How to Choose Affordable, High Quality Essential Oils (No, You Don't Need to Break the Bank to Get Good Quality Essential Oils)
**NOTE: This article is written with unbiased criteria I chose for myself. You can apply these criteria to make your own buying decisions about the essential oil brand you personally want to purchase from. There are several brands discussed here, but they are not the only good essential oil companies out there---These are simply my own preferences.
Man! Oh, man! Essential oils are expensive! If you want to make essential oils part of your natural health program for yourself and family, doesn't the utter expense of purchasing "quality" essential oils just make you feel kind of, well, taken advantage of? Saddened, even? Not sure where to even begin?
Because don't we all deserve to use essential oils? Are they only for the elite and wealthy? Are you tempted to just go to the danged grocery store already and buy those essential oils there? (PLEASE don't do this!)
I may just have a solution for you!
I love getting feedback from friends, readers and followers of the blog and Healing Harvest social media groups. I LOVE it! And I THANK you! Because this helps me know what you are wanting to know, what things you need to hear about, and ways I can help you through my own experiments and research.
One of the things I have heard several times is that my previous recommendation for therapeutic essential oils costs too much. My best friend in the whole world even said, "There is NO way I'm paying that much for essential oils every month." OUCH.
Well. Secretly I felt the same way, and up to this point, I have been making excuses to keep paying high dollars for those essential oils--because how can I recommend something I don't use myself? And...I DO love them.
But criminy, already---it's killing my fixed income pocket book over here! Like many of you, I just can't spend loads of money on essential oils, and the monthly essential oil purchases have got to stop (or at least slow down).
Do you feel like this too?
Let me just say this: I have finally discovered, after all these years, that there are more than two great essential oil companies out there. I'll be candid.
There are two very large MLM (Multi-level marketing or Network marketing) companies boldly stating that ONLY their essential oils are therapeutic grade and are the ONLY BEST essential oils. Besides this, they kind of make you feel foolish if you don't believe all the hype. And they are pricey, albeit of excellent quality.
Full disclosure: I am actually a distributor for one of these companies, and I do admit to absolutely LOVING their essential oils. However, there is an expectation that you are supposed to work the business side of it in order to earn money and get the best prices on your personal essential oils.
"I don't want to have an essential oil business---"
I am a distributor so I can purchase doTerra essential oils at a wholesale discount. But they are STILL expensive, and I still have to purchase a minimum amount every. Single. Month. I just can't do it on my fixed income any more.
Also, I have to admit: It really bugs me that MLM companies have trademarked certain verbiage (such as "certified therapeutic grade") to use when they mention that "no other company can say this."
I just think it's wrong to hoodwink folks. There is actually no certification for therapeutic grade oils that I’m aware of.
Essential oils are unregulated as well. They are in the same category as herbs and are viewed by the FDA as a supplement.
Are you in this situation?
You really want to use essential oils, you know they are great for you, but you feel like you can't afford the high-priced ones? And maybe you are afraid to buy essential oils in the stores (you should be), so you end up not buying them at all?
After listening to you, my readers and friends, and also listening to my heart as well as the grumblings from my own pocket book, I FINALLY bit the bullet and decided to start researching essential oil companies these past couple of months.
Because I just KNEW there had to be other quality options out there that everyone could have access to financially and still feel good about using.
I have been purchasing and using the essential oils these various companies offer, digging into their quality standards, and actually conducting comparison blind fold tests with everyone I can find to participate (and the nose KNOWS, my friends).
I'll bet you'd love to know what I found out—-
After all is said and done: I have found other essential oil companies you can trust for quality and value.
Yay! Right? Now you have choices! And so do I.
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
How to Choose Affordable, High Quality Essential Oils Without Killing Your Pocket Book
When I started this little experiment, I began with those criteria that were important for me, the consumer. These help lay a baseline for what I look for in quality essential oils.
Here are the five main criteria I looked at for choosing a good essential oil brand for my own family:
Third Party Testing for Purity and Manufacturing Standards
Education for Consumers
Kid-Safe Lines or Essential Oils Designated Safe for Children
Reasonably Priced for the High Quality You Get
Now let's delve into each of these criteria more deeply so you understand what I was looking for more specifically in choosing a quality essential oil company that would be best for us.
