Purchasing an essential oil is an easy task. On the other hand, purchasing a good one can be tricky, even for a trained aromatherapist. Yes, you are going to be happy you have got a bottle of powerful liquid distilled from the rind, flower, leaf, or root of some aromatic plant. However, it is not easy to know whether or not that is really what is in the bottle you purchased.
There are a number of unscrupulous sellers who “extend” essential oils through mixing them with cheaper seed oils and nuts, while others also pass off cheap oil as ones which are more difficult (and more costly) to get. Also, others entirely fake it with synthetics that resemble the scent of the plant.
This makes the buyers be confronted with the dilemma of not knowing if they are buying the right product or not.
How can you identify the correct stuff? What are the red flags? The following telltale signs are going to help you know if your essential oils are fake.
1. How it Pours
When you have your essential oil and unscrew the cap, you should notice the way it is sealed. It ought to be sealed with something known as an “orifice reducer.” This is a plug that controls the amount of drops that comes out at once.
This is significant, not only to make sure you get the correct dose, but also to help prolong the shelf life an essential oil, which is susceptible to oxidation, by reducing its exposure to air. You should try to avoid droppers that are made of rubber and plastics. Both the materials tend to break down and releases synthetic impurities into the oil.
2. How it Looks
Here is an interesting fact: essential oils are not considered true oils at all. Basically, they got stuck with the label since they do not play well with water. As a result, this quirk is very important for discovering any hidden vegetable, seed, and nut oils added secretly to the essential oil.
You can perform this test: place one drop on white paper, letting it dry. When you see an oily ring left behind, you know that this is not a pure essential oil. It is fake.
But, according to Jade Shutes, president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, there are exceptions, such as German Chamomile, vetiver, sandalwood, and patchouli oils that are naturally heavier in consistency and deeper in color.
Also be sure to check for a statement about purity. The label always should indicate if the essential oil is 100 percent pure oil. When it does not, it implies there is a chance it has been altered, or even mixed with something else. The oil needs to be pure so as to be effective.
When the word “essential” is not listed (for instance, a bottle of lavender essential oil should say “lavender essential oil”), you may be buying a lower-price hybrid. When it does not indicate that it is an essential oil, it is not. “Lavender oil” is nothing but a perfumed oil; it may or may not have material from the plant, but it is not going have similar therapeutic properties like the real deal.
3. The Price
While high price does not necessarily translate to high quality, it is important to be careful of an essential oil coming with a super-cheap price tag.
Remember this: essential oils are usually costly. It takes a ton of plant material just to fill a single bottle of essential oil, and when the plant is rare or scarce, it further drives up the price.
A number of essential oils like sweet orange, rosemary, and lavender are so common that they tend to be an ideal price, no matter what. Shute says that oils such as chamomile, helichrysum, jasmine, rose, and lemon balm varieties should be quite expensive. You can research to get an idea for the usual cost of the oil you need.
4. Its Container
Essential oils should be stored in glassware containers because their strong chemical compounds break down and react with plastic. Furthermore, glass must be amber or dark blue to protect the oil from ultraviolet heat.
Also take note of the temperature. Bottles ought to be kept in a cool place, because heat interferes with the chemical composition of the oil.
5. The Feel
Place a drop of a seed, vegetable, or nut oil on the pad of one index finger, and place a drop of essential oil on the other. Then rub the oils using your thumbs. Note the differences – or similarities – between the feel of each.
Good or true essential oils have some slip. However, for the most part, they should not feel greasy or thick. Remember that richly colored, heavy essential oils such as patchouli, German chamomile, vetiver, and sandalwood are exceptions.
The above are some telltale signs that your essential oils are fake. Therefore, you should remember them when you want to buy any essential oil, so as not to be disappointed by a fake product.