9 Essential Oil Myths about Purity – DEBUNKED!

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It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

Some of the most popular essential oil purity myths DEBUNKED! So you can navigate the marketplace with real knowledge!

Essential oils are all the rage right now.

But with all of the information out there, it's hard to know what to believe.

One of the most pressing questions out there is, how do you know if you are really buying pure essential oils, and not some bottle of “who knows what” diluted or adulterated with something else?

I think you know what I mean.

It seems that everyone and his brother (or sister) is using essential oils–and even more confusing is that pretty much every day there is a new essential oils company in the marketplace.  And each of those companies is telling you that they are THE BEST!  THE PUREST!  The ONLY quality oil out here.

It's gotten very much out of hand.  In fact, it's a veritable essential oils jungle out there.

In case you haven't noticed, essential oils claims of purity and efficacy are everywhere.

Many of them, however are just not true.

There are essential oil purity myths–many of them. People and companies are telling you how you can know if what you have is REALLY a pure essential oil.

Well, a lot of them are false.

It's confusing enough trying to figure out how to use essential oils and of course you need to keep in mind essential oils safety issues like do essential oils expire and whether or not essential oils are a scam, but one thing is for sure.  If you are going to use essential oils, you want them to be pure.  No thanks to toxic synthetics and cheap fillers in my oils.

So today we're going to bust the essential oils purity myths.  I hope this helps set the record straight.

Essential Oil Purity Claims

Here are some things that companies claim about the purity of their essential oils…..

“Our oils are therapeutic grade.”

“We have the ONLY pure oils anywhere.”

“We looked at all of the essential oils on the market and found that there weren't any quality oils ANYWHERE so we decided to start our own company.”

“Our oils are clinical grade.”

“We have only pure grade essential oils.”

“We have oils that are XYZPDQ certified (you know what I mean).”

“There are NO other pure retail oils on the market.”

and on and on it goes.

Frankly, I'm beyond sick of this.

And beyond that, there are representatives from essential oils companies sharing more faulty information about how you can test an oil to see if it's pure.

So now you can be your own little EO expert at home.

Yeah.

I'm here to tell you the truth so hopefully you can sort through all of the nonsense in the essential oil marketplace and make a truly educated decision about what essential oils to buy–and what essential oils to leave on the shelf.

There are so many essential oil purity myths out there it's hard to know what to believe! Learn the truth so you can navigate the marketplace with real knowledge!

There are so many essential oil purity myths out there it's hard to know what to believe! Learn the truth so you can navigate the marketplace with real knowledge!
Some of the most popular essential oil purity myths DEBUNKED! So you can navigate the marketplace with real knowledge!

Essential Oil Purity Myths

Pretty much every day I see some claim about essential oils that infuriates me.

I get them in my inbox, in the comments section of my blog, or I see them online–either on a website or on Facebook.

There are companies making claims and representatives from essential oils companies making claims about how their oils are the best.  The purest ones.

On and on and on it goes.   Readers regularly write and ask me, “What do you think about this company?  They say they are pure!” and “Where does XYZ company measure up?”

I get it.  It's totally confusing.  My head starts spinning too when I see all of these companies popping up with essential oils claiming to be pure and the best.

Common sense says that they can't all be the purest and the best.

Someone has to be selling bad stuff out there, right?

Yes, it's true.

There are shenanigans going on in the essential oil industry and it's time to set the record straight.

Let's first talk about why some of these claims are wrong and then later I will share what you really need to look for if you want to buy only pure essential oils.

THE LABEL TEST

The ingredient list should have one item, and one item only: 100% pure oil.  Well, first of all, if we're talking about single oils, that can be true, but an oil blend will have a number of oils in there.  I know that's not the point that this company was making, but it is true.

Also, some companies sell essential oils that are diluted with carrier oils.  Doing such does not mean that you are getting an adulterated oil as long as that dilution is disclosed on the label.

Besides, so many companies list only 1 ingredient on the label and that does not mean that they are selling only pure oils.  They put in synthetic fillers or other adulterants and of course they aren't going to list those on their label.

