If asked which ten items I'd want to have with me if marooned on a deserted island, three of the ten would probably be essential oils. I have a diffuser going in my apartment 24/7, my collection has outgrown its home three times now, and my boyfriend affectionately refers to me as "The Witch Doctor" whenever I whip one out of my purse. Needless to say, I'm a huge believer in the healing benefits of the best organic essential oils, but I'm also hyper-aware of the dangers associated with poor-quality ones.
Words like "natural" and "organic" get tossed around constantly in regards to beauty, food, and health products — but the truth is that these words don't mean much of anything right now. In America, there is no certified definition of the word "natural" when used on branding labels and ingredient lists, so companies can make these claims as often as they want with little repercussions.
When shopping for quality essential oils, however, purity becomes even more of an issue. That's because essential oils are concentrated essences of the plant, so when harmful chemicals or pesticides are used in their making, those become concentrated, too — and given that you're breathing them in, applying them to your skin, or ingesting them, this totally defeats the purpose of your alternative health practices.
A good place to start is with the USDA-Certified Organic stamp, which means that the company uses only safe, approved processes and materials while creating their product. It's also important to look out for additives, fillers, and carrier oils, which not only compromise the purity, but could also mean that you're paying $15 a bottle for something that's mostly coconut oil.
All of the oils listed here meet strict standards to ensure that you're getting a good-quality product without harmful chemicals or fillers. Most are USDA-certified organic, and some are even better. I've also broken them down into two categories: individual oils for specific purposes, and the best essential oil sets. That way, you can find exactly what you're looking for when it comes to your aromatherapy, health, and DIY needs — all without compromising on quality.
1. For Mental And Physical Well-Being
Frankincense has been called "the holy grail of essential oils" because it has some pretty astounding health benefits, both mentally and physically. Studies have found that it's capable of inducing timely apoptosis, meaning that it can prevent and potentially kill cancerous cells. It also has anti-inflammatory and skin-healing effects, so it's a staple in skin-care. When it comes to mood benefits, one study even reported that it was able to reduce pain and prompt relaxation in women during labor.
For all those reasons, frankincense is usually one of the most expensive oils, but despite its USDA-organic stamp, Prime Natural frankincense is available for just $12. Reviewers say the smell is "breathtaking," and call it their "natural skin illumination" because it creates a "drastic difference" in the brightness of their complexion. When put in a diffuser, it's also an amazing way to boost your mental well-being — specifically during meditation or yoga.
2. To Induce Sleep And Relaxation
You can find lavender in just about everything right now, including bath bombs, soaps, aromatherapy masks, and candles. It's all thanks to its impact on the nervous system — namely how it induces a parasympathetic response, which is another term for a state of rest and relaxation. When inhaled, it's thought to interact with the amygdala and hippocampus to boost your mood and ease anxiety.
Plant Therapy lavender essential oil is pure, undiluted, and therapy-grade in addition being USDA-certified organic. It's great for use right before bedtime, and reviewers say that a few drops in the bath work wonders when it comes to "[relaxation] and [easing] sore muscles."
3. For DIY Soaps And Beauty Products
Defined as the hybrid of a sour orange and a lemon, Bergamot is a fruit used for its essential oil, and it's really common in perfumes and beauty products thanks to its sweet, citrusy smell. Since it's also antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and capable of improving your mood, this oil is an awesome pick if you make your own homemade soaps, deodorants, and cosmetics. It's also effective in balms and chapsticks, as it can heal wounds.
Made with only pure, cold-pressed Bergamot, this Bergamot essential oil is USDA-certified and comes in a tinted glass bottle with a dropper for simple, precise use. Reviewers say it "smells amazing," so much so that you can "wear this oil as a perfume right out of the bottle."
4. For Cleaning And Deodorizing
The scent of lemon has long been associated with cleaning products, but when used in concentrated essential oil form, it's an extremely effective way to keep your home sparkly and germ-free. That's because, in addition to its uplifting scent, lemon is naturally antimicrobial.
L&I Apothecary lemon essential oil is food-grade, undiluted, and steam-distilled to preserve all the benefits. It can be used in a diffuser to instantly freshen up your space, but it can also sanitize your wooden cutting boards, clean your counters and appliances, and even de-streak your windows when mixed with vinegar.
5. To Tackle Mold, Fungi, Bacteria, And Odors
Tea tree oil is a really power anti-fungal and anti-microbial, which is why it's common in foot scrubs, natural toothpastes, and cleaning products. It can also destroy odor-causing germs and help to treat infections, so it's a good option for your diffuser come flu season.
Aetos organic tea tree oil is certified non-GMO as well as therapeutic-grade, so its safe for skin application alongside a carrier oil. You can also use it to ease insect bites, tackle acne, get rid of lice, and keep your home clean and bacteria-free. One reviewer writes, "Three days ago I applied this Aetos essential oil to a stubborn case of Athlete's foot and it is practically gone."
6. For Repelling Bugs
Rosemary is known for its concentration-boosting effects, making it a good pick for the diffuser when you're studying or working. However, it's also effective for repelling bugs like moths, fruit flies, mosquitoes, lice, and other flying insects — plus it can be safely used as a pesticide on plant leaves to deter aphids and mites.
Since it's USDA-certified and GC/MS tested, Nature's Oil rosemary essential oil is one of the highest-quality options on the market. It's even guaranteed to have never been exposed to pesticides during any stage during its growth or production process, as per its Oregon Tilth-certified label.
The Best Organic Essential Oil Sets:
7. For A Budget-Friendly Buy
Many affordable essential oils are diluted in bases and carrier oils or use poor-quality plants to cut production costs. Essens Oils Essence Of Wellness set is a great option for someone who's on a budget, but still wants to start off their essential oil collection on the right foot. All the oils here are pure and undiluted, as well as non-GMO, certified organic, and vegan-friendly.
- Oils in this set: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Stress Relief Blend
8. To Ensure The Highest Quality
USDA-organic is one of the most common certifications used to tell if a product is a high-quality, but it's not the only one. The oils in doTERRA's Family Essential kit exceed industry standards because they're tested using a strict CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade protocol. Not only are they harvested from the highest quality plants at the optimal time, but the temperature and pressure is closely monitored during distillation. This ensures that the oils retain the most healing benefits possible, making this set an extremely high-quality option for diffusion, topical use, and ingestion.
- Oils in this set: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Frankincense, Deep Blue, Breathe, DigestZen, On Guard
9. For Diffusion And Aromatherapy
So far, the ANISAFRONA essential oil gift set has a shocking 4.8-star rating. They go through rigorous testing to ensure quality, are made without fillers and additives, and are USDA-certified organic. According to reviewers, they're a great option for diffusion because they're extremely potent and smell wonderful. "I could sense the purity of these oils in the aroma they exude within minutes of putting [them] in the diffuser," one reviewer raves.
- Oils in this set: Lemongrass, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus Glob, Orange, Tea Tree
10. To Get The Best Overall Value
As you've likely noticed, expanding your essential oil collection can get pretty expensive. If you're just starting out or you go through oils fast, consider this set from Plant Therapy. It comes with seven individual oils and seven blends for only $57, meaning that each bottle comes in at a little more than $4 each. You won't find this kind of deal anywhere else — especially since Plant Therapy is a trusted brand that uses only pure and therapeutic-grade ingredients. If that's not enough to sway you, it comes in an pretty wooden box and has over 400 reviews.
- Oils in this set: Lavender, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Germ Fighter, Immune-Aid, Tranquil, Invigor-Aid, Sensual, Relax, Energy
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