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Where Do You Buy Essential Oils For Soap Making?

There has been a lot of hype about essential oils in the late years, but do you really know what are they? And how to choose the right ones to buy in case you want to use them in soap making?

Essential oils are used in several handmade beauty products, like soap, creams, lotions, lip balms, bomb baths, bath salts, homemade perfumes and air fresheners, even candle making, and wax melts. The list is huge. Although most of the times they are an optional ingredient, a product with a wonderful scent always cheers you up. So, it’s really hard to resist the appeal of a good scent in your homemade products.

On the other hand, essential oils are expensive. It’s hard to realize when you believe that making soap at home is cheap and then you find out it is costing you $5 a bar! Want to find out how to choose essential oils for your soaps and natural beauty products? Keep reading.

What Are Essential Oils?

Ok so we start from the beggining.

Essential oils 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.  

The recondensing water is reffered to as an hydrosol, hydrolat, herbal distillate, or plant water essence, which may be sold as another fragrant product. Hydrosols include rose water, lavender water, lemon balm, clary sage, and orange blossom water, and its use in cosmetics is increasing.

However, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. Plants and herbal products contain many bioactive compounds that may harm your health, and essential oils are no different, as they are highly concentrated in these compounds. Therefore, it’s usage should be taken carefully. However, when combined with a base oil for use on your skin, most essential oils are considered safe.

High-quality essential oils only use pure plant compounds extracted by distillation or cold pressing. Keep the following tips in mind to choose high-quality oils, as you are probably going to use them on your skin:

  • 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.

Creating Essential Oil Blends

Essential oils can be used on their own. However, they work better in blends. That’s probably hw you are going to use them in your DIY projects. Making blends almost becomes a DIY project in itself. Aromatic blending for the sheer pleasure of the aroma is a combination of creativity and science. Creating blends is a complex but also a fun activity. Here are some tips to create a blend:

–  Essential oils can be categorized into broad groups based on their aromas. An example categorical system is as follows:

  • Floral  – Lavender, Neroli, Jasmine. …
  • Woody – Pine, Cedar, …
  • Earthy – Vetiver, Patchouli, …
  • Herbaceous – Marjoram, Basil, …
  • Minty – Peppermint, Spearmint, …
  • Camphorous – Eucalyptus, Cajuput, Tea Tree, …
  • Spicy – Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon, …
  • Citrus – Orange, Lemon, Lime, …

– Using the analogy of a musical scale, oils can be categorized according to their lasting effect: 

  • Top Notes: oils that evaporate the quickest, usually within 1-2 hours
  • Middle notes: oils that evaporate with 2-4 hours~
  • Base notes: Oils that take the longest time to evaporate. Some base notes can take several days to evaporate!

– There are no rules to create blends, but you can follow these guidelines to start:

  • 30% of a blend should be Top Notes
  • 50% of a blend should be Middle Notes
  • 20% of a blend should be Base Notes

Why Are Essential Oils 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. The so-called yield production of other plants is not much bigger, never being more than 1%-2%.

Intensive labor work and very low production yields make essential oils a challenging product to make it accessible to most wallets.

Even if expensive, though, essential oils are probably the only natural product used for scent or perfume, some also showing additional plant extract properties, like peppermint and its “cold” effect, tea tree and its anti-bacterial properties or eucalyptus and its anti-discongesting effect. Compared directly with synthetic perfumes, in 30ml bottles of 20$ or more, they are milder, more natural and many times (but not always), cheaper. 

Still, for your homemade projects, if you are like me, you do want to be careful on how much you spend on them.

essential oil brands

Where Do You Buy Essential Oils For Soap Making?

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?

Wrong. 

Cheap essential oils, althought not as artificial 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 pure lavender plant extract.

Cheap Essential Oils, Expensive Essential Oils… What to Trust?

Shop Lavender at Plant Therapy!

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, probably overpriced, like DoTerra and Young Living. I mean, take DoTerra for example, a 15ml lavender essential oil that costs 30$? Lavender essential oil is not the cheapest ever, but there are many brands where the same product is below 20$. Want to know what I’m talking about? Check out this comparative chart from Barefut Essential Oils.

My main issue with them, though, is that they follow MLM (multi-level marketing) schemes, which are never very transparent. You end up spending money even when you really, actually don’t want to. They sell essential oils for aromatherapy, claiming that they can cure many diseases. Those are claims really not backed-up by science, even if they might have some benefitial effects in one’s health. Besides, aromatherapy is a whole another subject on its own.

So, what to trust, whom to trust? Well, essential oils are not a regulated product… So, there are no real protection for the consumer. From my experience, I would advise to never go for the extremes: the cheapest or the most expensive. Apart from that, only practice will tell you how natural, pure (or not) an essential oil is, and if the price is worth it.

How To Choose the Right Essential Oil

So, you’ve got to be cautious when purchasing essential oils. It’s easy to spend one to two hundred dollars at the beggining. It’s also easy to be fooled by propaganda, especially at Amazon or Ebay, and buy cheap essential oils that are nothing but fragrances (or worse), or get caught in the MLM schemes.

