Tag Archives: quality control

Nine FAQs about Beeyoutiful’s Essential Oils

FAQs About Beeyoutiful's Essential Oils

We often receive questions about our essential oils, and many customers are curious about the quality of our product, especially in relation to our low prices. We’ve assembled a few of the most frequently asked questions here for your reference.

FAQs About Beeyoutiful's Essential Oils

How are your oils extracted?

Our citrus oils are extracted by a cold process of expeller pressing. The rest of our oils are steam distilled from their plant parts. Read more here about how our oils are made.

Are the oils “low heat steam distilled”?

212 degrees is the lowest temperature at which water turns to steam. Steam can be heated much higher than 212 degrees, but steam will turn back into water before its temperature gets lower than 212 degrees. We use temperatures appropriate to each kind of plant product; some plants will release their oils at lower temperatures than others. Our oils are distilled at the lowest heat possible to extract the desired component parts, and they are tested to have sufficient active components to meet our standards.

What’s the quality level, and how is it assured?

Our oils are 100% pure, unadulterated, uncontaminated, and undiluted. Every batch is sample tested to make sure that this is so, before bottling, during bottling, and after bottling. The oils are tested for purity by gas chromatography, infrared spectroscopy, or both, as well as any other testing appropriate to that oil from a wide range of available technologies.

It is possible to have a totally pure and undiluted oil that is functionally dead. To ensure maximum potency, tests are also performed to make sure that the oils meet a certain standard of active components.

Beeyoutiful's lavender essemtial oilMy second bottle of Lavender doesn’t smell the same as my first bottle did.

Variations are natural and inherent in any plant-based product. Think of how one crop of strawberries might be sweeter, or more red than another. In the same way, two pure and undiluted essential oils of the exact same variety but different batches could smell different, and it is not because of a difference in quality.

How long do essential oils last?

Because so many essential oils have inherent antibacterial properties, they generally have very long shelf lives if stored properly (in tightly-capped dark glass, away from heat and light, refrigerated if possible). In fact, certain oils are sometimes used in small amounts as a natural preservative agent in other products. Most undiluted oils will maintain potency for 2-3 years or longer, and will be used up long before rancidity becomes a factor.

Are your essential oils “therapeutic”, “aromatherapy”, or “medicinal grade”?

Unlike the “USDA Organic” seal you have probably seen on vegetables and packaged products in the supermarket, or the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) labeling on medicines, you won’t see official labeling on essential oil products simply because there are no official standards or grades for quality or purity. Therefore, quality control and claims of efficacy are left up to each company.

“Therapeutic grade” oil is a term generally understood to be the highest quality grade of essential oil, but without any enforcement around these terms, anyone can claim to carry “therapeutic grade” oils. Some companies have actually trademarked terms like “therapeutic grade” or “medicinal grade”. This is done in an attempt to differentiate themselves in a competitive industry and make it appear that their products alone meet some kind of higher standards. In reality, there are no official standards, and such trademarked terms are meaningless marketing.

Certainly not all oils are the same quality, and there is no way to find out the genuine quality of most oils short of sending samples for laboratory testing.  It comes down to simple integrity. Beeyoutiful is committed to full disclosure and will never make meaningless claims about our products. While our oils are indeed embraced by many for therapeutic and medicinal uses, we refuse to label them with empty words.

For more information on grading oils, read this helpful article.

Beeyoutiful's Eucalyptus Essential OilIs it safe to take your essential oils internally?

If we were to simply answer a blanket yes to this question, and a customer went out and drank an entire bottle of Eucalyptus Oil, they would most likely get very sick. Essential oils are very concentrated, very powerful, and should be respected and very carefully and sparingly used. Some oils are safe in tiny doses; some oils should never be used internally, ever. In addition, there is no single oil that is perfectly safe for everyone. Something that is safe for one person may not be safe for others, especially children, due to various underlying health conditions (including pregnancy), other medications, allergies or sensitivities.

We cannot tell you what is safe for you.  We are not doctors and we cannot prescribe. Our goal is to be very clear about the high quality, purity, and stringent testing of our products and trust that our customers will do their own thorough research and use the products intelligently. In our personal experience, if a particular 100% pure, unadulterated, undiluted essential oil is considered by industry experts to be safe for a specific use, including internal, we are comfortable using ours in that way in our own homes.

If your oils are of such good quality, good enough to that you use them internally, why are the bottles labeled “For Aromatherapy Use Only”?

