You want the best, right? Who doesn’t? While it’s easy to see that a new Mercedes Benz has many luxuries that you won’t find in a 1990 Oldsmobile, it’s not so cut and dry in the essential oil world. The question, “What are the best essential oil brands?” has been asked over and over again.
But for so many, the answer is still really vague. In this article I’m going to clear this question up, providing concrete details on what you should look for if you want to make sure you’re getting your oils from one of the best essential oil brands.
Why Brand Matters
The brand of essential oils you buy from has a direct correlation to the quality of the oils you’re using and it can also greatly affect your experience of essential oils. Buy from one of the best essential oil brands and you’ll set yourself up for smooth sailing on your essential oil journey. Buy from one of the essential oil companies to avoid and it may be a bumpy ride for you. The brand you choose is the foundational piece that frames up your entire experience of using essential oils. So choose wisely!
One Other Thing…
One other thing to know (and this is a big reason why you want to choose one of the best essential oils brands) is that the essential oils market is completely unregulated. There is no essential oil agency to enforce quality standards for essential oils. What this means is that it’s left up to the companies that make the oils to regulate themselves. They have to hold themselves accountable to sourcing their oils properly, doing the quality testing and making sure that pure products are on their shelves. This is not an easy job. It requires a lot of resources (time and money) for companies to really do this right…which is why most of them don’t. Or they don’t know how.
The truth is that most essential oils on the market today are adulterated in some way. An essential oil is adulterated when it’s not 100% wholly derived from the botanical (plant) source. There’s several ways that companies can adulterate oils, but one common example is to use a cheap “nature identical” synthetic. This is a common practice. But it’s what consumers want. Before you challenge that idea, consider this excerpt from Tony Burfield in Aromatherapy Times:
“…essential oil customers who frequently demand oils below the market price are still wanting to be told they are AUTHENTIC (emphasis added) (1).”
So, the companies are not entirely to blame. This is also why it’s so important for you to know the company that you’re buying from. The research on the front end is so important. One of the things that can really kill your confidence in using essential oils later on is having doubts about the quality of the oils that you’ve chosen. If you want confidence beyond a shadow of a doubt (especially if you’re using them for kids and babies), you want to make sure that you’re sourcing your oils from one of the best essential oil brands.
What the Best Essential Oils Brands Have in Common
I’ve heard it said that it doesn’t matter where you get your essential oils from. They are really all the same. This could not be further from the truth! Anyone that says this clearly doesn’t know very much about the essential oils industry. Essential oils are not all created equal. There are specific characteristics that the best essential oil brands have in common. Let’s review them now:
1- They are transparent about their process
“We ensure quality.” “We have advanced testing.” “Our oils are pure.” Do any of these buzz phrases ring a bell? You will not find any shortage of this kind of lingo in the essential oil industry. But one thing that differentiates the average from the best essential oil brands is that the latter actually show you how they do this. They have specific information on their website about their process, what it entails and the steps they go through to make sure that you have a high quality product. Basically, they have the proof to back up their claims.
With so much muddy information in the industry you definitely want an essential oil brand that shows you HOW they ensure high quality. And don’t settle for companies that ask you to email them for more information about their process. This should be front and center stage, readily available and easily accessible to anyone browsing their website.
2- They share their reports
Every reputable essential oil company is going to have some testing in place to make sure that each batch of essential oil is 100% pure and free of contaminants. But the best essential oil brands will go above and beyond just saying that they do the tests- they will actually show you the results. And I love this! This is transparency at another level and it really shows that the company is willing to prove their commitment to purity.
3- They source indigenously when they can
Most essential oil companies claim that their oils come from pure sources. But the best essential oil brands will take this a step further and source their oils from the native region whenever possible. The native region is just where the plant naturally grows and thrives. Geography, weather conditions, soil type and fertilizer used can all affect the composition of essential oils (1). And since certain plants grow naturally in specific environments it makes sense that the environment would impact the composition and even the quality of the essential oil. Most companies get their oils from one or two regions. But the best essential oil brands will source their oils natively whenever they can.
Think of it this way: Would you rather have a pizza from Pizza Hut or Italy? How about a pineapple – would you want one that was grown in Hawaii or Detroit? The answer is obvious. This is why I prefer essential oils that are sourced from where they naturally grow. There’s just something to be said for the authenticity of the product when it comes from the native region.
How to Find the Best Essential Oil Brand for You
There’s lots of things to consider when you’re shopping for essential oils. Most of it will depend on what you’re looking for, your budget and how you want to use the oils. Before you get started with looking for your perfect essential oil brand, consider these 5 questions first.
#1 How are you going to use your oils?
This largely depends on whether you want to use the oils therapeutically – to get a specific physiological or emotional result – or whether you just want to use them aromatically – to create an environment that has a great aroma but not really to get any therapeutic benefit. Similarly, if you just want to use oils to whip up DIY cleaning recipes or make candles then it may not make sense to make the investment in oils designed for therapeutic use.
