Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Now a days, you can't scroll through your Facebook feed, at least I can't, without seeing someone trying to promote their essential oil business. **Disclaimer - I'm all for MLMs and making money off of something you're passionate about as long as you're doing it responsibly.** However, after seeing post after post about oils, it makes you wonder if they're really worth it.
What are they?
Essential oils are plant extracts. They're made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant to capture the compounds that produce the scent. It can take a lot of plants to produce a single bottle of essential oil, hence the expensive prices of some.
How to find quality oils?
There will be A LOT of debate on this one. Below I have listed things to look for and things that I think are important to note. I'm sure some who read this will argue with me and that is fine. I have taken classes in aromatherapy for certification purposes so I'm pretty solid in my education and research. I will happily debate anyone, however, if there is a particular MLM that you trust and prefer, stick with them. This is not meant to change anyone's mind. It is meant for those who aren't members of the MLM and want trustworthy and cheaper options without the strings that can be attached.
1. The term therapeutic grade is bullshit - there is no independent body that certifies them. Tests done in house on their own products don't count. That would be like asking a parent to talk crap about their own kids. I don't trust their in house testing. I need reputable, party reports please and thank you.
2. Look at labels - The labels should include the Latin name, information on purity and then type of processing and it should include what country the plant was grown.
3. Evaluate the company - Never buy from a company that you've never head of. These oils can be extremely potent and you need to know what kind of company you're dealing with to make sure you can trust them.
4. Choose dark-colored, glass containers - If they come in clear or plastic containers, run away quickly. Most oils will deteriorate plastic so that's never a good idea and the sun can break down the chemicals in the oils over time so dark glass helps to prevent that.
5. Avoid "fragrance oils" - I don't even know what these really are but I see them popping up all over the place. I don't know what is in them so I steer clear. The whole point of oils is to be more natural and with a lot of these fragrance oils, you have no idea what you're getting.
6. Compare Prices - Essential oils range in price, depending on how involved the harvesting process is. There should be a wide variety of prices. Rose absolute or sandalwood will be more expensive while sweet orange is cheaper. If you find an expensive oil at a cheap price, it is probably adulterated and not pure.
Adulterate is defined as the following: to render (something) poorer in quality by adding another substance, typically an inferior one. Basically, companies are adding something to the essential oil to stretch it and make it cheaper to produce. Usually it is with a carrier oil to thin it a little. Basically what it boils down to is that you're not getting what you paid for. However, you can test for adulterated oils.
How to test for adulterated oils? Place drops of the oil on piece of white printer paper. Leave it overnight. Is there an oily spot left on the paper? If so, it has been adulterated. Pure essential oils should evaporate and leave the tiniest of trace on the paper. Here is a link from wikiHow that describes this process much better than I can: https://www.wikihow.com/Test-Essential-Oils-for-Purity
How can you use essential oils safely?
As stated earlier, the quality of essential oils on the market varies greatly. Since there is no regulation, you can't be 100% sure what is in the bottle. Therefore I will say this in all caps for the people in the back. I WOULD NOT INGEST THEM. If you're under the care of someone who is certified in that kind of thing then maybe but usually, no.
Diffusers - Diffusers are an awesome thing that will not only put the essential oil fragrance into the air but some, the one linked, will also act as a humidifier. I would strongly suggest that you diffuse any particular oil for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. After 20 minutes they're not as effective and you tend to build up a tolerance. I would also do my research before diffusing in your home. While peppermint is great for clarity and stuffiness, it tends to agitate babies so it can make for a rough couple of hours with your little ones if you're not careful.
Aromatherapy Accessories - Accessories can be found in a lot of different forms. I prefer the necklaces, such as the one linked, but they also come in bracelets and I've even seen plastic nose rings. The fun of these is that they can go anywhere that you do. You can any oil that you want and smell it for about 24 hours. After 24 hours, the scent will usually evaporate off and you add a few more drops for your next wear. I'll be honest, I have the color pads coordinated with scents. Purple for lavender, yellow for lemon....you get the idea.
Body Oils - Take an essential oil and dilute it with a carrier oil (i.e. olive, almond, jojoba or coconut). This one is simple, you usually want to aim for a 2.5% dilution which is 15 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil. Once mixed, use it however you like. I use one after showers with frankincense, lavender and sandalwood. I even used a much more diluted oil to help combat cradle cap on one of the kids.
Aroma Stick/Essential Oil Inhaler - These are probably new for a lot of people. They work much like the jewelry but if you just need a whiff and not a constant stream of scent, this is the way to go. I usually have peppermint in one to help with sinus issues during the spring. It helps to clear up the sinuses and helps with any headache which may be imminent. There are many different types out there but I use the ones link because they look a little extra.
I think they're worth it but my expectations are low. I don't expect them to cure cancer or lower my diabetes. However, if they help me relax and get better sleep, it may help with stress and blood pressure. Can it help with the appearance of your skin? I think so but I use them responsibly. I use oils daily and those include the following:
Look for later posts for explanations and uses. If you have any questions on the safety and selections of oils, please let me know!
**Disclaimer: I fully use and love the products linked and may make a small percentage if you choose to purchase any of the products linked above.**