ability to be used for a wide range of applications. Generally, some people prefer to use them in diffusers while others use them topically.
A select few opt to use the essential oils internally. Let’s look at how each application works and when it is suitable.
i) Topical Application
There are virtually thousands of ways to use essential oils topically. However, it is not advisable to use concentrated oils on your skin without diluting them in a carrier oil. This includes vegetable oils, hydrosol, hazel extract or even alcohol.
A rule of thumb is to use a dilution rate of 2-3% for use on the skin. This is approximately 12-18 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce (30ml) of carrier oil. And always remember to perform a skin patch test to see if you have any allergic reaction to a particular oil. The last thing you want is to burn your skin.
ii) Internal Application
In conjunction with the entire international aromatherapy community, I maintain that you should never use essential oil internally or ingest any without the advice and guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner / doctor.
There are a few essential oils that can be ingested safely, but it’s better to be safe and healthy than sorry and in pain. See, essential oils are very concentrated and can lead to burns and mucous lining irritation as they make their way through your digestive track.
Remember, stronger is not always better in this case; so go easy on your liver, kidneys and digestive tract by talking to your doctor before ingesting any essential oils.
9 Best Essential Oil Companies
As mentioned above, reputable essential oil companies / brands are few and far apart. Typically, most will meet criteria such as NAHA memberships, sustainability, GC/MS testing and a few use plants grown organically in the manufacture of essential oils.
In truth, it’s a minefield out there, with surprises waiting at each and every step you make. To get you safely to the other side, I’ve short-listed 9 of the top essential oil companies in the US (in alphabetical order).
Healing people since 2001, Amoils is a brand operating out of San Diego. The brand not only excels at making single essential oils, but they also provide natural blends / remedies, ranging from acne to warts and from psoriasis to stretch marks.
What makes Amoils a common household brand is that not only do they produce high, quality products made in the USA, but everything about them screams eco-friendly. From their zero synthetic chemicals or pesticide process to their environmentally friendly glass containers, it easy to see why people like Amoils.
Now, doTERRA may not be as young as some of the other brands on this list, but they’ve put in enough work to make them one of the leading brands. This new kid on the block was formed by health care and business professionals with a great deal of personal experience with essential oils.
As their mission statement says, doTERRA strives to bring a new standard of therapeutic-grade essential oils. Every batch of their oils is subjected to CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade quality protocol that ensures purity, potency, consistency, and quality. One of the issues I have is the very high price of their essential oils.
3. Edens Garden
Introducing one of the most popular and recommended essential oil brands on the market today, Edens Garden makes use of some old-school but highly effective techniques. This brand guarantees the freshness and quality of their products by rotating stock every two weeks or so to ensure that every bottle received is from a fresh batch.
As if that wasn’t enough, the oils are then stored in a temperature sensitive room with minimal lighting to ensure absolutely no compromise of the oil’s therapeutic properties. Edens Garden stores its oils in amber glass bottles without the help of any additives or filters.
4. Mountain Rose Herbs
Here’s another great brand that strives to sell the finest quality of essential oils. Not only are a lot of their essential oils certified as organic, but their people-and-planet- before-profit attitude makes Mountain Rose Herbs the go-to brand for tree huggers.
The brand has netted a few awards and certifications such as non-GMO project certification and Best Green Business in Oregon.
5. Now Foods
If there’s a veteran brand here, it would have to be this one. Now Foods started their supplements business back in 1968 with the aim of providing high-quality, personal care, health products, and essential oils to health-seeking consumers.
Aside from being primarily involved in the production of nutritional foods, Now Foods is known for their unique growing, harvesting and distilling techniques. All their essential oils are manufactured to the highest quality and purity.
6. Plant Guru
For those of you who may not be aware, Plant Guru started as an exclusively online business providing 100 percent pure essential oils with zero pyramid schemes and some of the most competitive prices the markets have seen.
The plant materials come from reputable farms globally that comply with USDA standards and GC/MS testing methods. Apart from treating customers respectfully, Plant Guru boasts of over 140 kinds of essential oils, carrier oils and blends under their name.
