Essential Oils Brand Review

Best Essential Oils - Organic Life Tips

I try to live a relatively low-stress life. I meditate. I cook meals at home. I do my best to get enough sleep. I use aromatherapy. I take my dogs for walks. But we can’t live in the U.S. in 2019 and not suffer to some extent from Choice Anxiety.

Millennials, especially, are affected by this disorder. When you have a lot of choices, you struggle with FOMO– Fear Of Missing Out. What if the other one is better? What if I find one cheaper? What if I don’t like the one I picked?

FOMO leads to Choice Anxiety.

I happen to be a millennial, and I definitely suffer from both of these disorders to some extent.

Think about the number of choices you make every day– especially when it comes to purchases. Honestly, I sometimes melt down a little when I have to decide what to make for dinner…

What am I going to make for dinner? Now, I’m stressed, so I go to my computer and I type in, “essential oils to relieve stress.”

However, looking up essential oils to relieve stress is decidedly not a good stress reliever.

Did you know?

There are 520,000,000 results on Google for “essential oils.”

Amazon sells over 100,000 “essential oil” products.

How in the world do you pick which article to read, which website to peruse, and ultimately, which oils to buy?

Now, I’m having anxiety about choosing an essential oil to ease my anxiety. I don’t want you to ever have to go through this kind of thing… because I love you.

So, we at Organic Life Tips, decided to narrow your search down to the ten best, and ultimately the three best online essential oil brands, based on the following criteria.

Criteria for Assessing Essential Oil Brands

We started by narrowing down our list from the hundreds of online essential oil brands to just ten. We based this on popularity, online reviews, and reputation. Based on this initial research, we chose the following brands for our review:

  • Young Living
  • DoTerra
  • Edens Garden
  • Rocky Mountain Oils
  • Aura Cacia
  • Plant Therapy
  • Viva Naturals
  • GuruNanda
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • Now Essential Oils

We then deep-dived into each of these ten and ranked them for the following criteria.

  1. Availability: Do they offer a broad range of oils, or is their selection more limited? Do their oils come in a variety of size options?
  2. Manufacturing: Is the oil extracted using steam distillation, cold press, or solvent method?
  3. Purity: How pure is the product? Is it diluted? Are there any fillers in the product or is it pure essential oil?
  4. Organic: Are the plants grown organically and without harsh chemicals? Are they wildcrafted? Do they have organic certification including USDA certification and is this information clear and easy to find?
  5. Sustainability: What is the company’s commitment to the environment?
  6. Labeling & Packaging: Does the company clearly state the source for the oils, the purity, and the Latin or botanical name on its label? Does the company ensure that their product is packaged in dark, glass bottles? Do they promote safe use of their products on the label?
  7. Customer Service: Do they provide excellent customer service and adequate information for questions or issues? Does the company offer a money back guarantee and if so, for how long?
  8. Fair Trade & Charity Practices: What is the company’s employee and business practices? How do they give back to their community?

The information gathered in this informal study was generated mostly through web research. However, we also performed customer service inquiries, and gathered first-hand experience where appropriate. We did the digging, so you don’t have to think about it!

Ten to the Test

Here are the ten popular essential oil companies we put through our process. Now, you can get a super-condensed version of what we found without sifting through all the information yourself.

Young Living – Good

Young Living Essential Oils

Price 1 out of 5 stars

This is one of the more expensive brands out there. They do offer discounts if you become a member, but just to purchase retail, they are on the expensive side. This is often the case with multi-level marketing companies.

Availability 3 out of 5 stars

Young Living offers a wide variety of oils, including many different blends. You can find Young Living on their web site as well as on Amazon. However, most people buy their Young Living oils through YL’s multilevel marketing distribution line.

Manufacturing 4 out of 5 stars

Most of Young Living’s products are steam distilled from the best part of the plants. Some oils, such as their lemon essential oil, are cold pressed instead (as are most citrus oils).

Purity 4 out of 5 stars

Young Living’s oils are 100% pure, no additives or fillers. They do not seem to be diluted down at all. Young Living has a “Seed to Seal” promise that guarantees their products meet strict specifications.

