Essential oils have long been valued for their powerful therapeutic and beneficial properties and we use them throughout our daily lives. They are now more widely available than ever before, both locally and online. As a conscientious consumer, how do you go about finding quality essential oils? Once you learn to filter through the attractive marketing and know which questions to ask, it’s not hard.
Begin by scrutinizing the label, starting with taking a look at the ingredients. If it says “fragrance oil”, “nature identical” or “perfume oil”, it’s not a pure essential oil and is either partially or entirely chemicals. Ideally, the label will list the botanical name, country of origin, extraction method and whether or not the oil is organic.
Essential oils are volatile and oxidize over time, reducing their therapeutic properties and aroma. Because of this, packaging and handling are very important. Oils can react with plastics and are damaged by sunlight so they should be in coloured glass bottles, not plastic or clear glass. If buying locally, check the bottles for dust and ask how they have been stored and shipped. If they have been sitting around for a long time or stored in a hot storeroom, they most likely will have degraded. If you’re buying online, ask when the oil was extracted, how it’s been stored, and how it will be shipped.
A good vendor, both online and in person, will be passionate about their product and happy to answer questions. They should understand the differences in extraction methods and know the date the oil was extracted. Most organic oils are either steam-distilled or cold-pressed; avoid any that have been extracted chemically using solvents. Find out where their oils are sourced from and if they follow fair-trade policies. Are the oils wild-crafted and if so, do they follow sustainable practices? What sort of relationships do they have with their suppliers? Finally, ask about their history. How long have they been in business? What sort of outreach or education do they do? A company that cares about sustainability, the environment, and its customers and employees will let you know.
A good, quality essential oil is a joy to work with and finding a vendor you’d be happy to support is easy once you know what to look for. Remember to check labels, look at the ingredients, ask questions and most of all, enjoy your essential oils. If you’re interested in more ethical options for your shopping needs, be sure to check out our store.
Featured Image Courtesy of doTERRA
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