An educated look at all things aromatherapy.
It seems as though everywhere you turn, somebody is selling essential oils. From home parties to pharmacies, supermarkets and health food stores, to Kijiji, Amazon and eBay, oils are everywhere. They all promise to be pure and natural, and range from very affordable to very expensive. But which oil company can you trust?
The prevalence of fake essential oils is a hot topic in the aromatic world these days. Dr. Robert Pappas, the leading authority in aromatic chemistry, is on a mission to expose these oils. His Scamazon series has tested oils purchased from Amazon, only to reveal that the oils were fake. He also tests other oils through his Essential Oil University and the Essential Oil Analysis Foundation. Other Facebook groups, such as BTA: The Chemistry of Essential Oils and Essential Oil Consumer Reports, show third-party lab reports of several oils, both legit and adulterated. There are even class action law suits against the companies that are selling fake oils and passing them off as 100% pure.
So how can you be sure you are buying a pure essential oil? Your best bet is to buy directly from the company. Buy from companies that provide GC/MS reports of the batch of oil you are purchasing. This is the lab analysis that shows all the constituents of the oil sample being tested. If one of the constituents is way out of the normal range for that oil, or a constituent shows up that is not supposed to be there, then there is a good chance that the oil has been adulterated in some way. If you choose to buy from Amazon, make sure that the oil is shipped and sold by the company. Two examples of quality oils being sold on Amazon is Plant Therapy and Eden’s Garden. I have purchased Plant Therapy oils from Amazon and would be comfortable doing so again in the future. If you go directly to the Plant Therapy website, you can find the GC/MS reports for their oils. However, oils like Radha and Art Naturals are two examples of products being fulfilled by Amazon, and not sold directly by the company. I have also seen them pop up on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. These oils also have prices that are too good to be true ($24 for six bottles of oil?!), which is a big red flag. While some companies are more affordable than others, you are likely going to get what you paid for in a $2 bottle of oil.
I am often asked which oils I use, or which oils the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists uses. I use oils from a few different companies, which I carefully research before I buy. (The CFA doesn’t use any oils as it is a certifying body, not an aromatherapy business, nor does it endorse any one brand.) Of course, I look for pure and quality oils, but I also pay attention to the company’s ethics before buying. I encourage you to join the groups I mentioned above, and visit essentialoilanalysis.com for completed lab analyses of several oils. Or feel free to ask me for my recommendations. If you find what you think is an awesome deal on oils, let me know! I might want to stock up if they are a brand I trust (Aura Cacia is one company you can buy retail and for a good price, especially on well.ca), or I might advise you to save your money and look elsewhere. As mentioned, I do sell Rae Dunphy, but I also have oils from other companies in my collection. I will not pressure you to buy from me. I want you to feel comfortable with your essential oil purchases, and not risk being duped by a fake oil. Drop me a line if you have any questions on essential oil purity.
Shannon Bachorick is a Certified Aromatherapy Health Professional in Regina, Canada. Her focus is on emotional healing for those living with and at risk of developing autoimmune disorders, and the safe and responsible use of essential oils at all ages and stages of life.