USDA Organic: 0 out of 5 stars

Young Living oils are not USDA certified organic.

Sustainability 3.5 out of 5 stars

They own their own farms, but we were unable to find information about organic certification. However, one of their customer service representatives was able to tell us that they do not use any harsh chemicals on their plants. This, however, does not mean that there are no GMO’s or that their growers must adhere to strict organic standards.

Labeling & Packaging 3 out of 5 stars

Their product packaging is very clean and simple, and they use brown glass bottles. They do not disclose their botanical name or product sourcing on the bottles.

However, they clearly list a TON of product information on their website, including botanical name, purity, plant sourcing, safe uses, what blends you can find that oil in, what it pairs well with, and so much more!

Customer Service 4.5 out of 5 stars

Young Living was established in 1994. They offer a site credit for opened products that are returned if the customer is not satisfied. They also have an easy live chat on the website, or you can call the customer service line and reps are really quick to help when you need them.

It’s important to note that Young Living is a multi-level marketing company.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 0 out of 5 stars

We couldn’t find any specific information about Young Living’s employment, trade, or charitable giving practices.

DoTerra – Good

DoTerra Essential Oils

Price 1 out of 5 stars

This is another more expensive brand. Like Young Living, they are a multi-level marketing company and offer discounts if you become a member, but to purchase retail, they are on the expensive side.

Availability 3 out of 5 stars

DoTerra offers a wide variety of oils, including many different blends. Products are available through their DoTerra reps, at retail prices on the web site, and some are available on Amazon.

Manufacturing 4 out of 5 stars

DoTerra’s products are mostly steam-distilled, with the exception of their cold pressed citrus oils.

Purity 4 out of 5 stars

DoTerra’s oils are all 100% pure. The exception is their DoTerra Touch line. These are essential oils diluted with fractionated coconut oil. They come in 10ml roller bottles for direct application to the skin.

USDA Organic 0 out of 5 stars

DoTerra’s oils are not USDA organic. While they claim that their standards are stricter than the USDA Organic standards, nowhere do they say that their plants are grown on farms that do not use herbicides, pesticides, GMO’s or synthetic chemicals.

Sustainability 3 out of 5 stars

DoTerra does not own their own farms, but they source long-term with farms located in developing countries to provide jobs and ethical, economic stability to disadvantaged communities.

Labeling & Packaging 3.5 out of 5 stars

DoTerra product packaging is very clean and simple, and botanical names are listed on the bottle label. The DoTerra website also lists many oil details, including botanical name, oil history, plant sourcing, safe uses, and suggested uses. They even have a downloadable, printable PDF.

Customer Service 4 out of 5 stars

DoTerra was founded in 2008, and they are committed to their three company principles: dedication, integrity, and trust. It’s important to note that DoTerra is a multi-level marketing company.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 5 out of 5 stars

DoTerra partners with a number of different global humanitarian organizations through their “Co-Impact Sourcing” project and their Healing Hands Foundation.

Through these avenues, they build long-term, sustainable jobs and fair-trade relationships with farmers and distillers in 40 developing countries.

Edens Garden – Good

Edens Garden Essential Oils

Price 5 out of 5 stars

Edens Garden essential oils are more affordable than Young Living or DoTerra. The most expensive oils in the Edens Garden line are the very rare oils that are not used as often by the everyday essential oils user, such as Neroli or Melissa .

Availability 5 out of 5 stars

Edens Garden has an incredibly broad selection of oils in a variety of sizes. While membership is not required to get a great price, you save even more with their rewards program.

You can purchase Edens Garden essential oils on their website and on Amazon.

Manufacturing 4.5 out of 5 stars

Edens Garden uses steam distillation, cold press extraction (for citrus), and solvent extraction (only for delicate plant material). Most of their oils are steam distilled.

Purity 5 out of 5 stars

Their single oils line are undiluted, but they also offer a line of blends, roll-ons, etc. They focus on product quality by rotating their oil stocks and controlling stock oils temperatures and light exposure.