In order for us to advertise our products for internal use, we would be obliged to meet stringent legal requirements and pay literally millions of dollars each year for liability insurance. Doing this would entail a mountain of work for our very small staff and greatly increase our risk in the marketplace, not to mention raise prices dramatically for our customers. We choose instead to focus on getting quality products out into the hands of people who have learned how to use them safely, and doing our small part to educate more people in the use of great products.

Beeyoutiful's chamomile essemtial oilHow can your oils be priced so inexpensively if they are of such excellent quality?

Along with lowering our costs and liability as mentioned above, we usually try to get a species of plant that is not the rarest and most expensive. There are something like 200 species of lavender, so if you compare the Latin species names on our bottle of lavender with a different manufacturer, they will almost certainly be different. (Note: sometimes plant species is very important, e.g. German vs. Roman Chamomile, and sometimes it is not important at all. Research your oils and insist on knowing what variety is in the bottle!)

Many companies in niche industries like to use a network marketing or distributor-based business model. This means that there are many people along the chain that have to get paid in the form of commissions on each sale. These layers of costs can’t help but make the products much more expensive when they finally get into your hands.

Instead, we work directly with family-owned manufacturers who don’t gouge us on price, and we pass on the savings by selling our oils directly to you at a price that’s not artificially inflated. We have a comfortable margin of profit that lets us pay the bills, do research, and put out training materials, and that is how we choose to price all of our products, including our essential oils. In this way, we’re able to keep the prices lower than many other companies.

Read this article for an introduction to using Beeyoutiful’s essential oils. We recommend The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy as a handy home reference tool. Consider signing up for our email series offering 101 Ways to Use Essential Oils

Winter 2010 Letter from Steph

Hello to all our Beeyoutiful friends!Steph

Another season change has arrived since our last catalog. Winter came nipping at the heels of Fall and took over-all too soon, in my opinion. The gorgeous leaves and vibrant colors are gone, leaving the bare limbs of trees reaching unadorned to the sky. Unlike some of you in other parts of the country, we rarely get snow around here so our winter months can be rather drab and colorless without a beautiful blanket of fluffy white. On the other hand, since we don’t have to deal with muddy slush and other snow-related complications, “drab” is not so bad when I stop to think about it.

Our lives seem to get busier with each passing month. Noelle is talking up a storm and has a strong opinion on just about everything. Her presence is a constant joy and humbling reminder of our shortcomings. One of her new favorite phrases is “I don’t wANt to!” in response to an instruction or request. It’s proving to be a tough lesson for her that life is filled with many things we don’t want to do but must do anyway. The difficult, the dirty, the mundane, and the frustrating are all part of life as well as the fun, exciting and enjoyable. Nevertheless, even though she is only two-and-a-half, Noelle’s learning to help with daily chores. She loves doing anything with water and has become quite the little dishwashing and rinsing marvel. This tops the list of her favorite household duties for which to volunteer. The floor is usually covered in water by the time she’s done, but she cheerfully helps clean it up, and I can count that as an impromptu mopping of the kitchen floor.Noelle

My wonderful husband and Beeyoutiful’s CEO, Steve, facilitated an incredible surprise for me and three ladies on our Beeyoutiful staff. As you may know, we sell the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. I’ve had a lot of respect for the work of Sally and the WAPF for several years now although I’ve never been able to become a member or attend any WAPF conferences. But in November, Steve surprised us with a trip to Chicago to attend the 2009 WAPF Conference. One of our most valuable take-aways is that we interviewed some of the vendors at the conference who are excellent resources for healthy foods with difficult-to-find quality and safety sources. The interviews are posted on YouTube under the username stephtallent. They can also be found in the Education forum: www.merryheartmedicine.com.

Looking ahead to the next few months: You’ll see various resources become available in several forms, one being articles from experts that participated in the conference.This month we feature an article from one of my favorite vendors: a delightful couple I dubbed “The Sprouted Grain Folks.” Co-owner of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. (www.organicsproutedflour.net), Peggy Sutton graciously agreed to write an article for our customers to teach them step-by-step how to sprout grains and prepare them for grinding. We also have a companion article written by my sister-in-law, Stephanie Kuvik-Tallent, sharing her story on soaking (un-sprouted) flour and also her step-by-step recipe with pictures. Articles like this get me excited and make me want to run to the kitchen and create something nutritious for my family!

