Where to Buy Essential and Base Oils
Buying essential oils
There is currently considerable confusion when it comes to buying good-quality essential oils. How do we ascertain the standards of purity and quality? These are some basic rules to remember:
1. If they are labelled “aromatherapy oils” or any description other than “pure essential oil” it is unlikely that they are pure essences. They will probably contain a high percentage of vegetable or mineral oil to “stretch” the pure essential oil. The therapeutic properties will therefore be greatly reduced.
2. True essential oils are often expensive. Some of the basic (and versatile) essences such as lavender, tea-tree and the citrus oils can be produced reasonably inexpensively, and their cost should therefore reflect this. Some essential oils such as rose, jasmine and neroli come from delicate flowers. The extraction process is an expensive one, and the price will be concomitantly high. If it is not, they will be not pure essences.
3. Some therapists may charge excessively high prices for essential oils, as they may order in small amounts. This must also be taken into consideration.
4. Essential oils should be sold in dark glass bottles. This again may be an indication of purity and quality, for if the oils have been kept in clear glass or plastic the light may have detrimentally affected them. A reputable dealer will be aware of this.
Buying base oils
The best quality, vegetable (or carrier) oils are obtained by “cold-pressing”. This means that the almonds, for instance, have been crushed to express the oil, which has then been drained of and filtered. The “virgin” oil is the highest quality and comes from the first pressing. It contains the highest vitamin and mineral content, and has been produced by natural means.
After the first pressing, the process then involves other lesser quality production. This uses heat, and the oil may be treated synthetically to deodorize, remove colour, or obtain other such results. The vitamin and mineral content will be drastically reduced during these processes.
The best oils will therefore be labelled “cold-pressed”, and often “virgin” too. Most will have a rich colour and a characteristic aroma.