Pure Essential oils do not cost £1.50
I know, I know. In these financially trying times, one needs must, but deep down you know essential oils shouldn’t cost £1.50 (that’s currently $1.99 ) just as much as you know you can’t go cheap on toilet paper. Why? Paper cuts and imposters. One of the first aroma gems Mum chucked at us was how to tell a quality essential oil from a dud.
Now, if you’re just looking for some romantic, pleasingly scented rubby rubby oil, or something to burn in a diffuser to hide that distasteful odour emanating from the water closet, then a cheap “essential oil” will get you by. But, if you’re looking for the stuff that’s going to change your life (get rid of those headaches, sort out that joint pain, etc.), then you want to give your essential oil quest the same care you exercise in the grocery aisle when, like me, you’re agonizing over how much of a health risk the meat will pose if I don’t buy organic, grass fed, blessed by Tibetan monks cow.
So what should you be looking for? Well I asked my source and she threw a barrage of ridiculously complicated words at me and I tuned out ever so slightly (though, of course, pleased that mammy could remember this in such detail). In an attempt to reel it in, I asked for the layman’s version. Here goes:
A keen eye will note the label. A good quality, pure essential oil label will include the oil’s Latin name, its country of origin/where the oil is harvested, and/or its batch number. If the label is out of sight or missing aforementioned information, by all means, be that annoying customer inquiring as to its origin story. I speak from experience as I used to work at Bath and Body and had to answer those questions.
Fortunately, when you’re proud of and well-informed about your own stock, you should be able to say exactly where the oil is distilled from and whether the distillery did a gc/ms. That’s the fancy abbreviation (well the word is more fancy than the abbreviation) for a test which separates and analyzes the oil’s components.
Pure essential oil is just that, pure. The gc/ms will determine whether there is anything in the oil that shouldn’t be there. No batch number, no distillery, no traceable point of harvest = highly likely to be unpure/adulterated.
So why are those “pure essential oils” so cheap? Well you don’t have to charge full lavender prices if the oil isn’t actually full lavender. While you still get a lovely smell and, perhaps even, mild health benefits, know that just because the label, or seller, says pure doesn’t make it so.
Mum’s go-to source for essential oils is Aromatics International, who have a far better explanation of gs/ms here. Mine is Neals Yard Remedies. Naturally, I did a little spot check and sure enough, on my peppermint oil bottle is a small batch number (wear your glasses, the number really is very small), while on the box is both its latin name and country of origin.
How’s that for a gem of knowledge?