So you’re super excited about essential oils and all the ways they can improve your life (me too!) and now you’re ready to buy some to try them out. But before you run out and buy the first essential oil you see, there are a few things you should consider. Below you can find what I consider to be the top 4 most important things to think about when buying essential oils for the first time.
1.What are you going to use your oil for?
The oil you buy should be highly dependent on what exactly you plan to do with it, as each oil has its own set of benefits and properties. For example, if you want to use essential oils to help you sleep better, you would need to choose one that has relaxing properties (chamomile and lavender are popular choices), as opposed to one that is energizing (such as peppermint). Or if you’re looking for something to get rid of odors and act as an air freshener, you’d want something with a light scent such as lemongrass as opposed to a dark, heavy scent like frankincense. OR you may want an oil to serve several purposes at once, such as an air freshener AND something to help you fall asleep (I love Stress Away for this). When looking for dual (or more) purpose oils, the selection is smaller, but there will almost always be an oil that suits your needs, as all oils boast multiple benefits. You just need to know where to look (Check out the Just the Facts series for more information on specific oils).
2. How are you planning to use it?
Just as important as what you want to use your oil for is how you want to use it. Do you want to diffuse it into the air? Apply it topically? Or ingest it as a supplement? Many oils can be used in multiple ways, and in these cases it comes down to personal preference. If you know a certain oil is great for warding off that winter cold, but you aren’t a fan of the scent, ingestion might be a good option for usage. However, not all oils are suitable for ingestion, so be sure to check any oil you plan to ingest. On the flip side, you may absolutely love the scent of an oil that also wards off colds, so you could diffuse it into the air and inhale it, thus enjoying both the scent and immune boost. In addition, several oils are cited as wonderful extras in homemade beauty treatments that are generally applied topically. In these cases, you would want to find an oil that can be safely diluted (or possibly needs no dilution) before contacting the skin (click here to read more about dilutions and carrier oils).
3. Is it volatile?
As I mentioned above, not all oils are safe for all uses. Several oils need to be diluted before coming into contact with skin or before being ingested. Dilution involves adding a drop or two of your concentrated oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut or argan (read about those carrier oils here and how to use them), and then rubbing on the skin to increase absorption as well as spread the oil over a larger area. Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint are a few examples of common oils that require dilution. Failure to dilute a volatile oil before applying it to the skin can have some pretty nasty consequences (rash, pain, itching), so please exercise caution and learn as much as you can before putting an essential oil on your skin or in your belly.
4. How pure is the oil source?
You can buy essential oils pretty much anywhere. I know the first time I bought some, I got it at Wal-Mart (big mistake, read on to see why). While an oil at Wal-Mart will most definitely be cheaper, it will not be a very good quality oil, and therefore will not have all the benefits of a therapeutic grade oil (it may even have negative effects). Many times these oils are cheaper because they are extracted using a chemical distilling process, or because they contain fillers.
I think everyone can agree that fillers aren’t so great, but why should the distilling process matter? Think about it in terms of food. When an apple is grown using chemical fertilizers or insect repellents, these things get into the food and then our bodies. Similarly an oil distilled using chemicals can retain some of those chemicals which can then enter the body through use of the oil. It’s definitely worth the extra money for a better oil, because then you don’t have to worry about any side effects from chemicals, and you know you’re not inadvertently paying for fillers. There is no overarching standard for essential oil quality (no matter what claims a company makes that it is FDA or otherwise certified), so it is very important to find a provider with methods you trust. Shockingly, it’s even legal for companies to label their oils as 100% pure as long as they contain some pure oil. Yes, you read that right. They can dilute your oil and still label it 100% pure.
I am currently reviewing several providers, and will recommend the best (to the best of my ability) in a future post.
Not sure if or how much the oil you want needs to be diluted? Download this handy essential oil dilution guide! Plus, you’ll get VIP access to all of my guides and cheat sheets. Sound sweet? Just click the image below to join the VIP list!
So that’s what I think are the 4 most important things to consider when buying an essential oil. Do you guys agree? Was this post helpful? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.