Ah, the million dollar question! As an Aromatherapist, what essential oil brands do I recommend?
In this article, not only am I going to share which brands I love and recommend to my students and clients, I am also going to share what I look for in a supplier, red flags to consider, and special considerations when buying essential oils. There is no such thing as “the one and only best brand” of essential oils, and those that tell you otherwise are likely on the selling end, not the practicing professional end.
Please note that the list I am sharing with you is not at all exhaustive; there are many, many solid essential oil companies out there, not to mention the smaller distillers that market very little (when compared to the larger brands). Finally, consider the FACT that while there are literally HUNDREDS of essential oil brands currently on the market, there are only a few good distillers! Many companies get their oils from the same source; it is up to them to package, sell, and price their products. Since this is an unregulated market, companies can do whatever they like; therefore, it is up to you as the consumer to educate yourself and to buy the best oils that you can afford.
Essential Oil Purity and Quality
When using essential oils, you want to make sure that they are of the purest and highest quality, so that you can receive their full therapeutic effects and decrease your chances of experiencing adverse reactions.
Sometimes, essential oils are “adulterated”, meaning that they have additional substances or synthetics added to them. This changes their chemical makeup, which is the determining factor behind their therapeutic action; different chemical components cause different results, and also have different risks and side effects. The best way to know that you’re working with the oil that you think you’re working with is to view its GC/MS report.
GC/MS stands for “Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry”, which is a laboratory test that determines the exact chemical components and their amounts present in each batch of essential oil. Most companies do in-house testing, but third-party testing is ideal. All of the brands that I recommend have been tested by a third-party.
If you cannot read a GC/MS report (and unless you’re a trained Aromatherapist, it’s unlikely that you can), that’s okay! The fact that it is available shows that the company caters to practicing professionals, and is likely legit. Beware of companies that “hide in plain sight” – more and more people are realizing how important it is to check for the availability of a GC/MS report, so some companies have started sharing generic reports, or MSDS Data Sheets, or other chemical sheets, most likely in an attempt to satisfy the unsuspecting consumer. Remember, you are looking for a batch-specific GC/MS report in plain sight.
Below, I’ve posted links to a Lavender essential oil sales page for four different companies that do this very well (and yes, I recommend them!). Look for “Reports”, and you’ll see the specific GC/MS report for the batches currently being sold.
Aromatics International: https://www.aromatics.com/products/lavender-essential-oil
Pompeii Organics: https://pompeiiorganics.com/lavender-bulgaria-essential-oil/
Eden’s Garden: https://www.edensgarden.com/products/lavender
It’s important to note that there is no such thing as “therapeutic grade” or “different grades” of essential oils (e.g., food grade vs therapeutic grade). There is no regulatory body that oversees the marketing of essential oils, and anybody can call their oils “therapeutic grade”. I often see cheap essential oils being sold at grocery stores, warehouse clubs, and even the As Seen on TV Store (!), labeled as “therapeutic grade”. To be fair, all oils, even adulterated ones are “therapeutic”, because they’re all going to cause some sort of effect; the point is, the label “therapeutic grade” is not an indicator of purity or quality. The same applies to similar statements, such as “100% pure” or “certified pure”, as well as the presence of “Nutrition Facts” – none of these are reliable indicators of an essential oil’s quality. The only way to truly know what’s in the bottle is to see the GC/MS report.
A Note On Diluted or “Cut” Essential Oils: Certain essential oils, such as Helichrysum, Rose, and Jasmine, are very costly (due to the amount of plant material required to produce it and their individual farming requirements). Some suppliers will sell these oils diluted to make them more cost-effective for the consumer. For example, you may see Helichrysum essential labeled as “10% concentration in fractionated coconut oil”, or something to that effect. This is totally fine, as they’re being transparent about the contents of the bottle. In any case, a 10% dilution is still a very strong dilution which you would still dilute further for topical application. For application guidelines, read Aromatherapy Defined & Practice Guidelines at http://www.sacredwellness.co/aromatherapy-defined-practice-guidelines/.
What I Look For In a Supplier
I am looking primarily for a supplier that sells organic, wildcrafted essential oils, and can provide me with a batch-specific GC/MS report for the bottles that they are currently selling. This GC/MS report must be available to the public for free, no purchase required. The full disclosure of GC/MS reports is NOT new; many of the solid brands have been doing this for eons, and it’s only now that other companies are starting to catch up. I like the reports to be made available to me, without purchase – that is, I shouldn’t have to type in a lot number to see the report, the lot numbers should be available online with each individual report ready to view. After all, if I had to type in the lot number first, that means I’d have to buy the oil first! I prefer to see the report first, then I decide if it’s worth my while.
Most of the brands I recommend have their GC/MS reports available right on the individual essential oil’s sales page. Some brands don’t, but in those cases, I’ve emailed them to request GC/MS reports, and they’ve written back immediately saying that they can give me whichever report I’d like.
