I used to think that essential oils were a scam, but I ended up finding out that they are a great resource for your natural medicine cabinet for issues such as headaches, ear infections, tummy aches, viruses and bacterial infections, and more.
But I eventually felt I needed to make sure that I was buying from the best essential oils company that I could reasonably afford.
I spent a ton of time calling companies, asking questions, sampling oils. Literally, it was a ton. And it was very exhausting.
I’ve learned a lot with all the time I’ve spent researching oils companies and I’ve covered a lot of what I learned here in this essential oils series, some of which I wrote while I was still trying to figure out which company I was going to be using and recommending.
Previous Posts In the Series:
In this post, I’ll talk about the company that I decided to purchase our oils from. It’s also the one that I recommend to you as having the best essential oils for the money, with natural healing qualities and no additives or adulterating.
(Disclaimer. Just to be clear, I did not choose this company because I was able to become an affiliate for them, but I am one. I decided to work with them and then we made an arrangement where I could partner with them via my blog. If you make a purchase after clicking through to their site from mine, I will earn a commission, but your price remains the same.)
How I Chose The “Best” Essential Oils Company
Post Updated 9/17/16:
First of all my apologies for the big bold title. I’ve had multiple readers tell me that they couldn’t figure out what company I recommended so I am trying to make it more obvious.
If you remember, I mentioned this company in Part One of the series. I said,
“Looks like they carry good products, but they are a bit expensive. Their prices, for a number of oils, in fact, are almost identical to the MLMs in this group, Young Living and DoTerra. And I don’t see any difference on the surface in the quality department.”
So, the fact that I ended up recommending them was really a surprise for me. After thinking that I was writing them off, I got a call back from the owner of Native American Nutritionals, and I ended up talking with the owner for a few hours (at first….that turned into many hours in the upcoming month) and found that he really “knew his stuff.”
I also found out that there were a lot of differences between his company and many others in the industry. I asked him tons of questions during our first conversation, and then more and more over the course of the next 10 months, while I investigated other companies as well. (Wow–it’s been that long since I started writing this series…..)
I was intrigued by what he had to say about his company and the oils industry in general.
We had countless conversations from March 2012 – January 2013, during which I literally grilled him about his company and others to figure out which company I wanted to recommend–and if his, was in fact, good enough for my family–and for all of you.
I now can say that I feel very comfortable recommending this company to you and am now using their oils almost exclusively (I have a few bottles of other brands left over :)). I hope you check them out. I would love to hear about your experience
The “Best” Essential Oils Company — Rocky Mountain Oils Review
Please note – since this series was written, Rocky Mountain Oils has purchased Native American Nutritionals. I still recommend these companies, and in fact, am even more confident in the quality of oils now.
Update – 8/23/16: Since Rocky Mountain Oils has purchased Native American Nutritionals (NAN), the Native American Nutritionals site now forwards to the RMO site.
The owner of Native American Nutritionals, Paul Dean, has been in the oils industry since 1997, being first introduced to essential oils about 30 years ago. He started his first full-time essential oils business in 1998. (update 12/7/15 – the companies are merging. More information to come.)
(see above for information on the companies)
Quality Oils – all oils have been GC/MS tested. Certificates are available upon request. Almost all of the oils come from plants grown in remote locations where no pesticides, herbicides, or harmful chemicals are used and only natural fertilizers are used.
3. Indigenous Plants
All oils come from plants grown in their indigenous locations (where they grow naturally).
4. Oils from Small Farms
Almost all oils are sourced direct from small farms (many are from third-world countries). He uses very few “essential oils experts,” who are basically middlemen between large farms and oils companies. Mr. Dean contracts with locals in the countries from where he sources the oils, finds a quality farm, sets up a distiller, and extracts the oils. The oils are then sent to Native American, then sent for testing, and bottled. The only oils at NAN that are not from small farms are mainly the organic citrus oils.
Since purchasing Native American Nutritionals, some of the sourcing has changed as the company has put a high priority on the purity and quality of the oils sold. Where an oil is sourced depends on the oil. They source from small farms and also from leading experts in the industry.
5. No Solvents
They use no solvents for distillation except when necessary, as in the case of absolutes like vanilla and jasmine (since the cost of those essential oils is otherwise prohibitive.) Update 2015: they now sell a vanilla extracted with CO2.
6. Affordable Pricing
They have affordable prices (not as expensive as the multi-level marketing companies, but not “too good to be true” either.)
7. Mostly Organic and/or Wild-Crafted
All of their oils are either: organically certified, organically grown (grown with organic methods, but not certified), or wild-crafted . The only conventional oils they sell are those for which the high cost of the organic oils is prohibitive (they can be up to four times the conventional price).
Since Rocky Mountain Oils purchased Native American Nutritionals, they have made a few changes in their sourcing. Following is their official statement:
Although we have not gone through the FDA process to be able to label our bottles as certified organic we have strict standards of quality that we hold ourselves to. Our oils have not been adulterated with fillers, synthetics or fragrance enhancers in any way. We have all the oils GC/MS tested to insure that there are no added chemicals, pollutants, or pesticides in the oils that we offer. We offer the test results on the website for each oil by the batch code on the bottom of the bottle. Below is a link to our quality page.
Details for oils are listed clearly on their site (including the Latin name, country of origin, and growing method)
Rocky Mountain Oils has recently updated their site. The Latin names are listed, as well as the country of origin. The company is working on how to indicate country of origin and growing method now that they sometimes have a variety of sources for some oils.
