Essential oil is just one of the product lines offered by NOW® Foods, who has been in the business of natural products since 1968. The company’s stated goal is to empower people to lead healthier lives.
Now® Foods markets supplements like Vitamin D-3, beauty and health products like Avocado Oil, sports nutrition like Whey Protein Isolate, natural foods like Green Tea Powder and pet health products like Flea & Tick Spray in addition to essential oils. The number of its products exceeds 1400.
The company’s corporate office is located at Bloomingdale, IL 60108. It also has offices at Sparks, NV and Roselle, IL.
Now® sells its products through local health food stores and a Store Locator helps you find a store nearest to you.
Quality and Purity
The About Us page of the company’s website has an impressive presentation about their focus on quality. A video on their history reveals their overall focus on health. This is supported by separate videos providing virtual tours of their:
- Receiving area
- Product development and testing labs
- Manufacturing area
- Inventory and shipping areas
- The Sparks, Nevada facility
The website has a whole page devoted to describing the quality control steps at Now®. There’s a slideshow on their private laboratory reported to be one of the most advanced in the natural products industry.
Essential oils sold by the Now® Essential oils brand adhere to the specifications used by the Essential Oils and Flavor Industry and published in The Essential Oils by Guenther, as well as Fenaroli’s Handbook of Flavor Ingredients.
The company has found that country of origin alone does not guarantee quality. Instead, the company screens and audits every supplier to assess their capabilities, practices and compliance standards. Additionally the company carries out identity and safety testing of the raw materials to ensure that they meet rigorous specifications for purity and presence of pesticides/ chemicals, heavy metals and adulterants.
Selecting individual suppliers as above and testing all the supplies on a continuing basis provide a better guarantee of quality compared to basing decisions simply on country of origin.
Extraction Methods and Distillation
Essential oils are extracted from plant materials using different methods.
Steam Extraction: Steam from a boiler passes through the plant material extracting the oil from it. The mixture of steam and oil passes through a condenser to a receiving vessel. The oil floats to the top and is separated from the water.
Cold Press: Peels of fruits like orange and other citrus are pierced to open the sacs containing essential oil. The fruits are then pressed to squeeze out a mixture of oil and juice, along with some solids. A centrifuge separates the solids from the liquids. The liquid layer then goes another separation process to separate oils from the juices.
The company gets practically all its oils using the above processes, which yield purest oils. However, it was noted that Rose and Jasmine oils are labelled “absolutes” meaning that these were extracted using the solvent extraction method, which is considered to yield less pure oils.
These may undergo further processing such as filtering, winterizing or distillation to remove any debris, waxes, etc. The result will be pure essential oils with no adulterants.
In addition to pure oils, products include blends where carrier oils are blended with pure oils. In these cases, the labels clearly mention the dilution with carrier oils.
The testing processes of Now® check the purity and identity of essential oils. The company has its own lab with state-of-the-art equipment and trained technicians. Numerous physical and physiochemical tests are done, including:
- Instrumental testing such as Refractive Index, Optical Rotation, Specific Gravity, Gas Chromatography (GC), and Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS);
- Organoleptic Evaluation, focusing on appearance and odor.
The company’s website has a whole page describing these tests and their significance.
Grading and Certification
Now® certifies as organic only those products made from oils that are themselves certified as organic. The supplier produces their organic certificate issued under the authorization of Quality Assurance International.
Organic essential oils are extracted from botanicals that are grown in soils that are free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicide residues. The oils are tested and certified organic if they meet the above criteria.
Pure Essential Oils
Now® offers a line of 57 pure essential oils which is an above average between the top essential oil brands. These are highly concentrated oils with no synthetic ingredients and are subjected to the same level of testing as their certified organic oils. The oils come mostly in 30ml bottles.
The line includes Camphor Oil ($5.99 for 30ml), Basil Oil ($10.39), Bergamot Oil ($14.99), Cinnamon Bark Oil ($29.99), Ylang Ylang Oil ($37.99) and Myrrh Oil ($39.99), among others. A few oils are offered in different size bottles ranging from 10ml to 473ml, such as Chamomile Oil ($28.79 for 10ml and $74.99 for 30ml), Eucalyptus Globulus Oil ($5.99 for 1 fl. oz. (10ml) and $44.99 for 16 fl. oz. (473ml)) and Lavender Oil ($4.79 for 10ml and $119.99 for 16 fl. oz.).
Pure Essential Oil Blends
These are blends consisting only of pure essential oils that create unique aromas for everything from relaxation to romance. You can use these blends for diffusion, DIY beauty, self-care and cleansing.
