Not All Essential Oils Are Created Equal
In the world of beauty, the trend is moving very quickly toward all natural ingredients for skin care products. Bases such as pure untreated cocoa butter, vegetable-based colorants and the use of essential oils are a few of these natural components. However, one ingredient category that poses as “all natural” can be very deceiving: essential oils. Are the essential oils in your products toxic?
From Plant to Essential Oil
There are many different ways to produce essential oils. One way is through steam distillation. According to Troy Jochems, co-owner at Hope Hill Lavender Farms, Pottsville, PA, their lavender essential oil is created when steam is passed through plant material and then cooled. At that time, pure plant oil (aka essential oil) floats on top of the water which is then is separated. So where do toxins come into play?
Unfortunately, not all distillation processes are pure. Some essential oil producers inject chemical solvents into the water in their distillers during the distillation process, increasing output by about 18%. According to Wendy Jochem, co-owner at Hope Hill Lavender Farms, their 10-gallon still takes 5-6 plants to fill. The flowers are then steam distilled to produce only 4-5 ounces of pure, uncut lavender essential oil. So you can see why some companies want to increase their output and profit. Other companies add chemicals such as alcohol, propylene glycol, or acetate directly to the distilled essential oil to increase volume or “cut” the oil. Either way, the essential oil in fact is not “pure.”
Certified 100% Pure Essential Oils
To achieve producing pure essential oil would require an additional purification process. Unfortunately, many essential oils are not purified after distillation. One way to verify whether an essential oil is pure is to do a little research. Look on the product company’s website for wording such as “Certified 100% Pure Essential Oils” and if you can’t find it on their website, call them up and ask. When you see “Certified 100% Pure Essential Oils” you can be assured that the oil is 100% the compound listed. Nothing more, nothing less.
In this chemical ridden world we live in, the last thing we want is to be deceived whether intentionally or unintentionally about what we put on our bodies. Read labels, do research and choose wisely. Our health depends on it!
For more information on products that contain certified 100% pure essential oils, please visit our online store.
Thanks Wendy and Troy! We appreciate your expertise in helping us understand the process of creating pure essential oils.
Heather & Nathan
Wonderful information on essential oils. Thank you for including our farm in your article. Hoping this year you and Nate can get up to see the distillation process in action.
Your friends at Hope Hill