#2 Is Organic Certification important to you?
Is it important that your oils are USDA certified organic? Organic certification does have value in the world of essential oils, but not in the absence of quality testing. Also keep in mind that some oils are dang near impossible to find organic so this could limit your selection.
#3 What’s your budget?
When it comes to price, are you mainly interested in oils that are the lowest price? This is fine if you’re focusing on using oils for smell good reasons or cleaning only, but not so much if you’re looking for therapeutic use. With oils that are priced “average” you’ll usually have a good mix of good quality oils and average quality oils. With premium pricing sometimes it means that the oils are higher quality but that’s definitely not always the case. Just be careful if you find pricing that seems too good to be true. Because $15 Frankincense usually is.
#4 What kind of selection are you looking for?
Companies with a small selection can be great for getting started, but you may need to make a switch when you’re ready to experience more essential oils. Brands with a small selection usually have many of the most popular essential oils but not much outside of that. The best essential oil brands will have a pretty robust selection.
#5 What kind of results do you want to get?
If you’re using essential oils as a natural remedy for a chronic condition, quality may be a lot more important to you than someone that just wants to clean their home with oils. Be honest with yourself and the results that you want to see.
The Best Essential Oil Brands
The brands below are the most sought after essential oil companies. Some of them are great and some of them I would hesitate to use. I provide a synopsis of each company below along with a link to the full length review. These are in alphabetical order and not ranked:
There’s not anything to complain about with Ananda Apothecary. The price, quality and selection of essential oils is good. And online reviews are extremely positive which is always very encouraging. This seems like a great brand for quality and value. If you’re looking to use essential oils as a lifestyle this could be the right brand for you.
Aura Cacia Essential Oils
This brand has been a staple in Whole Foods and natural health stores for as long as I can remember. They pride themselves on ethical and sustainable practices when sourcing their essential oils. I love that they have been around for a long time (way before essential oils became so popular). But they need to do a better job of sharing their quality process. They were also one of the companies that tested positive for adulteration in the Consumers Advocate report.
doTERRA Essential Oils
Easily one of the most discussed essential oil brands online, you may be wondering what all of the hype is about. This company prides themselves on their rigorous testing process, commitment to purity and transparency. They are the most researched essential oil company in the world. For people that want very high quality and to make essential oils use a lifestyle, this could be the right company for you.
Eden’s Garden Essential Oils
Easily one of the most popular essential oil brands online, I was excited to review Eden’s Garden. They fall in the middle of the road with average pricing and a good selection of essential oils. Where they leave me wanting more is with sourcing and testing information. There just isn’t much there on their site aside from the token buzzwords about “pure oils.”
Miracle Essential Oils
My experience with Miracle Essential Oils was memorable for all the wrong reasons. I don’t like what I saw in one of their essential oil blends. That aside, the selection is not great. The info on quality is also not great and the price is not great for the quality that you’re getting. Miracle is not a brand I would recommend or personally purchase from. While their site is user friendly, the other issue is that they also tested positive for adulteration in the recent Consumer Advocate report on essential oils.
Mountain Rose Essential Oils
A good, middle of the road company offering a wide selection of single oils at moderate prices. Leaves much to be desired if you’re looking for blends or want more transparency with testing results. The recent report from Consumers Advocate is a little concerning for me. This company is pretty average.
NOW Essential Oils
One of the cheapest essential oil brands on the market, NOW essential oils are a big draw for people on a budget. But the prices are too good to be true. There’s really no explanation for $12 Frankincense (a premium essential oil). Recent reports from Consumers Advocate also show that NOW essential oils tested positive for adulteration (no real surprise there). There’s better companies to invest in for essential oils.
Plant Therapy Essential Oils
Stellar selection of essential oils and average pricing make this brand a good option for most people. They also offer essential oil lines for kids and pets which I love. Their website is user friendly and they offer a generous return policy. My biggest hesitation is the recent report from Consumers Advocate that shows their oils tested positive for adulteration. That’s my biggest concern.
Revive Essential Oils
REVIVE offers 100% guaranteed returns if you don’t like what you ordered, and that means that they really believe in their product. They have a good selection at affordable prices. While their mission sounds promising I just don’t see enough information on their site to support their commitment to producing high quality oils.
Rocky Mountain Essential Oils
This is an affordable, educational company with a great selection of oils. They pride themselves on great customer service (always a plus). They offer detailed information about their quality process, sell at mid-range pricing and offer a nice selection. The only black mark for Rocky Mountain is that they tested positive for adulteration in the recent Consumers Advocate Report on essential oils. Other than that, they seem to be a decent essential oil company.
- Burfield, T. (2008). The Adulteration of Essential Oils and the Consequences to Aromatherapy and Natural Perfumery. Aromatherapy Times, 2003 – 2004 originally published.
- Tisserand, R. & Young, R. (2014). Essential Oil Safety.