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The essential oil world is massive, with hundreds of different brands available, tons of hype, and a handful of marketing tricks.
You want to support an essential oil brand you can trust, one that takes pride in quality, transparency, and authenticity.
There is much to consider and learn when it comes to choosing the best essential oil brand, and it can take much trial and error to find one you love.
Let me take the work out of it for you
Over the years, I have spent countless hours researching production methods, quality-control methods, and harvesting practices of various essential oil companies. I have scoured brand websites, read customer reviews, and personally emailed companies.
I have also bought and used essential oils for many, many years.
In this article, you will learn a few critical points to choosing an essential oil brand, as well as what brand I love and recommend.
What You Need to Know About Essential Oil Companies
Common Marketing Terms Used to Sell Essential Oils
There are many marketing terms used to sell essential oils, it seems everyone is trying to define their oils as superior to others because they have this or that certification.
Let's break down these terms so that you can be better informed as to what they mean.
The terms "therapeutic grade" or "certified pure therapeutic grade" are marketing words that were created by essential oil companies as a way to market their oils as better than others.
"Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade" is a trademark seal created by the company DoTerra. It gives the illusion that DoTerra is certified by some outside authority, when in fact, they are not. DoTerra owns the right to the exclusive use of this mark. This does not mean that these oils are any better than other essential oils.
Nowadays you find that most essential oil companies use the term "therapeutic grade," however, no governing body regulates the use of the term therapeutic grade, so it really has no meaning.
ISO stands for The International Organization for Standardization. ISO is a non- governmental organization established in 1947. Their mission is to provide world-class standards and specifications for products, services, and systems.
The ISO defines an essential oil as, "a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase.”
However, the ISO does not set standards for differentiating the quality of essential oils. An essential oil can be very therapeutic and high quality but not fall within the criteria that the ISO has set. Being ISO certified does not prove quality.
Association française de Normalisation (AFNOR) is the French national organization for standardization and is that country’s ISO member body.
Some essential oil companies claim that their oils are AFNOR approved as therapeutic grade, or that they meet or exceed AFNOR standards. However, AFNOR does not set criteria for differentiating the quality of essential oils rather they provide specifications for "industries to use as a guide to essential oil compositions so that new batches could be utilized with minimum alteration in flavor or fragrance to the finished products."
AFNOR certification pertains to perfume and fragrance oils only. They do not apply to high-quality, therapeutic essential oils.
Stands for "Generally Recognized as Safe." Some essential oil companies are using this as proof that their oils are of therapeutic quality and safe to take internally.
When a substance is classified as GRAS, it does not need to pass approval by the FDA before being used as a food additive. Many essential oils such as mint and neroli possess GRAS status, but this does not indicate their therapeutic value or their safety for internal ingestion.
Essential oils are used as flavor ingredients in a wide range of products, and their inclusion in the GRAS category is dependent on their defined safe maximum concentration limits in edible goods. Generally, these concentrations are low and allow for repeated ingestion without cumulative dosing and potential toxicity.
Individual chemicals, as well as adulterated and synthetic essential oils, can be recognized as GRAS. This means that having GRAS status does not prove purity, nor does it prove that it was organically grown, or even that it came from a plant.
A gas chromatograph (GC) is a chemical analysis instrument used to separate and identify individual constituents found within a given essential oil.
Mass spectrometry (MS) is a technique which allows for the detection of compounds (chemical constituents) by separating ions by their unique mass. Mass spectrometry is utilized to identify specific compounds registered on the gas chromatography report.
Someone trained to read the data from these data reports can identify the exact constituents and their quantity contained within a given essential oil sample.
Just because a company has a GC/MS Spec report does not guarantee that it has been analyzed by a trained professional. This type of data collection can be beneficial in analyzing the quality of an essential oil, but a company having a GC/MS Spec report should not be taken as the only factor in making a purchasing choice.
Other testing methods that ensure high-quality, unadulterated oils are Thin Layer Chromatography, Infra-Red analysis, Specific gravity, Refractive index, and Optical rotation.