Aromaweb, an American association focused on aromatherapy and essential oils, has an article about how to save money when purchasing essential oils. They are very reasonable rules to help you control your essential oil purchases: 

  • Use just a little bit of essential oils each time, you don’t need more
  • Instead of purchasing every single essential oil there is, get first some knowledge about 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?  You can also find Essential Oils for Soap Making and Essential Oils Chart, giving you advice how to best use essential oils in soaps, creams, lotions, and other natural beauty products.
  • Think about purchasing essential oil blends created by the brands, they are cheaper than buying each single essential oil and mixing them up.
  • If you really have to, prefer to buy the most expensive oils pre-diluted in carrier oils. 
  • Purchase small quantity bottles (10 ml or 1/3 fl oz) especially when you don’t know a given essential oil aroma.
  • Consider purchasing a starter kit, this is the best/cheapest option to start.
  • Be very careful with fake essential oils, especially beware of cheap essential oils in big stores. I am not saying not to buy them, but be informed about them. Don’t just take the expressions “pure” “natural” “therapeutical grade” and “essential oil” at face value.
Rose Otto diluted in Jojoba Oil (10% dilution)
10ml – 29,95$
Pure Rose Otto
5ml – 149,95$

Essential Oils Starter Kits

If you are just beggining with soap making, you should purchase a starter kit, they usually include the most commonly used essential oils. In case you have no idea where to start, here are my list of the most used essential oils in my soap recipes and beauty product formulas:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rose Geranium
  • Patchouli
  • Cinnamon
Why Buy Individual Oils When You Can Buy the Set? Save up to 48% Off When You Buy the 7&7 Essential Oil Set at Plant Therapy, Available Now!

Essential oil or Fragrance oil?

In the beggining, I was a defender of essential oils as they are a natural product… in theory. You really can’t tell, since there’s no international regulation controlling these products, so producers can add whatever they feel like in them. Of course there are honest companies, and some essential oils I’ve bought seem to be pure. But how can we really tell?

Also, I’ve made the mistake to associate “natural” with “harmless”, which, in the case of essential oils, is not exactly true. Although I’ve never had a negative experience, like a skin rash, I understand now that essential oils contain irritating and allergen substances (the very same active substances responsbiel for the wondeful scents…), pretty much like fragrance products.

Shop Essential Oils at Plant Therapy!

The main difference between an essential oil and a fragrance oil is that fragrance oils can have synthetic ingredients. Some natural fragrance oils are actually essential oil blends, mixed with other natural products (like a carrier oil).

Nowadays, I defend the usage of fragrances or essential oils in equal terms, as long as they both have good quality. Bear in mind that I use them mainly for one purpose: scent. I don’t see essential oils as “medicinal miracles” anymore, and regarding scent, fragrance oils are more lasting and effective. 

As long as you keep the dosage under recommended levels, both are safe enough, and equally “bad” if you have a very sensitive skin. I do take into account some medicinal properties of some essential oils, but only those I’ve found scientific evidences about.

If you want to read more about the subject, check out What Is a Fragrance Oil?

Takeaway

Essential oils are part of most hadmade skincare products. It is usually part of a switch in your life, when you decide to go more natural. This post is simply meant to be a guide for you to be informed when purchasing essential oils. Don’t forget that fragrance oils are also a good option.

My opinion about the usage of essential oils has changed with time and further research about the subject. I am not against or totally in favour of it. While they are plant extracts and for that they may help you with your skincare, they are not yet proven to be as effective or miraculous as stated in many websites.

As for using as a scent, quality fragrances oils are equally good. As these are not yet completely regulated products, we really don’t know what we are getting when purchasing an essential oil or a fragrance oil. Therefore, let your personal taste and experience guide you.

Essential Oils Are NOT Magical Medicins

In late years, it seems to me that things are being taken to extremes regarding the usage of essential oils. This industry has exploded in late years, and essential oils are starting to be perceived as natural, magical remedies for several conditions and serious illnesses. Inhaling essential oils is becoming to be seen as effective as going to a doctor and taking a prescribed drug.

Be informed and make informed purchases when buying and using essential oils. They are really not an enemy, they are what they are: I like essential oils because of their scent and because they are plant based. Becauase of that, I tend to use a “middle term” of quality and price to purchase them.

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2 thoughts on “Where Do You Buy Essential Oils For Soap Making?”

  1. Hi Sofia. Thank you for very interesting article. I love essential oils smell and Im using them in home quite often, still I learned few new things from your post. Your advices and recommendations regarding blending oils are very useful and for sure I will try them in practice. Also the comparative chart you provided will help me to choose good ones, as I was not always happy with quality of oils I was buying  online.

    Reply
    • Hello Cogito and thanks for your comment.

      So happy you find this article helpful! More are coming, namely, the one where I list a few good essential oil suppliers. I am not much into aromatherapy, and I use essential oils to scent soap, creams, lotions, balms, etc. but I do show some links you will find useful for it (like the website aromaweb).

      If you like, subscribe to the newsletter to know what will be happening at HerbAlcochete.

      Cheers,

      Sofia

      Reply

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