How and Where to Buy Essential Oils

What follows is a shopping guide for buying essential oils. It will give you an idea of how to find quality oils and the most important things to look for when shopping for essential oils.

Essential oils should be found in dark-colored (usually amber or cobalt blue) glass bottles and they should have dropper tops. The bottles should always be sealed when purchased. Ideally, the Latin name should be included on the bottle’s label, and an expiration date or “best by” date should be given somewhere on the bottle (usually on the bottom). As a general rule, essential oils when stored properly (see Storing Essential Oils) have a shelf life of about two years. Citrus oils are the exception as they have a shelf life of about six months.

Be cautious of the terms "aromatherapy", "essential oil", and "essence" on a label. The terms "pure" and "natural" can also be thrown in, but do not necessarily mean that the product stated on the label is truly what it claims to be.

Price will often be an indicator of quality. If a producer is selling various oils of the same size, all at the same price, you can assume the oils are not pure or that they are diluted. There is a vast difference in price between many of the true pure oils, especially the more elusive ones such as jasmine and rose, and even the common oils differ in price. For aromatherapy purposes, you want to be particularly sure to obtain therapeutic-grade oils.

The essential oil profiles should help as a buying guide of the color, scent, and viscosity of the particular oil you’re seeking. Note that the scent of an essential oil can vary slightly depending on the region it comes from as well as the plant’s growing conditions, the harvest, and the distillation processing.

It can also be a good sign if you find a batch number and testing information on the bottle, as that indicates the product has undergone some analysis. These can also be important if you intend to perform any clinical studies or tests as it will help to ensure consistency.

The easiest way to try to ensure that you are buying quality oils is to buy from a reputable source as it will ultimately come down to a matter of trust. If you find a lot of seemingly outrageous claims associated with the use of the oils, that should be a red flag to run away from that company. Likewise, if you’re expected to buy in to some kind of scheme and can’t just purchase one or no oils, please consider why the company would require that — it’s highly unlikely they have your best interests at heart and it’s very likely they are simply in it to make money from your inexperience while potentially putting your health at risk.

Stay safe, little bees! *~*~*~herbbee

Print article to PDFDownload PDF