The line of pure oil blends has 12 products including Lemon & Eucalyptus ($5.59 for 1 fl. oz. (30ml) and $12.79 for 4 fl. oz. (118ml)), Peaceful Sleep ($10.39 for 30ml and $27.99 for 4 fl. oz.), Bug Ban ($12.99 for 30ml), Bottled Bouquet ($14.99) and Nature’s Shield ($15.99).
Essential Oil Blends with Jojoba Oil
The company says: “Certain essential oils are extremely expensive in the purest form. Because of this, NOW offers several essential oils in a pre-blended form with jojoba oil.” These pre-diluted oils are great for topical applications rather than diffusion.
This line consists of 13 products including Frankincense (9.99 for 30ml), Jasmine ($21.59), Helichrysum ($23.19), Sandalwood ($23.99), Neroli ($27.99) and Vanilla (29.99).
Topical Application Solutions
The solutions include 9 products including empty Amber Glass Bottle Sprayer ($8.90 for six 2 oz. bottles), empty Amber Glass Bottle with Dropper ($9.99 for six 1 oz. bottles), empty Clear Glass Bottle Roll-on Applicator ($7.50 for six 10ml bottles), Essential Oil Blends Roll-ons ($6.39 for 10ml of Eucalyptus or Head Relief or Lavender or Peppermint or Tea Tree) and an Aromatherapy for Everyone Paperback ($10.95 book).
Organic Essential Oils
These are oils produced from botanicals that are free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and herbicide residues and have been certified organic by Quality Assurance International.
The line has 22 products including Citronella ($6.29 for 30ml), Lavender Blend ($6.39 for 10ml), Lavender Oil ($19.99 for 1 fl. oz. and 59.99 for 4 fl. oz.), Geranium Oil ($23.99 for 30ml) and Oregano Oil ($29.99 for 30ml) among others.
Essential Oil Kits
A line of seven kits consisting of four bottles each of different essential oils, including a Holiday Cheer Gift Case ($31.49 for 10ml bottles of Candy Cane, Christmas Tree, Clove and Nutmeg essential oils and a mini diffuser), Let There be Peace & Quiet ($18.39 for 10 ml bottles of Lavender, Peppermint and Eucalyptus essential oils, and Peaceful Sleep Blend), Love at First Scent (#22.99 for 10 ml bottles of Cinnamon Cassia, Rose Absolute and Bergamot essential oils and Naturally Loveable Blend) and four more.
NOW® prices are the lowest among the suppliers listed in the price comparison chart from EssentialOilHaven. The prices are dramatically lower; for example, Lavender costs $32.73 at YoungLiving, $23.10 at doTerra, $11.23 at Plant Therapy, $22.95 at Rocky Mountain, $13.50 at Revive and so on while it costs only $4.79 at NOW®.
The company, which has been in existence since 1968, explains the low prices as the result of their long relationship with suppliers, from whom they buy in bulk quantities and pass on the low costs to customers.
Now® Essential Oils Reviews
AromaEssential review of Now® essential oils makes the following points among others:
- The low prices of Now® might make people think that their oils are not made using sustainable and ethical practices
- The reviewer is of the view that the surprisingly low prices of Now® result not from any cutting of corners but from factors such as bulk purchases and a few others. The company does indeed provide high quality oils at affordable prices
- Now® uses steam distillation and cold press for most of its oils; the notable exceptions are the expensive rose and jasmine oils which use the solvent extraction method
- The company carries out all the critical tests to ensure the purity of their oils and several of their oils are certified organic, indicating even more tests
Better Business Bureau Review of Now®
The BBB review for Now® shows that the company has been registered at BBB since 7/12/2018 and it has an A+ BBB rating. As this is a multi-product company with essential oils being only ore line of products, customer ratings do not seem to be relevant for the essential oils business.
Considering the reputation established by the company, their long standing in the business and the quality assurance and testing practices they use, plus the absolutely low prices, the only recommendation could be to buy their essential oils if what you want is value for your money.
- Now® Foods is a multi-product company that deals not only in essential oils but several other lines of product
- It was established in 1968 by a family that focuses on healthy living and sells its products through local health food stores
- It sources oils from different countries after pre-qualifying the suppliers for their quality and sustainability practices
- The company also have established extensive product development and testing facilities in-house with state-of-the art equipment and trained technicians
- The most notable feature of the company’s business is the surprisingly low prices it offers, which is associated with its bulk buying from long-standing suppliers and its avoidance of MLM practices