7. Plant Therapy
Plant Therapy, founded in 2011 is arguably one of the youngest brands of all known for producing 100 percent pure essential oils. While their oils have been tested using GC/MS testing, they still use their own in-house experts to ensure they are free from any additives, adulterants or dilutions.
Their ability to source oils from top distributors around the globe have made it possible to maintain high quality and lower prices. The brand stands above the rest by including a specific number on each bottle to show the batch as well as lab results for that specific batch. The bottling service is also a winner, and their free shipping and returns is a big positive.
Further, I have tried a few of their essential oils and I must say that I love them – excellent quality essential oils at a reasonable price. They even have a kids friendly line (kids safe)!
8. Rocky Mountain Oils
Here’s a company whose integrity and product quality are without question some of the highest in the industry. Since Rocky Mountain Oils raw ingredients are only obtained from select farms worldwide, the brand has been able to maintain a high level of quality.
Not only are their essential oils graded as 100 percent pure, but the brand also boasts of about 85 singles and 75 different blends to suit everyone’s needs. Thanks to their value-rich, affordable price range and nice-looking packaging, Rocky Mountain Oils have become a common household name. I have tried Rocky Mountain Oils products and found them to be of fine quality.
9. Young Living
Founded in 1993 with headquarters at Lehi Utah, Young Living guarantees a Young Living Therapeutic Grade standard that preserve the potency and integrity of natural essential oils.
Apart from their stringent quality control, Young Living uses caution to care for, nurture and harvest the plants just at the right stage. Their vapor extraction methods and resin tapping techniques seem unrivaled. Similarly to doTERRA, one of the downside to this brand is that they have some of the most expensive essential oils you’ll ever buy.
And Then, There Is Le Web, Creator of L’orpur Products
Le Web, founded in 2014, saw the need for an honest essential oil company that valued customers over profit, with its ultimate goal to positively impact the lives of people (happier, healthier, and more productive life) through the many benefits of essential oils.
This company provides attentive, personalized customer experience and offers USDA organic certified 100% pure, high quality essential oils and expertly crafted blends at an affordable price without no compromise on quality, ever!
As per their mantra, the people behind Le Web have made a conscious decision to shift to organic products and holistic remedies because it involved searching for and discovering nature’s pathways and they believe Mother Nature still knows best!
Should I Buy Cheap Essential Oils On Amazon?
Ah yes, when it comes to saving a dollar, nothing beats some of today’s highly competitive online stores. But just how real are some of these prices that they have for essential oils?
Does it make sense if the essential oil costs less that the fruit or plant that it’s extracted from? We’ve heard the story time and time again; if it sounds too good to be true, then chances are that it probably is.
To make my case, we’ll be looking at one of the most popular online store in the US and one that you’ve no doubt used many times yourself – the BIG AMAZON.
That’s right; you’ve heard about the leading online marketplace where you can find pretty much anything you want except human organs (or can’t you?). And just like any other marketplace, Amazon is very well regulated and extremely safe to use. But with close to half a billion (yeah that’s right!) of products and a throng of sellers to keep track of, it’s only natural that a few seedy characters will slip through the cracks.
Essential oils are known for carrying a very high price tag, which is why it is one of the most targeted products for scams and counterfeits. Of course, even the most trusted companies can be preyed upon and have their reputations tarnished by a few crooked characters.
What these guys do is to make substandard essential oils that only contain microscopic amounts of the real ingredient highly diluted with other cheaper ingredients.
The good news is that there are ways to tell if you are getting the genuine product or if someone’s taking you for a ride.
For starters, make sure the product is intact and contains the scientific name of the ingredient that you want.
Secondly, you could perform an evaporation test on paper to ascertain the purity of your essential oils. Just add a drop of oil and allow it to dry up completely. If an oil stain remains, then chances are that your essential oils have been diluted with vegetable oils.
Not only will diluted, substandard oils not perform as expected, but they will definitely have adverse side effects. So, while there might be plenty of cheap alternatives for essential oils on Amazon, they may not be the real deal and don’t represent value for your money.
It’s better to spend twice the amount but have the guarantee that you are getting something pure, real and that will have the intended benefits.
How To Identify The Best Essential Oil Companies?
