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Frequently Asked Questions

Are your essential oils 100% natural and pure?

Our essential oils are 100% natural. We offer a large range of 100% pure essential oils and precious oils. In addition, due to the expense of buying some precious oils in their pure form, we also offer our customers blended oils diluted to a 5% concentration in light (fractionated) coconut oil*.

Our benzoin is prepared in a 50% concentration diluted in benzyl benzoate (an alcohol that occurs naturally in benzoin) as the pure resin is a sticky solid. In our experience, most other companies offer benzoin in DPG (di propylene glycol) or castor oil in 10-20% dilution.

*Coconut oil solidifies at cool temperatures. The light, clear and odourless fraction of the oil that remains mobile is poured off – hence the term ‘fractionated’.

Are your essential oils certified organic by the Soil Association or a similar certification body?

We offer a range of our most popular oils in an organic version, certified by the Soil Association.

Please can you advise me on the Use of Essential Oils?

We are not permitted by law to offer medical or therapeutic advice on the use of essential oils. We advise that you consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner.

If you are interested in finding out more about aromatherapy, we recommend the books written by Julia Lawless which are available on this website.

Please read our Aromatherapy / Safety Guidelines section.

How do I get started using Essential Oils?

To get started with using essential oils, we recommend you buy Julia’s booklet ‘ The Home Use of Essential Oils’. We also supply Aromatherapy Starter Kits.

How long can I store essential oils?

If kept in a cool, dark place most oils should keep for at least 2 years after bottling. Some, such as Sandalwood and Patchouli, improve with age. Others, such as Lemon can deteriorate so we recommend buying smaller quantities more often. We display a best before date on all our products, and all our oils carry a batch number, which indicates the year and day manufactured.

I have heard that Sandalwood is an endangered species. Why are you selling it?

Sandalwood is listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, which is an internationally recognised database of threatened species. In recognition of this, we source our Sandalwood from New Caledonia in the South Pacific, where the government has been controlling sustainable production of Sandalwood for over ten years. They grow an island sub-species of genuine Santalum Album.

We do have a small amount of Mysore Sandalwood, which we laid down in stock some time ago.

One of the chapters in Alec Lawless’s book, ‘Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose’ discusses the sourcing of Sandalwood in greater detail.

We don’t use a number of other ingredients such as Rosewood as we have not been able to find a sustainable source.

Do you stock any products containing animal ingredients?

The only animal derivative we do use and supply is natural beeswax, which is found in our Organic Base Cream (available to order by special request).

The extraction processes for essential oils (steam distillation) and absolutes and concretes (solvent extraction) do not, in our experience, use animal products.

The jojoba oil you have sent me is cloudy

Jojoba oil naturally contains waxes that solidify at cooler temperatures. Pure jojoba should solidify at temperatures lower than 6°C – so it will solidify in the fridge. The oil will clear at normal room temperatures.

Jojoba is available in a form where these waxes have been removed. This is known as “refined” or “winterised” oil. It is also often mixed with cheaper oils such as soya or sunflower oil.

Can I use oils directly on the skin, or as perfumes?

With a few exceptions, such as lavender, essential oils should not be used neat on the skin. All our bottles have recommended usage directions on their labels.

The Home Use of Essential Oils booklet provides useful advice on how essential oils can be used as perfumes.

Are your products safe to use when pregnant?

Some aromatherapy oils are contra-indicated for pregnancy. Please note that by law we are not allowed to offer medical or therapeutic advice. We strongly suggest you consult a qualified aromatherapist if you wish to use essential oils during pregnancy.

Some carrier oils, such as wheatgerm which helps prevent stretch-marks, are safe to use in pregnancy.

Can I use your products in food?

We strongly advise that you do not take essential oils internally. For example, peppermint oil can burn the mouth and throat; others are toxic when ingested.

Flower waters and certain carrier oils, such wheatgerm oil, may be safe to use in food. However, please be advised that our products are not certified for any type of consumption.

Do you use preservatives in any of your products?

No, we do not use preservatives in any of our products produced at Aqua Oleum. Please see the details on the individual products for a full list of ingredients.

Can I return your bottles for refill or re-use?

Unfortunately we are unable to accept returns of bottles for re-use or refill, as we don’t have facilities for cleaning and sterilisation of the empty containers. We recommend local recycling of all our glass, plastic bottles & paper packaging.

Can you supply Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)?

MSDS are primarily required when making bulk shipments of oils.
However, if you need copies of the MSDS for a particular product, please contact us and we will endeavour to help.

Can you provide tables of product constituents?

Product constituent tables of our most popular oils are available on this site under ‘Trade: Product Details’. Please refer to Julia Lawless’s book ‘The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils’ which lists the main constituents for over 200 oils & absolutes.

Can you provide Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (GC / MS) traces?

We work closely with suppliers to ensure the quality of our oils, which includes examination of GC / MS traces. The limitations and appropriate use of GC / MS analysis are discussed on this website under ‘Education: Organic Standards & Testing’.

If required, we can arrange GC / MS analysis of specific batches of oils at additional charge. Please contact us for more details.

How do you ensure the quality of your oils?

Please read our ‘Quality Promise’ statement in About Us.

Are your oils ethically sourced?

Please read ‘ Our Philosophy’ statement in About Us.

How do I buy copies of Julia and Alec Lawless’s books?

We stock signed copies of some of Julia’s books including her best-selling ‘Encyclopedia of Essential Oils’ in our Hands On / books section. Alec’s book, “Artisan Perfumery: Being Led by the Nose” is also available here.

Can you help me with my product development?

We receive many requests for advice on product development. We can help with this and with contract manufacture and supply of ingredients.

Giving detailed, reliable advice for your specific needs can be very time-consuming, so we charge modest consultancy rates to cover our time and expenses. Please contact us for further details.