Ahh, Essential Oils. So many options of what oils you’ve been told you need and what to use them for.
But not enough objective information about where to get really great oils from brands that you can trust.
Well, let me help you out.
I am a bit of a lover when it comes to natural health, so I have dabbled in essential oils for many years and have done countless hours of reading and research.
What You Can Use Essential Oils For
I will say, I love homeopathy over essential oils, but oils have their place as well.
My favorite way to use essential oils is mostly in bug sprays during the summer.
Commercial bug sprays have DEET (which has mixed reviews as to it’s safety), in addition to other chemicals that I don’t want on my body if possible.
In the past, I have used them to help with tummy discomfort, sinus pain, skin eruptions, and generally to make my house smell good by diffusing. But, let’s get to what you came for, shall we?
Please note that these are my opinions after years of research and use, and this post contains affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission from products, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase.
How Are Essential Oils Tested for Quality
The standard test is the gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) test. Though this test is not foolproof, it is generally accepted as the industry standard for measuring an oil’s quality and whether it has additives. Aromatic Plant Research Center best describes this process as:
“a method of separating the volatile compounds in essential oils into individual components and identifying each of these components and their percentages. This process is a common test used to identify essential oil adulteration”
Are MLM/Direct Sales Oils Good Quality?
Because this is often the most popular method of people being introduced/interested to essential oils, I want to address them first. Generally, I would say, Yes. They are generally, overall good quality.
From what information is available. There are two major essential oil MLM brands: Young Living and DoTERRA. Young Living has their “Seed to Seal” guarantee, which you can read here. Though their process has been called into question multiple times online, I am not going to get into the weeds of it.
You can find a nice Everyday Oils set here where you can get a collection of 10 5ml bottles, for a discounted price if you want to try some to start.
And here are some good oils for emotional support, featuring six high-quality essential oil blends that “inspire feelings of emotional well-being when diffused.”
Likewise, doTERRA has their own quality testing process, but programs from both companies are basically set and maintained by their own standards, so there’s not really any independent benchmark, other than the GC-MS test.
You can get GC-MS test results from doTERRA after you purchase that particular oil (why??…), and Young Living, well…
I know for years they have not released their results, though they say on their website that they do a battery of safety tests, so… makes me wonder what they don’t want published?
I can only say, I generally trust them more than a brand of essential oils I’ve never heard of from a big-box store shelf. I, personally, do tend to trust doTERRA a little more than YL, just because they’re more upfront about their processes.
I have received a gift of Young Living oils, and they had a particular oil I couldn’t find elsewhere, and I think they’re probably good quality enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to use it.
Plus, it’s likely to be less toxic than some of the other common, everyday items we are exposed to every day.
What Are Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils
“Therapeutic grade” is a term applied to essential oils to generally mean that they can be used in all manners, including skin, aromatherapy, etc.
HOWEVER, please note that this term is NOT regulated, so each company can have their own definition.
Therefore, it is NOT a term by which you can evaluate an oil.
You will have to do additional research into the info that the company gives you as to how the oil is made and tested and decide for yourself what you are comfortable with.
Where to Buy High Quality Essential Oils for Cheaper
I will say, it is a bit difficult to peel through the layers of information that each brand provides as to their sourcing, certifications, testing, etc.
Add all the unregulated terms that each brand chooses to use or make up themselves, and the information is mind-boggling.
Nevertheless, I have spent many hours of research trying to suss out the information, read between the lines of what info is provided and what is not there (what they are not claiming or can’t say because their products don’t fulfill the requirements), and have settled on a few brands.
There are a few other brands that I do like and definitely trust, but don’t recommend if you’re trying to watch your budget.
I’m not really going to go into those, as the purpose of this post is to help you save money while sourcing good quality essential oils.
My Favorite High-Quality Essential Oil Brands that Are Less Expensive
Most of these links are to Amazon, they each have their own websites, but often with Amazon, you get the free Prime shipping (sometimes there are shipping costs otherwise) along with a great selection of what they sell on their website.If you’re looking for something a bit obscure (not addressed in this post, these are the basics), you can always go to the individual company’s website.
1. Eden’s Garden: I have used this brand for years, and have been really impressed by their quality, while being able to keep prices reasonable.
This way, I have been able to experiment and add more oils to my collection.
My favorite from them (and a great place to start), is either their basic 3 set of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint (which I tell everyone to start with when they ask which ones to buy first), or their ‘Top 6’ most popular set fully equipped to get you through cold and sinus season, plus they’re great for making your own non-toxic cleaning products.
You can also get blends from them, and while it is hard to choose, I have started with their aromatherapy blends in place of candles and to make my house smell wonderful.
And don’t forget their diffusers!
2. Revive Oils: I actually moved this brand up because, as a company, they are engaged and innovative.
This is one of the newer brands on the market.
Their story is that they were customers of the MLM brands and then figured out how much they could give back to consumers by establishing their own company and cutting out the middle-man.
