November 18, 2015

Oily Post #2: The Importance of Essential Oil Purity

Lately I have seen a lot of companies that are adding essential oils in to their repertoire of merchandise, and while I think it's GREAT that more people are hopping onto the oily train, I do feel compelled to share some things that I have learned about essential oils and specifically about how not all oils are created equal!
I learned this lesson the hard way and at my little 3-month-old's expense about a year ago. Last year I was just starting to hear about essential oils and since we were using cloth diapers, I realized that it made sense to use cloth wipes too rather than using disposables because it was much easier to just throw everything into the same wet/dry bag rather than the diaper in the wet bag and the wipes in the trash. Not to mention, it was simply a lot cheaper to not have to buy wipes period! That being said, it meant that I was going to need some sort of baby wipe solution to use along with the wipes. A friend of mine shared this wipe solution recipe with me:

Baby Wipe Solution
1 c water
1 T Dr. Bronner's castille soap
1 T coconut oil
4-5 drops essenial oils (lavender, tea tree)

Okay, here come all my novice mistakes. The first mistake I made was thinking "who the heck is Dr. Bronners??" and assuming that it was probably just some random brand of baby soap so, hey, Johnson's baby wash should be the same kind of thing, right? WRONG! (Since then I have completely fallen in love with Dr. Bronners...)
But the second mistake I made was the more significant. I assumed that all essential oils are created equal. Wrong again! In a jiffy, David and I were off to Trader Joe's to buy some tea tree oil because Trader Joe's has everything and Trader Joe's is perfect and Trader Joe's is 100% trustworthy! If you know me at all, you should know that I LOVE TRADER JOE'S, so for me to admit they could possibly be lacking in an area is a really big deal haha

This is the tea tree oil that I found when on my quest. It was around $4. I was not educated on essential oils at all (zip!), so I didn't even notice some key things on the label like "SPA" or the fact that there were additional ingredients listed aside from the actual tea tree oil.
(Side note: In Trader Joe's defense, I do think that they represented their product honestly. It was exactly what they advertised, so the fault was really all mine. I just hadn't done my research.)
Well, I brought this tea tree oil home and whipped up my own version of the baby wipe solution in no time. There were no immediate side effects the first time that I used it on Rye's little 3-month-old bum, but when I changed her diaper next, I was appalled to find her bum completely red!! We figured out pretty quickly that her red bum was connected to the new wipe solution, and this is what prompted me to be more thorough in my research.
I talked to my good friend, Courtney, about essential oils and asked if she had any tea tree oil that I could buy. I had heard her talk about essential oils before and how she uses them daily in her family's life, and she is just a super knowledgeable person when it comes to home and family and basically anything!! (She was a huge source of knowledge when it came to pregnancy and breastfeeding too!) She was the right person to consult! She knew SO MUCH about oils, and it was through her that I learned about essential oil purity and quality, and how you don't want to just go out and buy any old product with the words "essential oil" on it because, as I said before, "not all essential oils are created equal!"
The company that she introduced me to was Young Living. I had never heard of Young Living before. The only official essential oils company that I had heard of prior to this was doTerra. (They are really great at marketing!!) But when I did my research and compared the two companies, I was shocked to find that doTerra was actually started by people who used to be employed by Young Living, but then broke off and started their own essential oils company using some of Young Living's "trade secrets." There is actually currently a lawsuit going on about the whole situation, and I don't know all the details, but what became clear to me was that I didn't want to invest in a company that was founded under dishonest circumstances because it could easily mean that they are dishonest when it comes to the production of their essential oils too!
(Disclaimer! This is my own personal decision, and I do not look down on people who choose to use doTerra! Also, there are constantly updates going on regarding this situation, so if you want the most accurate information, please be sure to do your own research regarding the lawsuit too! Here is a website that I learned a lot from regarding this whole thing and also keeps a pretty updated account of where the lawsuit is at.)

That brings me to the whole idea of essential oil purity and quality. With Young Living, I learned that they are very open about their essential oil process. Anyone at any time can go and visit a lavender farm, for example, and observe the process of how it is transformed into lavender oil. The company was founded decades ago in 1993 - unlike some of their competitors who are only a few years old, and Young Living is known for its "Seed to Seal" process, which means that they oversee every single step from the plant seed all the way to the point where the oil has been sealed and is ready to go! They never add anything additional in to their essential oils. If it is lavender oil or tea tree oil, the only ingredient listed will be lavender or tea tree!!

So when David and I joined the "oily side," we realized that in order to have that kind of grade of essential oil, it wasn't going to be found for $4 at any old store. But we decided that it is worth any additional expense because we know that what we are getting can be trusted and is quality and that is what we want for our family and in our home.
All this to say, when I see new companies that are advertising their new essential oils line, it does make me cringe thinking of all those clueless people who don't know what they are doing and are getting tricked into buying something that isn't what they think! That was me just a year ago! But thankfully, through trusted friends, books, research, and good ol' Google, I've been able to acquire a much better grasp of what this oily craze is all about, and make educated decisions in order to advance the wellness and health of my family! I still have a lot to learn about essential oils, but for now I just wanted to share my two cents about essential oil quality in a nutshell. I feel like I owe it to the people who are perhaps pondering EOs and on the edge of their seats about to head out to the nearest grocery store in search of some crappy quality tea tree oil! ;)
Thanks for "listening" to me ramble - and remember that just a year ago I was the one with a red-bum kid!


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