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Reasons Why Buying Essentials Oils "Just Anywhere" Can Be Problematic #2 Shelf Life

Reason #2) Shelf Life

Each and every essential oil is unique. Each and every essential oil is the sum of an array of constituents. The ratios of these constituents dictate which chemical families to which the essential oil "belongs". In turn, each and every chemical family has common properties typical to the EOs which fall into that family. Something to keep in mind, regardless of common constituents and properties, is each and every batch is different than the one before - almost like snowflakes. I find this fascinating! And yet, most people don't know that each and every bottle of essential oil has a shelf life.

In the early years of my relationship with essential oils, I had no clue of this. I thought they "lived" forever - until the bottle was empty at least! Why did I think this? One, I didn't know any better. Two, the bottles did not contain any expiration date. So, logical assumption, there is none. Wrong!

I am here to tell you essential oils have a shelf-life. Some last only two years from the date they are produced. I could name several well-known essential oil companies that still do not give you essential information on their products. Finding contact information to ask someone a question is just as evasive. So, if a manufacturer does not tell you either when it was produced or when it expires, how can you know there is any value OR harm in that beautiful little bottle? How can you know when it was distilled, how long it sat in the warehouse, what were the climate conditions of the storage facility, how long it sat on the retailer's shelf, was it exposed to light or heat, how much longer should it last?

You should know that once an essential oil reaches its prime, it begins to oxidize and the odds of adverse reactions (even harm) begin to increase. It is good, at least, to have an expiration date or batch number on the bottle which you can reference to get a date. A GC/MS may not make all the sense in the world to you, but it should be available along with the batch you are purchasing from none-the-less.

Quality essential oils aren't likely to come dirt-cheap. The good news is quality essential oils don't have to cost an arm and a leg either. Either way, quality oils will come with bragging rights (a.k.a. documentation). But, as always, it IS buyer-be-ware!

Updated January 2023

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