Essential oils are wonderful ingredients. They are basically plant extracts, most commonly obtained by distillation of raw material plant (leaves, flowers, wood, bark, roots, seeds), or cold pressing.
The way the oils are made is important, as essential oils obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils.
They have several medicinal and health properties, also being very useful in skincare products, as they contribute with both wonderful scents and skincare properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterian, anti. fungic, cleansing, moisturizing, soothing, etc.
However, essential oils are expensive. Although botanicals including rosemary, spearmint, tea tree, citronella, sandalwood and roman chamomile are quite aromatic, it takes a significant amount of plant material to produce even a small quantity of essential oil.
For example, it takes all of the petals from 30-50 roses to produce a single drop of Rose Otto Essential Oil.
Intensive labor work and very low production yields make essential oils a challenging product to make it accessible to most wallets.
High-quality oils only use pure plant compounds extracted by distillation or cold pressing. Keep the following tips in mind to choose only high-quality oils:
- Purity: Find an oil that contains only aromatic plant compounds, without additives or synthetic oils. Pure oils usually list the plant’s botanical name (such as Lavandula officinalis) rather than terms like “essential oil of lavender.”
- Quality: True essential oils are the ones that have been changed the least by the extraction process. Choose a chemical-free essential oil that has been extracted through distillation or mechanical cold pressing.
- Reputation: Purchase a brand with a reputation for producing high-quality products.
Even if expensive, though, it is my belief that essential oils are worth their price, especially if you compare them directly with synthetic perfumes, in 30ml bottles of 20$, without any of the medicinal plant properties, and sometimes even going as far as containing chemicals that might cause mild conditions, like headaches.
In this article, I will review 5 essential oil brands and better guide you in purchasing good essential oils that do not make you go bankrupted.
Comparing Five Brands on Four Essential Oils
Five essential oil brands will be compared by using four common essential oils, in order to make a fair comparison regarding price and product quality: lavender, geranium, rosemary, eucalyptus. These essential oils are common enough to be available in any essential oil brand.
The 5 essential oil brands under review are: Spark Naturals, Starwest Botanicals, Amrita Aromatherapy, Pangea Organics, Plant Therapy
The review criteria cover pricing, information availability on the internet (ingredients, testing), customer reviews, product reviews, or testing proof that it has been adulterated.
Lavender Essential Oil
|Lavender Essential Oil||Amrita |
Geranium Essential Oil
|Geranium Essential Oil||Amrita |
Rosemary Essential Oil
|Rosemary Essential Oil||Amrita |
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
|Eucalyptus Essential Oil||Amrita |
Before giving the final verdict about the brands analyzed, I’d first like to give some directions about purchasing essential oils and why consulting essential oil reviews on the internet can be very useful.
How To Not Get Lost While Buying Essential Oils
When you are looking for any product on the internet, there is always the tendency to look for the cheapest. Essential oils are no different, since a cheap essential oil is still an essential oil, right?
Cheap essential oils, althought not as harmful as pure synthetic perfumes, contain synthetic chemicals to enhance or add aromas, adulterating their composition… and their definition.
For example, see this article about an ArtNaturals cheap essential oil you might find in Amazon. So, in here, you are buying something that smells like lavender, but has none of its benefitial medicinal properties… because it’s not the pure lavender plant extract.
It’s fine to buy a more artificial fragrance that smells like lavender (they also use plant extracts, just in smaller percentages), what is not fine is to purchase a fragrance thinking it’s an essential oil . The problem is the fact that these companies are flat out inducing their customers in error.
On the other hand, some brands that are good and reputable are very expensive, like DoTerra and Young Living. I mean, take DoTerra for example, a 15ml lavender essential oil that costs 30$? Lavender essential oil is not the cheapest ever, but as you could see, all the brands here analysed were below 20$.
Then you have the Rose essential oil, reputedly expensive for its very low yields (you need 3500-5000 kg of rose petals to produce 1kg of rose essential oil), costing … get ready: 366$ for 5 ml! Ouch!! Ok, Plant Therapy also has a very expensive Rose Otto, at 150$, but at least they have an affordable diluted version (20$ for 5ml).
