Not all essential oils are created equal. They often undergo very different distilling processes, resulting in the creation of oils with varying benefits and often have different scents. This is why essential oils come in different grades. While there's no official governing body that makes essential oil standards in Australia, there is somewhat of a general consensus and a few “unofficial” standards. Here are a few examples of essential oil grades that you should know about.
Grade A - Therapeutic Grade
Grade A essential oils are used for therapeutic applications and often have a high concentration of therapeutic constituents. This grade is often found in medicines, dietary supplements and health products. Therapeutic grade oils are farmed and distilled with the main purpose of inducing wellness. The scent of the oils isn't that important. Instead, the distilling process for this grade is designed to preserve the working action of the oil, which is what makes it effective for wellness and therapy. This isn't the grade if you're simply looking for a scent.
Grade B - Food Grade
Grade B essential oils are often used in cooking applications and have a pleasant scent. These oils are also high in quality and used to dilute the intensity of Grade A oils in skincare applications. Food grade essential oils are often obtained through steam distillation and are best for creating beautifully scented concoctions for homemade beauty products. If you're making a lotion, soap or carrier oil, this is probably the grade you want. These oils aren't always available, as producing a higher grade oil is the priority.
Grade C - Perfume Grade
Grade C essential oils are more likely to be used in the perfume industry, although they can be used similarly to Grade B oils. Perfume grade oils are extremely high quality, but the scent is often exaggerated to fill a room. If you're making a perfume, this is probably the grade you want. You should always use a very small amount in a bottle with perfume grade oils. You can obtain this grade essential oil from steam or water distillation.
Cosmetic grade essential oils are also high quality and often have a potent scent. They're often expeller and cold-pressed, which helps to preserve the scent. Cosmetic grade oils are found in many essential oil blends on the market and are often the most potent form of the oil. If you're making face oil, toner, or face mist, this is the grade.
It's easy to see why Grade A oils are the most expensive. However, it's important to note that the grade of the oil doesn't always correlate to its quality or efficacy. It's also worth noting that even essential oils within the same grade can have different uses. In fact, it can be useful to combine oils within the same grade if you're looking for a specific result.
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