9. Reasonable Shipping Costs
I found the shipping costs with YL and doTERRA to be a little on the steep side. I was told several times by customer service reps of one of the companies that it was due to businesses being charged more than residential customers. That didn’t make sense to me – business rates being more expensive than residential, when they have that kind of bulk shipping going on? So I called UPS and FedEx and was assured that this is not the case. So I don’t know why their shipping is so high. Maybe they are pocketing the extra? I can’t see any other answer.
**UPDATE: Rocky Mountain Oils and Native American Nutritionals now both offer Free Shipping domestically in the U.S. and reasonable shipping internationally, with free shipping over $199.**
10. Common Sense Approach
The companies recommend using caution with the oils — but also make practical recommendations so that you can use the oils in your every day life.
11. No Adulterating
Oils are not heated, mixed with anything else, or adulterated in any way.
The only exception is Bergamot, which they sell 2 versions of. The FCF Bergamot is heated after the distillation to burn off the furocoumarin since furcoumarin is photo-toxic. Even Native American’s Eucalyptus Globulus isn’t heated to remove the heavy “herbier” smell. Most oils companies heat their Eucalyptus Globulus to remove that herbier smell, but Mr. Dean thinks that the essential oil left alone is more therapeutic, and so he leaves them as God made them.
Basically, I think that the oils industry is like the food industry in this respect:
In the food industry, you can buy from large grocery stores and companies with things labelled “natural” and “whole grain,” or you can buy from a farmer you know and trust. I really think, as I’ve learned more about the “Big Ag” industry, that it is often better to buy from a “small guy” (small farmer or small essential oils company) whom you know well, than a “big guy” (big farm or big oils company or expert).
In this case, with Rocky Mountain Oils (formerly) Native American Nutritionals, you can know you are supporting someone who cares deeply about the farmers he works with and who works with them directly. Plus can support a lot of workers in third world countries as well (and Native American pays them a decent wage for their country).
For example, with doTERRA and Young Living, in order to get the best discounts on their oils as a rep, you need to order monthly over $100 of products (to get free products that essentially reduce your costs). Do that every month and you end up with waaaay too much oils).
A lot of multi-level marketing oils reps end up ordering other things from the company like personal care products in order to get to that “minimum.” However, I wasn’t thrilled with the ingredients in many of the other products offered.
Undesirable Ingredients in Other Products from Essential Oils Companies
With doTERRA and Young Living, for example:
– DoTERRA’s On Guard toothpaste contains titanium dioxide, a metal which I prefer to avoid due to the possibility of heavy metal toxicity. Plus, it simply because it isn’t necessary. It’s there just for color. Overall it is supposed to be pretty benign, but why introduce it to your body unless needed?
Both companies’ skin care products had ingredients rated 3 and above on EWG’s Skin Deep rating system. I prefer to stick with ingredients rated 2, at the highest. For the prices they are charging, I would prefer to buy organic and really pure products.
I don’t think all of EWG’s ratings are flawless, but I do pay attention when I see higher ratings there. For example, phenoxyethanol is in a lot of doTERRA’s skin care products. Here is an article on phenoxyethanol that gives me pause when considering using a skincare line that includes it in almost all of their products.
There was, in fact, one essential oils company whose oils I thought looked to be very high quality, but their personal care items were loaded with artificial chemicals and I really felt that Native American had an edge over them in that department. With Native American Nutritionals, you can buy MSM, natural toothpaste, supplements like Defense, and Ph Rescue and feel good about the ingredients used and the quality.
Also note, if you are used to Young Living or doTERRA oils, Native American Nutritionals carries oil blends that are comparable to Young Living and doTERRA blends.
Of course, if you’ve been following along with this series, you know that I think there are other good companies out there. However, I do think that there are fewer “excellent” companies than I originally thought when I started all of this evaluating.
My Choice: Rocky Mountain Oils (formerly Native American Nutritionals)
Just so you know, a number of my readers mentioned Rocky Mountain Oils as a company that they were happy with.
As for all of the questions about 1st, 2nd and 3rd distillation questions, and the like (as we touched on in Personal Attacks, Bias, Distillation and Essential Oils), we’ll be addressing this more in future posts. I hope to have a lot more posts during which we will address the basics of: – What Essential Oils Are and – How to Use Essential Oils Therapeutically – and More
So….now that you have some more information about essential oils, you are likely eager to use them.
I highly recommend reviewing the previous posts in the series (listed above) to see some great books that are sure to be a great help.
What About Other Companies?
PLEASE NOTE: I have received a ton of inquiries asking me what I think about other essential oils companies.
Please read this post on Essential Oils Testing and Quality and this report on 10 Things You Need to Know About Essential Oils to see if a brand measures up. I am doing what I can to find other companies to recommend to you so that you can have other choices.
I do currently also recommend Neal’s Yard Remedies for readers looking for a company with more organic options as well as an exceptional focus on sustainability — all of their oils are sustainably sourced and they will be bringing more oils to the US market in the future.
Take Your Oils With You
I highly recommend looking at this fabulous high quality diffusing jewelry from Diffusing Mama’s.
You just put a few drops of your favorite oil on the felt pad in the locket and you can carry your oils with you all day (because you can’t carry a diffuser around with you :). That would be really awkward….)
Many of the diffusing jewelry options on the market today are made from inexpensive metals that will turn colors and will turn your skin colors too. That’s a big problem for me.
Not Diffusing Mama’s. They are high quality HEAVY stainless steel.
Here’s one of their lovely necklaces. My son loves the soccer locket and I really enjoy the bracelet that I have.
So nice to put a few drops of calming oils in to help me feel better throughout the day.
What are your thoughts? Please share!
Post Updated 11/14/16