Are You A First Time Buyer of Essential Oils?
So, where should you buy essential oils? When you venture out to invest in your first essential oils you will almost certainly find it challenging to select the best source. Maybe you’ll head to a nearby health store. Or you might search for an online essential oil seller. Either way, you should be equipped with knowledge about some key issues before you determine where to buy essential oils. And which oils and related products to spend you hard-earned money on.
For instance, you possibly don’t know that the essential oil market is not government regulated by the Federal Drug and Alcohol Agency (FDA) or any other government agency. Consequently, ‘caveat emptor’ is in effect. Meaning buyers (i.e. you and your fellow essential oil shoppers); bear the risk for the quality of the oils you purchase.
Don’t worry though. I have good news for you. There are only a few critical things to know. With the right information, you can comfortably make your ‘where-to-buy-essential-oils’ decision. It’s all gathered right here. So let’s get started!
What Essential Oil Benefits Are You Shopping For?
You are obviously searching for an essential oil to solve a problem. And give you a benefit. But what are all the benefits? Here is a short review of the main ones:
- A general quieting of the mind or a stimulated sensation will occur when your brain is activated by the robust fragrances of essential oils.
- Real physical benefits, as essential oil is absorbed through your skin. Or, through the tissues of your respiratory system membranes and passed on to your entire cardiovascular system.
- The relaxing benefits of essential oils are profound in certain people.
- There are even claims that essential oils help in the fight against certain diseases. Although this needs more rigorous research to separate unsupported claims from reality.
Which is Better…Buying Essential Oils on the Internet or in a Health Food Shop?
I personally prefer buying essential oils through the internet rather than from a regular brick-and-mortar health food store. There is a wider array of companies selling essential oils over the internet. They tend to deal in higher volumes. This helps ensure the oils are fresh. These sellers have lots of much-needed expertise with bottling and preparing the oils for shipping. Online oil vendors tend to be more closely scrutinized too.
There are growing numbers of user forums, specialized blogging sites (like this one) and shared social media posts and comments.
Collectively, they all make it more difficult for disreputable sellers to go unnoticed. Your local health food store may be more personal and their products more tangible. But, unless they are a popular source of essential oils, there’s a good chance the oils on their shelf are closer to their expiration date (although there is probably no date on the bottles).
The amount of accumulated dust on the bottles or packaging may also be a reasonable indicator of how long they’ve been on the shelf. It’s also best to avoid vendors who sell at short-term events. There is usually no recourse if you discover a problem with the bottles of essential oil you bought from the nice lady at the fair or flea market.
Where to buy essential oils on the internet? (Full transparency) You will notice advertising in (and next to) this article for essential oils at Amazon, which has literally hundreds of essential oils and related products. I receive a small commission for oils purchased there.
So, What is this Amazing Oil?…Is it a Drug or a Cosmetic?
This is how the FDA views products like essential oils…
”If a product is intended only to cleanse the body or to make a person more attractive, it’s a cosmetic. So, if a product such as a shower gel is intended only to cleanse the body, or a perfume or cologne is intended only to make a person smell good, it’s a cosmetic. If a product is intended for a therapeutic use, such as treating or preventing disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug.
For example, claims that a product will relieve colic, ease pain, relax muscles, treat depression or anxiety, or help you sleep are drug claims. Such claims are sometimes made for products such as soaps, lotions, and massage oils containing “essential oils” and marketed as ‘aromatherapy.’ The fact that a fragrance material or other ingredient comes from a plant doesn’t keep it from being regulated as a drug.”
So far, however, the FDA does not require testing. And is not regulating essential oils. On one hand this is good since that would add a lot of costs to production. It could also severely restrict the distribution of essential oils. On the other hand, it would be great if the essential oil producers and sellers could govern themselves in a more uniform way. Until either of those events happen, you are left to use your own good research and personal consumer judgment to decide on where to buy your essential oils.
And remember, essential plant oils have been around and used for centuries before the advent of modern medicine and pharmaceuticals. And, institutions such as the National Institutes of Health have a wealth of well-conducted studies that unquestionably demonstrate the benefits of these phenomenal oils. So, with the information in this article and additional research from similar sources, you will become a virtual expert. You’ll be able to make sound buying choices.
