What is adulteration?
Oils can be adulterated in several different ways. It occurs during the production process and it is intentional—you cannot accidentally adulterate an oil. By adding other substances to the pure essential oil, the producer can get a lot more money out of their oil.
One common method of adulteration is adding other oils. Less expensive essential oils are added to more costly oils in an effort to reduce the cost to produce. Oils similar in chemistry are used (like adding cassia to cinnamon, or cypress to frankincense), making it hard to detect.
Dilution is another way essential oils are frequently adulterated. Adding in a carrier oil, like coconut or canola oil, allows a company to maintain the chemistry of the oil, but have a lot more of it. The problem with this is that it can significantly reduce the potency and effectiveness of the oil.
Another method is adding in natural isolates, which is adding a natural chemical to the essential oil. It’s a chemical you would find in the oil, like alpha-pinene, but it come from something else entirely.
Creating synthetic oils in a lab. We are able to create synthetic chemical constituents, often out of petro-chemicals. “Lavender” can be produced without using a Lavender plant at all. Instead it is synthesized linalool and linalyl acetate, from petroleum-based products. This is far less expensive than actually growing, harvesting and distilling a pure essential oil.