Whether you’re new to essential oils or a seasoned essential oil guru, there are probably certain things that you look for when you try out a new brand. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to essential oils too, which can further complicate the purchasing process. Today, we will be doing a NOW Foods Essential Oils review for you to hopefully demystify some of the unknowns around this prominent essential oil brand.
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What are Now Foods Essential Oils?
NOW Foods is a natural foods company that makes not only essential oils, but supplements, natural foods, sports nutrition, pet supplements, and even beauty products. They have a wide range of products that can help you live a more natural lifestyle and have been in business since 1968. They have several manufacturing facilities based in Sparks, Nevada, Bloomingdale, Illinois, and several in Canada as they continue to grow their expansive product line. I’ll be focusing on their essential oils, but keep in mind that you can check them out for other health food and nutritional needs as well.
NOW Foods provides an extensive timeline on their website that I am not going to get all the way into here, but I will hit some of the important points so you can get an idea of what this company is all about.
NOW Foods actually has a history that dates all the way back to the 1960s. NOW Foods’ founder Elwood Richard owned a small chain of health food stores in the Chicago area that didn’t perform very well. Granted, essential oils and healthy foods weren’t quite as popular in the 1960s as they are today, but Mr. Richard felt that the reason his stores weren’t successful was that he was unable to control the prices of premium health foods and health products. So, NOW Foods was born!
Once he was able to stock his stores with products that he manufactured, he began to grow and expand. Today, NOW Foods is celebrating over 50 years in business and holds a wide range of awards and recognitions for quality standards in the healthy product space.
NOW essential oil quality
We all care about getting essential oils that are high quality and pure because this means they’re safe for use. It’s a good sign that this company has been around for a while – it means that they have withstood the tests of time and competition from the essential oils boom. Their manufacturing processes are extensive and impressive and focus on quality and safety above all else. Let’s dive into their manufacturing process first.
How are NOW Foods Essential Oils manufactured and processed?
First, they physically inspect truck trailers for tell-tale signs of poor quality, using sight, smell, and touch. Now says this can help give an early indication that a shipment doesn’t meet their stringent quality standards.
Then, their receiving department performs a physical black-light scan of the shipment and the truck trailer, which they say can help detect contaminants that may not be visible to the naked eye. Their receiving department also matches records from their purchasing department to the shipping manifests to make sure that they’re getting the right thing from the right supplier.
To complete the first part of the process of manufacturing their essential oils, they have Quality Assurance technicians who go in and perform specific scientific analyses on their incoming raw materials to verify identity, purity, and strength.
I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted just from reading all of the initial processes that NOW has in place to make sure that their oils are safe for consumption. They carry this meticulous behavior throughout their manufacturing process, too.
Although they don’t share the specific steps that they take to manufacture their essential oils, which is understandable since they are in competition for their market share, they share a few important items of note.
After the initial analysis and verification of purity, they do an intense amount of extensive testing in-house by their own staff. They complete GC-MS testing, which basically tells them how pure of a product they are producing and every chemical compound that is present within the essential oil.
They also publish these results on their website with each essential oil that they sell. If you don’t have peace of mind at this point, they take our trust a step further and create certified organic products, and are actively working toward creating essential oils that are completely GMO-free.
Essential Oil Making Process
Their essential oils are made by either cold-pressing or steam distillation, depending on the type of plant matter that is being used for the oil. Cold pressing is exactly what you think it is: high pressure applied to a plant material so that the oils can be collected. This process isn’t used as frequently as steam distillation because it isn’t as efficient and doesn’t as effectively preserve nutrients in the plants, but still is in use for some essential oils.
Process of Steam Distillation
Steam distillation takes place in a sealed still where steam is forced over the plant to create a mixture of water and oils from the plants. When the process is complete, it is easy for the oil from the plant to be collected from the surface of the mixture because water and oil naturally separate. This process of steam distillation is typically better than cold pressing because of its excellent ability to preserve valuable nutrients in the plant matter.
What controls does NOW Foods have to ensure purity?
ACLASS/ANAB accreditation demonstrates UL’s technical competence as a monitoring body, which gives legitimacy to Now’s claims that their products are being tested.
This accreditation coupled with their private and third-party lab testings is how NOW proves that they are taking care to make the best essential oils possible.
