I get asked about where to get the ingredients for the oils I make. While I would much prefer you buy your oils from ME (obviously), I know there’s a lot of do-it-yourself types out there. This is the first in an installment of “Where Do I Buy….?” entries.
Where Do I Buy Essential Oils?
Probably better subtitled “If I’m a beginner with oils and don’t have any clue of where to go or who to ask or what to look for.”
These days, essential oils are a lot easier to get than they used to be. Most natural food stores carry them – but they carry different lines, different brands, and it’s hard to tell which are the reliable national brands and which aren’t as reliable. And then there’s stores that carry a whole rack of oils next to their incense displays, which lead people to believe that these are essential oils – but they’re not. They’re “fragrance oils,” or “essential fragrance oils,” or “essential oil blends,” – none of which are actually essential oils.
Something to remember:
The area of essential oils is rife with fraudulent marketing ploys, as I’ve said before. The only essential oil is the one that says it’s a 100% essential oil. Not a fragrance oil, not an essential oil blend, not a ritual oil, not a magical oil, or an anointing oil – none of those terms mean anything other than “this is not an essential oil.” It might be tempting, when you see the price difference between the “fragrance oil” and the “100% essential oil,” but you’re not making potpourri. You’re making magic.
It’s hard to know what to look for, so here’s three national brands that I’ve found to be of uniformly pretty good quality. These are oils priced for retail sale, so the price may be a bit higher than if you buy in bulk, or on eBay. However, they are national companies with quality control standards and a uniform means of making oils, which counts for quite a lot when you’re just learning about essentials.
- Aura Cacia – this is a company that makes a variety of products with essential oils, as well as providing the essential oils themselves. They also make essential oil blends and other products, so you have to be careful to ensure that what you’re buying is from their essential oil line. Everything is documented on their labels – if there’s any additives, if the oil has synthetic ingredients, if it’s diluted – and on their website.
- Nature’s Alchemy – owned by Lotus Brands, is sold in many retail outlets. They sell in .5oz and 2oz sizes. This is probably the brand I have the least experience with, but I’ve used three or four of their oils and found them to be about the same as the other nationally available brands. This is the brand usually available at the Vitamin Shoppe, but you can also buy via their online shop.
- NOW Essential Oils – some are organic, some are not. Their citrus oils are cold pressed, everything else is steam distilled, and it’s a US company that distributes all over the country. The oils are available on Amazon, and through other online outlets, as well as through the NOW Foods website. These oils are sold in many health food shops, Whole Foods, and other places.
Some of the more expensive and scarce oils, like sandalwood, are sold as blends – in some cases, 10% sandalwood essential oil and 90% grapeseed oil. As long as all the ingredients and the ratio of essential oil to carrier oil, are on the label, it’s a perfectly legitimate way to make a very expensive essential more affordable. Always read the labels. If the price seems too good to be true, check the labeling. You might have run into a sale (score!) or you might have run into a company or store hoping that the consumers aren’t well-educated about oils and the marketing practices used.
So that’s how you buy essential oils locally if you’re just starting out. Thoughts? Questions? Criticisms? Let me know.