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As you are probably well aware by now, I’m on a never-ending quest to source quality essential oils. Who have I bumped into next? No other than Now Foods. It’s not surprising I’m writing this NOW essential oils review really, as they are not only one of the biggest brands out there for natural products, but they’ve been around since the dawn of time. Dinosaurs have been linked to getting on their eucalyptus oil for their chesty coughs.

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit weary of NOW Foods with their huge scale production line and low-priced products. 

Is this really a company trying its best to help consumers struggling financially? Or has another soul-destroying, huge-scale business giant come crashing in? Hoping to cash in on the people hopeful in this discovery of natural healing? I wanted to delve into the brand’s ethical and sustainable practices and figure out if quality can be found in affordable essential oils.

Well who’d have thought it, NOW foods are a family-run business! Which, after some proper digging, I believe to have ethical and sustainable practices. 

Their message that good health shouldn’t just be for the rich is visible throughout their website and of course, I’m on board with that! Who isn’t?!

You’ll be at ease knowing that I purchase and test out all products I write about. Although I’m in the beginning stages of my journey with NOW food essential oils, I’m enjoying them in my diffuser and having a big inhale of peppermint to wake me up in the morning!

Now essential oils review
Freezer testing my peppermint essential oil stash. NOW’s making a sneaky appearance at the end.

Just to let you know I’m going to refer to Now Foods as just ‘NOW’ throughout this article to make my life easier, so no need to get confused. It’s the same thing.

Who are they and what are they about?

With NOW being such a huge scale company I was shocked that they are a family-run business. I guess being around for so long gives you a chance to grow and perfect. Good for them! They believed in a vision and created a monstrous-scale production line.

NOW was founded way back in the ’60s by Elwood Richard. On their website, their description of the people in the health food industry back then was:

“Health food enthusiasts were broadly categorized as hippies and granola-heads.”

I had to look up ‘granola heads’ in the urban dictionary and I wasn’t disappointed. “A whacked-out hippie whose brains were scrambled by psychedelic drugs. Characterized by all of the following: dirty underwear, hairy legs, taking way too much LSD, and eating bean sprouts all day long.” Nice! 

Elwood Richard started a small chain of health food stores in Chicago in 1962 but soon realized that for his health food stores to survive and thrive they needed to offer affordable natural products. 

Elwood Richard, Founder of NOW Foods.

He started his own natural products manufacturing company to supply his stores, which afforded him complete control over product cost and quality. NOW® Foods was born.

By the late 1980’s NOW had moved into a 12,000-square-foot facility in Glendale Heights, Illinois and they weren’t stopping there. In 2018 they celebrated their 50th year in business and continue to collect an array of certificates and awards.

Sustainability & Ethics

I have read previous articles such as the consumers advocate page, stating the lack of information about the sustainable practices NOW take part in. I’m not sure if NOW finally realized that to stay present in the market you need to focus on sustainability or just weren’t as outspoken about their achievements. 

Whatever the case they have obviously upped their game since 2019, as their website is full of environmentally friendly projects such as ‘Moving to 100{8ab28f7f17619922e6a184aa33179ec5609a9acbd219c687b547401d1ab4a9f5} PCR Bottles’ and ‘55,000 Trees planted to Celebrate 55th Anniversary.’

They also talk about their sustainable sourcing from their Fairtrade-certified cocoa suppliers to their palm oil sustainable practices.

I think it’s worth pointing out that NOW takes pride in employment ethics, winning ‘National Best & Brightest Companies to Work For 2022’ and also ‘Best Place to Work in Illinois 2020’. There are also a lot of positive reviews about the company, with the odd comment about gossip in the workplace, unfortunately, the Karens spoil it for everyone.

NOW has given back in many ways, with their local and worldwide charities. Also having their own internal employee-sponsored charity drives, for things such as Christmas gifts for impoverished children, back-to-school supply drives, and disaster relief drives.

Are they organic? 

NOW have 12 USDA-certified organic essential oils to choose from, which means you may have to shop around if you want something specific and organic. Credit where credits are due though, it’s not an easy task getting USDA certified. Everything in the production line has to be organic and it can take a very long time!

Is organic better you ask? Well, it is regulated by the USDA which kind of puts my mind at ease a bit more. I feel it’s less likely to contain pesticides and all the nasty stuff. It’s all a personal choice though, it depends on how much it means to you.

Quality & Testing

NOW boast about its “World class in-house labs” and continue to invest in its laboratories, analytical instrumentation, and scientific staff. Let’s be honest, those photographs and videos do look like something else! But that’s exactly what they are – in-house. 