USDA Organic 3.5 out of 5 stars

Edens Garden offers six certified organic oils, including Peppermint, Lavender, and Eucalyptus. While the rest of their stock does not have a certified organic label, they do pledge that its products are 100% pure, unadulterated, and free of synthetics and that no pesticides, synthetic chemicals, herbicides, GMOs or harmful chemicals are ever used during any stage of the growing or distillation process.

It’s important to note here that many of Edens Garden source farms are in third world countries, and this makes obtaining an organic certification incredibly difficult. Even though they use organic practices, actual certification is beyond their reach logistically and financially. For this reason, Edens Garden cannot make the organic claim for all of their oils.

Sustainability 5 out of 5 stars

They aim to always keep their oil manufacturing as sustainable as possible. All their products are tested for safety and they clearly offer copies of these tests to consumers.

Labeling & Packaging 5 out of 5 stars

Edens Garden has gorgeous product packing, with a ton of information (including safe uses) on the label itself, something that many other oil companies do not do. They only package their oils in dark, glass-only bottles.

Customer Service 5 out of 5 stars

Edens Garden began in 2009 in California. They also do not list any affiliations that we could find.

They do not offer a live chat on their website, but they do have a contact page as well as their address, phone number, and an email address for their certified aromatherapist. Eden’s Garden’s offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for their products as well.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 3 out of 5 stars

We could not find anything about their trade policies however they do mention gving back including support of Christian-based “Teen Challenge” and “YWAM”.

Rocky Mountain Oils – Excellent

Rocky Mountain Oils

Price 4 out of 5 stars

It may seem at first glance that Rocky Mountain Oils are a little more expensive, but that’s because most of them are in 15ml bottles, so you’re actually getting more oil. They do have a rewards program, so your purchases give you points that help you save money on future orders.

Availability 5 out of 5 stars

They also offer a wide range of oils in a broad range of prices. The rarer oils may go all the way up to $150+! They also offer blends.

Rocky Mountain Oils are available on their Website and on Amazon.

Manufacturing 4.5 out of 5 stars

Many of the Rocky Mountain Oils are steam distilled, but there are also quite a few cold pressed oils.

Purity 5 out of 5 stars

Rocky Mountain Oils promises that there are no fillers in their products, and that they are 100% pure essential oils. They do offer easy-to-find product test reports to consumers on their website, both in detailed and simplified versions.

USDA Organic 4.5 out of 5 stars

Rocky Mountain Oils claims that all of their oils are 100% organically grown, Non-GMO, and that no toxins are used in any part of the process. They also carry certified USDA Organic oils.

Sustainability 5 out of 5 stars

Rocky Mountain Oils contracts with small family farms, and as part of their sustainability effort, they use 100% recycled packaging and offer the only brown-glass bottle recycling program in existence.

Labeling & Packaging 4.5 out of 5 stars

All of the oils are packaged in brown glass bottles. The product label includes the botanical name, but little else. This gives it a clean look, but lacks a little bit in the information area. However, all of the other information you could want can easily be found on their website.

Customer Service 5 out of 5 stars

Founded in 2004 by a group of wellness enthusiasts, Rocky Mountain Oil commits themselves to providing the purest oils with a focus on customer service.

Rocky Mountain Oils offers a 90-day money back guarantee, much longer than other brands. You can call the customer service line or send them an email, but there is no live chat.

Rocky Mountain Oil offers both a wholesale and an affiliate program.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 4.5 out of 5 stars

They are not certified fair trade, but do ensure that all of their suppliers practice fair trade values if they are not certified fair trade. Rocky Mountain Oils holds quarterly fundraisers and food drives, as well as conducts work at local homeless shelters. Additionally, they had an annual donation budget used to donate to charities and charitable organizations.

Aura Cacia – Fair

Aura Cacia Essential Olis

Price 4 out of 5 stars

This company’s prices are pretty fair. Not too expensive, not too cheap, but they offer a wide variety of the common oils (such as lemon oil) for not much more than very cheap amazon brands. They offer discounts for members, but there is no rewards program.

