Men and women the world over look to essential oils for a variety of reasons. They use the oils for medicinal purposes and to make their home or office smell better, among other things. However, a quick internet search turns up countless providers offering these oils, and a person might wonder how to choose the best product for their needs. What should a consumer look for when purchasing these oils?
The first thing consumers must know is the FDA does not regulate essential oils, so any company can state their oils are pure or therapeutic even if they aren’t. Furthermore, a company claiming to offer pure oils might handle them improperly and negatively affect the potency or quality of the oil. As a result, customers can’t simply read a label and assume it is accurate. They must do their own research to get reputable products.
Many factors play a role in the oil’s quality. Simply because it smells good doesn’t mean it is effective. In fact, adulteration of the oils remains a serious concern. Even when the oil is properly extracted, packaged, and handled, contamination remains an issue. When researching the essential oils at AromaTech, what should consumers take into consideration?
What to Avoid
Before looking at what consumer’s desire in a high-quality essential oil, it’s important to know what to avoid. Never buy essential oils that contain artificial chemicals or ingredients. The only thing a person needs to see on the label of an essential oil is the oil itself.
Furthermore, see how much oil is in the bottle, as certain distributors claim there is more oil in the bottle than is present. This leads to the consumer obtaining a low-quality product that won’t provide the desired benefits.
Some essential oil manufacturers add vegetable oil to their essential oils. Doing so provides the essential oil with more volume, but offers no benefits. Test any products you buy by placing a few drops of the oil on a piece of paper. If an oily ring appears, the product probably contains vegetable oil.
Essential oils differ in terms of their pricing, as extraction procedures differ by the oil being captured. Oils that require an extensive extraction process cost more. When all oils offered by a manufacturer come with the same or similar prices, look elsewhere for the items you desire.
Examine the packaging. Essential oils should not come in plastic bottles, as plastic negatively affects the quality of the oil. The oil could dissolve the plastic and introduce contaminants into it. Plastic allows light to reach the oil as well, and this leads to a loss in the oil’s potency.
Companies often put clinical grade or therapeutic grade on their oils to entice consumers to buy their products over those offered by competitors. However, nobody regulates the use of these buzzwords, so a manufacturer can put them on low-quality products that contain very little essential oil. The FDA doesn’t regulate these products, and manufacturers may use the terms to be ambiguous without coming out and making a false claim about what they are offering. Consumers must watch for this.
Companies should never allow oils to sit. Examine bottles on the shelves of the local retailer to see how long they have been on display. Any dust on the bottle or shelves is a sign to purchase your oil elsewhere. When oils sit for extended periods, they oxidize and lose their therapeutic properties. When someone opens the bottle, a weak fragrance serves as a sign the oil is no longer effective.
What You Should Look For
Now that people have reduced the choices, it’s time to consider what a consumer must look for when purchasing essential oils. Certain characteristics suggest a high-quality oil is being purchased.
The term organic means different things in different parts of the world. However, consumers want oils that state they are organic. This shows the oil remains free of pesticides. Plants, when sprayed with pesticides, pick up pollutants and impurities that then show up in the essential oils. Citrus oils remain most at risk of harboring these contaminants, so buy organic when possible. Some oils state they are unsprayed, which means the farmer used no pesticides on the plants, although the farm has not been certified as organic.
Look for essential oils in dark amber or glass blue bottles. They prevent light from entering the bottle and spoiling the oil. Review the labels on these bottles. Look for the common name of the oil, the Latin name, and the country of origin. Reputable manufacturers display this information clearly on their products. Don’t believe any claims on the packaging as noted above unless these claims have been verified. However, oils that state they are organic have undergone a regulated screening process. Buy organic oils when possible for this reason.
Evaluate the essential oil aroma. Never open a bottle and breathe in deeply. Undiluted oils remain incredibly potent and can serve as an irritant to the nasal passages. Hold the bottle approximately six inches from the nose and move it around slightly. Sniff lightly to get a whiff of the scent.
Never put oil directly on the body, as some individuals find they are allergic to certain essential oils. Apply one drop on the forearm and allow it to sit for several minutes. If there is no reaction, the oil likely isn’t an allergen. However, know which oils to use this method with, as some oils should never touch the skin directly. Place these oils in a carrier oil before allowing them to come into contact with the skin.
Never sniff essential oils one right behind the other. After testing one oil, allow the nose to have a break before moving on to the next. Oils inhaled closely together overwhelm the senses and make it difficult to differentiate between the various aromas.
Avoid purchasing large bottles of essential oils. Small bottles last an extended period, as a person needs only a few drops to get the therapeutic benefits. Use the oils within a year of their purchase date or store them in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life. Never freeze essential oils.
Compare retailers before purchasing essential oils. Reputable providers share information about their products with consumers and answer questions they have. When a company will do so, men and women feel more confident purchasing their products. While a retailer might not meet all criteria listed above, consumers find they have more information when making their purchasing decision. That remains the most important thing.