This…is a picture of you, after hours, days, and weeks of searching for the “perfect” essential oil company. You’re overwhelmed, a little confused, and in need of a shower. Migraine? Don’t worry. There’s an oil for that too.
In my last post I tried to sell you on using essential oils. I hope you were convinced. If you weren’t you should probably read that post again…very slowly.
Now that you’re sold, you’re probably wondering if I’m going to try to sell them to you, lure you away from one company to join the ranks of another, shame you because you’ve been using the cheap stuff off the shelf because you didn’t know any better, or wondering whether I’m going to blow-up this page with a whole bunch of statistics about why the oils I’ve been using are a cajillion times cooler, more medicinal, and superior to yours.
Simply stated…NO, I am not.
Now that your defenses are down and we can get rid of the looming threat of a sales pitch, let’s talk.
There are a lot of essential oil companies out there: Heritage Oils, Native American Nutritionals, North American Herb and Spice, Mountain Rose Herbs, Aura Cacia, DoTerra, Young Living, NOW oils, Butterfly Express, Edens Gardens, Spark Naturals, Floracopeia, Aromatics International, Be Young, and Zija, to name a few. Even Whole Foods has their own line of essential oils and everyone has heard of the Bath and Body Works “not so aromatherapy” line.
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out whether these companies – and their products – are all they’re cracked up to be. Everyone has an opinion and most of the time they differ. So who can you trust and where do you start?
Here are 7 things to keep in mind when looking for a “perfect” essential oil company:
1. When choosing a company, keep their quality, price, and purity standards in mind.
Each company (like each distributor or consumer) has an opinion on where these oils should come from, how they should be grown, when the plants grown should be picked, which parts of the plant should be used, and how they should be extracted, sold, and used. Here’s the bottom line:
You want a company that sells genuine, 100% pure essential oils that have not been doctored, cut, or adulterated in any way, sourced from plants that have not been treated with pesticides, herbicides, harmful chemicals, and non-natural fertilizers. You want a company that sets high quality and purity standards, that knows where their seeds come from, and plays a personal role in the distillation of their oils. Gas chromatography (to detect an oil’s chemical composition) with mass spectrometry and organic certification is a plus. Finally, you want a company that tests and evaluates their oils regularly to make sure they contain the proper chemical properties of the highest quality and they’re providing a product that lives up to their standards.
2. Essential oil companies set their own purity and quality standards.
Some people are really skeptical because essential oil companies set their own purity and quality standards and each company seems to have a different one. To me, this is actually a good thing because companies are always competing with each other to offer a better product whereas if you had one standard set by the FDA, companies would only be motivated to produce what’s needed to meet that standard. We have seen this in the fragrance and cosmetic industries. Obviously, the higher the standards, the better.
3. There is “technically” no such thing as “therapeutic grade.”
Many companies claim their oils are “therapeutic grade” which upsets some consumers because there is no third-party classification system for labeling an oil as “therapeutic grade.” They argue that the term “therapeutic grade” was coined by some conniving marketers as an attempt to deceive people like us into thinking their product was somehow better. As more companies entered the market they too offered “therapeutic grade” essential oils. Some even patented phrases that can only be used by their company, which makes their product looked distinguished in name, even if it isn’t.
Clever marketing? Yes, but there’s more to it. The FDA only required that oils contain 5% pure ingredients to be labeled “pure” so the term “therapeutic grade” really came about as an attempt to distinguish oneself from the low quality and purity standards of the “fragrance and aroma” industry, which synthesized oils to mass-produce at cheap prices with no therapeutic benefit.
You can understand why essential oil companies would want to distinguish themselves and you can see why this label is more than just a clever marketing tool. However, don’t buy an oil just because it says “pure” or “therapeutic grade” on the label. Go a step further and make sure it’s really 100% pure essential oil.
4. Don’t automatically discount a company just because it uses a multi-level marketing business model.
I know, some of you just let out a groan and rolled your eyes. Believe me, I understand. Multi-level marketing companies are everywhere for everything from wraps to bags to shakes and there are some not-so-good distributors out there promoting some not-so-good products from some not-so-good companies. But bear with me for a minute…
Most essential oil companies use a multi-level marketing business model where you can sign up, get a discounted price for products, and get reimbursed for the sales of those who sign up under you. This is not the same as a pyramid scheme – which is illegal. If you reject a company simply because it uses multi-level marketing, you’ll miss out on the best products.