For organic status, I look for “Certified Organic”. I don’t necessarily think that you MUST buy organic essential oils, because after all, if they are actually pure (and you are happy with their GC/MS report), then it’s going to do what you want it to do. Some companies offer both organic and non-organic oils, and some offer only organic oils; in the end, it comes down to your preference and your budget.
No, or few, safety guidelines. Contrary to what you may have heard, if the label on an essential oil bottle says that it should not be applied directly on the skin, consumed internally, or should be avoided in pregnancy or breastfeeding, it’s an indicator that the company is acting responsibly, and it may very well be a high-quality essential oil. The scariest myth being perpetrated is that if the bottle says not to apply directly to the skin, etc., that it is likely adulterated and should be avoided. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, if a company places few limits on their essential oil recommendations, it could mean that the company is more concerned with you using as much essential oil as possible, regardless of how it could impact your health and wellbeing (and it does!).
Really low prices. Essential oils are not expensive, per se; if used appropriately, one bottle could last you months, even years! However, it takes an extremely large volume of plant material to extract even a small amount of essential oil – some more than others. Therefore, expect to pay a little more for high quality essential oils. The brands I’ve recommended are all within the same, fair price range.
Really high prices. Conversely, there is such a thing as paying too much for essential oils. Many things go into marking up the price of the final product, most of which is at the discretion of the company. You may be surprised to know that safety warnings play a role in the price – without the proper safety warnings, a company has to take out a much higher insurance policy on the oils, and this cost is transferred back to the customer. Refer to the prices in the companies I recommend. Even if you choose not to buy from them, you shouldn’t be paying more than what they charge as a retail (i.e., non-member) customer.
The same price for all oils across the board. The fact of the matter is, some essential oils require significantly more plant material than others, and depending on the source, the farming requirements and availability will vary considerably, all of which will be reflected in the final price. If a company charges the same price for Frankincense essential oil as they do for Lavender essential oil, I have to wonder not just about the quality of the Frankincense, but whether or not it’s being cut with a carrier oil or synthetic substance.
Things to Consider
Wholesale Pricing. If you’re an Artisan, Herbalist, or Aromatherapist, and you go through a significant amount of essential oils, I would recommend applying for a wholesale account. All of the brands I recommend offer wholesale pricing to brick-and-mortal retail businesses and professional practitioners. You will be required to apply, and you’ll have to provide proof of business licensure and/or Aromatherapy certification. As with all true wholesale terms, the discount is 50% and it is free to apply (although approval is not guaranteed, of course). Furthermore, I would recommend applying for a wholesale account at a few different companies, so that you have a wide variety of options. If you’re using the oils only for yourself and your family, you don’t need wholesale pricing! Use them appropriately, and you will automatically save money.
Reward Points. Some companies offer a points system. My favourites are Plant Therapy (plus, they have AMAZING sales), Aromatics International, and Eden’s Garden. If you’re a heavy user, but don’t need a wholesale account, this is a great option to save yourself money!
School Affiliation. Is the company affiliated with an Aromatherapy School? If so, it’s almost a guarantee that they sell pure, high-quality essential oils. Schools will want to associate with companies that reflect their teachings, and that they’re comfortable referring their students to for use on themselves and their clients (for case studies, which are required for graduation).
Get a Referral – From a Professional! Ask an Aromatherapist, Herbalist, or Massage Therapist. Then, ask another. You can even ask me 🙂 Be sure to ask a practitioner that uses essential oils in a professional capacity, as opposed to someone who only knows enough to sell one particular brand. The best kind of opinion is one that is professional, unbiased, and free from any conflict of interest.
The Essential Oil Brands I Recommend
Without further ado, here are the brands I can confidently recommend based on the criteria above. None of these are affiliate links, and I don’t receive any compensation for recommending these (or any) brands.
Aromatics International – http://www.aromatics.com
Rae Dunphy Aromatics – http://www.raedunphy.ca
Plant Therapy – http://www.planttherapy.com
Pompeii Organics – http://www.pompeiiorganics.com
Stillpoint Aromatics – http://www.stillpointaromatics.com
Eden’s Garden – http://www.edensgarden.com
Floracopeia – http://www.floracopeia.com
Essential Elements – http://www.essentialelementssite.com
Florihana – http://www.florihana.com
All of these brands ship from the United States, with the exception of Rae Dunphy Aromatics (Calgary, AB, Canada), and Florihana (France). As I mentioned, this is not an exhaustive list (I didn’t include other European or Asian companies as I’m not familiar with them), and I expect to update this post and add more in the future. If you’d like me to look into a particular company, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always on the lookout for new suppliers!
If you have any questions, you can ask me in the comments, send me an email, or find me on IG/FB at @sacredwellness.co. I hope this post served!
To your health,