There are four key factors to consider when you are looking for a quality essential oil:
1. The quality of the plant material used
If you are super eco friendly then you may be as concerned about the quality of plant material that you use for beauty products as you are about what you eat.
The best plant material in your case would be plant material grown in the wild, far away from polluting cars and factories and grown without pesticides, herbicides and other "unnatural" stuff, i.e. organic essential oils. Personally, I am not too concerned! I won't pay the premium for organic things that will be applied externally.
2. The Plant source
Some essential oils have different varieties. Sometimes this means no more than the essential oil coming from a different country or region but at other times the essential oil comes from such a different species of the plant or tree that its therapeutic benefits are completely different.
A good example here is cedarwood essential oil.
3. Extraction method
The best quality essential oils will have been extracted using:
Not so ideal are essential oils produced by:
4. Blends - bastardised essential oils
Some essential oils are blended with a cheaper essential oil to create a higher profit for the producer! Apparently this is common knowledge in the essential oil industry and is called "making a soup".
Of all the things that can impact the quality of an essential oil this is the one that annoys and concerns me the most. When I buy an essential oil I do not want it to be blended with anything else.
Here are examples of common blends that I found in The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia by Carol Schiller & David Schiller:
To ensure you are getting a good quality oil and that it is the exact oil you want, read the details and make enquires to the supplier if the details are not clear.
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Ref: The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia by Carol Schiller & David Schiller
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward