Contents of Article
- What to Look for When Shopping for Essential Oils
- How to Know if Your Essential Oils are High Quality
- The 10 Best Essential Oil Brands of 2021
- How to Know When to Avoid an Essential Oil Brand
Finding a trustworthy essential oil brand is challenging. Many companies crowd the market with empty promises and misleading information that it’s challenging to identify authentic retailers.
To ease your shopping experience, below is a list of the top ten essential oil companies in the world, followed by advice on what and who to avoid.
What to Look for When Shopping for Essential Oils
When shopping around for your essential oils, you must do your due diligence to ensure you’re buying only the highest-quality products on the market. Some critical questions and details to keep at the forefront of your mind while selecting your trusted brand include the following:
- Is the plant’s species name provided, so you know you are not being misled on the exact oil you’re buying? (For example, you might be buying “lavender oil,” but which species of lavender was used? Some are better than others.)
- Do the manufacturers provide information on the location where the oil was sourced and extracted?
- Do the manufacturers abide by their legal obligation to disclose whether the product is 100% essential oil or not? They must inform customers about whether it is mixed with something and what exactly it is mixed with.
- Is the oil relatively cheap compared to others on the market? If so, it’s probably low-quality.
- Does the oil smell as expected? If not, it may be diluted or mixed with something.
- Is the oil organic or wildcrafted? Be skeptical, as most U.S. essential oils are not certified organic (and only a few European ones are).
How to Know if Your Essential Oils are High Quality
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the regulation of foods, additives, supplements, drugs, and cosmetic products.
Essential oils are considered to be cosmetic products or drugs (although they are never meant to be used for disease treatment or prevention), which is why they’re available to anyone, even without a prescription.
The product type (supplement vs. cosmetic, etc.) is vital to regulatory standards, but generally, essential oil quality is determined by the following details:
- Water content
- Chromatographic profile (essentially, a snapshot of a product’s chemical composition)
- The measure of acid value
- Phenol content (phenols are the chemical compounds in the oils that provide the scent)
As reliable as scientific research is in this industry, you should also be prepared to assess the essential oils’ quality for yourself. Ask the following questions when reviewing the product details:
- How were the source plants grown? The manufacturer should provide assurance that no pesticides or other harmful chemicals were used in the plants’ cultivation.
- How were the plants and oils processed? Too much dilution may be a signal of poor quality.
- What was the packaging and handling process? If the products were exposed to heat, light, and oxygen for too long, they might have degraded before reaching you. (Citrus oils are especially vulnerable to oxidation.)
The 10 Best Essential Oil Brands of 2021
There are so many essential oil brands in the industry that you may not have time to research all these factors for all of them. To make things easier for you, the list below details the most reputable essential oil producers and what sets them above the rest.
doTERRA aims to produce and distribute the “highest quality essential oils” across the globe, and thus far, they’ve adhered to their ultimate goal. Their team is composed of both healthcare and business experts, a combination that enabled them to exceed industry standards back in the company’s infancy.
doTERRA’s trailblazing led to the development of a brand-new quality standard known as “CPTG Quality Testing.” This innovation, held exclusively by doTERRA, was inspired by the lack of an accepted federal or international quality standard for essential oil products when they began their work. Unfortunately, this is still the case today.
The CPTG Quality Testing procedure involves doTERRA scientists and third-party examiners to ensure that the oils are as pure as possible. They’ve outlined their process as follows:
- After distilling the oils, doTERRA reviews each product’s chemical composition.
- They execute the second phase of testing to verify that the products set for distribution are the same ones received by their processing facility.
- The company reviews the chemical composition once more upon packaging as a final confirmation that the oils are absent of contaminants or adulteration.
In their mission to bring the world the highest-quality, most rigorously-tested products in the industry, they also fight to improve human life around the globe through their 501(c)(3) non-profit, doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation.
A step above the rest, doTERRA’s mission to improve people’s well-being is apparent in all they do.
Dedicated to empowering and protecting people and the planet in all that they do, Young Living Essentials is a passionate brand. Young Living’s essential oils are produced to enhance the standard of living for all people, and encourage individuals everywhere to partake in “nature’s living energy.”
They pass all product development through the Young Living Essential Oils Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) for the best possible quality assurance. The SAC comprises scientists with years of experience in researching natural products, who live all around the world, ensuring the company’s adherence to excellent quality oils, no matter where in the world they are sourced.
All there oils are marked by the Young Living Seed to Seal, the three pillars of which are:
- Sourcing: The company is committed to excluding synthetic materials, contaminants, and fillers in their products. The company carefully vets all farms involved in the production process.
- Science: Young Living scientists and those from the D. Gary Young Research Institute conduct extensive testing to ensure oils are pure and authentic.
- Standards: They adhere closely to environmental regulations and prioritize sustainability in each step of the production process, all through the Lacey Act Compliance Program.
As a producer of natural supplements that support consumers’ wellbeing, Young Living Essentials is top-tier in the industry of holistic health.
Established in 1968, the family-owned NOW brand has led the food and supplement industry in their commitment to providing natural yet affordable products that “empower people to lead healthier lives.”
All of their oils are derived from raw materials. They are subjected to careful and attentive testing throughout the entire processing and handling procedure, from the first moments of development to the final distribution stages.
The company has won 44 awards for the quality of its foods, supplements, workplace standards, and more. Some of these honors include:
- Best of Supplements Award from Better Nutrition
- Stress Relief Award from Remedies Magazine
- Botanical Product of the Year from Nutra Ingredients
- Best New Products from Amazing Wellness
- Health Award from Remedies Kids’ Health
NOW Foods is also dedicated to upholding environmental sustainability in their manufacturing and distribution. With each customer, their families, and the planet in mind, NOW Foods is committed to making only the purest, highest-quality oils.
The family-owned business, Vitruvi, was born out of the “natural living” lifestyle of siblings Sara and Sean Panton. The two were raised on Vancouver Island, where they were introduced to botanicals and other supplements in their youth.
In efforts to bring this healing to the rest of the world, the Pantons began working in their apartment, filling bottles by hand, and shipping the products to customers themselves. Over the years, their mission matured and grew along with them. Now, they are leading a corporate team based in Vancouver, B.C.
Their essential oils are sourced internationally, from over 30 countries across the globe. Every step of their development and testing process is carried out with community needs and quality standards in mind.
For example, Vitruvi botanical experts will create a “preliminary” blend or scent formulation with their team and receive feedback on the composition. Based on this feedback and subsequent tests, the oil is approved for manufacturing and ready to send to customers after several weeks.
Vitruvi uses non-photo-reactive oils, a critical distinction that ensures customers will not experience any negative symptoms (e.g., redness, itching, burning, etc.) when using the oils directly on the skin in the sunlight. This distinction also ensures that the oils will last long and remain potent throughout their shelf-life.
From humble beginnings to present corporate success, Vitruvi has risen in the essential oil industry and remains dedicated to improving others’ lives with “natural living” solutions.
Plant Therapy prioritizes safety and education in every step of their essential oil production and distribution work.
In consideration of customer safety, they emphasize appropriate use of their essential oils in their educational work and publish details on the ingredients and testing results for all customers to access freely.
The following efforts mark their outstanding work in both these goals:
- Safety: They publish specific dilution guidelines and cautions for essential oil use for pregnant or nursing women, pets, and kids. There is a separate line of “KidSafe” products specially designed for little ones’ sensitive skin.
- Education: Customers can access use recommendation charts, step-by-step DIY recipes, definitions in the Plant Therapy glossary, and more on the company’s website. No matter your intended use of the oils, from skin- and body-care to household cleaning, Plant Therapy has got you covered.
Further, to extend these healing solutions to as many people as possible, the company remains committed to making their oils affordable. This mission extends to communities around the world, manifested in their philanthropy program, Planting Kindness.
Plant Therapy is a people-first, transparent company that has only the well-being of its customers in mind.
The very first thing that Eden’s Garden discloses to its customers is that their 250+ essential oils are 100% pure. Specific distinctions are as follows:
- Their oils do not include any synthetic ingredients, artificial fragrances, fillers, or toxins
- All products are GC/MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) tested, meaning they are chemically evaluated to determine the exact chemical composition of the oils and the precise concentrations of each compound
- All oils are ethically and sustainably sourced
Grace Martin started Eden’s Garden in her in-law’s garage in 2009. Since then, the company has grown tremendously and has been voted the number one non-MLM (multi-level marketing) essential oil brand in the nation for three consecutive years.
They have pledged to sustainably produce vegan-friendly, cruelty-free essential oil products based on in-depth research and advanced blending techniques. The “E.D.E.N.S. pledge” is defined as follows:
- Effective: All oils are 100% pure
- Dedicated: Customer needs and satisfaction come first, evidenced by the 30-day no-questions-asked refund policy
- Educated: Certified aromatherapy experts set the foundation of company research and educate the public on essential oil use
- Natural: Eden’s Garden enforces eco-conscious production and ensures their oils are completely pure
- Safe: Third-party experts conduct GC/MS testing on all oils
Eden’s Garden ensures that you receive only the highest-quality essential oils and upholds honesty and community support in everything they do.
The REVIVE brand is a celebration of Mother Nature’s holistic healing capabilities. This team is so confident and genuine in their essential oil products that they use the oils for themselves and their children.
This conviction is so firm that they guarantee a 100-day free return policy, whether you’ve opened your oil or not.
REVIVE’s essential oils are:
- 100% pure and unrefined
- Sustainably sourced from around the world
- Carefully crafted in the United States
- Cruelty-free – the oils are never tested on animals
Further, every one of their oils is steam distilled. During this process, the source plant material is subjected to dry steam (up to 100°C, or 212°F) to separate the oil from all other substances in the plant. The liquid is then clarified to separate the essential oil, resulting in a pure, highly aromatic product.
