From aromatherapy to perfume, cleaning, and cosmetics—essential oils are an ancient ingredient that is having a moment in modern culture. The term "essential" is a bit of a misnomer, it's used colloquially because it contains the "essence" of a plant's fragrance, not because it's in any way nutritional.
Essential oils are retrieved from plants using either cold pressing or steam distillation—they are extremely potent and concentrated. (Which means they're super-strong when you take a deep, direct whiff!)
Practitioners of aromatherapy believe that certain scents can inspire emotional and physiological responses, and use pure forms and blends of essential oils to elicit a certain response or "treat" a condition. But what does that mean?
Essentially, "molecules of the oil are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, they are said to influence the nervous system and brain areas (such as the limbic system) and affect hormones, brain chemicals, metabolism, and other body functions," according to an article from Verywell. They are said to help ease stress and help you sleep, among other benefits (though it's important to note that in many cases further study is needed, so they should not be used as replacement for standard medicine).
Whether you want to shop for essential oils for your aromatherapy diffuser, a homemade wearable scent or to improve your home's feng shui, it's important to be an informed shopper. Poor quality or diluted essential oils can be ineffective or spoil easily.
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Enfleurage's tagline is, "aromatics from the natural world" which just sounds so inviting, doesn't it? Along with pure essential oils and blends, they also offer perfumes, incense, roll-ons, and nutrient-rich carrier oils—which are oils like argan, calendula and rosehip seed—that you can use to dilute essential oils before you apply them to your skin. Carrier oils nourish and protect the skin, adding to the benefits of essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, sandalwood and more.
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You depend on Target for just about anything else, so why not source your essential oils from them, too? Target carries more than 15 brands of essential oils, so you'll want to do your research ahead of time. We recommend visiting the website of the individual brand you're interested to see how and where they are sourcing their oils and to make sure they are 100 percent pure, and not diluted.
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We love Plant Therapy because they carry more than 100 different pure essential oils. Plus, their super helpful site is chock full of instructional information and facts about oils. For example, did you know that it's estimated that there are about 10,000 aromatic plants on Earth? And of those, only about 500 are processed commercially for essential oil extraction.
Plant Therapy offers pure oils, organics blends, fragrance, diffusers and even has a special badge for kid-friendly oils.
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GNC sells four different brands of essential oils: Nature's Answer, SpaRoom, Now Solutions and North American Herb & Spice. They come in a variety of sizes and packages—you can find bundles designed to target certain conditions like sleep and relaxation, energy and more.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Vitamin Shoppe offers an impressive variety of essential oils from 11 different brands, including their own in-house brand. A helpful tip when shopping for essential oils is to note that due to the difficulty of the extraction process or scarcity, they should vary in price. For example, a .5 oz bottle of orange essential oil from Aura Cacia is about $3, while a .5 oz bottle of frankincense oil from the same brand is about $20.
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Another single-brand site, we love how beautiful and inviting Vitruvi's website is. Like Enfleurage, they sell essential oils, blends and diffusers are well as carrier oils you can use on their own or mix with essential oils to apply to your skin. They encourage DIY projects like using your oils to create at-home face oils, cleaning with them, infusing dryer sheets and even creating your bug repellent!
Vitruvi Single-Origin Geranium Essential Oil, $18, Vitruvi