Let me just start by saying I love Whole Foods. I do most of my shopping there because it’s close to home and because I believe in the products they stock their shelves with. Yes, shopping at Whole Foods is expensive, but I would rather spend the money now then on medical bills down the road.
In this article, I am going to review the essential oil brands that Whole Foods carries and rate their overall selection on an A+-F scale based on price, quality, and selection. For more information on our rating scale, go here. But before we get started you need to have a goal in mind. What are you using your essential oils for? Are you interested in the powerful therapeutic benefits and making a lifestyle out of them? If that’s the case, then you need a high-quality brand you can trust. If you are just looking to make your house and laundry smell lovely, than a cheaper, not-so-pure brand is not the worst idea for your wallet.
Once you have your goal in mind, keep reading and you will figure out if an essential oil brand that Whole Foods carries, is the perfect brand for you.
The Basics: Who is Whole Foods Market?
Does Whole Foods even need this blurb? Whole Foods Market is America’s super health store. A multinational supermarket chain that was recently bought by Amazon in 2017. Known as thee spot to create a healthy lifestyle, Whole Foods has everything from health food snacks, gluten-free bread, organic beauty, and essential oils. And the essential oils department is the part we most care about today. So let’s dive in.
It’s no secret that some people jokingly refer to Whole Foods as “Whole Paycheck” and I’ll be honest, it can be super expensive – especially if you’re buying for a family. But does the same go for their essential oils?
Let me just start by saying it is impossible to find the brands of essential oils Whole Foods carries on their site. Searching “essential oils” leads to avocado oil, olive oil, and other cooking oils. It’s only when you search on amazon for 365 Everyday Value and Whole Foods essential oils that you will find their selection.
I have noticed that most Whole Foods carry Aura Cacia, so I’ll be linking to our brand review of Aura Cacia here as we’ll as diving into their specific pricing a little bit.
The Aura Cacia essential oils have two very different price points depending upon whether you go conventional or organic. The regular Aura Cacia oils are average price – somewhere right in the middle of other brands. Their organic line, however, is definitely more expensive, falling in a more “premium” or “higher price” category.
Lavender $13.15 for 15 mL ($31.36 organic 15 mL)*
Frankincense $29.82 for 15 mL ($59.98 organic 15 mL)
Peppermint $8.99 for 15 mL ($20.90 organic 15mL)
*Aura Cacia sells their organic oils in 7.4 mL bottles, so I doubled those prices to give you the 15 mL price for comparison. Just keep in mind you will actually be paying half the price and receive half the size.
Whole Foods Market Essential Oils
Lavender $6.49 for 15 mL (WFM sells lavender in 30 mL bottle for $12.99 – for the sake of comparison I divided by 2 to get the 15 mL price)
Frankincense $24.99 for 15 mL
Peppermint $3.99 for 15 mL (WFM sells peppermint in 30 mL bottle for $12.99 – for the sake of comparison I divided by 2 to get the 15 mL price)
365 Everyday Value Essential Oils
If you don’t know what 365 Everyday Value is, it’s basically Whole Foods private label that offers healthy products that “can fill your pantry without emptying your pocketbook” – value prices everyday of the year.
Lavender $5.50 for 15 mL (365 offers lavender in 59 mL bottle for $21.99 – for the sake of comparison I divided by 4 to get the 15 mL price)
Frankincense $3.75 for 15 mL (365 offers frankincense IN Jojoba Oil in 59 mL bottle for $14.99- for the sake of comparison I divided by 4 to get the 15 mL price) * note that this is not pure frankincense oil because it has been heavily diluted.
Peppermint $3.25 for 15 mL (365 offers peppermint in 59 mL bottle for 12.99 – for the sake of comparison I divided by 4 to get the 15 mL price)
Let’s talk a little about quality for each of the brands that we priced above.
Aura Cacia discusses some specific tests they use for their oils – like the GC-MS and specific gravity tests. These are really important foundational tests that need to be in each oil brand, and it’s nice to see them discussed on their quality page. There’s not a lot of consistency in posting about the extraction method, but they do offer country of origin information. While their organic line is promising, their prices are high enough that I’d expect a little more quality info.
The potential problem: Consumer Advocates sent out 3 oils to be tested for adulteration. Results were in, and the lab detected synthetic markers in their lavender oil. Consumers Advocates also made room to note that there are distillers out there that have ways to engineer chemical compounds so similar to natural biological ones, that it is almost impossible to detect adulteration. I’m still on the swing about this one.
But here’s the thing, it’s still all about your personal goal.
Whole Foods Market Essential Oils
The first thing that worries me about this specific brand is that it’s not even on their website. The only place you can find it, is on Amazon, which means that there is little to no information on their harvesting and distillation process. That also means that there is basically no support or additional resources for beginners. I found one post on their site about essential oil basics from 2016. For me, I want to see the exact origins of the oil, the tests they conducted, and the results. Because Whole Foods has none of that, it makes me question the quality.
Their prices are on the lower end of average, because frankincense is only $24.99, that’s also a red flag for me. While the oils do get mostly decent ratings on Amazon (mostly about their scent), I would like to see more information about where their essential oils are sourced from, the quality testing they go through, and the results.
365 Everyday Value
Again, this may be hard to believe but there is no quality information for 365 Everyday Value Essential Oils. So if you’re like me, and like to do your research, this can be super frustrating! But just from what I’ve seen, the bottles are extremely big and for a pretty low price. This is an immediate red flag because pure oils sourced from their indigenous land are going to have a high price tag! Because I can’t find any information, I personally wouldn’t by this brand unless I just wanted to scent a room with essential oils and I happened to already be at Whole Foods.
Now, let’s dive into selection. We know Whole Foods carries these brands in store and on Amazon, but do they have what you need?
365 Everyday Value
365 Everyday Value offers the most classic and popular essential oils like eucalyptus, sweet orange, rosemary, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and frankincense (diluted with jojoba oil) – but that’s it! So yes, if you are just getting started, this brand has the selection but if you want to make essential oils a lifestyle, 365 does not have the customer service, quality information, or selection you’re going to need.
Whole Foods Market Essential Oils
Whole Foods Market brand offers the classic and popular essential oils as well as others like jasmine, patchouli, clove, and a bedtime blend. If you had to choose between 365 and Whole Foods Market, I would opt for the Whole Foods Market because they offer a larger selection at a slightly higher price which means it’s most likely better quality. That being said, there is still no information on the quality and the price is still pretty low for the oils they are offering. Again, personally, I would not purchase this brand because they don’t offer support, quality information, or additional resources.
The Aura Cacia essential oils selection is broad with a large variety of single oils, including some of the harder to find specialty oils. Their certified organic selection is pretty decent as well – you can get oils like clary sage or cypress as well as the common lemon or tea tree types. Then you have a nice range of blends.
This being said, I’m assuming that Whole Foods does not have a wide variety of Aura Cacia oils, probably just the most popular.
Overall Brand Review
Just by browsing their site (which offers minimal blog content on essential oils and no products page for them) I am giving Whole Foods essential oils a C. Which, honestly, I think is generous.
If you want to make a lifestyle out of essential oils, Whole Foods is not the place. You need a brand that lives and breathes essential oils. A brand that will be there for your questions and offers a large variety that’s top quality.
Now, if you happen to be grocery shopping at Whole Foods and you just remembered that you ran out of your lavender essential oil that you use for your laundry, well, picking up a bottle from Whole Foods is a great idea.