Essential Oils

Essential Oil Buyers Guides

Before you start your aromatherapy journey, you should keep the following points in mind: essential oils are not intended as cures but as supplementary treatments. They are not approved to treat any medical condition. But they can be used safely to relieve symptoms, improve health, and promote wellbeing.

We are here to help you explore the wonderful world of aromatherapy. We understand that there are plenty of quack sites selling snake oil, so we made sure not to include exaggerated claims in this guide. Let’s talk about essential oils and their benefits, evidence-based clinical uses, and how you can safely use them for various medical concerns.

FDA regulation of essential oils

The U.S. FDA does not regulate essential oil like other pharmaceutical products. For consumers like you, it means all the products being sold, whether from physical stores or online shops, can vary in quality, purity, and strength.

Essential oils are regulated based on their intended use or claims in the labeling, ads, or the product’s website. Cosmetic products can be marketed without FDA approval. But if a product is classified as a drug, then it must earn an FDA approval through rigorous clinical testing.

For example, if an essential oil blend claims to treat headaches, the FDA will regulate the product as a drug. A product with therapeutic claims that have not been evaluated by the FDA must include a disclosure:

“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.”

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are basically concentrated plant extracts. They can be absorbed via inhalation, topical application, ingestion, and through the lining of a body orifice such as the mouth, vagina, and anus. Essential oils contain various compounds with different properties, and it is these components that are absorbed by the body.

For example, after lavender oil inhalation, you won’t find lavender in the bloodstream. What you will find is linalool and linalyl acetate–two of the major compounds in lavender essential oil.

Therapeutic effects of essential oils according to studies

Antibacterial – essential oils can penetrate the bacterial cell membrane and disrupt the cytoplasmic membrane, causing the cellular molecules of the bacterial cell to leak which can lead to cell death. Thyme and clove are examples of essential oil with antimicrobial properties.
Antioxidant – essential oils from nutmeg, cinnamon, mint, basil, oregano, and thyme were found to contain compounds that fight free radicals.
Anti-inflammatory – many essential oils are used as anti-inflammation agents for treating inflammatory diseases like allergies, rheumatism, and arthritis. Essential oils with anti-inflammatory effects include turmeric, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, and frankincense.
Antifungal – 25 essential oils were found to exhibit antifungal activities. Clove was the most active. Cardamom and Boswellia have synergistic effects when combined with the fungicidal drug fluconazole.
Antiviral – some essential oils have shown mild to moderate antiviral activities including eucalyptus (mumps), tea tree oil (labial herpes), and oregano (some DNA and RNA viruses).
Analgesic– useful essential oils for pain relief include basil, peppermint, thyme, sage, clove, wintergreen, and lemongrass.
Mood altering – essential oils were found to relieve stress and anxiety together with traditional therapy. Chamomile, lavender, bergamot, and sandalwood are used to calm nerves, improve mood and relaxation, and reduce anxiety.

Understanding essential oil marketing terms

Essential oils have quickly become a wellness trend and most manufacturers take advantage of this by marketing products as miracle oils that can cure almost anything, from hemorrhoids to skin cancer.

Aromatherapy is a multi-billion industry and with the rising number of essential oil suppliers in the market, finding high-quality products is now incredibly challenging.

To make an informed purchasing decision, let’s start by discussing common essential oil terms and differentiate truth from clever marketing.

Therapeutic Grade

This term doesn’t really mean anything when it comes to essential oils. To advertise something as “therapeutic grade” means there are non-therapeutic grade essential oils–perhaps grade A, B, or C–which are of lower quality. But we are yet to see a company that admits to selling lower-grade products. So while you probably think that the therapeutic grade label is equivalent to authentic or highest grade essential oil, it is actually no different from the “we are the best essential oil” claim.

Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG)

The CPTG seal is not an authentication but a trademark registered by DoTERRA company. They don’t own exclusive rights to the actual words, but they paid a fee to register the seal, which is nothing more than a commercial trademark. A new buyer may be led to believe that these products are approved by the FDA or a government agency mandates the use of this seal, which is far from the truth.

Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)

The GRAS label is sometimes used by essential oil suppliers to imply that their products are of therapeutic quality or safe to be ingested. While there are many essential oils that possess GRAS status, this is not an indication of their efficacy or risk-free oral intake. Synthetic or adulterated essential oil may also be given a GRAS status.