Can you imagine a label for a Lavender Essential Oil that claims to be quality that says: “Lavender Essential Oil and Synthetic Lavender added” on the label?  Well, if you see that–don't buy it :).

A company can write whatever they want on a label.  That doesn't make the oil inside pure.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC = PURE

If the essential oils are certified organic, are they necessarily pure?

Nope.

It's not even crucial that you buy organic essential oils to avoid pesticides. I will go into this at a more at a future date, but you do not have to get Certified Organic Essential Oils in order to have pure essential oils.  It's just not true.

There are some advantages to buying organic essential oils in some cases, but purity is not necessarily one of them.  There are companies that have tested organic essential oils and found them not to be pure.  And I have verification of that in my inbox.

GMO-FREE = PURE

This is a good point in one sense.

You do not want to buy essential oils from GMO plants.  That being said, when is the last time that you heard of GMO Melaleuca :)?

Basically there aren't really any GMO plants that are made into essential oils, so no worries here.

And just because an essential oil is marked as being GMO-free doesn't mean at all that it is for sure a pure essential oil.

CERTIFIED THERAPEUTIC (AND OTHER) GRADES

There is no industry-wide certification of essential oils.

So when a company states that they are therapeutic grade, or clinical grade, or whatever certification acronym they decide to put on their essential oils bottle, that certification is just that.  Their own designation. Nothing more and nothing less.

I could just as easily set up an essential oils company and put some purity designation together like “CBPEO” for “Certified Best Pure Essential Oil” and start selling my stuff.

But unless I have some sound science behind that name it means nothing.

Unless a company has something to back up essential oils claims of purity, those claims are not necessarily true.

THE WHITE PAPER TEST

Something else that is all over the internet is that you can easily test your essential oils at home by putting a drop of the oil on a plain piece of white paper, letting the essential oil sit for several hours and observing.  The story goes that if it disappears slowly and doesn't leave a ring, then the oil is likely pure.

Malarky.

First of all, some oils are heavier and will leave residue.  Furthermore, adulteration isn't typically done by adding carrier oils any longer — these companies are getting smart.  They are adding things that wouldn't be picked up by such a simple test.

So save your paper.

THE FREEZER TEST

Another essential oil purity myth that is being tossed around is that pure essential oils don't freeze.  So simply place your essential oils in the freezer and if they freeze? Well, you have impure oils.

Again, not true.

Yes, some oils will not freeze in a typical household freezer, but all liquids will freeze at some temperature.  There are some oils that will freeze in a household freezer, some will freeze in the refrigerator, and some are solid even at room temperature.  The issue is the components of the essential oils which will crystalize at different temperatures depending on the amount of that component in the essential oil.

Here is an explanation of the freezing of peppermint oil by Robert Pappas:

The menthol in peppermint can range from 30-50%. Mint oil that has menthol content in the upper 40s (getting close to 50%) can crystalize in a household freezer, while cheap 33% menthol Indian peppermint, like the one that the MLM reps are saying is the good peppermint, can't crystalize because its so inferior in its menthol content that it would take a much lower temperature to solidify.

 

THE NOSE TESTS

This test encompasses many of the so-called essential oil purity tests that I have seen out there.

Tests like:

Does your essential oil smell rancid?  It must be laced with a carrier oil.

Does your essential oil smell like alcohol? It's probably been adulterated with alcohol.

Do the oils smell different than other oils of the same type that you've used? It must be fake.

Got a headache (or other reaction) from your essential oil?  It must have toxins in there!

If you smell an oil and it doesn't smell like other essential oils that you've used before, or if it smells “off” to you, or gives you a headache, does that mean that the oil isn't pure?

Nope.

First of all, oil smells should vary by batch. The aroma of an essential oil should vary somewhat depending on the time of year, water, soil, etc. In fact, consistent smell could be an indication of impure essential oils as some companies add substances to their essential oils to make the scent consistent across batches.

Furthermore, a physical reaction to, or distaste for, a particular essential oil could be the result of a physical problem, allergy, or some other issue, and could have nothing to do with a purity concern.