Therapeutic vs Food Grade Essential Oils
NOW Foods also goes into detail about “Therapeutic Grade” versus “Food Grade” essential oils on their website. They say that “Therapeutic grade” is not actually a thing. It cannot be chemically measured and is really just a marketing term made up by the industry with no authoritative body or organization behind the term. So if an essential oil claims to be “therapeutic grade”, make sure that you seek out the quality testing results to make sure that it checks out.
They also say that claiming an oil to be “Food grade” (i.e., edible) would mean that brand has to display a Nutrition Facts panel on their label as required by law. However, if you recognize the source of these oils as food, then natural extraction methods such as steam distillation and cold pressing do nothing to change this quality, and these methods do not make the oil toxic. So basically, saying an oil is “food grade” is also nonsensical marketing speak that actually means nothing.
Their final knowledge drop is that oils that are not food grade will say “Not for Internal Use” in the caution box on the label.
Best Essential Oils from NOW
This lemon essential oil has many customers raving about its scent and quality. To make things even better, this lemon essential oil is a 4-ounce bottle that is at a great price. If you’ve ever purchased a lemon essential oil before, you may have easily paid quite a bit more for a 1-ounce bottle of lemon essential oil.
The value here is incredible and it’s a high-quality oil. The reviewers also note how strong and delicious the scent of this oil is in the reviews.
Although this oil is not organic, it is still a natural oil, which means that it is still pure essential oil.
How to Use
Diffuse 2 drops of lemon, 2 drops of lavender, and 1 drop of orange for calming and immune-boosting benefits.
For topical application, combine 1-2 drops of lemon oil with a carrier oil such as almond oil or olive oil, perform a small patch test, and then apply all over the desired area.
NOW’s peppermint essential oil is the top favorite amongst its customers. We read so many reviews stating that this oil is their favorite peppermint oil.
The majority of people are impressed by its revitalizing scent and its impressive ability to keep rodents and insects away from homes and cars!
How to Use
Most people agree that the best way to use this oil is via aromatherapy. This is a potent oil that can cause a skin reaction if not diluted properly or if you have an allergy.
Here’s a revitalizing essential oil blend using peppermint: two drops of peppermint, one drop of cinnamon, and two drops of rosemary oil. Add these oils to a diffuser and enjoy!
NOW’s lavender oil is a favorite amongst many of its customers. Not only do you get a great quality oil for a reasonable price, but it is also an organic essential oil!
How to Use
Many customers love to use this oil topically and dilute using a carrier oil such as jojoba oil that you can also purchase from NOW.
Many customers describe this oil as being pungent, strong, high quality, and affordable.
How to Use
Most people like to diffuse this oil in a diffuser due to its invigorating and soothing properties that aid in any type of cold, flu, or sinus infection through inhalation or topical application in combination with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
This oil is also certified organic, and again at a great price!
One of our favorite things about NOW’s essential oils is that they have these awesome sample packs so that you can try out many essential oils at a discounted price. If you’re a beginner at essential oils or you just need to re-up a few favorites, give their “5 Pack Variety Sampler” a try. This one contains lavender, peppermint, orange, eucalyptus, and tea tree.
NOW Essential Oils vs Competitors
NOW essential oils are at a similar price point to Plant Therapy oils and Rocky Mountain oils. All of these essential oil companies are affordable and sell quality oils.
Doterra, Young Living, and Mountain Rose Herbs oils have higher price points, but their customers say that they stay loyal to them because of the quality of their oils.
There’s a reason that NOW Foods has been in the essential oils game for over 50 years, and that reason is quality. These folks know what they are doing, from accreditation to their quality control process, Now Foods really gets it right. We really liked how meticulous they are about where the plant material comes from. They go so far back in the origins of their oils that they can tell you which part of which farm the product comes from – how many other essential oil companies can tell you that?
Direct to Consumer
We love that you can easily get NOW essential oils on Amazon just like Plant Therapy oils, and not have to go through a rep to try essential oils.
You can also find NOW oils just like Aura Cacia oils at Whole Foods and other health stores. Easy accessibility all around!
Overall, we think that NOW essential oils are worth trying. They have a lot of experience in the essential oil realm. They not only provide great natural essential oils, but also organic oils.
Again, their oils are affordable, accessible, and of great quality.