Frontier Co-op is the parent of Aura Cacia. Frontier Co-op is a co-operative organization owned and managed by its members, wholesalers who buy and resell its products. Frontier Co-op has been in the business of natural living since 1976.
Aura Cacia, which started in 1982, became part of Frontier Co-op in 1993. Aura Cacia is in the business of essential oils, skincare oils and a few more products. They share with Frontier Co-op the values of nourishing people and the planet.
Aura has created a Positive Change Project that provides an annual grant to organizations helping women and girls to transform their lives.
Aura is located at Frontier Co-op address at Norway, Iowa 52318.
Quality and Purity
Shipments of oils received from the suppliers undergo GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectroscopy) testing that can detect even tiny amounts of any substance in the tested sample. Aura depends on its close relationships with suppliers as well as the testing process to ensure that the oils are “100% pure.”
Aura Cacia also provides the botanical names of the plants from which each oil was extracted, and the therapeutic benefits the oil delivers. This is important because different plants can bear the same popular name, not all of which might provide oils with the same therapeutic benefits. It is the botanical name that really identifies the correct plant and associated benefits.
Aura Cacia sources essential oils from suppliers all over the world. This is a key pre-requisite for quality as the plants from which the oils are extracted grow best in different environments – soils, climates, elevations and such.
As stated at their website, Aura Cacia selects suppliers who share their commitment to certain practices – “worker safety and fair treatment, sustainable growing practices, environmental stewardship, community involvement and essential oil purity and quality.” Aura builds a close relationship with its suppliers.
Extraction Methods and Distillation
Essential oils are extracted from different parts of a plant, such as the flower, seed, bark, leaf, root, resin or branch using three main methods: steam distillation, cold press and solvent extraction.
In steam distillation, steam breaks down the plant tissue and releases the essential oil which gets converted into a vapor. The vapor along with steam passes into a condenser where it becomes liquid. The oil is then separated from the water.
The cold press method is mainly used for citrus fruits like lime, orange and others. The peels of these fruits are physically compressed to release the oils contained in them.
Solvent extraction process is used when the above methods are not practical. In this method, a solvent dissolves the oils, fatty acids and waxes in the plant material. The solvent is then removed and alcohol is used to separate the oil from the acids and waxes. Finally, the alcohol is removed leaving the oil behind.
Steam distillation and cold press yield products of higher purity.
On the product pages Aura Cacia reveals the plant material, extraction method and country of origin of the product.
While Aura Cacia says their supplies are GC/MS tested, details about other kinds of tests were not clear. They say that they pioneered the GC/MS testing process; but it is not clear whether the testing is done by independent third parties or in-house. The test results are also not published unlike some other essential oil companies.
Grading and Certification
A number of Aura’s products are certified as derived from organic botanicals by Quality Assurance International.
Pure Essential Oils
Aura Cacia lists 96 products under 100% pure essential oils category. The range includes Java Citronella Essential Oil ($3.89 for 0.5 fl. oz. i.e. 15 ml), Cardamom Essential Oil ($23.58), Blue Cypress Essential Oil ($34.49), Helichrysum Essential Oil ($59.99 for 0.125 fl. oz.), Lemon Balm Essential Oil ($69.99 for 0.125 fl. oz.) and Rose Otto Essential Oil ($101.72 for 0.125 fl. oz.)
Expertly mixing different essential oils can produce blends that have specific aromas and/ or benefits. This creates a new line of products with features not available from pure essential oils.
Highly concentrated as they are, pure essential oils can cause skin irritation. By diluting them with carrier oils such as jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil, this problem can be avoided.
Aura offers a line of “benefit driven” blends that include Breezeway Essential Oil, a blend of eucalyptus, lavandin, lavender and rosemary essential oils that is great as an air spray to clear stuffy spaces ($11.89 for 0.5 fl. oz.), Chill Pill Essential Oil, a blend of orange, lavender, basil, peppermint, Roman chamomile and patchouli essential oils that is great to produce a soothing and peaceful aromatic experience ($11.89 for 0.5 fl. oz.) and Creative Juice Essential Oil, a blend of citrus and spice essential oils for an energizing and uplifting feel ($11.89 for 0.5 fl. oz.)
