The wonderful scent of lavender that takes you right back to that sultry summer in the South of France... who doesn't love pure essential oil? With so many products on the market, it can be difficult to determine which essential oils are truly toxin-free and of good quality. The world of essential oils is certainly not always as transparent as we would like. The term 'essential or essential oil' is not legally protected. This means that you soon end up in the world of greenwashing and that 'natural' jar of lavender oil is mixed with chemical additives or deliberately diluted with cheaper oils of lower quality. In this blog we tell you what to look for when recognizing non-toxic essential oils. We discuss what should be included in the product description, how to assess purity, and how to expose greenwashing.
Decipher the product description.
When looking for non-toxic essential oils, it is important to read the product description carefully. Look out for specific information such as '100% pure', 'undiluted' or 'essential oil without additives'. These terms indicate that the oil is not mixed with synthetic substances or other oils. Be careful with vague terms such as "natural" or "fragrant oil" as these terms do not guarantee that the oil is pure.
A truly pure essential oil should always contain the following product information:
- The botanical name (Latin) of the plant. The product description mentions the botanical name (Latin) of the plant from which the essential oil is extracted (for example Angelica archangelica).
- Which part of the plant was used for the distillation process: this could be, for example, the roots, bark, flowers or leaves.
- The country of origin: does the essential oil come from France or America? The country of origin of the essential oil can influence the quality and properties of the oil. It is therefore important to know where the oil comes from.
- Mixtures and Additives: Check the label to make sure the essential oil you are buying is 100% pure, i.e. undiluted, and whether there are any additives. Be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure no other oils or substances have been added.
- batch number.
- The method of distillation: There are several methods of distilling essential oils, but the most commonly used method is steam distillation. Other methods, such as cold pressing or enfleurage, are also used to extract essential oils, depending on the plant species and oil desired. However, these methods are more suitable for specific plants (such as citrus fruits) and are not always effective.
Choose Organic Certification.
A good indicator of non-toxic essential oils is organic certification. Look for oils that carry a recognized organic label, such as the European organic label (the green leaf). This means that the plants have been grown in a natural and non-toxic way, without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Please note that organic certification may vary depending on the country and region. It is also important to know that not all essential oil producers choose to become certified organic, while this does not always detract from the quality of the oil. This is the case, for example, with 'wild crafted' plants. This means that the plants are collected in their natural environment, usually in the wild. Plants are therefore not cultivated. While wild crafted plant material may be naturally free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, this does not automatically mean it meets organic standards. With wild crafting there is therefore no official certification as with organic cultivation.
Watch the price.
A pure and non-toxic essential oil does not have to be expensive. But it is important to thoroughly study the prices of the different essential oils of a brand. If all of a brand's essential oils are the same price, it's a warning sign! Essential oils should vary in price, because the price depends on factors such as the rarity of the plant and the production process. If a brand offers all oils for $5.99, they may be taking shortcuts in the manufacturing process, using cheaper ingredients, or even adding synthetics to cut costs.
Quality testing by third parties.
A reputable brand that offers pure essential oils will regularly have its essential oils tested by independent labs. This type of testing checks for purity, potency and the absence of contaminants. It is even better when these tests can be viewed online by the brand. Some common tests are:
- Gas Chromatography (GC): This test analyzes the chemical composition of the essential oil and identifies the presence of various components. It helps to assess purity and check for possible contaminants.
- Mass Spectrometry (MS): Often coupled with gas chromatography, this test helps identify the individual components in the essential oil. It can help identify counterfeits or contaminants.
In particular, check the brand's website or ask customer service for the test results to be sure of the quality of the oil.
Check the packaging.
Pay attention to the quality of the packaging. Essential oils usually come in dark glass bottles to protect the oil from light and oxidation. Some packaging materials (plastic) can release chemicals (such as BPA) to the essential oils (and ultimately to you!).
Disclaimer (Do Your Own Research): We are happy to share with you our experiences and knowledge that we have gained in our quest for a toxin-free life. At the same time, we want to emphasize that you are solely responsible for your health (that goes without saying, right?). The information we share here is for general educational purposes and is not personal medical advice. Everyone is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.