First Level Distillation
There is inaccurate information out there about the levels of distillation, and many companies use it as a marketing tool.
This leads to confusing and erroneous information. The truth is that the majority of plants are distilled just once because they don’t produce enough oil for multiple distillations.
So basically, every reputable company offering therapeutic grade essential oils will have first level distillation oils.
Multi-Level Marketing of Essential Oils
There are a few big essential oil companies that operate as multi-level marketing (MLM) companies. An MLM uses a sales force that not only sells their products but also recruits others to sell products. You get paid higher the more people you have under you.
The Three Largest Essential Oil MLM Companies:
- Young Living
- Be Young
The Negatives of Multi-Level Marketing
- They use deceptive marketing terms and techniques such as creating their own certifications, like "certified pure therapeutic grade," or "GRAS certified."
- Their product prices are high because they have to pay multiple levels of people.
- They charge their reps hidden fees. It seems like you are saving money by being a rep for these oil companies, but charges for, "figuring out your commissions" and annual fees are not readily disclosed.
- They heavily promote the use of taking essential oils internally, which can be problematic, considering the people using them are not trained professionals, and essential oils are extremely concentrated and can be easily overused.
- There is pressure for reps to buy more than they need to get their free product or monthly discount.
Note, that I am not necessarily opposed to MLM's or the above three companies, but I do know that you can get a better price and a more positive customer experience with essential oil companies that do not operate under an MLM model.
What to Consider When Choosing an Essential Oil Brand
The following are questions you need to ask when considering what company to buy from.
- How is their customer service? You want a company that responds quickly to questions and concerns, in a calm and friendly manner.
- Do they take pride in the quality of their products? You want to support a brand that stands behind their quality.
- Is the company transparent about their harvesting and extraction practices? They have nothing to hide and work to disclose all information.
- Is the company always working to improve? Do they listen to their customers?
- Are they a multi-level marketing company with high prices or do they sell directly to consumers, giving consumers a better price?
- How much do they educate their customers on how to use their products? Do they provide dilution rates and recipes?
- Is their website easy to navigate and shop from?
These questions were at the forefront of my mind as I researched various brands. The essential oil brand I ended up choosing as the best meets all of these criteria.
What Makes an Excellent Essential Oil Company?
- Years of experience sourcing, distilling, creating, using, and selling essential oils is a must. A company must be fully immersed in their niche.
- The essential oils are pure, meaning they are not mixed with other oils or extracted with solvents.
- Plant components are preserved with the use of low temperature and low-pressure extraction.
- Oils are distilled with quality in mind. Distillation methods are chosen based on the plant and what will result in the best outcome.
- Oils are not adulterated by heating, blending, adding, or further distillation.
- Tests are routinely performed to make sure the oils are high quality and not adulterated. Test results are available to the public.
- Plants are sourced from small farms or remote locations where no pesticides, herbicides or harmful chemicals are used.
- Natural fertilizers and growing practices are used.
- Plants are grown in their indigenous locations.
- Plants are sourced directly from farmers.
- By direct sourcing, a company avoids a middleman who may hide synthetic or adulteration of oils.
- Not overly expensive, but not cheap either. You pay more for quality, but it shouldn't break the bank.
- Free shipping is a significant plus.
- Be wary of companies that recommend using oils internally for every ailment, or suggest using up large amounts of oils.
Packaging Include Latin Names
- Oils should have the botanical/latin name of the plant on the bottle so that consumers know precisely the variety of plant they are getting.
- The company must have many satisfied customers and offer excellent customer support.
So What is my Favorite Essential Oil Brand?
I have loved and used my favorite essential oil brand for the last couple of years.
I love their attention to quality, their easy to read packaging, and their fun blends. They are always doing something new and exciting! Do you want to know what it is?
My Favorite Essential Oil Brand is Rocky Mountain Oils.
Rocky Mountain Oils does it all! They offer fantastic customer service, consider quality a top priority, offer transparency on all of their production methods, and meet every single criterion I have for an excellent essential oil brand.