Aura Cacia also has a line of premium blends that include Frankincense Ready to use Essential Oil, a blend of frankincense and fractionated coconut oil ($9.99 for 4 fl. oz.), Buddha Wood in Jojoba Oil ($12.99 for 0.5 fl. oz.), Indian Sandalwood in Jojoba Oil ($17.68 for 0.5 fl. oz.) and Vanilla in Jojoba Oil ($26,88 for 0.5 fl. oz.).
Organic oils differ from conventional oils in that these are obtained from botanicals grown according to USDA’s Organic Standards, and certified as organic by Quality Assurance International.
Aura Cacia has a line of organics consisting of 38 essential oils. The line includes Organic Blood Orange Essential Oil ($6.99 for 0.25 fl. oz.), Organic Bergamot Oil ($12.99 for 0.25 fl. oz.), Organic Black Pepper Essential Oil ($19.99 for 0.25 fl. oz.) and Organic Frankincense Essential Oil ($32.99 for 0.25 fl. oz.).
Roll-ons are essential oils and blends that come with an applicator at the bottle top. This makes it easy to apply the oil in small quantities and also to carry it around with you.
Aura Acacia roll-on line has 16 products including Chill Pill Roll-on ($7.99 for 0.31 fl. oz.), Organic Empowering Solar Plexus Chakra Balancing Roll-on ($15.99 for 0.31 fl. oz.) and Organic Grounding Root Chakra Balancing Roll-on ($15.99 for 0.31 fl. oz.)
These come in boxes of single essential oils and blends, and kits that include multiple oils. The range includes Clove Bud Essential Oil ($7.55 for 0.5 fl. oz.), Mind Guide Essential Oil Blend ($11.89 for 0.5 fl. oz.) and Discover Essential Oils Kit containing 0.25 fl. oz. bottles each of Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Essential Oils ($19.99)
Diffusers that spread the aroma around come in different shapes. There are necklace diffusers such as the 24” Celtic Cross Diffuser Necklace that releases essential oils wherever you are ($24.95), portable Aromatherapy Air USB Room Diffuser that uses a quiet fan to diffuse essential oils into your personal space at home or office ($39.99), Aromatherapy Car Diffuser that plugs into the 12V lighter socket of the car ($11.17) and a Black Spiral Candle Lamp that uses a candle to warm the water and essential oil in a glass bowl above ($14.99).
Bottles and Containers
Amber bottles with and without atomizers, roll-on bottles, wide mouth jar, hand pumps and mist bottles are included under this line. Prices range from $1.47 for a 4 fl. oz. hand pump to $12.99 for the 0.5 fl. oz. amber bottle with atomizer
Aura Cacia also sells products such as cleansing oils and moisturizers, body care products including body oils, hydrosols and body butters, and bath products and mists.
Aura Cacia prices are not budget prices but also not as high as some other reputed brands. Overall, the prices seem reasonable and several products are offered in larger quantities leading to savings.
Aura Cacia Essential Oils Reviews
AromaEssential has the following to say about Aura Cacia:
- The reviewer tested a few Aura Cacia oils and these delivered on the promises made by each
- Testing practices do seem good, though test results were not available. They do provide valuable information such as botanical name, extraction method and country of origin on product pages
- A line of organically certified essential oils is available
- The variety of products offered is good, covering common and exotic aromas, and a full line of body/ skin/ hair care products and accessories like diffusers
- “Aura Cacia labels contain all kinds of information such as dilution rates, recipes, sourcing info, and an ingredients list.” This was made possible on the small bottles by using peel-back labels.
- The business practices of Aura Cacia are something that stands out. They use a co-op form of organization, and work with communities, adopting people and planet oriented practices, including educating farmers on sustainable practices
- While the oils are not budget-priced, the prices are lower than those of other large essential oil companies.
Considering the quality, reasonable prices and Aura Cacia’s people and planet oriented business practices, the final verdict is BUY from Aura Cacia.
- Unlike other essential oil companies, Aura Cacia is a co-operative organization, not a corporation
- Aura Cacia donates to social causes and adopts planet friendly practices
- Though their testing practices are not fully clear (except that they do GC/MS testing of all oils received from suppliers) everything points to premium quality products
- Oils are sourced from their original places of cultivation, and from farmers who are committed to people and planet just like Aura Cacia
- The product pages provide details of extraction method used, botanical names of the plant from which the oil was extracted and country of origin
- 38 oils are certified organic
- The variety of products cover common and exotic, and also related products and accessories