Tips & Tricks in Identifying Pure Essential Oils
With the benefits of essential oils becoming progressively popular in treating various ailments, adulterated essential oils have also surfaced in the market. We list down the tips and tricks to know if your essential oil is of good quality and pure.
What Affects the Quality of Essential Oils?
The quality of essential oils can be impacted in a number of ways, from the environment in which it’s grown, harvesting, distillation, manufacture, distribution, to storage.
- Plants: Chemicals such as pesticide can be harmful to the quality of essential oils, including the variability in altitude, soil conditions and rainfall, and the difficulty of differentiating plant species and varieties.
- Processing: As essential oils have become increasing popular, this has also birthed many adulterated essential oils on the market that may not be suitable for clinical use. What makes things worse is that such adulterations that involve diluting the essential oils are difficult to identify.
- Packaging and handling: Then there are aspects including packaging, storage, and handling to consider too. When an essential oil is exposed to heat, light or oxygen, chemical degradation can occur. Essential oils from citrus products are especially prone to oxidation, altering the natural chemistry of the essential oils.
- Storage: To ensure your essential oils’ lasting quality, it should be stored in tightly closed, darkened glass containers and in a cool place. For easy reference, we suggest labelling the bottles with the date. Oxidation rates may vary, but most essential oils can be safely used for 1-2 years or more after opening.
Pure essential oils are stored in dark amber glass bottles.
The easiest physical telltale sign of pure essential oils is its containers. Essential oils are always sold in dark coloured glass containers, especially amber or dark blue to protect the essential oils from ultraviolet rays that might degrade the essential oils in the long run. Plastic containers are certainly not pure essential oils because once pure essential oils come into contact with plastics, it won’t take long before the plastic starts to break down.
Pure essential oils doesn’t leave residue.
A fun way to feel like a scientist for a day would be to test the authenticity of the essential on a strip of paper or a ring test. It’s as simple as adding a droplet of essential oil onto the scent strip that most essential oils supplier carry and let it dry. If a visible ring of the residue appears after the essential oil has dried, then the experiment has shown that the oil has been diluted with a carrier oil. Given its volatile nature, pure essential oils do not leave any residue when it dries.
Pure essential oil is not greasy.
Another quality check of essential oils would be to rub it between your fingers, to test its greasiness. If you find the oil greasy, its very likely that it is a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, added into an essential oil. Carrier oils are added for topical application and its quick absorption into the skin.
Pure essential oils contain zero artificial substances.
There is a distinct difference between perfumed or fragrance oil and essential oil — something many places do to cheat unsuspecting customers. The biggest difference between such oils is the presence of artificial substances. Pure essential oils, as its name indicates, do not contain any diluents. Fragrance or perfumed oil, on the other hand, comprise devised synthetics and alcohol, which are cheaper than essential oils and do not contain any therapeutic benefits as compared to pure essential oils.
This may all seem daunting, but sourcing for a good essential oil is not difficult once you have mastered how to differentiate between pure and fake oils. A consumer’s knowledge is power so always do your researching and always compare the prices across brands to know what are the market prices of these essential oils.
It’s important to note that while two essential oils carry the same name on their labels, their extraction methods, origin and species of plant might be different. This would result in a slightly difference when comparing them, but it does not mean that one is better than the other. Take your time and pick the one that best fits your body chemistry. From there, you will know that you are using an essential oil that is pure, and of superior quality