I can’t seem to find any test results from third-party labs. I’m sure NOW really are legit testing all their essential oils, but I think for full transparency and peace of mind they should be third-party testing as well. 

NOW oils are all GC (gas chromatography) and FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) certified. Which is an aromatherapy industry-standard testing qualification.

Their oils are non-GMO and 70{8ab28f7f17619922e6a184aa33179ec5609a9acbd219c687b547401d1ab4a9f5} are verified by the Non-GMO Project. They are also cruelty-free and not tested on animals. 

When asked if they test their oils for pesticides quite a long-winded answer is written and got me pretty confused, to be honest. I think they are basically saying they do not test for pesticides because most of the botanicals used for essential oils act as natural pesticides. 

I did a little further research and found a study exploring pesticide residues in essential oils which states that “A general test on pesticides in the Ph. Eur. a general monograph on essential oils is not required for most oils used in medicinal products.” Something worth thinking about if you’re particularly wary of pesticides.

My iHerb bundle, RIP to the lavender essential oil though 🙁

Products

I do feel a little overwhelmed by how many products they actually have. If buying essential oils wasn’t daunting enough, you’re about to get your head even more in a tizzy. I think you have to know exactly what you want before you begin the expedition of a search on their website.

Their essential oils range from pure essential oils, organic essential oils, essential oil blends, and essential oil kits. Outside of this, you can find supplements, beauty and health products, sports nutrition, natural foods, and pet health.

I ordered the NOW peppermint and lavender, unfortunately, the lavender turned up leaking everywhere, and only half a bottle left. It’s unfair to blame NOW though as I bought it through iherb (it is listed as a trusted partner on their website) and to be fair to them, they refunded me straight away! These things happen!

It’s nice that they go to the effort of making it easier for you to understand how to safely dilute essential oils. Their website offers a full dilution guide in case you’re unsure about how many drops you need to add to carrier oils etc. This is something to keep in mind as the usage on the actual bottles are pretty nonexistent.

Not sure if you can make up my half empty bottle of Lavender oil I received, sad times.

Can Now Essential oils be taken internally?

It’s not legally allowed to suggest that a product intended for topical or aromatherapeutic use can be taken internally. If you make any claims of internal use you have to label the product as food. These are legit FDA regulations and NOW has chosen to be careful, they have not made any claims that you can take these oils internally. Which I think is a very smart move, we don’t need anyone guzzling down lavender oil after a hard day at work, do we?

Price

I know all too well that when buying essential oils, it is best not to assume that paying a higher price means that you are getting a higher-quality oil. Although I do think the price of essential oils by NOW is on the low side, which gets me asking the question “How can they keep their costs that low?” 

Ethically sourced and sustainable oils are what consumers look for in a brand and it’s fair enough that people may be concerned that corners are being cut to keep costs down.

They mention that they purchase their oils in large quantities that qualify for bulk discounts. NOW’s founder Elwood Richard was asked why NOW’s prices are so much lower than their competitors, and he answered:

 “The question shouldn’t be why are our prices so low, but rather, why do our competitors price their products so high?” 

Now say they use the same quality essential oils as other companies; just choose to price their essential oils with the best interests of the consumer in mind. By not marking up their essential oils like perfumes, as many competitors do, they can offer essential oils of comparable quality at a lower price.

You could also argue that they have a huge number of other products and do not rely on the sales of their essential oils. 

Customer Service

Rest assured that new, unopened items that were purchased through www.nowfoods.com can be returned within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. Although that being said, many other brands offer full refunds even when opened, this bumps the transparency and trust right up in my opinion.

Shipping

Free shipping over $55 to the USA, woop! Probably best to wait until you want to order everything at once. Although it’s only $6.95 standard shipping cost under $55 and with the essential oils being so reasonable it’s not the end of the world.

For all international shipping, you will have to buy from their partnered site iherb.

Summary

I do feel like NOW is continuously improving in their efforts and they seem to really care about their employees.

I’ve enjoyed using their products for the purpose of research but would I buy this brand over others? Probably not. As much as they push the family run wholesome business I’m not getting that vibe.

In terms of ethics, I feel I align more with other brands such as ‘Rocky Mountain Oils’ and ‘Plant Therapy’.

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Sara's Reviving Me Disclamer!

Thanks for getting this far!

I’m not a doctor! I’m just obsessed with testing the healing powers of essential oils. Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal opinion. This site is, however, reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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