If you feel so inclined, here is a video of me unboxing RMO's Kids Line:
Why Rocky Mountain Oils?
- 90-day money back guarantee! You can try the product, and if you are unsatisfied for any reason, you can return it. No questions asked. It doesn't matter if you used 2 drops or 3/4 of the bottle, the full price of the product will be refunded.
- Free Return shipping.
- FREE SHIPPING within the USA.
- Free international shipping over $199 (under $199 is calculated by weight).
- Excellent customer service - fast email response, phone number on the website.
- Direct buying relationship with trusted suppliers.
- Independent, third-party GC/MS testing results available free of charge.
- Organoleptic and Refractive Index Testing.
- No Adulterants.
- Tests hundreds of samples to find the best essential oils before placing an order for processing.
- Employs an in-house chemist for analyzing essential oil purity.
- Each batch is carefully bottled by trained professionals using state-of-the-art equipment.
- Steam distilled, cold-pressed and CO2 extracted oils.
- Large selection of essential oil blends, single plant oils, and rare oils.
- Live Chat Support on their website.
- Recipes on every sales page.
- Easy to navigate website.
An Email Chat with RMO
I emailed Rocky Mountain Oils to ask them a bit more about their company and it's practices. I wanted to see how they fit my criteria for a top essential oil company.
Here are their responses:
RMO has been around since 2004. The company worked closely with Native American Nutritionals, which has a long history of working directly with small farms and quality oils. We recently acquired Native American Nutritionals and improved the quality procedures even further throughout that process.
This is when our S.A.A.F.E Guarantee was created. The company has always worked to have professionals that ensure that the quality of our products are pure and effective. We have a full quality team led by a Chemist as well as employees training to become Aromatherapists.
All of our oils are 100% pure, which means they do not contain any pesticides, fungicides or adulterants.
The distillation process is a major factor in yielding a quality product. Several methods can be used to extract essential oil from organic plant matter. These methods include steam, hydro, cold-pressed, CO2, and even extracting an absolute through chemical extraction.
Rocky Mountain Oils sources essential oils that are extracted through the method that yields the purest and potent product.
We test each batch to make sure that they do not have trace amounts of these chemicals present in the oils. If we find they contain anything unnatural, we immediately reject the batch.
You can read about our S.A.A.F.E Guarantee here, which outlines the steps our company takes to ensure our product line continues to meet the high standards that our customers, as well as our company, have set for Essential Oils.
Lastly, all of our products are batched with a batch number, which allows every customer to purchase in confidence. This batch number can be used to pull up the GC/MS testing that was conducted on that specific batch of oil, verifying the authenticity of the oil.
It is important for any EO consumer to note that just because a product is sold as “organic,” it does not mean the oil is pure. This is why we have strict testing and high standards for each and every batch of oil that we receive from our sources.
Although many of our products are organically grown, we are always looking for sources that yield the highest quality of oil, and that doesn't always mean that it is an organic source.
As I mentioned above, even though some of our oils may not be certified organic, they are ALL pesticide free.
Although the quality of our products is of such that allows for them to be ingested safely. Our company recommends that our customers consult with a trusted professional prior to ingesting the products, we do not provide this information for our customers.
You can view the extraction method as well as botanical name/Country of Origin for each product on each product page.
Rocky Mountain Oils is well known for several criteria. If a customer spent some time reading about us on the internet, they likely see the following points repeated over and over:
- High Quality.
- Affordable - We run promotions monthly so our customers have opportunities to save money on an already cost effective product
- Excellent Customer Service Team - I recommend reading over some the reviews on our Facebook page, you'll even see that we have a very responsive badge for our Facebook messages.
Try Rocky Mountain Oils Today!
There you have it, my favorite essential oil brand! I hope you will give Rocky Mountain Oils a try, and let me know how you like them 🙂 Head over to their online store and tell me in the comments what blend you would love to try.
And, what do you think of MLM's like DoTerra?
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments because we love to help! And remember to SHARE this article with your essential-oil-loving-friends 🙂 We so appreciate it.