What’s The Difference Between “Organic” And “Nonorganic” Essential Oils?

Many skincare products contain essential oils as a source of aroma. Essential oils are aromatic botanical extracts from plants, its effects span across physical and mental wellness — bringing relaxing, refreshing scents, and also medical benefits.

We are often asked about the difference between an organic and non-organic essential oil. When one digs deep into the whole process of production for such oils, one will find that it’s as different as day and night — from sourcing of the plants to methods of extraction. Organic essential oils are made by plants which are cultivated by organic farming, meaning throughout the entire growth process, the plants are not affected by pesticides, chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones. Organic farming is a holistic agricultural system designed for sustainability, creating a harmonized ecosystem to coexist with nature. Extracting from nontoxic plants and unpolluted soil makes it possible to acquire the purest and highest-quality essential oils.

Inna Organic selects organic essential oils certified by ECOCERT, an inspection and certification body specialized in organic farming established in France since 1991. Due to strict standards and regulations from plantation, extraction, and even transportation process, we have found that the quality and safety of essential oils certified by ECOCERT to be more reliable and reassuring. Furthermore, the organic certification of European Union regulates methods of extraction as well — not all methods for extraction can be used for organic certified essential oils. As extraction methods directly affect the purity of essential oils, organic essential oils are restricted to methods that can effectively produce the most natural ingredients and aromas without any chemical contamination.

Below are a few common extraction methods used for essential oil extraction:

1. Distillation

Most organic essential oils, especially flower oils, are extracted by this method, which is also the most traditional way to extract essential oils. One of the distillation methods, Water Distillation, soaks the plants in water to heat until boiling. Another method, Steam Distillation, injects steam through the plant materials, releasing their botanical aromatic molecules and turning them into vapor, subsequently cooling the vapor into condensed liquid form by running it through a pipe with cold water. This process also allows essential oils and hydrosol to be separated. The organic essential oils used by Inna Organic are mostly extracted through distillation, one of the extraction methods allowed by ECOCERT organic certification.

2. Expression (Cold Press Extraction)

In simple terms, when one squeezes fresh citrus peels, the refreshing and energizing aroma is the scent of citrus essential oils. In this process, the oil is forced from the plant material under high mechanical pressure, without any chemical contamination. Cold press extraction is mostly applied for citrus plants in particular.

3. Supercritical CO2 Extraction

This is the most effective extrication method out of all methods. The composition of essential oils extracted from this method are closest to the botanical origination themselves, hence the powerful fragrance it releases. However, Supercritical CO2 extraction requires high technical levels and expensive production machines, resulting in higher cost. This extraction method is often used particularly for the organic botanical essential oils seeking the highest quality. It is the best method to extract the precious anti-aging youth agent “Lakesis” from Frankincense, an ingredient used in our Frankincense skin care line, including the Frankincense Revitalizing Face Oil.

4. Solvent Extraction

Chemical solvents are involved in the process of solvent extraction. As one can imagine, some of the chemical solvents can be toxic, containing ingredients such as petroleum, once these solvent residues remain in essential oils it can also affect human health. Which is why Inna Organic chooses to use organic essential oils to avoid such chemical toxins and to ensure your safety and your wellness.

The COSMOS certification that Inna Organic obtains has strict regulations regarding the solvent extraction method:

  • Prohibiting the use of any chemical solvents from the petrochemical industry: ether, toluene, n-hexane etc.
  • Only allows the use of solvents such as naturally fermented alcohol, organic vegetable oil or glycerol to extract essential oils, and the solvent must be completely removed after the extraction is performed.

Inna Organic stands firm on utilizing organic essential oils without concerns of pesticides and chemical solvents. We strive to offer the safest, cleanest skincare products, so our users can enjoy the quality performance of essential oils at all times. Hence, it is also important to understand the different extraction methods and the pros and cons they entail.

1 comment

  • Are flowers like roses from Bulgaria sprayed synthetic chemicals?? I mean why would they be? Bees need to pollinate, so it makes no sense. So am I ok to buy rose otto from Bulgaria that says “Cultivation: conventional”?? Or does it mean toxic chemicals residues? I have severe MCS cannot do synthetic pesticides/herbicides etc. Please reply ASAP I wanna buy! Thanks.


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