Seriously, let’s think about this. Do you ever see a commercial on T.V for any natural health product? Fake skin-care products and those super weird weight-loss / energy gimmicks or “natural” supplements patented by pharmaceutical companies don’t count. How about real natural health products like essential oils, herbs, wheatgrass, or bentonite clay?
Yeah, me neither – probably because it’s illegal for these companies to claim their product can prevent or treat any disease and they can’t use undocumented testimonials by patients or doctors, scientific-sounding terms, or claims that their product can effect or maintain the body’s normal structure or function. They would also have to include the following disclaimer:
“This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.”
So what is an essential oil company supposed to do, put a picture of their product on T.V and urge you to buy it because it’s in a cute bottle and it smells nice? Yeah…aint’ nobody got money for that, nor would any essential oil company be taken seriously.
Multi-level marketing allows a company to market and advertise without violating the restrictions imposed on them by our government; so instead of paying a person in a really expensive business suit to sell their product, they pay you to do it for them through discounted prices and reimbursements, if you choose.
The biggest downside is that the person promoting the oil may not have adequate training or understanding in aromatherapy, situations when certain oils shouldn’t be used, how to handle issues should they arise, and how to properly apply them. This is where it’s up to you to decide whether or not your distributor possesses the requisite knowledge.
5. There are a few places where you should absolutely not pick up an essential oil.
Do not…I repeat…do not purchase synthetic, artificial oils, or the cheap oils (in quality and price) you would find at just any health food store or supermarket. Do not pick up a “fragrance” from Bath and Body Works’ “aromatherapy” line and expect to see therapeutic results.
More often than not, these oils are mass-produced and fail to meet the quality and purity standards other companies subscribe to. Even though the price may seem right, and you think you’re getting a steal, the only person that is getting ripped off is you.
6. Ignore the drama.
Essential oils are big business and they are growing in popularity. Many companies have split-off from one another or source the same suppliers. You’ll even come across distributors who are bitter because of the drama in the boardroom. I don’t care what goes on behind the scenes. I only care about two things… Is it pure and does it work?
7. Get a quack doctor who knows their stuff.
If the thought of finding a good essential oil company, picking the right oil, and figuring out how to use it seems overwhelming, ask your naturopath, functional medicine doctor, chiropractor, aromatherapist, or an alternative health practitioner.
Here’s the thing guys, these individuals have all (hopefully) had training in aromatherapy and essential oils. They’ve done their research and have picked a company to work with that makes a product that is most likely to work for them and their clients. They know how to use these oils, whether they should be diluted, how to properly dilute, how they should be applied, and for how long. They can help you alter your health plan as your health changes.
Does the perfect essential oil company really exist?
I hate to be the bearer of anything you don’t want to hear, but there is no such thing as the “perfect” essential oil company because nobody can agree on who is the best company or who has the best products:
A quick search will yield countless blogs that have set their own criteria for evaluating essential oils and ironically, are usually a distributor of the oil that comes out on top. You’ll find natural health practitioners who are trained from different aromatherapy perspectives that recommend different brands, and bloggers who have jumped ship after signing people on to a particular company, only to join the ranks of another. You’ll also find posts written or endorsed by educated people from every company…teachers, aromatherapists, chemists, and sweet mamas, all of whom have great testimonials and valid points. People are passionate about their oils and the companies they work with, but it can be confusing.
You’ll drive yourself crazy if you’re looking for the perfect company who sources the perfect seeds, grown in the perfect area, under the perfect amount of sunlight, harvested at the perfect time and in the perfect way, bottled by someone who wasn’t having a bad day, and sold for the perfect price, that has nothing short of perfect health benefits.
Truth be told, there are several really good essential oil companies out there and the best fit for your family may be different from everyone else’s, so take the pressure off yourself and choose the right company, not the perfect one.
Have you found a good essential oil company? If you use essentials oils, leave a comment below and let everyone know what you use and why. I’m a HUGE fan of Better Essentials. Check them out and use the following code (LIVEWHOLE25) for 25% off your first order.
Photo credit: balena87 via Morgue File