Essential Oil Adulteration
Sadly, essential oil adulteration is horrendously widespread. Beautiful, healing essential oils are routinely added to, chemically modified and, plainly and simply, transformed from the organic healing powerhouses they start out as, into chemically altered, toxic substances, which may smell okay to some, but are no good for anything, except for making eczema inducing laundry detergent smell marginally more agreeable, or something along those lines… There’s nothing like a chemical fragrance to cover up other noxious chemicals… quite the toxic towfer…! But, it’s surely a small price to pay for your whites never being so dazzlingly white…?
Sorry if I sound jaded, but it’s hard to remain upbeat when the scale of the problem is so widespread…
Last week I read that a large, and reliable natural skincare retailer believes 98% of all essential oils are adulterated. I have been working on the basis that around 75% have been rendered toxic, which was already a pretty hefty pill to swallow… The idea that 98% of essential oils are adulterated is altogether repugnant to me.
Check out who sells the best UK essential oils…
In This Article: Essential Oil Adulteration
- Wild As The Wind Essential Oils
- Frankincense & Myrrh
- Essential Oil Extraction
- Sandalwood Essential Oil & Rose Otto Essential Oil
- Essential Oils & The Skincare Industry
- How Are Essential Oils Adulterated?
- Methods Of Essential Oil Adulteration
- How To Detect If An Essential Oil Has Been Adulterated
- What Are Some Of The Chemical Adulterants Added To Essential Oils?
- What Are Synthetic Isolates In Essential Oils?
- Synthetically Engineered Rose Oil
- Best Essential Oils
- Using Essential Oils
Essential oil adulteration is, whilst accepted within the industry, absolutely NOT acceptable to Wild As The Wind. And, the reason for this is simple. All of the Wild As The Wind skincare and healthcare preparations have been formulated to exert optimally healing benefits. Toxic substances, in the form of adulterated essential oils will not only fail to improve our health, they will almost certainly worsen it. This is an anathema to me.
Simply transforming an essential oil into a fragrance oil, to enhance the sillage of the scent (ie. how far a fragrance can be dispersed), as well as creating a product which is aromatically consistent from one producer to another, and from one harvest to the next, will have a catastrophic effect on the original essential oil. In Essential Oils Versus Perfumes I explain…
Adulterated essential oils can be very toxic. They are even potentially carcinogenic, which really makes them no different to synthetic fragrances… [Conversely] essential oils, when produced via steam distillation or C02 extraction, which are then kept in their natural state after extraction, are immensely healing.
Wild As The Wind is rigorous in it’s efforts to ensure the quality of the essential oils we sell and use in our face oil blends and other products are of the highest quality possible. For example, our Frankincense Essential Oil and Myrrh Essential Oil, which provide many healing benefits in some of the Wild As The Wind product range, and for which there are many amazing reviews.
Frankincense & Myrrh
We sell two profoundly healing forms of Frankincense Essential Oil, in the form of Frankincense Carteri and Frankincense Serata. We also sell a lovely Myrrh that, like Frankincense, is made from the resin collected from trees found in far flung places around the globe. The essential oils are extracted from the resin via a process of steam distillation.
But, what makes Wild As The Wind Frankincense Essential Oil and Myrrh Essential Oil so different from so many other, less carefully produced essential oils, is that the resins are shipped to the UK and are then steam distilled for their essential oils.
The two Frankincense essential oils are not organic, but as they are from Somalia, they are grown without the use of pesticides, often in difficult to reach places at high altitudes.
Producing the essential oils in the UK ensures the purity of these oils. If the resins were distilled in Somalia, the chances are these essential oils would be tampered with
Here’s one example of what people say about the beautiful Frankincense Essential Oil we supply.
★★★★★ 5 Star Etsy Review: Pain and swellings have gone thanks to this miracle oil. The help from shop owner is amazing and I wish we could have these oils on NHS. I highly recommend this seller for her skill and knowledge and will purchase more items in the future.
Essential Oil Extraction
Essential oils are generally extracted via steam distillation, but they can also be extracted using solvents and via a process called C02 extraction.
An essential oil will be adulterated after it has been distilled or C02 extracted, not before.
But, conversely, essential oils extracted using solvents, (which we would never stock), are made toxic during the extraction process because it isn’t possible to use solvents to extract essential oils without leaving some solvent residues in the oils.
Because the resin for our Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oils is imported to the UK, and distilled here, this means that there is no adulteration in the country of origin. As The Frankincense Gum comes from Somalia, a country which has been brought to it’s knees financially, having lost it’s fishing rights off it’s shores, the temptation to adulterate any oils produced there must be great. This is why Wild As The Wind will not source essential oils that are distilled in Somalia from Somalia itself, and will only stock Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oils distilled in the UK.
Importing the resin is more costly than importing the small quantities of oils that are made from large quantities of resin, but we are unwilling to run the risk of sourcing adulterated stock by doing it any other way.
Sandalwood Essential Oil & Rose Otto Essential Oil
Sandalwood Essential Oil & Rose Otto Essential Oil are traded at very high prices. Fluctuations in price occur due to scarcity of raw material, problematic harvests due to unfavourable climactic conditions, and variance in the yield from the harvested plant matter.
