August 12, 2015

Reviewing fake essential oils

I have been using essential oils for many years now. I have a few of my favorites but love to experiment so when the opportunity to review an essential oil gift set came along, I jumped at the chance. Essential oils can be confusing to buy because they come in such a huge price range! You can find a bottle of say, tea tree oil for $4 and then find the same oil in another brand for almost $30! How do you know what to buy?

Fake essential oils reviews

When price ranges vary so widely for a single product often the quality varies too. I found out the hard way that not all essential oils are the same, no matter what the box says! This particular packaging had the words Essential Oil gift set right on the front. Each bottle had the words 100% Pure Essential Oil on it along with Therapeutic Grade and also Purity Tested Quality Assured. It sounds like a high quality product right? I thought so too. 

I was wrong.

The advertisement did have the words Home Fragrance Aromatherapy Oil for Diffusers on it, but I foolishly gave more weight to the labels on the bottles rather than the words on the ad. It turns out they were not pure essential oils like they claimed. These 'oils' failed the paper test and were more than likely synthetic scented oils. At the very least they were diluted with a carrier oil. So disappointed. 

The set arrived in a pretty black box, decorated with gold designs. This set had 6 different scents. They were: Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Green Tea, Lotus and Sweet Pea.  Each bottle is 15 ml and has an anti-drip protective cap to avoid spills. The cap was the best part of this whole experience! It also comes with a pack of 25 cotton pad applicators. My first clue that something wasn't right here should have been the plastic bottles. Real essential oils always come in glass. 

My second clue should have been that Sweet Pea essential oil isn't a thing. Sweet pea fragrance oil is though. Green Tea and Lotus EOs aren't particularly common either. The next big red flag would be the bubbles that formed inside my diffuser when using these oils...and the surprisingly sweet smell they all had. 

These are not pure therapeutic grade essential oils as the packaging said but rather low grade fragrance oils. Yes, they are best suited for a diffuser and are probably of no medicinal use when applied topically. They may have no essential oil content at all! 

Actually 'therapeutic grade' isn't a thing. It's a completely made up term that anyone can use and it's not regulated in any way! The difference between essential oils and fragrance oils is huge though and using the latter on skin can cause disastrous results! Luckily I realized what these were before I did that...

Unfortunately I still had to write the review (which you're reading!) As my standard review procedure I write about my honest experience, even if it's bad. I left an Amazon review also, but it would appear they had it taken down. lol In fact, when I left my review there were several brand new negative reviews which all disappeared shortly after. 

Then the product was removed from sale on Amazon.

Fake essential oils

How to get started using real essential oils

Since this huge disappointment I have started building up quite a large collection of real, 100 % essential oils. I started out with just a few oils and have grown my collection over time by adding new oils when I find them on sale or have a need for them. No huge starter kits or subscription boxes. I talk about how to Get Started With Essential Oils Frugally on my other blog. 

I've found some great intro deals and sales at websites like  Grove CollaborativeRevive and Lucky Vitamin.  The important thing when choosing essential oils is to go with a reputable company...not a name you have never heard of, nor can find reviews for online! Also if you find and item on Amazon which cannot be found anywhere else, you want to give that a second thought!  If you do end up with questionable oils they will be fine in reed diffusers or dripped on cotton rounds and used as air fresheners but don't expect any benefits from using them outside of aromatherapy. 

This also goes for the large collection of fragrance oils you can buy in the candle or home section of big box stores. They smell great in candles, reed diffusers and homemade air fresheners but I wouldn't diffuse them or use directly on your skin since they could cause some type of reaction. 

So buyer beware...fragrance oils masquerading as essential oils can do real damage when applied to skin or worse yet, taken internally! Read reviews, drip a bit on white paper and see if it evaporates or leaves an oily stain, research the company and buy from reputable sources.

Want to read more health product reviews? Click here for my other posts on healthcare product reviews.


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