Packaging Essentials for Essential Oils

Finding the ideal packaging for your essential oils.

With a shift in consumer trends toward more natural and organic remedies, some consumers believe essential oils to be more healthful alternatives to synthetic additives. Used for their health benefits in medicinal and aromatherapy applications, essential oils are also used by manufacturers as flavor and aroma enhancers in food and beverages, household cleaners, cosmetic products and more. These drivers are raising consumer awareness of essential oils’ many benefits and are pushing this industry toward mainstream acceptance. In fact, this growing market is projected to reach $16 billion by 2026.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are compounds extracted from different plant parts including flower, leaves, bark, seeds, roots, twigs and more. These compounds are extracted through various methods including water or steam distillation, dry distillation methods or mechanical extraction (such as cold pressing). These extracts require a large amount of plant material to extract even small amounts of essential oil. For example, about 250 lbs. of lavender flower are needed to create just 1 lb. of lavender essential oil. The resulting extract is a highly concentrated compound that retains the natural smell and flavor of the plant or the “essence” of its source. Some of the more popular essential oils are:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Sandalwood
  • Bergamot
  • Rose
  • Chamomile
  • Ylang-Ylang
  • Tea Tree
  • Jasmine
  • Lemon

Pure essential oils contain volatile organic compounds, which means they are flammable and are sensitive to heat, light, oxygen and moisture. These liquids are sold in their pure form or “diluted” when combined with carrier oil or used as part of formulation in lotions or other products. In their pure (or undiluted) form, plastic packaging is not recommended for storing pure essential oils because certain plastics may deteriorate from the chemical composition of the oil and may degrade the oil itself.


Why store essential oils in glass bottles?

To maintain the potency of pure essential oils, colored glass bottles, specifically amber and cobalt are the recommended bottles for essential oils to protect the product. Glass is not porous and will not interact with the chemical composition of these liquids. Additionally, the amber or cobalt color will protect these compounds from UV rays, keeping them potent for prolonged periods. However, amber glass is considered more effective at shielding these potentially harmful rays. As these products are sold in small amounts—some as small as 5ml—smaller bottles are a desired packaging medium. Threaded containers are also preferred since threaded closures provide a better seal to preserve these products.

SHOP AMBER GLASS BOTTLES

SHOP COBALT BLUE GLASS BOTTLES


Can essential oils be stored in plastic bottles?

However, for products that contain diluted essential oils, plastic can be a viable option. Note that the ratio of the dilution is critical to the plastic’s stability over the long term. Also, just as with glass bottles, the plastic must be at least tinted or, for best results, completely dark for the dilution to maintain its potency. Here is a list of plastics that can be used to store diluted essential oils. You should always test the compatibility of your product with the container prior to packaging.

Plastic Type Qualities Classification
High density polyethylene (HDPE)Strong, dense and durable
Good impact resistance
Good chemical resistance
Considered safest for essential oils
Least likely to break or leak
#2 plastic
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)Limited to single use
High impact resistance
#1 plastic
Low density polyethylene (LDPE)Waterproof, chemically resistant
Not as dense as HDPE
Squeezable/malleable
#4 plastic
Polyproylene (PP)Good chemical resistance
Good impact resistance
#5 plastic

Choosing a closure for essential oil packaging

The type of closure is also a critical packaging element. In addition to a threaded closure, essential oils should be dispensed in small doses. Small, precision amounts are easier to dispense with dropper caps and orifice reducers.

Dropper caps feature a flexible bulb that can be squeezed to control the amount of liquid dispensed. These closures help prevent spills and allow oils to be dispensed in droplets, rather than through pouring. Dropper caps are also available in child-resistant versions, which is a preferred option as essential oils can be dangerous if ingested.

SHOP DROPPER CAPS

Orifice reducer fitments are plastic inserts that are placed into the bottle opening to control the flow of liquid from the bottle. In addition to providing drop-sized control, orifice reducers also limit the oil’s exposure to air and contaminants.

SHOP ORIFICE REDUCERS

It is also beneficial to incorporate a threaded closure that provides a tight seal.  Phenolic screw caps  are an ideal option. In addition to helping prevent the oil from evaporating and losing its potency, phenolic caps are made to withstand most chemical substances.

SHOP PHENOLIC CAPS

Find your perfect essential oil packaging!

Ready to pursue this surging industry? Get started by browsing our selection of glass bottles, closures and more for your essential oil products. Need more help? Please call our customer service team at 630.629.6600 or email today!