How to identify pure Essential Oils - Aroma Tierra

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How to identify whether the Essential Oils in the market are pure?

How to identify pure Essential Oils

Essential Oils offer immense therapeutic benefits, provided these are pure, natural, and of high quality. In contrast, synthetic, adulterated, or low-quality oils manufactured to mimic Essential Oils do not carry any therapeutic benefits and often even have some harmful ingredients. It is easy to assess the oil's purity using GC MS or other technical tests, however, these tests are not often cost-effective for retail consumers. Therefore, we have prepared a list of tips that can help identify whether the oil is pure or not to a large extent.

1. Check the packing - Geniune Essential Oils are always packed in a dark glass bottle or an aluminum bottle. Oils packed in transparent or plastic bottles are synthetic in all likelihood. As Essential Oils are susceptible to sunlight and can get damaged easily, it has to be stored in a dark bottle. As Essential Oils are concentrated and corrosive, these can react to the plastic if stored in a plastic bottle.

2. Read the label - Check the label and the ingredient list for the following:

  • Check if the ingredient list shows only 100% Essential Oil or includes other ingredients. If there is more than one ingredient, it is not 100% pure Essential Oil. 
  • Does the label say 'Essential Oil' clearly, or does it say 'Essential Oil blend' or '3% Essential Oil blend'. To make oils cheaper, they are often diluted in a base oil. This is more common for more expensive oils such as Rose, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Neroli, etc. 
  • Is the scientific name of the plant mentioned? Do they mention the country of origin of the oil? Is the batch number, expiry, etc. mentioned?
  • Are there any other certifications mentioned? 

3. Check prices - Pure Essential Oils vary a lot in pricing depending on the plant they are extracted from, e.g., Rose Essential Oil is very expensive as compared to Eucalyptus or Lemongrass Oils. If you notice that all oils are priced the same, it is very likely a synthetic preparation. Beware of falling into the trap of very low prices – remember, Essential Oils are natural products that come from distilling a large quantity of flowers, bark, leaves, etc. Synthetic oils or aroma oils can be far cheaper as these are made synthetically.

4. Take a whiff - Take a few deep breaths and try to analyze the aroma. Pure Essential Oil will have the intense aroma of the underlying plant, without any synthetic or alcohol smell in it. More often than not, synthetic oils will have characteristic mineral oil or base oil or organic solvent smell (similar to petroleum), or a mild alcohol smell. This method works better for experienced Essential Oil users who can identify a few oils they have used earlier.

5. Oil does not mean greasy - Unlike the name, Essential Oils are not oily, viscous, or greasy. These are volatile compounds with a thinner consistency, with some exceptions of oils such as Sandalwood, Vetiver, etc., that are naturally thick. If, for example, you have a Lavender Essential Oil that has an oil-like greasy consistency, then it is most likely diluted in a vegetable or mineral oil. 

6. Know the brand - Try to know more about the brand and its speciality area. Many cosmetic and beauty brands have started adding a range of Essential Oils – avoid these! For these companies, Essential Oils is a small part of their product portfolio, and they usually outsource or simply trade Essential Oils just to capitalize on their existing brand. Look for a brand that focuses on Essential Oils and understands the product and the industry. Finding a specialist brand that you can trust can solve the problem of avoiding fakes forever.

7. Test -  Lastly, as a customer, do not hesitate to get the product tested. Some countries have government labs that will even do the testing for free if you have a complaint. Though it requires effort, this is a sure-shot way of knowing the quality and purity of your oil.