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Essential Oil Label Reading: How to Reduce Overwhelm

When first introduced to alternative methods—such as essential oils—it is so easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many types and brands and sizes and purposes. I have written a post to help reduce the overwhelm a little.
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Introduction

When first introduced to alternative methods—such  as essential oils—it is so easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many types and brands and sizes and purposes. To reduce the overwhelm a little, I have written a post to help you to know what you are reading when you read an essential oil label. More specifically, what oil are you actually buying when you buy the bottle of oil.

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Overview

I am a big fan of label reading. But we need to be careful when reading them. Among other things, we need to keep in mind the ingredients are listed in descending order. As an example, I want to refer to pistachio pudding. If you look at the front of the box, it will say “pistachio artificial flavor.” Upon further investigation, if you read the back of the box, it lists these ingredients.

Ingredients: Sugar, Modified Cornstarch, Almonds, Contains Less than 2% of Disodium Phosphate, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Pistachios, Salt, Artificial Color, Cottonseed Oil, Mono- and Diglycerides, Artificial Flavor, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, BHA as a Preservative.

It is called pistachio pudding even though there are more almonds in it than pistachio!

Pistachio and twelve other items make up only 2%.  

Let’s take this idea and see how it applies to reading labels for essential oils.

Decorative picture of essential oils bottles next to some flowers

How Most Essential Oils are Used

There is only a handful of essential oils that are used straight. Most of them require dilution with a carrier oil. (I have also used essential oils in water for mister bottles.) Because of the need for carrier oils, some essential oils you may buy may not be full strength. Since it needs to be diluted anyway it shouldn’t be too discerning, but it is good to know what you are buying. It is also good to know if something more was added to the oil.

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Decorative picture of essential oils bottles next to some flowers

Understanding What You Are Reading

Example 1: 100% pure essential oil

Essential Oil Name 100% pure—The only ingredient that should be listed for ingredients is the oil.

Eucalyptus Oil label showing the only ingredient is eucalyptus oil and its scientific name

Example 2: 20% oil blend

Essential Oil Name + something like 20% oil blend—The essential oil has been added to a carrier oil (For example: jojoba, olive oil, or avocado are very commonly used.) 

Label of myrrh oil blend showing ingredients of a carrier oil and myrrh

Example 3: Only oil name

Essential Oil Name onlyIt is diluted already in a carrier oil and/or something else could be added to it as well, but not always the case.

NOW brand essential oil of vanilla in jojoba label showing it is pre-diluted and ready for use.

Example 4: Name of purpose

Name of Purpose, Not Name of Oil—All the ones I have seen have always been blends of different essential oils.

NOW brand essential oils Peaceful Sleep blend label showing six different oils are used to make this oil blend

Example 5: Name of oil and word fragrance

Essential Oil Name and the word fragrance—It could either be diluted already in a carrier oil, OR it could have other ingredients included.

Label of NOW brand jasmine fragrance oil showing the ingredients are jasmine oil with other fragrances (synthetic)

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Decorative picture of essential oils bottles next to some flowers

Experiences I’ve Had

Myrrh Oil: I was glad it came as a 20% blend, because in pure form it was super thick and difficult to manage. It was sticky and dried quickly.

Jasmine Oil: For a season, I was unable to use this oil. It may have been what it helped my body fight or it may have been the extra ingredients it had.

Benefits of Blends: If I did not know what type of essential oil I needed, it was handy to be able to just look at the purpose of the oil name to know what to select.

Another benefit of buying combo oils: Buying prediluted or blends is lower initial cost if you are trying to stock up on a variety of essential oils.

Conclusion

Overall, I believe it is a win-win having so many options available as long as we are carefully reading the labels and understanding what we are reading. I also think they need to be treated like supplements…seek medical advice because there are so many factors involved in using these amazing healing oils.

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Cyndi Whatif
Cyndi Whatif

I am a patient turned author and guide. I share my hypothesis of an overlooked complementary body system which I believe determines whether or not a person has the opportunity to be well.

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