100% Pure

This commonly abused essential oil marketing term claims that the product contains pure undiluted essential oil. But since there are no official guidelines for the use of the label “100% pure,” anyone can claim that their products are made of 100% pure essential oil–no additives, no fillers, no carriers whatsoever.

We are not saying that the companies who are using these terms are intentionally misleading their buyers. But hey, the current market is fragmented and retail-driven; we know how hard it is to stand out in an industry with not much space for innovation.

Finding high-quality essential oils

It is safe to assume that everyone is looking for the best product possible, preferably in its purest form, free of fillers, synthetic additives, and other cost-reducing ingredients. With that in mind, consider the following tips.

Look for essential oils in dark glass bottles
Essential oils are sensitive to light and heat. They should be sold in blue or dark amber glass bottles. Plastic bottles are usually not recommended, as there are some oils that can damage the plastic container.

Check the labels of commercially available essential oils

The labels must contain the common name and Latin name (scientific name), country of origin, type of extraction, how it was grown, and the part of the plant that was processed. They must also include basic safety precautions.

Compare prices

If the price is too good to be true, the product could be diluted or adulterated. Essential oil prices are generally very similar across the board. The type of extraction used could drive the price lower or higher.

Avoid fragrance oil or perfume oil

These are not pure essential oils. Perfume oils are made from synthetic ingredients while fragrance oils are oils combined with other chemicals.

Safety tips – Not 100% Inclusive

  1. Do not ingest essential oils unless advised by a medical professional.
  2. Most essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin and must be diluted in a carrier oil.
  3. You can apply essential oils by massaging or applying them on the skin using sprays, baths, and compresses.
  4. The topical application of essential oils may cause an allergic reaction. Always do a patch test prior to skin application.
  5. Essential oils are not exempted from oxidation or spoilage.
  6. It’s better to buy in small amounts so they do not go out of date.
  7. Keep your essential oils in a cold dark place. They can be stored in the refrigerator but not in the freezer.
  8. Keep them from children’s reach, as many essential oils are poisonous and can cause skin irritation.
  9. Before using these products to treat medical conditions, consult an aromatherapist or your medical provider.

Essential Oil FAQs


Q: Can I use essential oil if I have sensitive skin?

A: Do a patch test to know how your skin will react to the oil. Apply 1 drop of essential oil on the underside of your arm and observe for redness or irritation. If skin irritation occurs, apply pure carrier oil (not water) to the affected area.

Q: What are the dangers of using essential oils?
A: It’s important to be extra cautious when using essential oils in children. Ingesting some essential oils even in a small amount can be extremely toxic. They can also interact with some medications. Immunocompromised patients and those with kidney or liver disease must consult their GP before using essential oils.

Q: Can I use essential oils on my pets?
A: A number of essential oils are toxic to cats, dogs, and other animals. Consult a veterinarian if you want to use essential oils to treat your pets. Some essential oils that can be toxic to cats and dogs include clove, peppermint, citrus oils, tea tree oil, oil of wintergreen, and oils with phenols.
Q: Are essential oils safe for pregnant women?
A: There are no substantial studies performed to know the effects of essential oil in pregnant or lactating women. However, some essential oils when properly diluted can be used during pregnancy. You should ask your obstetrician or nurse if you can use essential oils.

Q: What is the best carrier oil for essential oils?

A: Carrier oils are added to essential oils to facilitate absorption and lower the risk of skin irritation. Carrier oils have beneficial properties on their own, so choose one that will suit your needs. Almond oil, jojoba, grapeseed, coconut, avocado, and olive are popular carrier oils.

Our full list of Essential Oils for 2019

Sort: Editor’s Choice

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our full list of Essential Oils for 2019

#1 doTERRA Family Essential Kit

Overview

Pros

  • Can help to make many home remedies 
  • Provides your home with different scents for your diffuser  
  • Certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils

Cons

  • May not be packed well, leading to loss of oils during transit    
  • Some scents may not smell the way they should

bottomlinelogoBottom Line

Even with its issues, the doTERRA Family Essentials Kit is still one of the best essential oil kits out in the market, as it serves many purposes. Aside from being used on a diffuser to give your home a beautiful, crisp scent, it also works to provide your family a therapeutic treatment for various ailments since these are CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils. 