1) Third Party Testing:
Here is a definition of third party testing:
"Third-party certification means that an independent organization has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product and has independently determined that the final product complies with specific standards for safety, quality or performance. This review typically includes comprehensive formulation/material reviews, testing and facility inspections. Most certified products bear the certifier’s mark on their packaging to help consumers and other buyers make educated purchasing decisions." Source
Essential oil companies who voluntarily have their products tested for quality and manufacturing standards feel confident about the quality of their products. It's unlikely you will find adulterated essential oils or poor quality essential oils from companies who voluntarily undergo third party testing for their products.
This is one way the public can be certain the essential oils they purchase meet quality standards.
2) Organic Options:
Some people feel very strongly about buying only organic products. These are essential oils made from plants that have not had pesticides or chemical fertilizers used in their growth and production. There is a certification process that a product must undergo to be qualified as organic.
Now, this is not to say that essential oils NOT certified as organic are of poorer quality. Perhaps they have even been grown organically but not certified for some reason (like perhaps the farm is too small to afford the expensive certification process).
Perhaps they were wildcrafted in an area---there will be no certification process for those plants. Besides, essential oil manufacture is a global business, and not all countries have organic standards in place, even if the plants are grown without chemicals.
However, having this option is great for those folks who need to see "organic" on their bottles. I'm not really one of these, I'll admit. Some plants can't truly be grown organically, especially those from their natural environments, even though it's likely they are completely safe. There are some things I'll ONLY buy organic, but essential oils is not one of these.
You'll have to use your own discernment for this one. Frankly, finding a company with ALL organic essential oils is difficult, and I have not been able to find one in my searches.
A good business, especially for essential oils, will have an educational proponent to their website. Most people, especially those who are new to using essential oils, need to read and do some research on their own. I've found that websites that share information that can be corroborated by other sources, are more trustworthy.
One of the things I searched for is a "blog" or articles on usage, benefits, chemical compositions, etc. on the website. All the companies I'll be recommending have this educational component.
Also, when educating yourself about an essential oil, I say it’s a good idea to find three reputable sources that make the same statements. This way, you are making sure the knowledge you have is more likely to be accurate.
4) Essential Oils Designated as Safe for Children
This was a hard one. Even the large MLM's didn't have this component in place.
I added this criteria anyway because I have gotten quite a few questions about which essential oils are safe for kids and comments about how using essential oils on children is something folks don't want to do because there is SO much conflicting information out there!
Eucalyptus, for example. Although eucalyptus has been used for centuries on young and old alike, and is an ingredient in the famous Vick's Vapor Rub formula, there have been recent sources of information (especially coming from some of the Mommy bloggers) stating that it's unsafe to use on children.
This creates a HUGE amount of confusion and distrust in essential oils. I've even had moms tell me they won't use them at all for their kids because they don't know what's true and what is not. This is SO sad to me because they are losing out on many health benefits of essential oils.
This is a real pain point. Nobody wants to accidentally hurt their child because of misinformation.
So, I looked for companies with Kid-Safe Essential Oil lines or designations. I was able to find TWO. One was Plant Therapy, with a dedicated line of Kid-Safe Products. Rocky Mountain Oils has a section dedicated to Moms & Kids.
5) Reasonably Priced for the Quality You Get as a Consumer:
Here's where things get tricky.
Essential oils have a hugely wide price range, from super cheap (don't buy these) to super expensive (you can buy these if you want, but you sure don't need to).
The trick is to find QUALITY essential oils at a price you are comfortable paying. Right?
Essential oils are pricey, and there is no way around that. But you can find quality essential oils that are far less expensive than the big MLM companies.
Let's look at Frankincense Essential Oil brands as far as prices go for an example:
Cheap brand on Amazon:
I found a brand that sells 4 ounces (that's a LOT of essential oil, my friends) for $10. That equates to around $0.08 cents per mL! That's ridiculously cheap. It's unheard of. It's too good to be true. There is NO way that essential oil is pure and unadulterated.
A 10 mL (standard size) bottle of essential oil at that price would only cost around 80 cents! Wow, is all I have to say, and I feel bad for people who don't believe in price being at least somewhat correlated with quality and may possibly buy this stuff.
