Essential Oil Quality Grades
However, many of these products do not use 100% pure essential oils and often use fragrant synthetic chemical substitutes to dilute or replace more expensive essential oil extracts. Worse, some companies use solvents to extract oils; a process, which makes the oil toxic except for limited use. Furthermore, there are no current regulatory standards for the descriptive use of the 'therapeutic grade' for products labeled as essential oils.
Having worked in the spa industry for 10 years I was exposed to many different essential oil companies. I have personally only found one company that I trust, doTERRA International. I will only use oils that are 100% organic, safe for aromatic, topical and internal use.
With doTERRA you can trust that:
- Plants are grown and harvested in their natural environment
- Each bottle of oil goes through multiple 3rd party testing
- Tests ensure oils are pure, genuine, authentic and potent Beyond organic standards, verified pure, free of fillers, pesticides and foreign contaminants
Different types of essential oil qualities:
Synthetic Essential Oils
The majority of essential oils on the market are Synthetic. Those oils are intended for fragrance. These oils are the most likely to have an allergic response to.
Food Grade Essential Oils
Next comes Food Grade which is also sometimes called GRAS or Generally Regarded As Safe, which are used as flavorings in food.
Therapeutic Grade which is most often used in Aromatherapy, but often not safe to be applied to the skin and never to be used internally.
Only a fraction of essential oils on the market are safe enough to be used aromatically, topically and internally (if the plant is safe to ingest). Those oils are the rarest of the rare in terms of quality. And like I've said before, out of all the oils I've tried there is only one company who has the integrity, humanitarian mission and purity that meet my standard, and this doTERRA International. They test every single liter of oil for absolute purity, and they will not sell it if it doesn't meet the rigorous requirements for topical and internal consumption.
Most important is that they test every single batch and keep a sample on hand for re-testing should the need arise.
One of the industry's dirty little secrets is that some companies test one batch a year and then state that they do appropriate testing. Consumers really need to take caution that the oils they are applying to their bodies are thouroughly tested. In contrast, doTERRA tests every single liter of oil before they will allow it to be sold.
These tests ensure that the essential oils are both pure (extracts contain only the volatile aromatic compounds of a plant), and potent (extracts have consistent chemical composition from batch to batch.) Any reputable company will have a quality control protocol that requires the use of multiple independent laboratories for standardization and testing.
Laboratory Testing Video
Try this at home:
Compare the smell of different lavender oils or products in your home. If your product's fragrance is overbearing in any one note it may contain synthetic chemical substitutes. A 100% Certified Pure Therapuetic Grade essential oil should have a balanced, broad fragrance profile and should smell crystal clean.