Essential oils won’t necessarily break down in the same way that we think of expired ingredients. You won’t typically see mold or anything gross. However, that doesn’t change that essential oils deteriorate, oxidize and lose their effectiveness over time, and they should not be used on the skin or internally once they have expired.
Here are a few tips to preserve the freshness of your favorite essential oils
- Use appropriate storage methods
The key to maintaining the freshness of essential oils lies in the right storage method. The right storage method is actually pretty simple. You just need to store them in sealed containers and avoid exposure to air except when in use. Exposure to air is one of the most damaging factors for any essential oil. It causes the loss of volatile components. Oxygen reacts with certain constituents of the oils and causes them to break down, which can have a negative impact on your essential oils, their stability and their effectiveness.
- Maintain the right temperature
Maintaining the right temperature can enable you to almost double the shelf life of your oils. Make sure that you are storing them in cool and dark place and avoid exposure to sunlight as much as possible. High temperatures accelerate the process of oxidation and reduce shelf life.
- Use small containers to preserve the vitality of your essential oils. This is a rule that is often ignored but can help to minimize oxidation by lowering exposure to oxygen. Dilute and create your mixtures as soon as you can.
How can you tell if your essential oils have expired?
At this point, you know how important that it is to keep your collection of essential oils fresh and safe for use. If your oils happen to be oxidized they can, of course, can be used for cleaning but should not be applied to the skin. Are you confident you will know if an essential oil has seen better days? If not here are a few tips on what you need to look out for to determine if your essential oils have oxidized, degraded or expired:
- A good indicator of degradation is the aroma of the essential oil. Oxidized or expired essential oils are less aromatic or may smell different than they should. However, you may find it difficult to determine the difference unless you have a fresh essential oil to compare with or are highly experience with essential oils.
- Some essential oils have the tendency to separate and become cloudy as they oxidize or expire, especially the citrus essential oils.
Protect your essential oil investment
As mentioned, various essential oils last differing amounts of time, and the shelf life is impacted by the storage and usage of the essential oil. As a general rule, you can expect that:
- Citrus fruit, Frankincense, Lemongrass, Neroli, Spruce, Melaleuca can last for 1 to 2 years as long as they are stored properly. On the bottom of every doTERRA bottle is printed the date in which it was packaged.