Low- to Mid-Price Brand:
I found a 15 mL (about 1/2 ounce) bottle of Frankincense essential oil on Amazon from Aura Cacia (many folks like this company, and yes, you can find them in most good health food stores). The cost of that bottle was around $20. This makes that brand of Frankincense essential oil cost $1.33 per mL.
Brands I'm Recommending Because They Meet (Most) Criteria (See more choices in the Final Thoughts Section Below):
Rocky Mountain Oils: $60 for 15 mL. This cost is about $4.00 per mL.
Plant Therapy: $16 for 10 mL. This is about $1.60 per mL. This cost was similar for both the organic and non-organic options.
Super Expensive Brands:
doTerra: $93 for 15 mL. That's the retail price. That's $6.20 per mL.
Young Living: $97 for 15 mL. This is around $6.50 per mL.
How Much is a Milliliter? (mL)
One milliliter (mL) is about 20 metric drops. That's it. You can do the math if you want to further break down the cost per drop of essential oil on the above brands. Basically, there should be about 200 drops in a 10 mL bottle and 300 drops in a 15 mL bottle.
Well, what the heck---let's just do it for a couple of the brands. I'll do doTerra and Plant Therapy. One drop of doTerra Frankincense essential oils costs 31 cents. One drop of Plant Therapy essential oils costs about .02 cents.
I use Frankincense ALL the time, and just one of the ways I use it daily is on my face. I put two drops of essential oil into my moisturizer twice a day, so that's four drops a day. That doesn't sound like much, but let's take a look.
Using doTerra costs $1.20 a day, for four drops of Frankincense. Using Plant Therapy costs about .32 cents a day for the same amount.
(If you want to learn why you totally should have Frankincense in your home, it's benefits & uses, click through to find out more about it.)
But What About Sustainability?
I know. I know. I believe in helping the planet too. Deeply.
I thought about making sustainability one of the criteria in my search. But I'll be honest, here. There is not a lot of information about it for many companies.
With this said, though, “sustainability” practices live in a rather murky world of “what to believe or not.” Are all the feel good activities touted by some of these large companies REALLY ok for the environment and the people?
I’ll be honest. I don’t know.
But I will say that there is one very large, very popular (non-MLM) company out there that supports social practices that I just do not believe in. So caveat emptor, and do your due diligence!
If you are just a person out there who wants or needs to know you are buying a quality essential oil at a reasonable price, then just know there are other options besides the large MLM's and other very large companies.
If sustainability is a strong factor for you in your choice of essential oils, then you owe it to yourself to do some research in this area to find companies that operate in a way that meets your standards.
Final Thoughts About Finding Quality Essential Oil Brands--My Recommendations
This article turned out to be a lot longer than I had expected. I probably ranted a bit here and there, too, and I apologize.
However, we are all not in the same place with our finances. It's just a fact. And even if we are in a great place and can afford very high priced essential oils, many folks just don't want to feed the monster, so to speak.
I believe everyone deserves to be able to use essential oils for their health. As one of the many great choices out there for alternative and natural health, I think using essential oils is one of the best choices you can make.
I hope I've taken away at least some of the confusion and helped you know that you can certainly find affordable options for purchasing quality essential oils that are also reasonably priced. Just beware of very cheap essential oils.
Try to find a company you trust online, too. I know it's tempting to purchase blindly through Amazon, but just be careful. Buyer beware and all that. And---if you happen to come across an essential oil company that meets all the above criteria, and it doesn't happen to be one of my three favorites---that's great! Just because I don't list it here doesn't mean it's not good. Most likely it means either I have not tried the essential oils, or I have tried them and had some type of bad experience.
Which Essential Oil Companies Do I Personally Recommend?
In no particular order:
After purchasing and using the essential oils from ALL these companies with integrity and on a daily basis for some time, making comparisons, having friends take blind fold tests....well, I believe any of these choices are great! And like I mentioned above...they are not the only good companies out there.
Take a look at each of them and choose one that works for you!
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or maybe you found my math to be wrong, which is entirely possible, I'd love it if you would leave a comment in the comments section!
You might also be interested in:
and so many more over on the blog!
Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,
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