The facts about essential oils Part 5 of 5

Although we do not like essential oils in our skin care, we do love them in natural perfume oils to be used on the wrist or neck, and they can be great in home fragrances if you don’t have pets (most essential oils are harmful to dogs and cats have actually died from them). So you may want to buy essential oils for many other reasons. But how do you know your oils are genuine? 

The most basic tools that you need to reassure yourself that oils are genuine come from your own observation and logical reasoning.

The supplier

Note: none of these may be negative factors but each answer builds a picture of reliability.

  • Are they the producer or merely a trader or broker of oils.
  • Are they represented local to the production area.
  • What sort of checks on the oils do they carry out.
  • Do they have a laboratory.
  • How much experience do they have.
  • What is their ethical stand.
  • Do they supply mainly to perfumery companies, flavor companies or aromatherapists.

Are they just another MLM? The reason why essential oils have exploded in recent years is due to the MLM (Multi-level marketing) business model. Absolutely everyone was selling them.

The price

Is it consistent with a genuine oil? Check several price points.

  • What country does the material come from? - is labour there cheap?
  • Oils from Europe will be generally more expenive than those from Asia.
  • Think about the area of land required to grow the crop of natural product.
  • Citrus Oils - the oil is visible in the skin of the fruit, many fruits to a tree many trees to an orchard - probably not expensive unless a rare fruit or hand pressed.
  • Grass - dense growth, big leaf area easy to collect, leaf has strong smell so probably a lot of oil - oil probably cheap
  • Herb - use flowering tops of herbs, grows densly doesn't have a lot of flowers so probably more expensive than grass oils
  • Flowers - use petals which are very light and have a low oil content generally so probably expensive.

The physical appearance

Does it look consistent with descriptions that you have read from information sources. Check out Steffen Arctander, Earnest Guenther, The Perfumer's Workbook etc.

  • Most essential oils are light-coloured but very few are completely colorless.
  • Is it the right viscosity?
  • If its an absolute is it dark enough and viscous enough?

The smell

If you don't know the raw plant material check out the descriptions in books

  • Does it smell right? - smell it on the top, middle and bottom note
  • Does it last too long on a smelling strip? - synthetics may have musks added

There are lots of companies who think it’s ok to hide behind their suppliers assertion that the oil is natural. But that supplier may be hiding behind her suppliers assertion. It is easier to accept their cheap prices and abdicate responsibility rather than to dig through the supply chain, so always beware. We think it all comes back to them in the end. It’s company karma. 

Keep reading our EO series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


xo, Jacci 

Jacci Delaneau

Adventuress, animal activist and recovering cheese addict. Dreamer and doer. A patent holding serial entrepreneur, our founder Jacci, has traveled the world in search of bizarre beauty rituals, the planet’s most beautiful beaches, and the perfect pizza. She combines her background in Marine Biology and Organic Cosmetic Science to develop clean, high performance skin care using sustainable ocean based ingredients. Read more about Jacci.