AUTHOR: KATHLEEN CUMBERLAND, CERT. AROMA.
Variations in Oils and Other Natural Botanical Products
We are frequently asked about variations in color or clarity, even consistency of some products purchased at different times throughout the year. Maybe you’ve
ordered the same oil at separate times, and the oils
don’t match in color or clarity. It’s very possible for the same oil to have a
different color, clarity or even consistency from one batch to the next. But
this is no cause for alarm— variation in oils and in batches are standard
whenever you have plant-based botanical ingredients. Here’s a quick reminder of
how that can happen and why it’s nothing to worry about.
The factors that
influence how a plant grows are numerous—think about good and bad seasons or
crops, or even climates and wine growing. The amount of sun and rain impacts
the way a plant develops. Perhaps temperature fluctuated, or it was a warmer
season than normal. Maybe the plants were harvested at a younger stage of
development, or producers mixed batches from different fields. It’s not hard to
imagine the variation you might see in how plants develop, and how color and
consistency might fluctuate over time. For example, Tamanu oil can very noticeably
fluctuate between each season. The properties are the same, but the appearance
varies–this variation in oils is quite common.
You may see a big
difference between the organic and non-organic varieties of oils, too.
Depending on the process, traditional versus organic ingredients may smell and
look completely different from one another.
Variation Mean to You?
This matters to us when we buy ingredients. Many times we will receive an oil or botanical from the
same farmer or supplier where the color is noticeably different—but the
properties remain the same. If needed we can color-correct a product, but we prefer to leave it naturally as is. Although it might be inconvenient, it’s a
great reminder that we only source oils and botanicals made from real plants
that grow in the earth, not just using ingredients produced in the lab.
Refined oils tend
to be more consistent across batches because of the refining process.
Impurities are removed and the oil itself is refined a great deal. Many companies with mass-produced products rely on this process for their products to remain consistent in color and clarity. Cold pressed
oils and ingredients containing them, however, are very susceptible to color
and consistency changes. Cold-pressed oils are made simply from the plant being
pressed, collecting just the oil, and bottling it.
note—variation is normal, and variation between products containing these oils
and botanicals can be different from company to company/supplier to supplier.
However, when we source our oils from suppliers we trust, we rely on the to do their research,
we count on them to tell us the country of origin and the season harvested, and
if they cannot they’re not doing their homework.
We are always here
to help, so let us know if you have any questions!
(just because we love him!)