I have been asked by several people where and how to find good essential oils.
Now, I am no oil expert. I do not claim to be. I am simply a student of herbalism and aromatherapy. What I know about essential oils is self taught through experience and books.
That being said, here is what I learned:
First, oils are expensive because they are expensive to make. It takes pounds and pounds of plant material to make one little bottle of oil. If an oil is cheap, I would question why because it might be cut with other materials.
Ways to know if an oil is pure:
Know the scientific name.
Make sure that the oil you are looking at is the actual essential oil needed. Sometimes, there will be two oils of the same name but different scientific name and different properties. Take Lavender for example. There are many different types of Lavender but only Lavendula augustifolia is considered True Lavender and is the best to use in aromatherapy. However, Lavendula inermis, a type of lavender known for its long lasting flowers and coloring, are used to make a cheaper version of lavender oil.
Make sure you are buying Essential Oil:
Oils are a big business as Better Homes and Gardens and similair magazines show celebrity secrets of how they keep their homes smelling lovely. You can find oils to scent yourself and your home everywhere from Walmart ot Pier1 (they aren't just found at head shops anymore).
This does lead to a small problem in that many people buy fragrance oils thinking they are obtaining essential oil and visa versa.
Read the Labels!
Another few words to look for on the labels is therapeutic or pharmaceutical grade. If the bottle does not have these words, do not use them for aromatherapy.
How to test oils:
you can test essential oils by putting a drop on a piece of white paper and let dry. If there is a residue then the oil has been cut or polished with other material.
I am also frequently asked where to buy oils.
This is a tricky question as there is no one place I can point out and say They have the best of all of them! I haven't tried ever oil seller and cannot pretend to know.
However, here is what I do:
I buy local so I can ask the vendor about their oils and get a specific amount of what I want. Recently, I bought 1.5 drams of Rose oil from Dillys in Elizabethton, TN. I wanted the smallest bottle they had and without the roller ball they have for the oils used on skin. The proprietor was happy to oblige and even gave me a discount.
I also have a little secret for buying Tea Tree oil and have decided to disclose it to the public:
Walmart has pharmaceutical grade Tea Tree Oil 2 fl. 0z for just $8!!!! Its excellent and I've used it on wounds, bites, and a face wash thet cuts through fast food grease!
My best advice is look around you, READ, research, and test. Don't stress over it too much of course, especially if you are only using the oil to scent your home.
Go for what you like best, what feels right for you. Don't worry about what a book or ad says is hte best oil out there.