There are SO many essential oils companies out there, and with a lack of regulation (I.e. buzzwords can be thrown around with little to no meaning such as "pure" and "natural") it can be difficult to choose which oil company will best suit you and your family. If you are completely new to essential oils, I recommend reading my Everything You Want to Know About Essential Oils post to familiarize yourself with the history behind oils, different methods of making them, and different ways of using them, as understanding that will make what I am about to share even more powerful.
Seed to Seal
This is what sold me on Young Living. Like I mentioned before, there is no regulation on the bajillion essential oil companies, BUT Young Living created this Seed to Seal Promise. They are the ONLY company that owns their own farms, and thus are able to ensure the proper distillation and production of their oils from beginning to end. That, to me, is invaluable.
You may be thinking ok... Young Living could also be BS-ing this promise, right? Wrong. The company is SO transparent that you can actually go visit their farms located around the world and check out the distillation processes- how freakin' amazing is that!?
Quality Assurance Testing
To some, this may not mean much, but to me, quantitative measurements are important- science nerd here 🤓. They use NINE different tests to ensure that the oils are of the highest quality before allowing them to be passed along to consumers.
Gas Chromatography (GC)- determine the molecular composition of the oils to ensure that nothing exists that is not supposed to; also allows Young Living to track seasonal variations
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)- measures atoms' bond lengths providing a molecular "fingerprint"
Organoleptics- physical examination of oils' aroma, color, and appearance conducted by certified personnel
Optical Rotation- (this one really brings me back to organic chemistry) confusing concept, but in short, molecules rotate light differently so knowing how a molecule should rotate light will help scientists determine whether or not any adulteration has occurred
Refractive Index- measures light bending through an oil. If the oil is made up of the same molecules, it should all bend in the same manner- again, solving for any possible impurities
Specific Gravity- measures the oils' density in comparison to water
Microbiological Testing- determines that the oils have not been compromised by any harmful bacterial growth
Inductively Coupled Plasma/Mass Spectroscopy (ICP/MS)- determines if any heavy metals are present in the oils
Fill Tolerance- ensures that there is actually the amount of product in the bottles as stated by the label
If the oils do not pass any of these testings OR any of the third-party testings... sayonara! Yes, this means that the company loses money sometimes, especially if large batches are found to be contaminated and/or not up to standards (their products meet all AFNOR and ISO standards), BUT that is the price that Young Living is willing to pay to ensure that their customers are provided with the best oils on the market.
Therapeutic Grade Oils
Because of their distillation processes and immense regard for the well-being of their consumers, the oils that Young Living produces are therapeutic grade, as you may have guessed. I was looking into oils for systemic support, not just fragrance, which is where the importance of therapeutic grade oils comes in. HOWEVER, like other unregulated things, the word "100% pure" and "therapeutic" can honestly be tossed around with little regard, which is why it is so important to research the actual companies themselves and not simply choose an oil by glancing at the bottle's claims.
Almost (dare I say all) oils that you find at health food stores, Target, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, & Amazon are fragrance grade oils. If you've used these oils and not noticed a difference, the fragrance grade label is likely to blame. Companies that produce fragrance grade oils, distill them in a manner that does not bring out bring out all of the therapeutic constituents that exist when the oil is properly distilled. Without the existence of the proper constituents, the therapeutic properties will not exist even though the fragrance has been captured.