I have looked at their quality declarations and they are good.
With this brand, it is very no-frills, as the packaging is no-frills (but eco-friendly, which I love), the labels don’t have much to them, and their name is often just one word.
That being said, my favorite thing was their comparison chart of their blends to MLM blends… which is exciting because they make some of the same blends as the direct sales (MLM) companies.
So, I bought a few that I thought would be really fun to try.
They really do smell good.
While they only have a few oils in their Amazon store.
If you’re a new customer, you can get $10 off a $50 purchase by using this link to their website.
3. Plant Therapy: Now, this one, I originally trusted because the seeming EO guru, Robert Tisserand, partnered with them to be a consultant when they first established their company in 2011.
Mr. Tisserand, as far as I know, is one of the leading essential oils experts in the world.
So to say that their oils were approved by and developed with him, that says a lot.
Since then, their company has parted ways (seemingly amicably but with very few details) with Tisserand.
While that sometimes can seem shady, there’s nothing to make me believe that it was so.
Plus, many natural health bloggers that I trust, like Wellness Mama, trust plant therapy.
And they are very up front with their information about safety and quality.
While they have their own basic sets, they have other fun things you can add to your arsenal. Like kids sets for Focus, Calming, Sleep, and Immune Support in roller ball bottles.
Roller bottles are easier because 1. they’re already mixed with a carrier oil, and 2. you can roll it quickly down the child’s spine, behind their ears, and pulse points, and 3. you know the oils used in those blends are approved for kids.
Not all essential oils are safe for kids and pets, so you must do research them before you use them!
With blends like this, the guesswork is taken out! (And, at least for a while, these kids blends were created in oversight by Mr. Tisserand, bonus!)
You can also get a beautiful box like this to store your oils, and the price is great!
By the way, oils should be stored in a cool, dark place.
Does Essential Oil Quality Always Matter?
Let’s start off by saying, you should always be familiar with the brands you are buying.
Synthetic fragrances are one of the most toxic items in our home.
And no one really knows what unnatural materials are in those random bottles from non-essential oils or non-health foods stores.
That being said, I do have one recommendation: If you are using essential oils for anything that does NOT include skin application, inhalation, or internal use (which is controversial, but just don’t do it), I recommend this brand or this brand.
While these brands aren’t “therapeutic grade” (remember, which is a subjective term), both of these brands of essential oils are generally very easy to find, including in larger bottles which is rare, and are easier on the pocketbook than a premium brand.
So, for instance, if you’re wanting to use EO’s in your laundry, I think those brands would be fine.
Everything they’re going to get mixed with (soap, washing soda, etc) and then get heated so much when they dry, they’re going to essentially become adulterated anyway, so save some money while you can.
Which Essential Oils are Safe to Eat, Drink, or Ingest?
This is actually a pretty hot debate in the essential oils world.
After doing some research, here is my opinion on which oils are safe to ingest: none.
Many brands, most notably and possibly exclusively the MLM brands, will tell you it is perfectly fine and safe to use your oils to flavor your water, use in recipes, or to otherwise use internally.
They should caution you, however, on using “hot” oils – oils that create a warming sensation when applied to the skin. One would think that would be an indication as to how safe their particular product is.
Please note that I’m not sure all of the independent reps for each of these brands are fully trained on using essential oils safely.
And remember that essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, therefore, you must weigh the studies for yourself.
Both sides have presented studies for and against internal use. And many reps of the MLM companies swear that they feel better after using oils internally.
Though I would really love to see their throat and stomach linings to verify that there is no damage being done.
Bottom line, essential oils are so concentrated that it takes pounds and pounds of the original material to make one bottle.
Now imagine stuffing even just one pound of peppermint all in your mouth at once and swallowing that.
It’ll burn going down, and so will the essential oil, though you may not feel it, it is still happening.
Now do that daily or multiple times a day.
What a nice hole you have in your esophagus. No thanks.
And I have to concede that though I don’t get any directly into my digestive system, I do use cinnamon in my homemade toothpaste, which I love. And I probably won’t stop.
Life is all about balance, and I haven’t noticed any irritation or other causes for concern as I’m spitting it out.
I will say, some people do use EO’s internally in their daily lives and don’t notice any problems.
Yet. Buyer beware.
Oh, and most of those people are typically MLM sellers, so they trust their company. I don’t.
And I’d be willing to bet 99.999% of them don’t have video evidence to prove that their throat and stomach linings are intact and undamaged, which are the most vulnerable (mucus membranes & linings).
But they (and their company) also have a monetary interest in you buying more. I’m not saying they all do it for the money, however, some do and some are either ignorant or have made the decision to trust.
And if I had cancer, there are two oils that have been indicated to help.
I won’t go into that, but if I were desperate, I would definitely consider that therapy.
So, you will need to do your own research on that. Just be careful.
If you have questions or would like me to expound upon something in this article, please let me know, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!!
As always, thanks for reading and God bless!!