Now, this doesn't mean that your nose isn't important.  It is.

In fact, in my next post on How to Buy Pure Essential Oils, I will talk about the role that smell does play in determining essential oil purity.

But just be aware — your nose doesn't always know :).

THE GREASY HAND TEST

You  know the feeling. Greasy hands.

You have some oil on your hands and you just have.to.wash.it.off.

If your essential oils are pure, the saying goes, you will not have that feeling on your fingers or skin.

Well, for the most part this is true.  However, there are some oils that are exceptions to this. Those exceptions are heavy and richly colored oils like sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli and German Chamomile.  So this is partially true, but not always.

THE DISSOLVE IN WATER TEST

This “myth” states that true essential oils will not dissolve in water.  This argument states that when companies adulterate oils they add emulsifiers and surfactants to stretch out the oils.

Well, newsflash–neither do vegetable or other carrier oils that might be added to an essential oil to extend its volume.  That being said, most adulteration isn't done with carrier oils any longer.  The alteration is more sophisticated now. These adulterated oils will not dissolve either.

Save your essential oils and don't put them in water to test them.

Conclusion

So there.

Tons of myths about essential oil purity that are just not true.

Stick around to find out the truth about how to really know if you have pure essential oils.

And if you'd like to know the company that I trust to supply my family with quality essential oils (and no hype) you can go here to read about my search for the “best” essential oils.  Or you can skip to the end here.

To make sure that you don't miss the upcoming updates (I've got a few really interesting posts in the works), and to get access to oh so many other good things, the following might strike your fancy:

Free Essential Oils Report and Newsletter Access

Also, if you go and grab my Free Report on 10 Things to Know About Essential Oils Before You Buy, you will not only get more myth-busting essential oils information, but you'll get access to my VIP newsletter as well–complete with updates, great healthy living offers, of course new posts on essential oils, and more.Wondering about essential oils? I sure was. Get this guide to buying the best essential oils from a mom blogger who dug deep into the industry to find out what's really going on. Fascinating information including some real debunking that saved me a ton of time and money.

I hope this is a help to all of you as you wade through the myths in the marketplace.

Maybe I should call this series Essential Oils Truth-finders. No lies allowed :).

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Oh, and please do share this with others.  Enough of the lies.

Let's get the truth out there!

What do you think?
Did you believe any of these myths before reading this post?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

Comments

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  1. Great article, thank you. A few people have asked you about Dr. Axe and I don’t really see an answer. Would your recommend the oils he sells?

  2. What an AWESOME post. Thank you for sharing this.

    I’m an EOs researcher myself, but have only been at it for a few years. There is always so much to learn, especially as new information presents itself and as the industry grows (and sometimes tries to get over on potential clients thinking we won’t want to become informed purchasers.).

    I have learned some new information here on this post and this will inform me as I go forward in my own on-going research.

    Thank you so much.

    (P.S. I honestly cannot understand the OBSESSION with people trying to prove their BRAND is the best. It’s very strange to me. It’s almost like the people in my family with football teams and the like. But the researcher in me thinks their is something more to it. It kinda has something to do with perhaps when we were little and felt the need to be right. I’m not too sure, but I know I can remember being this way up until a certain age. I remember my peers at that age sometimes being that way. Some continued this way, some grew out of it. I still sometimes see little ones around me being this way. Anyway, long story short is I wonder if this obsession comes from some unintegrated young part of us. A type of immaturity. I don’t say that to be mean, either, because I’ve lots of immature parts to myself that I’m always learning about. Okay, I’m done for now, LOL.).

    • Oops…sorry for the mispellings. (I know that bothers some people.). I was typing fast without my glasses. Laziness on my part. : )

      Peace!

    • Hi again, Deb. Well, I think w/ many Direct Sales companies (and I do work w/ some) that people’s livelihoods are on the line so they have to prove it or they lose income. As for others, I guess it’s their company so they want to make money. I know there are other good companies. I just was pleased to find what I found. Thanks again!

