Picking Quality Oils: A 'How To' Guide

DISCLAIMER: I am an average person on a quest for more knowledge. I am no expert but as I learn I share with you. This article may contain some affiliate links. This means if you click on it and buy I receive a small commission. This helps me stay home more so I can pour out my knowledge here. I sincerely appreciate all your support.

Have you ever looked at all the essential oils out there and wondered which one you should buy? I know I have. It can feel a bit daunting with so many freakin options. Which brand is the best? Which brand is the worst? Does the cheap price mean it's not that good? Does the expensive price make it better? How can we make a decision with a million options? How can we know the best option?

At first, it was surprising to me how much there is to learn about the oils. The quality of oils can differ from bottle to bottle and brands to brand. I suppose it makes sense since every batch comes from plant matter and those plants can vary from season to season and year to year. How is it then, that you can tell the difference? Well, that's what we are gonna talk about today.

I feel like there are a few questions you need to answer for yourself and then do the research to make sure that you find exactly what meets your match. So here are things I ask myself and then the things I am on the lookout for whenever I do my own research. That being said, sometimes I just buy something anyway to see how I like it. I did do another blog with my own personal take on researching in case you want to know my opinion or not have to do your own. Check it out here.

Here is a brief beginning knowledge of essential oils. There are three main ways to create essential oils. They are all capable of being utilized in different ways, but it is up to you to determine if this is what you are wanting for your personal purpose.

ESSENTIAL OIL: These are highly concentrated plant essences in the form of oils or a liquid compound derived from plant matter. Depending on the oil being made, the plant material could be comprised of flowers, leaves, bark, roots, or resin and is extracted through a steam distillation process. Once the water is distilled through the plant material a residue is left on top of the water. This residue is called the essential oil. The water that is left will retain the smell and can be used as a room or air spray and is known as a hydrosol.

-ABSOLUT OIL: this is another liquid plant essence that gives aromatic qualities similar to a plant. They work similarly as essential oils but instead of being distilled, they go through a complex set of steps using chemical solvents to help extract and retain the plant essence. This will often be used on high-cost essences such as roses and jasmine.

-INFUSION: This is an oil that has been infused with plant matter for an extended period of time to give the oil the smell and essence of the plant or flower. This will usually result in a lighter scent. In some cases, such as Vanilla, this is more commonly used since it cannot be steam distilled.

Now that you know the different types of oils, how do you plan to use the oil?

There are several ways to use oils:

- You can have fun with DIY projects such as making your own lotions, soaps, bath bombs, deodorant, body wash, etc. For these projects, most oils should work as long as your not too sensitive or allergic to them.

- Likewise, you can create your own essential oil roll-ons or even your own perfume. With a roll-on, you would want a pure oil but with perfume, you could even use a synthetic fragrance. I personally don't enjoy synthetic fragrances. I feel sensitive to the chemicals utilized and it gives me a headache, hence I like oils better.

- Sometimes oils can be used in specific areas on the body to help enhance wellness or achieve a specific result such as pain relief. Since oils are very potent it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil. This will help the oil last longer and be absorbed by the skin more easily. This would be a topical use and generally, you want something like a pure essential oil and not an absolut or infusion, more about those in a bit.

- Another way people will utilize oils, though I don't generally recommend it, is internal. In this instance you will want to make sure you are getting the best and most pure oil as possible, free of harmful contaminants. This also applies to oils you might use in a homemade toothpaste or toothache relief concoction.

What to look for when researching your oils

1) Look up the companies' website-what information do they tell you there? Some sites tell you all about their processes and testing. Some will give you results of testing on their site and others will give them to you if you ask. They can be tests from batches and for some companies right down to the individual bottle.-what information are they not telling you?

2) Look up reviews on the product-what are people saying? Good? Bad? Indifferent? I personally can be highly swayed by reviews and find them to be a vital part of decision making.

3)Look up company with BBBYou will find any complaint that has been lodged against the company. You have the capability to read the complaint as well as what the company did or did not do to resolve the issue. The less a company has complaints against them would suggest they are doing a good job and have satisfied customers. The more complaints they have, the leerier I would be of purchasing from them.

4) Does the company have a philosophy or are you picky about the ethics of a company? Figure out if this companies practices align with your own personal morals and ethics. If they do, they have a green light and if they do not then refrain from giving them your monies

5) How long has the company been around? This may or may not influence your purchasing decision. In general, if a company has been around for a while it would seem they are reputable. A new company might be questionable, but tat the same time it might be something you want to support because it is supporting the new guy. The new guy, in this case, could be seen as the “underdog” simply because they haven't had a chance to establish themselves yet. Sometimes I really love supporting the underdog.

6) Compare the cost. Everyone works on a different budget. Look at what you can afford and see which oils fit into the budget you currently have. It is possible you could sacrifice some purity for savings but if it works for your needs, then go for it. Maybe you are looking for the highest quality for the best price. This is what I usually do.

7) Read the label because a good oil is going to tell you everything you need to know on the label. It should tell you if the oil is pure essential oil, an absolut oil, an infusion, or diluted with a carrier oil. If it says that it is an oil blend or a fragrance, then it is not an essential oil and most likely won't work sufficiently for your purposes. There should be some type of warnings or disclaimers from the company listed on the bottle to give you an indicator. Some companies will even place a number on each bottle to be traced back to each batch so the purity of testing can be verified.

8) Do they test their product? In doing my own research I noticed that there are some companies who are more than willing to be up from about their testing and purity and others who don't really say much of anything. I think you can probably confirm to the highest quality if it has been tested and there is a paperwork trail of testing. Any company that is willing to allow their products to be third party tested is usually going to have a much higher quality oil that they stand behind. This is in opposition to a company that only provides its own in house testing.

Equal to these testing policies companies have, there are companies who you would be hard-pressed to find any easy information on quality and purity. I can only assume that from the lack of certifiability that these oils may not be as pure of the best and highest quality they can produce. This could easily describe a smaller start-up company that may not have gained the capitol to test as thoroughly as they would like,. It could just be too, that these companies are just placing some pretty scented oils out there on the shelves for us consumers to grab hold.

I don't think it matters which brand you chose in the end. It matters if you are happy with your decision and it works for you. Hopefully, this can help a little whenever you embark upon your next essential oils purchasing journey. Try not to get too overwhelmed and remember to just have fun with it. If it isn't fun, then why even bother to put forth the energy? Go forth, explore some essential oils, and smell all the goodness.

Elisha LightAngel