Availability 4 out of 5 stars

While they offer an array of sizes, their range of oils is more limited. They do offer a wide range of oil blends and other oil-based bath and beauty products. You can purchase Aura Cacia on their website and on Amazon.

Manufacturing 4 out of 5 stars

Again, most of their products are steam distilled with the exception of citrus oils, which are cold pressed.

Purity 3 out of 5 stars

Aura Cacia promises 100 purity, with no synthetics, fragrances, or parabens. However, their GCSM reports are not available online. While the label claims “tested for purity” it’s hard to find more information.

USDA Organic 4 out of 5 stars

Aura Cacia offers a large number of USDA certified organic oils as well as a pure essential oil line that is not certified organic. It’s simple to find their organics by typing “organic essential oil” into their website’s search engine.

Sustainability 3.5 out of 5 stars

They do not own their own farms, but they source with specific farms in the plant countries of origin, providing job opportunities to small farmers in underdeveloped countries.

Labeling & Packaging 4 out of 5 stars

Their dark brown glass bottles and simple labels are clean-looking. They have the botanical name on the back, and list a common effect (such as “Rejuvenating, or Energizing). Bottles list the country of origin and part of plant used.

Customer Service 3.5 out of 5 stars

Aura Cacia has been around for many years, starting out in 1982! They offer a 60-day return policy for refund or replacement. For customer service, they have a phone number or website email request form. No live chat, though.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 3.5 out of 5 stars

They have a program called the “Positive Change Project” that funds grants for organizations that support women and girls who are transforming their lives.

Plant Therapy – Excellent

Plant Therapy Essential Oils

Price 4.5 out of 5 stars

Plant therapy prices are relatively inexpensive. They offer subscription services and an oil of the month club that rewards you with a surprise oil every month.

Availability 5 out of 5 stars

Plant Therapy offers a wide range of oils both in certified organic and pure essential oils. They offer sizes 10ml, 30ml, 100ml, which is broader than most companies. You can purchase Plant Therapy on their web site and on Amazon.

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Manufacturing 5 out of 5 stars

Most of Plant Therapy’s essential oils are extracted using steam distillation. Like most companies, they use cold press to extract citrus oils. Very delicate plants are extracted using the solvent method, and Plant Therapy also offers some CO2 extracted oils.

Plant Therapy’s website offers a very detailed description of each extraction process.

Purity 5 out of 5 stars

Plant Therapy promises the highest quality oils in both their pure essential oils and their organics. Their GCSM reports are easy to access.

USDA Organic 4.5 out of 5 stars

Plant Therapy offers a full line of certified organic oils as well as a complete line of pure, therapeutic grade oils.

Sustainability 5 out of 5 stars

Plant Therapy is the first Essential Oil company to become a 100% EPA Green Power Partner.

Labeling & Packaging 5 out of 5 stars

Each label has information about the benefits of the oil, their batch specific code, and a Kid Safe seal for those oils that you do not need to keep out of reach of children. The brown glass bottles with clear, simple labels are aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Customer Service 5 out of 5 stars

Plant Therapy is dedicated to customer satisfaction. They offer a 90 day 100% satisfaction money back guarantee with free shipping and a full refund.

Plant Therapy was founded in 2009, selling their oils on their web site and now on Amazon. They also offer a wholesale and an affiliate program.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 5 out of 5 stars

Plant Therapy is committed to giving back. Through their Planting Kindness program, they have contributed to over 200 local and national outreach organizations.

While we couldn’t find specific information about their trade policies, we did find that they received Honorable Mention in the 2018 Best Places to Work in Idaho Program.

They also sport the very difficult to achieve Leaping Bunny certification, telling you that their products are completely cruelty free.

Viva Naturals – Fair

Viva Naturals Essential Oils

Price 4 out of 5 stars

Viva Naturals are relatively inexpensive oils.

Availability 1 out of 5 stars

Viva Naturals are not always easy to get. Some oils are sold out when we looked, including lavender, which is a very common oil.

