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What to look for and what to watch out for when shopping for aromatherapy products...
The word aromatherapy has caused a lot
of debate since the time the word was first used in 1928. The term
aromatherapy falsely implies that the aroma of essential
oils is all that is used. The field of aromatherapy, however, also
utilizes essential oils and other aromatic botanicals for the many
other therapeutic benefits that they offer. For instance, tea tree
acts as a natural germ fighter. German chamomile essential oil is
a more potent anti-inflammatory than the other chamomiles, but does
not smell as delightful as English or Roman chamomile. German chamomile
is used in massage and other formulations to ease sore muscles.
The other chamomiles also offer anti-inflammatory properties, but
are less potent than the German.
(Visit AromaWeb's Oil Profiles area for details and brief monographs on over 90 essential oils.)
Products that include synthetic ingredients are frowned upon in holistic aromatherapy. Such products do not offer the full therapeutic benefit as natural products.
To obtain the optimal therapeutic benefit of the products that you use, it is important to pay attention to ingredient and product labeling, product descriptions and marketing claims.
The use of the word aromatherapy in product marketing is not regulated in the United States, and many companies are cashing in unfairly by using the word in a manner that is inconsistent with the origins of the term. Regardless of the ingredients contained in a product, any manufacturer can utilize the word aromatherapy in their labeling, packaging and marketing materials.
The situation is unfortunately one of "buyer beware," but armed with the background information and tips described below and by reading the How to Buy Essential Oils article, you will be able to experience the wonderful benefits of holistic aromatherapy products. Read on to gain a solid foundation that will help you shop for and select quality aromatherapy products:
Read Ingredient Lists
Read labels and familiarize yourself with the names of healthy natural ingredients and also of synthetic and toxic ingredients that you need to avoid. The Harmful Skincare Ingredients article provides details regarding the most common toxic ingredients found in skin care products.
In the U.S., most cosmeceutical/skin care products that fall into certain categories, need to include an ingredient list that follows specific naming conventions (abbreviated as INCI - the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients). For those products that don't legally require a list of ingredients, reputable companies should still reveal them. If a product or Web site doesn't list the ingredients, ask for the list or shop elsewhere. Reputable aromatherapy companies realize that the use of the word aromatherapy is not regulated in the U.S. and they realize that they are competing with companies that skew the original intention of the meaning of the word. Resellers of natural aromatherapy products also realize that savvy consumers want to know exactly what ingredients are contained in their products. Having said that, those who manufacture aromatherapy products, however, are sometimes hesitant to publicize their ingredient lists because they are afraid other companies may steal their formulations or aromatic blend combinations. It's a reasonable fear and definitely a buyer's beware dilemma for consumers.
a highly useful reference to over 6,000 ingredients used in aromatherapy,
skin care and cosmeceutical products, buy the following book:
Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information
About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and
by Ruth Winter, M.S.
Click Here for More Info
Learn About the Company/Individual That You Are Purchasing From
Spend a little time exploring the Web sites of the companies that you are interested in purchasing from. Most reputable aromatherapy suppliers provide details about their company history, their organizational affiliations, and the educational background of those that formulate their products. Detailed product descriptions that include ingredient lists and descriptions of the benefits of each ingredient are especially helpful.
Use extra caution when purchasing natural or
aromatherapy-specific products from companies that do not focus
the majority of their business on natural product manufacture
I am not suggesting that you avoid or boycott such companies, but there is greater likelihood that the aromatherapy product line manufactured by such companies aren't all natural or that the ingredients they use are of inferior quality.
"Made With Essential Oils" or "Made
With Natural Ingredients" Hype
Be on guard to marketing claims that state a product is "Made With Essential Oils" or "Made With Natural Ingredients." Claims like these do not state that the product is only made with the ingredient(s) specified. Such products may contain heavy proportions of synthetic fragrance oils and only contain a minute quantity of the touted ingredient. Products promoted as "Made Without Fragrance Oils" doesn't mean the product is all natural.
Look For Products Promoted as "100% Natural"
or "All Natural"
Still check the ingredient list, but keeping your eye out for these phrases can help you more easily spot the all natural treasures.
Products Promoted as "Made With 90% Natural
Such labeling still leaves it up to you to read the ingredient label, figure out which ingredients are synthetic, and then decide if you are comfortable using the product. Some products are a serious challenge or prohibitively expensive to manufacture without the use of some synthetics. All natural shampoos with excellent lathering and clean rinsing capability is an example of such a product. Buying a product from a company that honestly states that their product is 90% all natural is still better than buying a 50% natural product from a company that uses a lot of misleading hype.
Use Caution When Purchasing Aromatherapy Products
at Craft Fairs or Other Limited Time Events
Some vendors at these events have just started making aromatherapy products and are testing the waters to see how their products will sell. Others may know their customers have no recourse against them after the event is over. Some of these companies don't have product liability insurance. This is not to say that there are not highly reputable sellers at such events, but this is a caution for beginners who are not able to reliably judge quality at first.
For detailed information on what to look for
when purchasing individual essential oils, visit the How
to Buy Essential Oils Article.
Special Commentary Regarding "Aromatherapy" Candles
If you are interested in using natural candles, read the Aromatherapy Candles article.
Last but not least...
As you begin shopping for essential oils and other aromatherapy products, make it your priority to support the companies that support AromaWeb. AromaWeb's advertisers support AromaWeb's mission to be an invaluable online informational resource that provides in-depth aromatherapy information. Visit the Web sites of AromaWeb's banner advertisers (you can view them all within the Advertiser Spotlight area) and the advertisers located within AromaWebs Global Business Plaza and Regional Business Plaza.
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