 

In the end, the doTERRA Family Essentials Kit is worth the price tag that it comes with. It gives our home a more relaxed and comfortable vibe while serving many purposes and giving customers multiple scents to choose from. So take the opportunity to buy them now while they are on sale because once they're gone, you will miss out on all the benefits they can provide. 

#2 Healing Solutions Best Blends Essential Oil Set

Overview

Pros

  • Comes in various scents — perfect for all your mixing needs
  • Includes therapeutic essential oils 
  • FDA registered to ensure quality and control

Cons

  • Smell and blend may have changed from its original quality   
  • Some scents may have a pungent odor

bottomlinelogoBottom Line

In the end, the Healing Solutions Best Blends Essential Oil Set is an excellent addition to any scent collector's list. They not only have more scents to offer, but they also make their products more affordable and available to the public. With a broader range of scents to choose from, you can collect them for your diffusers for home use, or you can mix and pair the oils to make your own blend of rich and fresh-smelling scents. 

 

Even with its apparent quality issues, the Healing Solutions Best Blends Essential Oil Set is still one of the top essential oil sets out in the market now. Their selection is unbeatable, and their price is the most affordable across the industry, so any mistakes on their part can be forgiven. If you're looking to expand your scent range or wanting to start your own scent mixing business, then you've come to the right place.

#3 Artizen Peppermint Essential Oil

Overview

Pros

  • The highest-quality and most potent peppermint oil
  • Uses high-quality glass bottles  
  • Uses pure oil, unlike the diluted competitors

Cons

  • May pose hazards if purchased for personal use — may burn the skin   
  • The bottle may leak all over the package making everything smell like it

bottomlinelogoBottom Line

Compared to its competitors, the Artizen Peppermint Essential Oil is a product that not only delivers high-quality and natural peppermint oil, but also gives customers the confidence to buy from this brand. While some customers have experienced unpleasant problems with this product, the company's dedication to customer satisfaction is enough for consumers to keep coming back for more. 

 

In the end, the Artizen Peppermint Essential Oil is an excellent product to add to your collection for home use and for other applications that you need. Its concentration and potent blend make it ideal for relaxation, aromatherapy, and for mixing and blending. As long as you take care not to use it on yourself, you will be able to enjoy all the benefits this peppermint oil has to offer. 

#4 Natrogix Nirvana Essential Oils

Overview

Pros

  • Comes in a box of nine bottles of different scents 
  • Certified, therapeutic essential oil set  
  • Offers 18 scents in total for you to choose from

Cons

  • Has a weak smell or may be diluted    
  • Scents may smell like licorice and can be nauseating

bottomlinelogoBottom Line

The Natrogix Nirvana Essential Oils collection can give us a great selection of the best scents available in the market now, but the company's neglect towards giving customers high-quality products takes away from the whole experience. Nevertheless, their offer to deliver 18 different scents is more than what most companies can provide. Only time can tell if they'll listen to customer feedback and improve on their blends to provide us with quality over quantity. 

 

Overall, with their much lower prices and an excellent collection of scents (assuming you got a good batch), the Natrogix Nirvana Essential Oils is capable of giving some value for money. But because of its lackluster performance to deliver beautiful smelling scents, it won't be getting the first place as the best essential oil set anytime soon. Then again, what can we expect of a $40, 18-piece essential oil set?

#5 O’linear Essential Oil Aromatherapy Set

Overview

Pros

  • Comes in a set of 8 Natural Essential Oils
  • Compact 10ml bottles are easy to transport or to gift as individual bottles 
  • Not just for their scents, they also provide relief from ailments and injuries

Cons

  • May be delivered without proper checking from manufacturer
  • The smell may be too overwhelming and may induce headaches

bottomlinelogoBottom Line

The O'linear Essential Oil Aromatherapy Set would have been a perfect product if it wasn’t for a few details that the company has overlooked, especially when it comes to delivery and quality. However, no company is perfect, and it’s safe to say that O’linear may be one of them, thanks to this near-flawless essential oils set that helps our homes in more ways than one. 

 

In the end, the O'linear Essential Oil Aromatherapy Set is an excellent product to consider bringing into your daily routine as it not only helps to combat odors at home, but it also gives health benefits inside and outside the body. It also helps to improve our well being physically and emotionally while making an excellent gift for anyone who would love to have an essential oil set that has all the best scents that not only smell good but also lingers in your home.