It’s no secret that we are BIG fans of essential oils. And we’re not the only ones... These little bottles of aromatic wonders are on-trend and big business.
We were in two minds about writing about this topic - because it’s something some people feel very passionate about (and we were a little worried about upsetting the apple cart!).
But it’s funny how things can fall in place. After ummm-ing and ahhh-ing about this for a couple of days Aaron got a call from his Mum. And yep - she had a few questions about essential oils.
Since essential oils are a big part of what we do we’re pretty familiar with how the old essential-oil-supply-chain works and there are some wild claims out there that we think need questioning.
There are a few brands of essential oils out there who make some pretty amazing claims about their oils - that they’re so much better than the competition. But we’re not convinced. And we think there’s a fair whack of marketing hype behind their messages.
So here’s our insider take on the roaring essential oil biz. We hope you find our insights helpful :)
Gotcha #1 - Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil
Have you heard the claims about essential oils being so good that they’re “therapeutic grade”? This is totally confusing because there’s no independent standard to classify an essential oil as therapeutic.
Instead, these companies are creating their own standards to differentiate their own product from the competition. These tests may be very good but that doesn’t mean others are *not* just as good. Especially when you take into consideration that these companies don’t actually manufacture their own essential oils - they get them from the same suppliers as everyone else (including us).
Gotcha #2 - The 1st press (or distill) produces the best quality
You’ve probably seen essential oil companies boasting that their oils are superior because they’re from the 1st press. That’s all well and good, but in reality all essential oils are from the 1st press.
You only get one shot at distilling an essential oil. After the 1st distill there is no oil left in the plant otherwise they would keep distilling it. Doing a 2nd, 3rd or 4th distill is not possible. And it’s because you only get one shot that makes distilling a science and an artform
Gotcha #3 - Edible Essential Oils
This one is a tricky dicky one. Some essential oil sales reps are making claims that their essential oils are food grade. Yes - there are some essential oils that can used as flavouring agents. BUT in Australia it’s illegal to sell an essential oil as a food flavouring. The ones that are approved are sold and labelled as flavours and have to go through food standards and protocols.
Not all peppermint oils or eucalyptus oils are ok to be eaten, so be wary of promise of food grade oils.
Gotcha #4 - Pure Essential Oils
This might be one of the hottest topics going around. There seems to be a contest of “my essential oil is more pure than yours”. In some cases it can be true and in others it isn’t. There are many great suppliers and no one brand has the purest oil of all. So if you find an essential oil company making bold claims like that, just remember to take everything with a grain of salt.
Gotcha #5 - Essential oils are living substances
Unfortunately this is not true. Despite what the marketing hype says, essential oils are NOT living substances. During the distillation process temps reach 100C for a few hours to create steam. Sorry, but there is nothing living at the end of that process. What is left are some very aromatic and potent compounds.
You can also make citrus essential oils using the cold-pressing method (so no high temps) but even then you wouldn’t be able to consider the end result to be a living substance.
Gotcha #6 - Essential oils can be used directly on your skin
Essential oils are amazing and VERY potent. Ever had a headache after smelling too many essential oils? We can definitely vouch for that in the Happy Shed!
Undiluted essential oils should never be used directly onto your skin as they can burn and irritate. And favourites lavender and cinnamon are 2 that are known to be especially irritating.
Even in low concentrations any essential has the potential to trigger a reaction if you have sensitive skin. We love using them in our products (always at less than 1% concentration) and that is why we always recommend patch testing any new product before you use it.
It’s this chance of irritation that has been our thinking behind creating essential oil free products as well, like the:
- Over The Moon Rich Repair Cream,
- Laugh Out Loud Active Jojoba Oil,
- TLC Intensive Repair Oil,
- Woohoo All Natural Deodorant Paste - Mellow (coming soon!) and last but not least
- Chirpy Charcoal Cleansing Gel (coming soon!).
As always we love a good chat, so we’ll look forward to your comments xx