What Do You Know About Impure Oils?
Be aware that inferior quality essential oil...those oils extracted from low-quality crops...ill-treated or old harvests…and impure oils (with non-essential supplementary oils added) are not beneficial in the way that pure oils are. Impure oils can sometimes also cause unwelcome reactions. Predictably though, reputable sellers will avoid these quality problems like the plague.
Another concern is with companies that primarily produce primarily for the cosmetic and food industries. Since there needs to be a high level of aromatic consistency, these suppliers use chemical means or will distill the oils a second time to extract or add particular elements. They will likely offer less expensive pricing, but the benefit received will also be less. Essential oils which have 100% purity will last roughly 2 years if kept in a cool and dry environment.
But, other ingredients can have a shorter shelf life. So, try to buy and consume creams and lotions in less than 2 months from when they were made. It's a good idea to only order the amount you will probably to use. Paying for large quantities is not always the best investment if the product can’t be fully used quickly enough.
Pay Careful Attention to the Words Sellers Use
Pay attention to words like perfume oil, fragrance oil or any name suggesting the oil is ‘the-same-as’ natural.These are all indicators the oils may be impure. And therefore, not a so-called ‘single oil’ or ‘single note’.
‘Single note’ essential oils are high quality, 100% pure essential oils without any blending with other pure essential oils, or diluting oils added. Some sellers use the terms ‘aromatherapy grade’ or ‘therapeutic grade’ oils. There is no established standard for these terms.
They are often unintentionally (or perhaps sometimes intentionally) used with seeming authority. But they have no real related standard. However, it will be useful to pay attention to how companies try to define these ‘grade’ terms. Their definitions are a useful source of information about how they prepare essential oils…and additional buying information for you.
Finally, don’t let anyone impress you too much by the word ‘pure’ it is also a term without a standard and not an absolute guarantee of quality.
So, Will That be Glass, Plastic or Aluminum?
Well, you may have guessed that plastic is the most unsafe choice as a container for essential oils. It may be okay briefly for shipping in larger amounts. However, essential oils can actually dissolve plastic over time. Therefore, plastic can only be a vessel for any essential oils for a very short period of time.
Those small brown glass (not clear glass) bottles you tend to see the oils sold in happen to be the very best containers. But not with a rubber dropper mounted in the top…the rubber will also dissolve from contact with the oils. To get a measured drop of oil, suppliers use an ‘orifice reducer’ secured in the top of the bottle which does not react with the oils.
You probably won’t be needing larger volumes of essential oils, but if you do, they can also be safely shipped and stored in properly lined aluminum containers.
The Real Truth is in the Details
The more seller-provided information, the better, for making an informed “where to buy essential oils” decision. Look for details about the seller’s qualifications and history in the industry. Do they have a lot of good customer testimonials and reviews? Will they respond quickly and knowledgeably to question from your emails, website comments or through their social media channels?
Best to Invest in a Starter Kit First
Most good suppliers will offer a ‘starter kit’ containing a variety of essential oils, often in smaller sizes. They may not have a starter kit. Then purchase just a few small bottles of oil. See how you like the product before moving on to larger quantities and more expensive oils.
While you are learning where to buy essential oils, if you aren’t happy with what you received it’s not a big deal and you can move on to another supplier. Getting started with a smaller investment will let you experience the quality and service that a particular supplier offers.
Why is it Important to Know the Botanical Names?
When you search for where to buy essential oils, you may not realize that the oils with commonly used names often come in several varieties, all with the same common name. The country the oil comes from is also important since the weather and other growing conditions will influence the quality of the resulting oil.
Is this beginning to sound similar to shopping for wine? Well, good essential oil suppliers, like good wine merchants, will understand the importance of giving you the botanical names, country of origin and even the method used to extract the oil.
I wanted you to learn where to buy essential oils of high quality. I also wanted you to have more insight about how to evaluate your needs and enough knowledge to select and purchase your high-quality oils with confidence. Now you know where to buy essential oils better than most essential oils shoppers.
Go forth and purchase...happy essential oil shopping!