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How to Find the Best Essential Oil Brands in the UK
Not all essential oils are created equal, so this article will show you how to find the best essential oil brands in the UK.
Essential oils are extracted from leaves, roots, peels, wood, flowers and seeds. These oils are the lifeforce running through the plants and trees, carrying nutrients.
Essential oils have been used for centuries since ancient Egypt and China and are still used to this day as natural remedies to a whole host of mental and physical ailments. Many find great comfort, joy and healing by using essential oils, but not everyone knows the importance of finding the best essential oil brands for the uppermost quality.
Keep reading to find out why it’s vital to find the best essential brands in the UK and choose pure and organic options.
The Importance of Pure and Organic
Did you know that the essential oils that you’re using could be doing you more harm than good? If your essential oils are not pure and organic, you might not be receiving all the potential health benefits that you use them for. In fact, they can even have the opposite effect, leaving you worse off than before and damaging your health rather than improving anything. And that’s pretty pointless!
Some of the biggest essential oil manufacturers compromise on quality to keep costs low and business convenient. This means that some oils out there contain potentially harmful ingredients that you probably really don’t want to be breathing into your lungs or absorbing into your skin.
Choose Organic and Look for The Soil Association Logo
There is a growing rise in the beauty industry for certified organic and natural health and beauty products. More consumers want products that are made without any potentially harmful ingredients, but also don’t compromise on quality. As the Soil Association says, ‘they want products that work with nature, not against it’.
There’s a lot of greenwashing out there too. This means that brands will use favorable buzzwords like ‘organic’, ‘pure’ and ‘natural’ when they’re not really any of these things at all. Any company can use these words freely even if they’re not true to their product.
Look for essential oils that are certified organic. In the UK, the main organic certifying body is the Soil Association. Companies must be rigorously assessed before meeting the highest organic standards that the Soil Association adheres to.
Choosing organic can help you find the best essential oils in the UK because pollutants can be more concentrated in the essential oil, especially in citrus essential oils. These are traditionally heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Although organic can mean different things depending on the country, an organic certification is another factor indicating quality. Some farms are not certified as organic, but do not spray their crops. There are some oils that are ‘unsprayed’, and high-quality oils that are not certified organic, but wild-crafted.
Genuine organic accreditation with the Soil Association logo on the essential oil bottle will help you make sure that any words like ‘pure’ and ‘organic’ are true. You can then rest assured that you can experience the magical, natural powers of essential oils without exposing yourself to any harmful ingredients.
How to Find Pure Essential Oils
How do you determine the purity of an essential oil? What exactly does ‘pure’ mean?
There is sadly no official or standardised definition of purity, so in terms of the therapeutic value of an essential oil, it doesn’t actually mean a lot! Oils that have not been processed correctly may be labelled as 100% pure but only offer a mild, pleasant fragrance without the therapeutic benefits.
It’s important to note that season to season and year to year, the amount of therapeutically effective chemical constituents can change, and it also depends on the plant’s growing location.
An essential oil’s purity is often compromised when a distiller or supplier wants to make more money, and they adulterise their essential oils. The adulteration of essential oils often happens at various stages of production. To avoid adulterated essential oils (and find the best essential oils in the UK), it’s important to find honest retailers who specialise in essential oils and are transparent about their process. When a company is heavily involved in selling essential oils and it’s a big part of their business, they’re more likely to care about their quality.
Quality Vs Purity
Many people get mixed up with quality and purity. I know, right? It’s pretty easy to assume that quality and purity go hand in hand. But an essential oil can be of poor quality even if it’s pure.
What Affects Quality?
There are many factors that can affect the quality of an essential oil. This includes the amount of rainfall, temperature/climate, altitude, the quality of the soil the botanical is grown in, the way the botanical is harvested, the way the botanical is stored prior to distillation, the part of the plant used in the distillation of the oil, adulteration/tampering and the storage conditions.
There is no governing body that regulates the essential oil industry, so there’s a few ways you can consider the quality of oils yourself. One of these ways is checking what the company says about where the plants are harvested, what part of the plant is used and where and how the plant was grown. These can all affect the quality of the essential oil. A company that is honest will be transparent about these things. The latin name of the plant species of an essential oil will help you identify where the plant is sourced from. Essential oils where the plant is sourced from areas of the world that they’re native to are much more likely to be of a much higher quality.
What Affects Purity?
Adulteration of essential oils (when it’s been tampered with) is the major factor that affects purity. There are many ways that essential oils are usually adulterated. These include adding synthetics, adding naturally or synthetically derived individual constituents, blending a higher quality essential oil with a lower quality version of the same species and blending other essential oils that are less expensive while misleading customers that the oil is a pure oil. Other factors include mishandling packaging of an essential oil so that it’s contaminated with an oil of another species and adding vegetable oils so that the essential oil is diluted down.
Things to Consider for Quality and Purity
There are a few factors you can take into consideration when looking for how to find the best essential oil brands in the UK.
Some essential oils are easier to produce than others, but they all need a large amount of plant matter to produce a small amount of oil. If an essential oil is very cheap, it may just be too good to be true. This doesn’t mean that the cheaper ones are not as good as the more expensive ones, but still be wary when essential oils are suspiciously low. Be careful with discount retailers, and ones that charge the same price for all of their oils.
As high-quality, pure essential oils are highly concentrated, most of the time, little is required, so expensive oils can be cost effective in the long-term, and definitely worth it.
Check what method of distillation is being used. There are a few possible methods: steam distillation, cold-press distillation, and CO2 extraction. It’s important to consider that some plants produce better oils from different extraction methods. Steam distillation is a method that produces good quality oils at an affordable cost.
Also, make sure that solvents are not used, as these can be left behind in the essential oil and can produce side effects. Solvent extraction methods are a big no!
Smelling your oil is a good indicator to purity and quality! This is because if an oil is diluted, the smell won’t be as strong as a pure oil. If you were expecting a lovely, strong aroma to fill your nostrils, and you’re left disappointed, this may be an indicator that the oil isn’t as pure as you’d hoped. You only need a few drops to get a strong smell in your diffuser and you shouldn’t need any more than that.
How an essential oil is stored is important to preserving its quality, as an essential oil’s complex organic compounds degrade over time. However, it’s hard to know how a company stores their essential oils unless they state it. On the essential oil bottle, it should say when the batch was produced, and the more recent, the better and the fresher. Make sure that when you receive your essential oil, it’s not stored in a clear bottle, as they should be stored in a dark bottle with a pour stopper and lid. This is because essential oils degrade from heat, light and oxygen, so buying a bottle like this will help preserve the essential oil for as long as possible. Store in a cool place.
You can test for your essential oil’s purity by doing a paper test. For this you need a piece of paper. Take a cooking oil and the essential oil and place a drop of each on opposite sides of a piece of paper, leaving overnight. Make sure you’ve labelled which oil is which! The cooking oil should leave a greasy ring. But the essential should leave no oily mark or ring if it’s pure. If it has, then it’s probably been diluted with a carrier oil. Remember though that some essential oils are naturally greasier than others, so this should be taken into consideration too.
Looking for glowing reviews and checking out the reputation of a company is a great indicator as to the quality of essential oils. As there is no regulating governing body, reviews are a great way to make your own judgement based on real customer experience before you buy.
Finding the best essential oil brands in the UK involves considering customer service. You want a friendly person on the other end of phone, willing to listen to your concerns and give advice when needed.
We hope you’ve found this helpful, and that you now feel confident in your search for the best essential oils in the UK!
Written by Jess Burman
BA (Honours) Writing