So you’ve started using essential oils and want to expand your collection. But if you’re a little cautious about where to buy good quality essential oils from you’re not alone! It seems when it comes to these little bottles of liquid plant power, there are a lot of conflicting opinions and the more you delve into it, the more confusing it gets.
The Oil in Kind team is here to help! We’ve gotten our hands dirty and done the research for you. Strap in and get ready to bust some myths.
Your Local Pharmacy
There’s a common misconception that essential oils sold in a pharmacy are not high quality. We’ve done some digging and found that this rumour was in fact started by other brands not ranged in pharmacies. Note to said brands- not cool! Now we’re not saying every essential oil you find in a pharmacy is 100% pure. It really does come down to the actual brand you’re buying. Pharmacists are not experts in aromatherapy so unless they have a particular interest in them you might not get the advice or knowledge, you’d hope for. They rely on the brands they stock to provide training (the bigger more credible brands will do this).
Our verdict: Do your research on the brands they stock and use your judgement when speaking to staff in store. If they sound confident talking to you about essential oils they are likely to have had some decent training. Just keep in mind that training is likely to be all about that brand, so the staff member might be a bit biased.
Health Food Stores
Before health and wellbeing was a thing, you could pretty much only find essential oils in health food stores. Because the health food store is almost as much their natural habitat as the field in which they were grown, you’re likely to be in good hands here. There is usually a naturopath in store, who would have some basic knowledge and understanding of essential oils. Plus store staff generally live and breathe health and wellbeing, so are likely to know a thing or two as well.
Our verdict: A great place to shop and explore essential oils. They often stock tried and trusted brands which have been around for decades. These are always a good option. You can also find some new and emerging brands too. Just get a gauge from the store staff on those ones before you make your purchase.
Where would we be without online shopping? The beauty of buying essential oils online is that you have an endless range to choose from and generally they are a little cheaper! It can be a little tricky if you want to smell the essential oil before you buy it though. The real sticky part is knowing who to trust. There are a lot of shady characters online and essential oils are no exception. The world wide web never fails to deliver a wide spectrum from the best of the best to the best of the worst!
Our verdict: Go for it! Just stick to trusted retailers and brands. This is where we name drop ourselves (we couldn’t resist). Oil in Kind is a one stop online shop that brings all the best brands together. We spend hours researching and validating every essential oil we stock against our quality and safety standards, so you don’t have to.
Getting a product ranged in a grocery store is no easy feat. It’s an environment that’s conducive to brands with a low cost of goods, high turnover and aggressive sales tactics. Many essential oil brands can’t afford to sell essential oils at the low prices that are required to survive and compete within grocery stores. Because of this, essential oils which can be found in grocery stores are usually limited to cheaper essential oils and blends (e.g. tea tree, lavender). They may even be diluted or nature identical rather than pure (read more about this here).
Our verdict: There are a couple of reliable Australian brands which can be found in grocery stores. But it really depends on what you’re intending to use the oil for. If it’s just cleaning then you might be willing to compromise on quality. But if you’re looking for a therapeutic effect and want to ensure you’re buying a pure essential oil we’d advise against it unless you’re certain it meets the required quality markers.
Personally we love department stores because we have the time and space to wander, browse, sniff and try things on. However it’s important to remember that department stores survive on keeping up with the latest trends to get people through the door. Higher end stores tend to stock reputable and quality brands and often have trained consultants. However stores at the lower end of the spectrum (e,g. Kmart) are all about cashing in on the quick trends with a lower quality product (often done under their own brand label).
Our verdict: We’d be confident shopping well-known brands in a high end department stores however be weary of new brands popping up that might look the part but not delivering on quality. As for the lower end of department stores, if you’re looking for a pure and high quality essential oil, this is not the place you’re going to find it.
Direct from the brand
If there’s a brand you know, love and trust, shopping directly from them can be a great option. It can however can a little frustrating if you’re looking for an essential oil they don’t stock. One thing to remember is that a brand will always be biased on the information and advice it provides because their ultimate goal is to sell product.
Our verdict: If you know the brand is good for it and know what product you want to purchase- go for it! However, if you’re feeling pressured to purchase or are unsure about the advice they provide, perhaps give it a miss and shop from someone a little more independent.
Multi-level marketing aka. Party Plan
We’re taking about the friend, relative or fellow yogi that’s invited to you to an essential oil workshop which then turned out to be a sales pitch. There are a few big essential oil brands (mainly from the USA) currently using this sales model in Australia. What’s important to remember is that the consultants who run these workshops (usually someone you know) often have had very little training and are not health care practitioners, so should not be giving health advice or making any bold claims.
Our verdict: This sales model is more about trying to get more sales people into the ‘pyramid’ rather than about the oils themselves. Because of this fact alone it creates an environment where the advice and information provided is very biased. We’d be questioning them when they say their essential oils are the purest of them all! When it comes to providing responsible and safe advice though, it’s a big NO from us.
Well, that was quite the journey into the world of essential oil retail! While our heads are still spinning from all that, what’s certain is that there’s no need to fear where you buy your essential oils from. Ultimately it’s a personal choice and however you prefer to shop, there’s a perfectly sound option for you to purchase a high quality essential oil. What matters most is selecting a credible and trusted essential oil brand.