There is an alarming statistic regarding the essential oil industry: There are not enough essential oils being produced to account for the amount of products on the market claiming to be essential oils! In short: There are a large amount of bunk products in the marketplace claiming to be something they are not.
The math is quite easy to do. For example, it takes about 600 lbs of rose petals to make just one ounce of rose essential oil. (That’s a lot of petals!) Since the total output of rose petals is known, as is the amount of supposed rose essential oil in the marketplace, it quickly becomes clear that a large percentage of what is claimed to be pure rose oil with full integrity is actually something else.
This means that much of what is being marketed as an essential oil (which technically isn’t just an oil; it’s a “concentrated plant essence” that looks and acts like an oil for the most part), is not what it claims to be. Most often, bunk essential oils fall into three categories:
- Fragrance oils – typically blended with a carrier oil, such as grapeseed oil, since grapeseed is the most neutral smelling of all oils
- Diluted essential oils – basically essential oils that have been “cut” with a neutral oil such as grapeseed
- Oil infusions – a common “kitchen” method of making an oil. Take a carrier oil such as grapeseed, add fresh herbs or flowers, boil for 6 hours, and strain. These often look and smell like an essential oil, but rarely have anywhere near the clarity of a true essential oil.
At EOX, for the oils we produce in house; they are always single harvest sourced, and maintain complete integrity from plant to bottle. (Essential oils with integrity are never manufactured from synthetics, supplemented with fragrance oils, blended down, or blended with similar smelling oils.) We have every one of our in house oils tested by Gas Chromatography. In short, gas chromatography divides and analyzes individual components in an essential oil, creating peaks when there is a high concentration of a particular component.
These peaks are always consistent from plant to plant, harvest to harvest, year to year. If a different peak appears, then we know the oil has been adulterated, or is not the oil it claims to be. We rely on monographs for each of the herbs we test.
So, how can you know whether or not the precious bottle of oil you have purchased is a genuine essential oil? Most of us don’t have the sophisticated GS or HPLC testing systems that we have in-house at Florascience (the parent company of EOX). Is there anything we can do at home to test our essential oils?
The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Mind you, these methods are not scientific, and do not always produce accurate results. But they are a great and reliable place to start, , let me share a simple method for determining whether or not what you’ve purchased is truly an essential oil:
- Smell your essential oil! If it has any hint of alcohol smell to it at all, even in trace amounts, it is not a true essential oil. Most essential oils are crafted from purified or distilled water and nothing else. Solvents are sometimes used (such as alcohol or acetone), but this does not produce a pure essential oil.
- Freeze your essential oil! (You won’t damage the oil.) If it has been diluted with vegetable oil, the essential oil and the carrier oil will separate. This is because essential oils are not true oils; they are “concentrated plant essences”.
- Drop your essential oil onto a clean sheet of bright white paper. If there’s an oily spot on the paper after a few days, and the fragrance has dissipated, it’s highly likely that your product is only masquerading as a genuine essential oil.
Here at EOX, we use custom-built distillers, one of which was originally manufactured for the production of microbrew beer. These distillers are all stainless steel, can handle high temperatures, are exquisite in their simplicity and efficiency. On top of that, they’re super reliable units that have never broken down. Our other distillers are typical reflux distillers made out of glassware that sits on a hotplate. These are typically reserved for absolutes and other delicate oils that need special attention.
Part of the mission of Essential Oil Exchange is to create as transparent a marketplace as possible, to ensure our loyal community of essential oil professionals and enthusiasts that the products we offer are genuine, handcrafted oils from certified manufacturers whom I have personally visited and verified before adding them as a supplier. I’m very proud of the group of suppliers we’ve gathered over the past decade of EOX’s existence, and we continue to add newly verified suppliers whenever necessary.
One of our main efforts in transparency, was to include the Certificate of Authenticity for every single essential oil we offer here at EOX. Simply go to the Essential Oil Shop and click on any individual essential oil. In the product description, you will find a link that says; “Click here for [essential oil name] Certificate of Analysis”. This will bring up a PDF of the essential oil’s Birth Certificate, which gives you every bit of information you’d ever want for the oil, including what part of the world we sourced the plant material to make the oils we offer.
Next up is our pricing model. All essential oils have a 50% markup. If we pay $1.00 for a vial of essential oil, we sell it for $2.00. There are a few rare exceptions, but this is the model for the exchange. When you join EOX and get your 40% discount, there are no coupon codes or further discounts, otherwise we’d be losing money. This is also why we do not offer “Free Shipping” options like many other sites offer. We don’t build the price of shipping into our essential oils; we keep the pricing as absolutely as low as possible by giving you therapeutic grade essential oils at wholesale prices.
When you buy essential oils, there can be a vast pricing difference between oils. A general rule of thumb in the essential oil world, at least for genuine essential oils, is that you generally get what you pay for. If you find oils that are vastly cheaper than what we offer here at EOX, I can guarantee that the oils are going to be a different quality and grade. We thought about offering oils of different grades here at EOX, but decided to offer only the best oils we could find, sourced from trusted small farms and producers.
We encourage you to compare our oils to competitor oils; we encourage you to check out our individual Certificate of Analysis for each of our essential oils, and I encourage you to give the above tests to any oils you purchase from us. They will pass any test with flying colors every time!
If you have any non-product questions, please feel free to contact me; Keith, anytime via email. I’m admin at essentialoilexchange dot com. I personally answer all emails that come my way!
Oils for Life,