Essential Oil LABELING Recommendations

AEOTA recommends that all undiluted plant essential oils offered for retail sale and intended for topical use are labeled according to the Trade Requirement & Guidance Policy of the American Herbal Products Association including:

  • Common name
  • Latin name
  • Plant part
  • The extraction process
  • “Keep out of reach of children”
  • “External Use Only”or “Not for Internal Use” or “Not for Ingestion”

Optional but encouraged:

  • An expiration date or date of manufacture
  • Batch Number

In Addition, the AEOTA recommends:

  • Country of Origin

AEOTA requires that any Member selling essential oils follow all FDA/FTC/USDA requirements for labeling the products as cosmetics, drugs or food (including dietary supplements) – this reflects the fact that every Member in Good Standing has agreed to the AEOTA Ethics Statement.

It is legal in the USA to sell essential oils as Dietary Supplements or as an ingredient in Dietary Supplements. While it is permissible under FDA regulations for a product to be both cosmetic and drug, it is not permissible for a product to be both cosmetic and dietary supplement, so essential oils labeled and sold as dietary supplements, cannot also be labeled or marketed for topical use or inhalation. To learn more about dietary supplement regulations visit DSHEA.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: There is no industry-wide standard for essential oil grades. Claims of “Therapeutic Grade” or “Pharma Grade” or “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” or “Clinical Grade” are all marketing claims and not an indication of any level of quality or purity.

When Essential Oils are sold as cosmetics, the following must be followed [From pages 33 DIY Kitchen Chemistry by Kayla Fioravanti, used with permission]

All cosmetic labels are required by law to have the following:

  • You must identify the manufacturer or distributor (by name) of the product and have a way for the customer to reach them. Use company name, address and phone number.
  • You must list the ingredients in the order they appear in your formula. The ingredients must be identified by their botanical (INCI) name. A marketing description and use of the product is nice, as is the fragrance name, but it is not required unless the product use is not obvious or you are exporting to another country.
  • The Department of Weights and Measures requires the actual weight of the product both in standard and metric to be disclosed on the label. Metric should be first to comply with European Union (EU) requirements.
  • Include any warning statements needed or required by law as with bubble baths or products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids. IE: “Warning: Not for use in or around eyes.”