In efforts to support local communities around the world, REVIVE sources their materials from small businesses, family-owned farms, and individuals who are stewards and beneficiaries of the land.
Plus, this company is far more focused on providing you a quality experience above everything else. To increase accessibility and ensure their oils are affordable, they sell directly to you with no middle man whatsoever.
REVIVE is dedicated to enhancing your quality of life with the highest-quality essential oils at the lowest possible prices.
Founded in 2004, Rocky Mountain Oils is one of the most respected non-MLM essential oil companies globally. All their oils are 100% pure and designed for multipurpose use for the whole family.
This company backs each of their products with the 100% Guaranteed Satisfaction of Quality, what they call the 100GSOQ. In addition, all their work stems from the S.A.A.F.E. Promise™, defined below:
- Satisfaction guaranteed: All GC/MS test results are freely available on their website for each of their essential oils, and a 90-day, no-questions-asked return policy comes with all purchases
- Authentic: All oils are subjected to strict quality testing standards to ensure they are all 100% pure
- Analysis: The GC/MS testing guarantees that no adulterants are present in the oils
- Free of adulterants: Internal scientists and third-party institutions carry out tests
- Effective and pure: Testing and quality control processes guarantee that your authentic oil will help improve your quality of life
Rocky Mountain Oils is dedicated to sustaining positive consumer relationships, which has led to the cultivation of community-conscious partnerships, one of which was the merge with another holistic healing company, Native American Nutritionals (NAN).
Although they are committed to never engaging in MLM practices, the company does want to help others thrive in holistic healing. So, they offer a discount to professionals that integrate essential oils into their work.
Dedicated to community and healthy living, Rocky Mountain Oils strives to be the leading essential oil producer in the world.
Aura Cacia offers a vast array of essential oil solutions for holistic health. Nearly 100 of their oils are guaranteed 100% pure, an amazing effort that started back in the company’s birth in 1982. In 1993, they joined with Frontier Co-op, a community-owned cooperative that has emphasized natural living since 1976.
Aura Cacia’s primary goal is to spread positivity, inspired by the lives of the employees and company leaders, and women around the world. Among their central values is the prioritization of the nourishment of people and Earth.
In upholding these values, they support the small communities that grow their botanicals, make product information freely available, and educate customers on how aromatherapy can enhance their lives.
They have also created the Positive Change Project, a grant program specially designed for women and young girls to transform their lives for the better, despite whatever challenges they may face.
Customers who choose Aura Cacia can rest assured that they are supporting something greater than themselves, all while experiencing the full, unadulterated benefits of their essential oils.
Helias was founded by a duo of friends raised with the norm of using all-natural products and “old world practices” for healthy living. The two were exasperated from seeing the endless sea of impersonal brands in the holistic supplements industry and were frustrated by the quality’s inconsistency.
Instead of trudging on to find a solution, they took matters into their own hands and created Helias. They are dedicated to providing high-quality essential oils and other products and education on how, why, and when to use these holistic supplements.
Each of their products is passed through independent chemists for final approval and authentication before commercial distribution. Not only are they transparent about each bottle’s ingredients, but they also inform buyers of where those components were sourced, and the production methods.
They guarantee that all their 100% pure natural oils are absent of the following:
- Synthetic fragrances
Despite being the newest of some of the world’s leading essential oil producers, Helias has surpassed industry norms and continues to provide effective, pure, authentic oils for everyone to use.
How to Know When to Avoid an Essential Oil Brand
There are far too many brands to name when it comes to avoiding essential oil retailers. Yet, the primary thing to look out for is what type of information is and is not on the bottle.
If any of the following describe the product label, you should look elsewhere for your essential oils:
- The oil is described with the terms “fragrance” or “perfume.” These are clear signals that the oil has been diluted or adulterated.
- The label does not include the source plant’s Latin name.
Additionally, essential oils that are packaged in plastic bottles are guaranteed to be low-quality. The bottle can degrade the oil quality over time since the liquid will essentially “eat” the bottle as time passes. This is why pure oils are packaged in glass bottles.
You may still have questions about shopping for essential oils. To ensure you get the best possible product, see the FAQs below.
How do I know if essential oils are pure?
In the store, the best way to check the pureness of your selected oil is to look for a statement that asserts the product is “100% essential oil.” This means that it does not contain any dilutants, additives, etc.
A few signs to look for at home and in-store include:
- Color and material of the bottle: pure oils are only packaged in dark glass bottles, often a sort of amber in color
- Pure essential oils won’t feel greasy or oily
- Pure essential oils don’t leave residue on paper
- Many retailers provide strips of paper alongside essential oil displays. Dab some of the oil on the paper and look for a ring or “O” shape. The oil is mixed with a carrier oil if the O ring is present.
Why are some essential oils so cheap?
Cheaper essential oils are often adulterated, meaning they contain additional substances that dilute the oil to lower production costs.
Which brands of essential oils are safe for internal use?
Essential oils should never be put into the body, whether by mouth, eyes, or anywhere else. They are not intended for consumption, but external use only.