Imagine this. Your friend has almost won you over to try out an essential oil she adores, but when you go to actually hunt it down, things get complicated. The claims on the bottle, like ‘100% Pure’, ‘100%’ Natural’, ‘All-natural’, ‘Pure & Natural’, all sound like variations of the exact same thing - but with different price tags, leaving you totally confused. Is $15 Lavender oil the same as the one in the $29 bottle? Is it all spin, or is there actually a difference?
Reaping the full powers of nature
Let’s first define essential oils. In a nutshell, essential oils are botanical extracts obtained through the distillation or expression of plant parts, such as twigs, leaves, flowers or stems.
Now when it comes to essential oil purity, frustratingly, there is no clear-cut, universal definition. But, as a guide, an Aromatherapist would be seeking out all-natural or 100% natural essential oils and may also have a preference for ‘organic’ or ‘wild harvested’ and all of these terms would indicate a certain quality and purity. However, if you are not an Aromatherapist or skincare manufacturer, how do you know what the quality is, where in the world an essential oil has been harvested and processed or if it is indeed from the actual plant? You don’t!
The reality is that even though a Lavender oil you find in a store may have the correct INCI name (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) it may be a Nature Identical (aka Commercial Grade) essential oil that has been synthetically created in a laboratory. Because – guess what – this oil, a blend of lavender and synthetic components, also shares the same INCI name as authentic high-altitude lavender: Lavendula Angustifolia.
One of the two just happens to cost around 5 times more than the other and has actually been extracted from the living plant. Extremely misleading and it should be illegal, but it's not!
Sharon knows all too well what can happen at the wholesale end of the supply chain, but the average person does not. You have to do your own research and buy trusted essential oil brands that have built a reputation over many years. And those trusted brands sometimes charge a little more but it’s worth it. Remember, they have more to lose if they don’t maintain the high standards their customers have come to expect.
When it comes to the authenticity and purity of essential oils, especially those used in skincare formulas, you can see why getting the real deal from the natural source matters. Pure essential oils are set apart because they deliver the therapeutic benefits you’re after, without the synthetic additives which can irritate or harm your skin.
Fragrance oils should only be used in room fresheners, cleaning products and candles but due to their price, unscrupulous manufacturers motivated purely by profit use them because “Who will know?”
This is the very reason essential oils have received bad press in recent times because using low-grade, adulterated essential oils or synthetic fragrance oils does increase the possibility of a skin reaction considerably. As both the 'green' and 'white label' beauty industries continue to expand globally, expect this trend to continue as bad choices are made to improve the bottom line!
The price you pay
There’s a hierarchy of essential oils, even if you discount the artificial and focus purely on the natural but regardless, choices made at MV are never based on price, only ever on quality, aroma (as Sharon has a very well-honed nose) and ultimately, the transparency of the supplier.
Sharon travels the world to source directly from the grower where possible or to purchase close to the source. So, the exquisite oils at the heart of our formulas take one of several different routes from their botanical sources to your bathroom cabinet. In every instance, we use the highest quality ingredient example, while focusing on sustainability and potency. This is how we achieve the results we do.
All in all, Mother Nature is always going to be idiosyncratic. It’s exactly what we love about her, right? But we understand that you want consistency and dependability from your skin products which is why we go to great lengths to source the finest, most reliable essential oils. Because creating therapeutic skincare is more than a science. It’s an art form, and one we’re proud to continue perfecting.
Sharon’s latest find
Speaking of ‘going to great lengths’, with French High-Altitude Lavender playing a key role in MV’s essential oil blends, Sharon’s determination to source direct finally paid off post Covid with her first overseas trip in four long years being to The Louberon in Central Provence. The Lavender farm and distillation facility Sharon discovered has been family owned and operated for generations and just happened to produce what she described to her team 12,000 miles away as the most exquisite lavender she’d ever inhaled. However, our founder’s powers of persuasion were put to the test as exportation to Australia was not part of their plan. We are now happy to report this beautiful single origin Louberon lavender has pride of place in our special temperature-controlled storeroom on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.