So, you’ve got to be cautious when purchasing essential oils. Aromaweb, an American association focused on aromatherapy and essential oils, has an article about how to save money when purchasing essential oils. Basically here are their advice:
- Use just a little bit of essential oils each time, you don’t need more – Less is More
- Think about purchasing essential oil blends created by the brands. In that way you save from buying several single essential oils. However, if you’re purchasing a blend of essential oils to make soap at home, see Essential Oils to Make Soap before to make an informed purchase
- Think about purchasing the most expensive oils pre-diluted in carrier oils, they might be less expensive in that way, and still allow you to benefit from all their properties. But make sure you know exactly what carrier oil they are adding (jojoba,…) and what is the percentage of essential oil in it (2%, 5%…)
- Purchase bottle with the smallest quantities, especially if you don’t know the essential oil well, and wish to find out if you like it.
- Think about purchasing a starter kit, kits are less expensive than if you purchase the oils one by one. If you’re just starting this is the best option.
- Be very careful with fake essential oils. As it was the case of the ArtNaturals cheap essential oil from Amazon explained before, beware of cheap essential oils in big stores. I am not saying not to buy them, but check the brand, and if they have information online about tests, be informed. Don’t just buy the expressions “pure” “therapeutical grade” and “essential oil” at face value.
- Instead of purchasing every single essential oil there is, get first some knowledge about them, what are their properties, and how can you best benefit from them. You can find in Aromaweb a long list of free material about essential oils. Healthline also has some good articles, start with this one: What Are Essential Oils, and Do They Work? At HerbAlcochete, you also have this article Essential Oils to Make Soap, recipe articles and more, giving you advice how to best use essential oils in soaps, creams, lotions, and natural cosmetics.
- This one is obvious but here it goes: check out for discounts and promotions on your favorite essential oils store, or the reputable ones, you might get good deals
Spark Naturals – Order $50 or more and receive 15% off entire order + Free Shipping
Amrita Aromatherapy – NEW customers save 10% on Amrita!
- Number 10 advice is a bit strange, and I believe it applies in many things in your life, not just essential oils. Still it’s a wise one: don’t feel that you must use essential oils just because people around you are pressuring you to do so.
- Familiarize with reputable essential oil brands: not all cheap essential oils are fake, not all expensive essential oils are worth the price being paid. Best way is to experiment and share some knowledge.
I leave here already a list of the most well known and generally accepted reputable brands (random order)
- Young Living
- Plant Therapy
- Rocky Mountain Oils
- Edens Garden
- Aura Cacia
- Now Foods
And the Winner Is…
First and foremost, I want to say that all brands analysed here did not rise any issues about their quality.
All of them have organic products in their portfolio, and all of them, one way or the other, have certifications attesting for their commitment in selling good quality products. It’s safe to say that if you use any of these brands, you will be well served.
Number #1 – Starwest Botanicals Essential Oils
This is my number #1 choice, mostly due to the price. Product quality is visible in customer reviews and product testing, but they are able to reduce price to what I believe to be very affordable values.
Number #2 – Plant Therapy
However, if price is not a concern and you wish to buy from a well known and reputable brand, Plant Therapy is your best choice, with thousands of good customer reviews over the net testifying it’s a good product and a testing reports available online for each essential oil production batch!
I had a personal experience purchasing Plant Therapy essential oils, and I must say I am very pleased with their quality. If I want to purchase more expensive or rare essential oils, I’d buy from them, as their quality/price relation is excellent. Shop Essentials Oils at Plant Therapy. and find out their collection of single essential oils (regular and organic), blends and sets.
Number #3 – Amrita Aromatherapy, Inc. and Number 4´- Spark Naturals
As for Amrita Aromatherapy, Inc. and Spark Naturals, they are in-between – neither the best nor the worst. Just know that there are less expensive and equally good essential oils out there if you are sticking to these brands.
Number #5 – Pangea Organics
Pangea Organics does not seem to be a company very focused on producing/selling essential oils: the information about them – reviews, ingredients, testing – is scarse, and their product list is much smaller than the other brands (26 vs 127 from Plant Therapy).
On the other hand, I’ve found good reviews about their natural cosmetics. It gives some confidence that their essential oils are good as well, but there’s definitely some lack of information and reviews for me to be fully confident.
Some Final Words
With this 5 essential oils brand review did I decide to switch my brand? Comparing with my usual portuguese essential oils supplier, Plena Natura, and because of the price difference and customs expenses, I am still keeping them as my usual essential oils supplier. But for expensive essential oils that don’t exist in Plena Natura, instead of going for a cheap replacement fragrance I will definitely buy Plant Therapy essential oils.