How to spot a Pure Essential Oil

essential oils Nov 22, 2018
Cat with essential oil bottle

I teach classes on creating a healthy life with essential oils, and often people apply this knowledge with oils they already have in their homes. Inevitably the question comes up if they are safe, and I am often asked to voice my opinions about various brands. While I don’t feel it is my place to do that, I can say is that I researched thoroughly before I put my name to the doTERRA brand, and in my (educated) opinion the quality you get with doTERRA is second to none.
There are many reputable brands available, but buying a good one can be a challenge.

It may be called essential oil, or “oil of Lavender” for example, but often the content is extended with a less expensive carrier oil, or the scent can be synthetic. Lavender Oil often is just a perfumed oil - it is not even necessary to put real plants into this. Without the Latin name chances are that your essential oil is a lower-cost hybrid.

However, there is no point in throwing something away that you already have. Most inferior oils are still safe to diffuse if they contain natural oils, so here are some pointers to stay safe:


Even my cat is curious about the labels

Always check the label carefully. Despite the fact that essential oils are not regulated yet, any quality manufacturer will take pride in their product and play by the rules. Your bottle will have the plant’s Latin name, it will state essential oil, not just “Lavender Oil” it will state therapeutic grade or CPTG. On the bottom of the bottle, it should have a Quality ID, which means the batch has been tested by an independent and verified lab.


Essential oils aren’t true oils - they don’t mix with water, but their chemical compound differs somewhat from a pressed nut or seed oil. An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid that contains volatile aroma compounds from plants - in plain English, they slowly disappear if you leave the bottle open. A carrier oil does not vaporise but goes rancid.

To test your oil, place a drop of essential oil onto a sheet of white printer paper. When it has dried, there should be nothing left - if there is an oily ring left behind, you are looking at a carrier oil and/or synthetic compounds. Heavy oils such as sandalwood, patchouli or vetiver are an exception, as they are vicious and dark in colour.


Of course, a high price does not necessarily stand for high quality. However, low costs certainly signifies inferior oil. Acquiring just one bottle of essential oil requires an incredibly large amount of plant material, and that reflects in the price.
If the plant is rare, you'll have to invest even more: there is only one place in the world that produces Hawaiian Sandalwood for example, and it requires experience and a special skill to distil it. Likewise, oils such as Jasmine, helichrysum or some camomile varieties are difficult to grow to produce consistent quality. Other oils, such as wild orange, lavender, rosemary are abundant, easier to grow and can be produced at better costs, but it still takes 3 pounds of lavender to produce just one 15ml bottle of pure essential oil. A 5ml bottle of rose oil is distilled using about 242000 rose petals; safe to say that if you find a bottle for £3-4 there won’t be much rose in it.


The chemical compounds of essential oils break down and react with plastic - this means that all essential oils must be stored in glass containers. They also may react and degrade with sunlight, so ideally they come in a dark blue or amber glass bottle. While we’re at this, bottles always should be kept in a cool place, too much heat changes them too.


If you massage a drop of olive or coconut oil into your skin, it will feel thick and leave a thin oily film on the skin until it is absorbed. Essential oils have a little slip, they can be very runny, and when massaged into the skin they leave no greasy residue. Again, this is slightly different for thicker, darker oils such as Patchouli, Camomile or Sandalwood


Since essential oils are pure plant magic, it would make sense to buy organic. Citrus oils for example are made from the distilled skin of the fruit - if they have been sprayed, the pesticides will be in the oils too.
However, an oil that is wildcrafted i.e. collected in the wild, where it originally grows will have not been sprayed, but not have a certified organic label either. If I grow Rosemary in my backyard and distil it, it’ll be certainly organic, but it won’t be therapeutic grade. So, this brings us back to: Read the label, check out the companies credentials - if they are genuine they will provide this information and all tests they undergo to assure quality on their website.

The bottom line is, if you want your essential oils to be effective, make sure you buy good quality. The whole point of living this lifestyle is to detox your environment and to take control of your families health. Use up whatever oils you do have, but if you cannot be sure what you are diffusing, don’t do it - ingredients in cheap essential oils have shown to be harmful to pets, and you certainly don’t want to place an oil of unknown origins on your children’s feet. A single drop of pure peppermint oil placed on the neck can be a powerful antidote to headaches. A single drop of a cheap oil makes you smell like toothpaste - choose wisely.

To find out more about doTERRA oils, join my Facebook group Mrs Wallers Eclectic Oil Tribe, or simply drop me a line - I am always happy to help.


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