In fact, it looks like they only offer Peppermint oil and a multi-pack of six essential oils along with carrier oils and diffusers. HOWEVER, you can find their lavender, orange, and lemon oils on Amazon (but not on their web site).

Viva Naturals is primarily a nutrition and supplement shop with a very limited selection of essential oils.

Manufacturing 0 out of 5 stars

We couldn’t find any information on how Viva Naturals manufactures their oils.

Purity 3 out of 5 stars

The label says that the oils are GCSM tested. But we did not find the GCSM reports online.

USDA Organic 5 out of 5 stars

All of their pure essential oils are USDA Certified Organic.

Sustainability 2.5 out of 5 stars

While their website claims a commitment to sustainability and purity, it’s difficult to find that information in any detail.

Labeling & Packaging 3 out of 5 stars

They bottle their oils in brown glass with clean, white labels. There is no botanical name on the label, but there is an organic seal. They also package their bottles in white boxes and include a dropper.

Customer Service 2 out of 5 stars

Their customer service consists of a help button on the web site that opens a form for email. We are unable to find any specific information about history or affiliations.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 0 out of 5 stars

We are unable to find any specific information about trade practices or charitable giving.

While we had thought this was going to be a fantastic option, it just didn’t stand up to the test. This is not one of our top oil choices.

GuruNanda – Good

GuruNanda Essential Oils

Price 5 out of 5 stars

GuruNanda is an inexpensive oil, and in fact, keeping cost down was the founder’s mission. In addition to being inexpensive, their subscription plan gives you an additional 5% off.

Availability 5 out of 5 stars

You can buy GuruNanda oils on their website and at Walmart, Sams, TJ Maxx, and on Amazon.

Manufacturing 3 out of 5 stars

While the website doesn’t list the manufacturing methods specifically, they offer a very interesting 16 minute video from the founder of GuruNanda showing an entire farm-to-distillery process.

Purity 4 out of 5 stars

Their promise is that the oils are 100% pure and natural from the farm to the bottle. GCSM reports are not readily available for pure oils.

USDA Organic 2 out of 5 stars

Some oils are organic, but they are not certified, so this is difficult to verify.

Sustainability 4 out of 5 stars

They have GC/SM reports done on the batches, but we are not sure about how easy it is to obtain those reports as they are not readily available for pure oils– only for blends.

Labeling & Packaging 5 out of 5 stars

They bottle their oils are in brown glass and label them clearly with colorful labels. The labels include common use for the oil, which is helpful, as well as the label on top of the lid. They also package their sets in nice wooden boxes.

Customer Service 3 out of 5 stars

Customer service is by phone or email.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 4 out of 5 stars

The founder works directly with the farms all over the world, building a coalition of farmers without a middleman. GuruNanda also financially supports an orphanage in India.

Mountain Rose Herbs – Excellent

Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils

Price 4 out of 5 stars

Prices are slightly higher for some oils, but lower for others.

Availability 4.5 out of 5 stars

Mountain Rose Herbs offers one of the widest selection of essential oils online, including the most size choices of any other company we researched.

Their oils are only available through their website, and there are often oils that are unavailable. We spoke with a world-renowned herbalist, who told us that this is due to their strict purity policies– they often turn down batches of herbs because they do not meet their quality standards.

You can buy them on their website.

Manufacturing 5 out of 5 stars

They list how each oil is manufactured as part of the individual oil description. Mountain Rose Herb processes each plant or flower with the best quality care utilizing steam distillation, cold press, or solvent extraction.

Purity 5 out of 5 stars

If you browse the Mountain Rose Herb website, you can find a detailed description of each essential oil, including a listing of which parts of the natural flower or herb was used, and what extraction method was used. For the aromatherapists among us, it tells you the aromatherapy note classification (whether it’s a base note, middle note or top note), which comes in handy, especially if you plan to blend your own essential oils.

USDA Organic 5 out of 5 stars

Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils are one of the largest USDA certified organic essential oil line-ups available in the market today.

Sustainability 5 out of 5 stars

They have a serious commitment to “People and Planet before Profit.” They purchase their oils from essential oil distillers they’ve fully vetted, with organic and sustainable agriculture at the forefront of their mission, and they have the certifications to back that up.