Essential Oil extraction is an incredible art. For example, the Bulgarians are better than the Turks at ensuring a higher yield of oil from their roses than the Turks. This is because, amongst other things, the Bulgarians pick their roses before 10.00 a.m. when the oil content in the petals tends to be twice as high. The Bulgarians really are the alchemists of the essential oil industry, and it is why we use Bulgarian Rose Otto in our FACIAL OIL No. 2 and why we stock Organic Rose Otto Hydrosol Cleanser & Toner.
Rose Maroc Essential Oil, made with Roses grown in Morocco which are inferior to those grown in Bulgaria. This is why you will find Rose Maroc, usually as an absolute, (an adulteration performed for the perfume industry), in a lot of face oils… Even a lot of the face oils that are being touted as ‘natural’ use this adulterated oil.
It would be forgivable for a small producer to do this as there might be a chance of it being done mistakenly, but for the bigger brands to be doing it means that it’s 100% intentional, and all about profit.
It’s shameful… but…
It is oils that cost a lot of money that can make an unscrupulous essential oil trader a lot of money. It only takes a few drops of adulterous base oil, or synthetic isolate to appreciate a considerable profit on a small amount of oil. If an oil trader is selling by the kilo then the profits for adulterating these costly oils is huge!
Sandalwood Essential Oil is often mixed with essential oils such as Amyris, Cedarwood Atlas, Castor Oil (for it’s viscosity) and Copaiba.
It is also diluted with synthetic isolates: triacetin, benzyl benzoate and synthetic Sandalwood substitutes derived from alpha campholenic aldehyde.
When an essential oil, which is adulterated for the perfume industry, ends up in a conventional, branded scent, it really isn’t the most toxic ingredient in the bottle… by a long chalk!
In the article, Essential Oils Versus Perfumes, I reveal a whole lot more nasty things going on in branded perfumes.
Essential Oils & The Skincare Industry
But, the buying public are finally waking up to the fact that a lot of large skincare businesses are putting their own profits before the welfare of their customers. Thankfully, even the mainstream media is even willing to publish stories exposing the profiteering of the producers of these dangerous products at the expense of their customers wellbeing.
And, perhaps the worst of it…? Toxic chemicals, used by a lot of the big skincare companies, don’t even enhance the skin healing properties of the products. They are simply included to extend shelf life and preserve ingredients to increase profits by reducing waste.
The use of naturally derived ingredients in skincare products is seen as an indication of integrity on the part of the manufacturer, and the products are largely deemed more desirable. However, the cost of natural ingredients is considerably more expensive than synthetic ingredients, and so adulteration is widespread. You only need to look at the ‘greenwashing’ campaign mounted by the Soil Association to expose which companies are selling sub-standard synthetic products which are masquerading as green and clean.
How Are Essential Oils Adulterated?
The most common methods of adulterating essential oils are the addition of base oils, or the addition of a lower grade of the same oil. Some essential oils are made from plant matter that is distilled more than once. Sometimes the oil extracted during the third distillation of the plant matter may be added to the oil that was extracted from the first distillation process. This is the best form of adulteration from the consumers point of view, as the oil is ‘true’, albeit a slightly lesser grade, and there are no synthetic ingredients which can be very toxic.
The addition of cheaper essential oils from the same species of plant, or family of plants, is a very common practice.
For example, Geranium Bourbon / Rose, which is in our best selling product, FACIAL OIL No. 2, will be increased in volume by the addition of Chinese Geranium Oil. And, Patchouli Essential Oil, which is also in the Wild As The Wind FACIAL OIL No. 2, will be bulked out by the addition of Gurjan Balsam as well as vegetable oils, and Hercolyn D, which are the Patchouli and Vetiver distillation residues.
Patchoulli Essential Oil is often mixed with Cedarwood Essential Oil, Clove Essential Oil, as well as isolates such as terpenes, methyl abietate, and base oils such as Castor Oil and Gurjan Balsam Oil.
The addition of a base oil, like Sunflower Oil, Castor Oil or Sweet Almond, is another preferable form of adulteration because a non-toxic substance is being used. However, essential oils need to be pure and then diluted to the right degree of concentration if the healing benefits of the oils are going to be present.
On this basis alone the adulteration of essential oils is an abhorrent practice. To rob these beautiful healing oils of their ability to heal is a travesty.
The addition of bases, or reconstituted essential oil, (RCO), to genuine oils is usually performed to appreciate much greater profits for expensive oils, several of which are in Wild As The Wind’s flagship face oil: FACIAL OIL No. 2
Rose Essential Oil, Geranium Essential Oil, and Sandalwood Essential Oil all fregularly fall victim to this practice.
Methods Of Essential Oil Adulteration
Essential oil adulteration comes in many forms. Aside from the more preferable means of essential oil adulteration there are less desirable methods aplenty…
The use of alcohol and surfactants as well as emulsifiers is all very commonplace. To appreciate the detrimental effects of surfactants and emulsifiers on the human body we advise you to read Skincare Ingredients To Avoid on this website. But, that’s not to say that the use of alcohol is much better. They are all a bad lot!
