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.
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.
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?
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.
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 TEST
This test encompasses many of the so-called essential oil purity tests that I have seen out there.
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?
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.
SUPPLEMENT LABEL MEANS PURITY
Some brands of essential oils have supplement labels on them. It lends some sense of authority to the label but does it mean that the oil inside is pure?
Think about it. You've likely heard of how supplement companies have been caught with undisclosed or impure ingredients in their products, right? Some of them are only selling RICE FLOUR masquerading as vitamins!
The Supplement Facts Label sure didn't stand for purity there.
And it doesn't with essential oils either.
The Supplement Label means that the oils are GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the government. Doesn't mean that that is what is in the bottle, though. Essential oils that a company recommends for ingestion should have the supplement label on the bottle, but labels aren't regulated unless complaints or injury reports cause the FDA to intervene (and sometimes they intervene for other reasons like this raid on a raw milk farm or when the FDA shut down a probiotic company for making claims).
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.
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!