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Answer: Check the label. A high-quality pure essential oil should be listed by its Latin name. Skip a product if the ingredients include words such as fragrance or perfume. This signals the use of artificial ingredients that provide little or no benefit other than scent. Next, study the formulation. A high-quality product will contain only about 1 or 2 percent pure essential oil. Lower-quality products may contain up to 18 percent of a fragranced oil, which means it's probably synthetic - essential oil would be harmful to your skin in such high quantity.
Finally, take a whiff. Genuine essential oils are complex and have a wide range of scents, not just the familiar ones listed on the packaging. "It's like the difference between a good cabernet and a cheap bottle of wine," says homoeopathist and aromatherapist Barbara Close of the Naturopathica spa in East Hampton, New York.
Originally published in Fitness magazine.