Also, aside from the addition of base oils, like Sunflower Oil, and cheaper essential oils, the widespread use of synthetic isolates is throwing the entire essential oil sector into a position of disrepute!
Essential oil adulteration is not only criminal from a legal perspective, but it is also criminal from a medical and therapeutic standpoint.
We are going to rely increasingly heavily on essential oils for medical purposes in the future, and the current level of essential oil adulteration is therefore threatening the future health of everyone on the planet.
How To Detect If An Essential Oil Has Been Adulterated
If the volume of an oil is increased with a fatty oil, such as Almond or Coconut Oil, you can detect the thicker consistency of the essential oil or by the greasy appearance it has when poured.
If you know your essential oils the difference in colour would also be detectable in some cases.
A pure essential oil will not leave a greasy residue on tissue paper when dried.
A simple test to detect an emulsifier in essential oils is by placing a drop in water. Pure essential oils won’t sink. Instead they will float on the top of the water, whereas, emulsified essential oils will completely dissolve in water, usually producing a milky, cloudy liquid.
What Are Some Of The Chemical Adulterants Added To Essential Oils?
The following is a basic list of synthetic isolates / manmade chemicals used to perform essential oil adulteration:
- Benzyl Alcohol
- Benzyl Benzoate
- Diethyl Phthalate
- Dipropylene Glycol
- Hercolyn D
These adulterants can be revealed by aqueous alcohol solubility tests and via GC-MS reporting.
What Are Synthetic Isolates In Essential Oils?
Synthetic Isolates are considered to be ‘nature Identical’ synthesised products created to emulate an isolated constituent in a natural oil.
These synthetic Isolates are very cheap to produce and are used egregiously within the essential oil industry. Wild As the Wind will NEVER use synthetic isolates within our products.
Modern medicine also uses synthetic isolates to produce prescription drugs.
But, I’m guessing there’s very few surprises here!?!
It is now understood that prescription drugs, taken as prescribed, are the third biggest killer worldwide.
For further examples of this all you need to do is turn to Google.
I firmly believe that prescription drugs are being proven to be such big killers because the body cannot recognise synthetic substances. These synthetic substances can fool some people’s olfactory senses, and some chemical analyses tests, but I am convinced they cannot fool the body.
If a substance is not recongnised as an acceptable substance or a pathogen the body treats it as a foreign invader and mounts an attack. This keeps our body locked in a pointless immune response battle 24 / 7 which means that when a truly life-threatening bug comes along, or the production of cancer cells gets out of hand within our bodies, we have little or no resources to fight them.
Because these synthetic isolates are everywhere, from our perfumes to our laundry detergents, and within the vast majority of prescription drugs, the use of synthetic isolates is one plausible explanation for chronic and fatal diseases growing at the exponential rate at which they are currently escalating. Share with friends and family so that they can use essential oils more safely in future.
Synthetically Engineered Rose Oil
To synthetically engineer Rose Essential Oil, phenyl ethyl alcohol can be added, as well as rhodinol fractions.
A cleaner way of adulterating Rose Otto Essential Oil is to add Geranium Bourbon or plain Geranium Essential Oil.
Rose Otto is one of the key ingredients in FACIAL OIL No. 2 Anti-Aging Ultra, and if we used a synthetic version of this oil it would not possess the collagen and Acne healing properties that it possesses in abundance. A quick trip to our testimonials page will reveal how comprehensively healing the FACIAL OIL No. 2 Anti-Aging Ultra is.
Rose Otto Oil, or Rose Damascena Essential Oil, is the most expensive of all the essential oils. It’s estimated there are over 300 constituents which make up Rose Damascena Essential Oil, which sadly makes it relatively easy to substitute one or more of its chemical components.
Geranium Essential Oil, particularly Geranium Bourbon / Rose and Palmarosa Essential Oil are two of the most commonly used oils for substituting constituents in Rose Damascena / Otto Essential Oil.
Some of the floral absolutes also contains schiff’s bases.
Best Essential Oils
So how do you find the best essential oils?
Well, although we would never advocate using price as the ultimate way of determining quality, there is one thing for sure, you will never be able to buy a pure essential oil cheaply.
Wild As The Wind do not sell an oil for less than £5.00, and whilst we don’t stock it as a separate item, if you are seeing Rose Otto Essential Oil for less than £350.00 it should be treated with a degree of suspicion.
There are many ways of using essential oils to heal and improve quality of life.
Most people buy them primarily for burning or diffusing.
But, used in skincare products, essential oils can be extremely healing.
Increasing number s of people are switching on the the healing properties of the essential oils in their skincare products, and we also advocate that you keep a few essential oils on hand to use for medical emergencies.
If you know of an essential oil adulteration instance, or you have used adulterated essential oils please let us know in the comments or via social media. If you found this information useful please share it with friends and family to ensure they can make their best efforts to avoid using essential oils that have been adulterated.