While some of the new essential oil companies are making quite a mark in the industry, nothing beats experience and plenty of skin in the game. Buying your oils from a highly trustworthy company not only ensures you get pure, unadulterated products, but all the years of research, development, and perfection that go into creating an essential oil.
First off, you want to buy from a company whose plants are grown without pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals. The company then has to test all their essential oils through third party GC/MS testing with bottle numbers that take the consumer directly to the batch lab results.
3. Affordable Pricing
As we mentioned earlier, there’s an entire world of difference between a great brand and a great company. When it comes to essential oils, Multi-Level Marketing companies boast of some hefty and exorbitant prices. This may not be ideal for someone looking to use essential oils on a long-term basis. Look for something affordable but steer clear of the cheap essential oils that I referred to earlier.
This is what separates the wheat from the chaff, and the leading companies from leading counterfeits. Good essential oil companies understand and value the importance of being as transparent as possible with their ingredients and processes. Not only does the company need to list the country of origin for all their essential oils, but they also have to state the Latin names of the ingredient used to make the oil. Some will even go as far as including their growing and oil extraction method as well as any solvents used in the extraction.
Which Is The Best Essential Oil Company?
Now that you know the exact difference between cheap, substandard oils and real, pure essential oils, it’s time to dig a little deeper at two of the largest essential oil companies in the world.
Remember, a brand may be flawless and widely loved, but the company behind the brand is a whole other story. Let’s look at Young Living and doTERRA in a bit more detail, where they came from and where they stand today in the essential oil industry.
We all know the story of one of the new kids on the block called doTERRA. The company was founded barely two decades ago by business and healthcare experts who saw the benefits of essential oils.
Their mission statement says that they want to bring a new standard of therapeutic-grade essential oils to the world. Looking at their price range, this statement couldn’t be any truer. Out of all other companies in the US, doTERRA is in the top for the most expensive prices.
Unfortunately, the company’s insane popularity and exorbitant prices also make it the number one riskiest essential oil brand in the world. This means that scammers find this as an easy target since there’s always a high return for all the effort put into counterfeiting. Since the company uses MLM resellers, it’s hard to know who is authorized or not to sell their products and who is selling adulterated oils.
Arguably the oldest company when it comes to essential oils, Young Living is top dog right there next to doTERRA. Apart from having some of the most stringent quality measures, Young Living makes efforts to ensure the absence of slavery and human trafficking in its supply chain. It requires its suppliers to ensure a similar level of compliance.
Young Living shares the same unfortunate scenario as doTERRA, and has hands down the most expensive essential oils in the USA. Its high and exorbitant prices make the company’s products a prime target for counterfeiting as well. So, before you buy anything from Young Living, make sure you identify and do research on who the seller really is.
Contrary to popular belief, more expensive is not synonym for better quality. In the case of MLM companies such as YL and doTERRA, cost alone cannot be used to justify the quality of their products.
Therefore, don’t be blinded by the most expensive oils as this does not guarantee the best quality oils and don’t believe their “therapeutic grade” claims as this is simply a marketing ploy, you can read more about it here.
Be sure to look for the company that meets your quality standards while charging a reasonable price (and yes, they do exist!).
Price Comparison From 10 Essential Oil Companies
I am sure you are all confused by now with a complete overload of information. To simplify things a bit and for convenience, I’ve come up with a table of pricing for the above companies evaluated.
Please note that all prices have been adjusted to reflect buying a 5ml (1/6 ounce) bottle of essential oil. I had to do this as some companies offer a 5ml bottle, whilst others offer a 10ml or 15ml bottle and in the case of Now Foods, they have a 1 ounce (30ml) bottle. For our 2 MLM friends (YL and doTERRA), the prices shown are the retail prices.
The Bottom Line
There you have it; all the information you need to know about essential oils right at your fingertips. My work is all done; the rest is up to you. Hopefully, making the choice will be much easier with this guide to help you every step of the way.
So, go out there and get your essential oils today and don’t forget to tell me how it goes. If you’re still wondering where to get your essential oils, all the brands and companies mentioned herein have their own websites where you can order the products online.
If you have any questions, comments or queries, what are you waiting for? Feel free to contact me and ask anything and everything about buying essential oils.