Labeling & Packaging 5 out of 5 stars

The brown glass bottles with light green and cream labels have a nice, organic, old fashioned look. The labels include all important informations, such as the scientific plant name, bottle size, organic specification, batch number, indications and warnings.

Customer Service 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Mountain Rose Herb company began in 1987, with their essential oils division beginning somewhere between 2001-2005.

They offer a 60 day return policy, but you have to pay for shipping. You can call, message, or email for customer service. While they are friendly when you speak to someone on the phone, you have to call between specific business hours and they provide no online chat support.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 5 out of 5 stars

Mountain Rose Herbs has one of the most extensive fair trade, eco-certified, and charitable giving lineups. You just need to go to the bottom of their website and click on any of the buttons under “Principles” and you’ll get an astounding list of organizations, certifications, and outreach efforts.

Now Essential Oils – Good

Price 4.5 out of 5 stars

Now Essential Oils are inexpensive, good quality oils. Their standard size is 30ml, so the price is for a large volume of oil.

Availability 4.5 out of 5 stars

Now offers a moderate selection of oils. You can find their essential oils online as well as at a number of brick-and-mortar retailers like Whole Foods, Better Health, Plum Market, Amazon, GNC, and more. You can also find them on Amazon.

On the NOW website, they sort their essential oils either by scent category or by usage, which is a nice touch. However, they have a limited organic selection and they only offer the 30ml size in many of their oils.

Manufacturing 3.5 out of 5 stars

NOW uses both steam distillation and cold press, never solvent extraction. However, there is limited information – again, a transparency issue.

Purity 3 out of 5 stars

While their FAQ sheet states that they perform extensive inhouse testing of their oils, GCSM reports are not available. They don’t even mention them in their “testing” section on the website. Their lack of transparency causes them to rank lower on the purity standard.

USDA Organic 3 out of 5 stars

NOW offers both pure essential oils and organic essential oils. Their organic oils are Quality Assurance International certified, but they have a limited line of organics.

Sustainability 5 out of 5 stars

They make a clear commitment to environmental sustainability through local and national efforts as well as a movement to decrease their carbon footprint.

Labeling & Packaging 5 out of 5 stars

NOW bottles their oils in brown glass bottles with clean white labels. The labels include a picture of the herb (which is pretty cool), as well as the botanical name.

Customer Service 4 out of 5 stars

NOW is a nutrition and supplement company founded in 1968. They are a large company with global sales, offering wholesale only for retailers, not small home based companies. Customer service is via an online form or a phone number.

Fair Trade & Charity Practices 4.5 out of 5 stars

All you need to do is click on their easy-to-navigate “About” page and you’ll find their sizeable commitment to charitable giving .

Simple Conclusions

So we evaluated 10 of the essential oil brands. And we have them ranked accordingly.

Before we go on, we need to let you know that we lowered the ranking of some of the companies, including NOW brand, simply because of their lack of transparency.

In this digital age, there’s no reason not to make information available. And we, as busy consumers, should not have to sift through large amounts of information only to find a vague reference to testing– but no actual report, for example.

And Edens Garden, a brand we actually love, wasn’t a top choice primarily because they are not “certified organic.” We didn’t want to do that, but we live in an age where the organic stamp means a lot to most people.

In conclusion, based on the criteria listed above, our awesome testing team at Organic Life Tips has determined the best three of these ten.

And the final three are… drumroll please…

Plant Therapy, Rocky Mountain Oils, and Mountain Rose Herbs!

…… But we didn’t stop there. We took these three and tested them further to see how they compare against one another. We ordered, shipped, opened, touched, tried, and smelled oils from these three oil companies to see which online essential oil brand best meets our average-oil-user standards.

See our testing team’s Exciting Results!

Essential Oils Test Team

If you have any questions, thoughts, or comments for us, please don’t hesitate to drop a line below. We’re all in this together, and we love hearing from you!

Here’s our summary essential oil brand comparison chart.

 

 

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