Things You Should Know: How to Research an Essential Oil Brand
As the popularity of essential oils skyrocket, more and more retailers are entering the marketplace. Normally, this is something we like to see, because it benefits consumers, offering them more variety, choice, and lower prices (as competition heads up between retailers). One thing we are seeing is a large number of “fake” essential oils entering the market place.
These fake essential oils are often produced in China, and are little more than a chemically fragranced carrier oil. Selling oils of this nature (especially online) to North American consumers yields strong profit margins as these chemically enhanced oils are very cheap to produce, and usually do not even involve plant cultivation or distillation. These oils provide no natural benefits and can even be hazardous to your health.
Our expert team has prepared a short list of criteria you should always check for before purchasing an oil from a new brand, because if it looks to good to be true, it usually is. Before purchasing an essential oil from any brand, always do the following two things:
- Packaging Check – look at the front facing display panel for any “marketing” words. You’re looking for things like “lavender scented oil” or “lavender diffusing oil“. Seldom will these knock off brands use the words “Essential Oil”. After you’ve given the front panel a once over, we recommend also reviewing the ingredient list. You are looking for ingredients like “fragrance” or another essential oil. Remember, a pure essential oil has no synthetic or additive ingredients.
- Research the Brand – Another tactic we’re seeing in the market place is to create a product with an official sounding name, using the words natural, organic, or a similar spinoff. Always do a quick search of the brand to make sure there is a retail presence. Knock off brands hardly ever develop a brand or image.
How Our Experts Select The Best Essential Oil Brands
Selecting the best essential oil brands is difficult even for an expert to do because there are so many reputable brands producing high quality essential oils at a reasonable price. Based on our experiences and research, our expert team is going to reveal to you our top 3 go to brands that we regularly purchase essential oils from to use in our aromatherapy practice including the relevant 4-step analysis procedure of assessing:
- Quality & Testing
- Value and Pricing
- Brand Popularity
- Inventory Selection and Variety
Best Essential Oil Brands – Quality & Testing Assessment
What our team is looking at here is plant quality from beginning to end. A high quality essential oil will start from proper cultivation, which includes a nutrient rich environment for the plants. The plant harvest should be done quickly, and done so using modern harvesting and distillation procedures. There should be absolutely no additives to any high quality essential oil.
In addition to growth and harvesting procedures, our team is interested in final testing procedures. All quality essential oils should undergo some form of standardized testing to confirm a high quality finished product. We like to see Gas chromatography (GC) – which is a chemical analysis technique used to identify the volatile fractions (individual components) within a specific essential oil.
Best Essential Oil Brands – Value Assessment
In the essential oil space, there is a huge price comparison between finished products or similar quantity and quality. Consumers often are led to believe that if they’re paying more for a product, it must be a better product. In the essential oil industry, there are some exceptions to this rule. When we analyze a brands value, we’re looking for a high quality oil delivered at a competitive price.
Best Essential Oil Brands – Popularity Assessment
The third criteria our experts are analyzing when choosing the top essential oil brands is the brand popularity. We use this criteria because for any brand to become successful, there needs to be market acceptance, which is closely correlated to a high quality product that yields results.
What we do see in the essential oil space are specific brands getting more traction than others due to more appealing consumer benefits, such as free shipping, sales, value kits, and package deals – which we always like to see offered.
Best Essential Oil Brands – Selection Assessment
The final criteria we analyze is inventory selection and variety. The #1 thing we like to see here is each oil available in an organic and non organic offering. Consumer preference is of great importance. We’re also looking to see a good selection of essential oils (specifically individual singles) that are commonly used for blending.
It is important to note that in this selection criteria, we do not include any blended, company specific essential oils such a “stress relieving blend” as producing these can greatly increase brand selection, without offering much more to the consumer. It is worth some weight, to also have accessories available, such as high quality diffusers and roller bottles.
The Best Essential Oil Brands Are:
The #1 Best Essential Oil Brand: Plant Therapy
Plant Therapy is a relatively new brand, being founded in 2011, but has quickly grown to one of the leading essential oil producers. Plant therapies goal is to provide quality essential oils at very affordable prices.
Every batch of oil produced is tested using Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) testing to identify oil purity and authenticity. The company makes all these testing reports publicly available for each single oil to consumers can trust the products. Plant Therapy stocks an extensive inventory of oils in both sizes and quantities at very affordable prices. Our experts regularly purchase and use Plant Therapy products.
Since 2015, Plant Therapy has been a USDA Certified Organic facility and works closely with their suppliers to provide a line of 100% organic essential oil products. With over 60 USDA Certified Organic essential oils and hydrosols, top-sellers include lavender, peppermint, and tea tree essential oils.
The #2 Best Essential Oil Brand: NOW Essential Oils
NOW Foods is a family-owned business that was established in 1968. Headquartered in Illinois, the company’s essential oils are sold in over 70 countries. What we like to see as mentioned above is end to end control/oversight, and all now NOW’s oils are developed, tested, and manufactured in NOW Food’s own facilities. This control allows NOW to maintain quality and product consistency.
NOW has one of the more extensive offerings we’ve seen as they’re a natural health product line that expands to more than just essential oils. With this comes extensive selections to similar and complementary products such as carrier oils, and other natural salves and elixirs. A new added benefit of NOW essential oils is additional manufacturing information, such as if the oil was steam distilled or cold pressed as well as other sought after markings on select oils, such as vegan specific products, non-GMO products, and hexane free products.
The #3 Best Essential Oil Brand: Aura Cacia
Similar to NOW essential oils, the Aura Cacia brand has been around for several decades, and was founded in 198. Each Aura Cacia essential oil is sustainably sourced and contains no synthetic fragrances, colors and are paraben free – all dangerous additives and fillers that we don’t like to see in any finished essential oil product.
Aura Cacia essential oils are all tested for purity, and select essential oils may be certified Fair Trade or USDA organic depending on consumer preference.
Similar to NOW, Aura Cacia has expanded into a health product brand and has extensive offerings in addition to essential oils. There is also a wide range of diffusers, ranging from USB and ultrasonic diffusers. Aura Cacia also offers essential oil products such as shower tablets, mineral salt baths, travel packs, and even a kid friendly line – all gaining points for variety.