      • Makes a lot of sense. Yes, I’ve been finding some nice companies out there.

        All the best!

      • thriftysoul says:

        Could be that with all of the shenanigans in the industry, they believe those marketing terms are what they need. Not all marketers seriously take the consumer into account. They believe what they believe.

  3. Hello,

    I’ve always been interested in perhaps using essential oils for my family. I noticed that one of the popular brands in my country of Malaysia is Young Living. What is your opinion on the below product?
    (Young Living Lavender Oil – link removed by blog owner)

  4. Patricia Mosicki says:

    I have been reading your blog for a year now and truly appreciated the amount of research you do!
    I have been purchasing RMO and have been very happy with their products. That being said, they are pricey and I am not objecting to that as I know from your research that I am getting great product.
    Would you please give me your opinion on Eden’s Gardens oils as I am thinking of buying larger bottles of some things.
    Thankyou again for your time!

  5. I started with DoTerra they are expensive. I now use oils mostly from Tropical Traditions. Go to their site and read about their oils. Not as expensive and good. No blends.

  6. I read through your posts and alllllll the comments and questions and answers several years ago when I was on a quest for the right EO company. Thank you for all of your extensive research! I have been buying from RMO ever since and have loved everything! People have tried to sway me to other brands but I’m very loyal to RMO. Looking forward to your future articles!

  7. I used to buy oils from the health food stores then someone showed me Doterra oils I used to use them but I found them too expensive for the amount that you would get so someone else introduce me to Young Living I found no difference in them they were exactly the same and the prices were 50-50 they’re cheaper by couple of dollars on some things and some things they were the same amount to more than I went to escents and they are way cheaper to use Canadian brand only I love escents. Health food and escents are my only go to! Nothing else

  8. John Pilla says:

    There are several companies that I would trust other than the two MLM’s. Your preferred co, which merged after your blog, and a couple other smsller one with less oils to offer. However, with your preferred Co merging after you wrote the 7 part series, would that change your position, as you did not mention the second co in your blog when I read it 2 years ago when I started my research and journey into EOs.

    • Hi John.

      I take it that you are asking if I still am comfortable with the company that I chose since they merged? I am very confident in their purity. In fact, moreso now. I didn’t mention the 2nd company at the time…..it all came together later and they were talking about merging so I guess it just didn’t come up as being necessary since they had the same oils. That was my understanding. I hope that helps. Let me know if you meant to ask something else.

  9. <> if this is free why does it say add to cart $2.95?
    Thanks for the information you do share though -I appreciate it…

    • Hi Kathleen,

      So sorry about that – the wrong link was in the post. It’s fixed now and it is free for those who want to subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks for reading and for alerting me!

  10. I have always used Doterra Oils. Just love them and I have never heard anything negative about them.
    Curious what you’ve heard?

  11. What company do you buy from-I hear doterra is the best-csn I actually get oils from you

  12. Kamala Pati says:

    I personally who have used oils for 40 years..find the best quality and price online at BulkApothocary. They are the real deal

  13. I have found a company that is really intriguing– Floracopeia. They have loads of videos and courses on their site and they have a lot of interesting oils that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I haven’t ordered anything yet because our Canadian dollar is so low right now. It just makes US purchases prohibitively expensive. But I am biding my time.

    • Michelle says:

      Living Libations in Canada I highly recommend, if you don’t want to go with a MLM company such as Do-Terra or Young Living (I buy Young Living and Living Libations oils only; I don’t know much about Do-Terra, but Young Living I am very happy with from a MLM perspective). ALL Living Libations products are amazing, and Nadine and Ron are ethically-minded, trustworthy, and beautiful people inside and out.

  14. Andrew Jones says:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653504002929
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf980120e
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b00985

    I’d stick with organics on citrus and mint oils at a minimum. Potentially some rose /flower oils as well.
    2 are older studies but these fungicides/pesticides are used in a lot of countries that grow the stuff.

  15. Thank you for bringing up all of those valid points! So what brand of essential oil do you recommend?