Are there varying qualities of essential oils?
As consumers have become more educated about the benefits of aromatherapy, essentials oils can be found everywhere from big box stores, home parties to wellness spas. Unfortunately the average user is not knowledgeable about the differing factors and can purchase substandard products. Check out this information from Z Salon Aromatherapist, Julie Leppert as she provides her expertise to explain essential oils.
Should I purchase oils from large retail stores?
There are plenty of suppliers who supply great oils. Unfortunately there’s an even larger number of suppliers providing adulterated or synthetic oils, passing them off as pure, 100% natural, or “therapeutic grade.” First, know that a supplier can put any wording on a label — “Therapeutic grade”, “Certified Therapeutic Grade”, “Clinical Grade” are all marketing terms created to sell more oils. The USDA Certified Organic Seal can only be on the label if it meets USDA criteria.
Here are some red flags when buying oils:
- All oils are the same price.
This should never be the case. Citrus and some florals are usually the cheapest to produce while vanilla is more expensive because it takes more plant material to produce the same amount of essential oil.
- Oils sold in big box, discount stores, drug stores, Amazon, or even health food stores.
Check out www.essentialoils.org (Essential Oil University). Dr Pappas is a chemist who does analysis for the oil, flavor and scent industry around the world. He has multiple reports of fake oils sold as pure. The price may look really nice, but adulterated oils generally contain chemicals produced in a lab to cheapen the overhead and make more profit. The adulterants can cause unwanted side effects such as allergic reactions, headaches, hives, anaphylaxis, trigger asthma, etc. Some companies (even companies that look legit) try to sell something like Peppermint and it is really Corn Mint oil, two totally different species and therapeutic actions. If lavender is adulterated, many times it is cut with Lavandin. Lavandin contains camphor, which is a stimulant and expectorant.
- The website/seller does not have a Latin name specified, country of origin, or distillation date/batch date.
Essential oils have varying shelf lives. Some can go rancid within six months depending on storage. A Latin name is a huge identifier into what you are buying. Lavandula angustifolia (true lavender) from Bulgaria or France is completely different than Lavandula latifolia (spike lavender), which is commonly grown all over the world and also has a camphor content. The former is calming, the latter is stimulating.
- The company refuses to share Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) reports
Not all companies post their reports online. The best companies test EACH BATCH by third party testing and post them online. This is also important if you want an oil with at least 50% camphor for a cold for example, you can purchase the right oil from the right batch. If the company is not transparent, that should tell you a lot.
- Oils are sold in clear bottles.
All essential oils should be sold in dark amber, cobalt or green bottles to protect from UV rays and degradation. Oils should also be sold with the plastic droppers (orifice reducers) not the squeeze glass/plastic pipettes. Essential oils can eat thru plastic if it is not PET plastic.
- The company is advising internal use of oils.
Internal use of essential oils is MEDICAL TREATMENT; therefore it needs to be under the advisement of a clinical aromatherapist with a medical background for acute issues. Daily internal use is not advisable.
- The company is advising use of essential oils on babies or pets.
Oil use gets tricky when it comes to babies and kids. It can be done but not the amount and excess that is seen all over Pinterest. Plant Therapy’s blog is a good place to start learning. Pets are another story and most aromatherapists will not tackle this as the information is conflicting and it is best to seek out information from an aromatherapist who is also specifically trained in Animal Aromatherapy.
- The company is advising using oils undiluted.
Oils should always be diluted for topical use. (Diffusers–don’t dilute). This allows penetration of the oil and allows the essential oil to become lipid-soluble and reduces the chances of skin reaction. Dilution is also a good eco-friendly and sustainable practice to conserve the wonderful plants so we have oils for generations to come.
What essential oil brand does Z use?
For many years, Aveda had a professional use only essential oil kit for spas that Z Salon used to blend. It was discontinued in 2016 and after much research, scouting companies that meet our environmental, organic, integrity, purity and wholesale standards, we are now committed to carrying and using Plant Therapy. Plant Therapy sources oils from around the world, bringing the highest quality oils to consumers at reasonable prices with excellent customer service. They employ multiple aromatherapists on staff, which is also highly important. Plant Therapy is deeply committed to safe use and essential education, as well as ensuring 100% purity and integrity of their oils. All oils are GC/MS batch tested and the tests are posted on their website. They’ve also partnered with renowned essential oil expert, Robert Tisserand, to create an entire line that is safe for kids called KidSafe.
As you can see, all oils are not the same. And there is so much to know about them. That is why it is so beneficial to work with a professional aromatherapist. A simple aroma consultation at Z Salon will help you learn ways to receive the most benefits from essential oils. Our aromatherapists can customize a plan to meet you wellness goals. Call today to schedule an appointment or check out our Facebook page for the next Aroma Workshop coming up in June. If there are ever any oils you would like to have that you do not see on our shelves, we order monthly from Plant Therapy and are happy to include your order and will call you when it arrives for salon pick-up.