Someone at the conference asked me who and what Beeyoutiful is as a company and why they should trust us. The question startled me because I frequently take for granted that our customers have a relationship with us and know the work and quality control that goes into each and every product we carry. I also assume people know they can trust us to always try to do the right thing, whether we succeed or not. I realize, though, that both of these assumptions are very wrong. We have new customers coming to our metaphorical doors all the time. Questions about quality control and why a company should be trusted are both trademarks of a wise consumer. I ask them myself before trusting the integrity of a new company or giving my hard earned dollars to purchase a new product.

So, Quality Control: How well is the quality of the manufacturing processes managed for Beeyoutiful products?

I could bombard you with a lot of nitty gritty manufacturing details but in a few paragraphs, your eyes would glaze over, and you would skip to more interesting parts of the catalog. So I’ll stick with the bottom line version.

For any of you who want some particular nit or grit detail that I don’t cover here, please, as always, feel free to write us. We are what the industry calls a “full disclosure company” (the rare breed that seems to be ever more endangered). That means if you ask us, we’ll tell you. It also means that each product label tells exactly what is in the product. The law allows that, if any ingredient is less than 1% of the whole of a product, a company is not required to report it in the nutritional facts. At Beeyoutiful, though, we know that for consumers this is a terrible thing. Sometimes even trace amounts of an ingredient make a difference. So in the spirit of doing unto others what we would like done unto us, we are committed to disclosing every single component of every single product, no matter how tiny the amount may be.

Our supplements are all made at facilities with a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification. GMP is a quality control check of every step of the manufacturing process. It ensures the final product is safe for consumption, is not contaminated, and that every unit is produced with consistent care. What’s more, our primary manufacturer goes above and beyond the basic GMP requirements. The company takes 11 random samples from each individual raw ingredient shipped to their facility and runs them through a mass spectrometer. If there is any trace of a pesticide, heavy metal, or any other harmful compound, the shipment is refused and not even allowed into the facility. The detection capabilities are so refined that in examining the raw materials, they can detect the equivalent of one grain of sand in a five-mile beach. This is significant because, even in certified organic shipments, they’ve found contaminants and refused to use the materials.

We also like to support home businesses. Most of our skincare products are made by cottage industries. We’ve found that large companies often cut corners to reduce expenses, and the quality of the products intended for external use suffers. It can also be difficult for large companies to consistently locate enough high quality ingredients. Small manufacturers, on the other hand, can usually buy raw herbs, beeswax, and other components locally and can personally check out the quality of the sources to ensure purity.

We’ve seen how several “natural” body product companies that we respected changed policies as they grew, letting in what we consider inferior ingredients once they had won the publics’ trust. This is something small, home-based manufacturers do not have the luxury of doing. They see their customers face to face at farmer’s markets and use their products on their own children, family, and friends. This provides a highly personal element of accountability that can be missing in large-scale skincare production.

A last comment on quality control but certainly not the least important: All of our products are manufactured in the US. While quality products can be found overseas, it’s much more difficult to personally check up on the consistency of quality controls. And it’s almost impossible to enforce any special requests. We would be at the mercy of the discretion and trustworthiness of local management, a situation complicated by the potential miscommunications due to language barriers.

Many people wonder how we go about adding products. Do we design them ourselves, or do we have a professional do it? How do we come up with the blends we carry?

Our goal is to make available the most affordable and highest quality products for families that we can. As we learn and expand the range of natural living products we use for ourselves, we try our best to make them available for our customers. Sometimes this means going to the manufacturer/designer of a particular product that we think is amazing and asking if they will allow us to private label it. Other times, this means we come up with the idea of a product and propose it to a formulator and manufacturer, having a custom product made just for us. A classic example is our Organic Red Raspberry leaf capsules.

We’ve always offered a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee to our customers. If you order something and don’t like it for any reason at all, you can return it, and we will refund the full cost of the product (I would say “no questions asked” except that we do usually ask for the reason because feedback helps us learn how to improve our products in the future). Recently, though, we’ve increased the 30-day policy to a 60-day policy in order to give even more time for folks to try a product and decide if it is beneficial or not. It’s another way for us to underscore just how important your satisfaction is to us.

Finally, the most compelling assurance I can offer that we always strive to have the highest quality products is that we take these products ourselves on a daily basis and use them with our children and loved ones. Our personal best interest mandates that we  maintain the integrity of our products.

In a way, we hope that someday a company like Beeyoutiful will no longer be needed. The ideal would be for our society to offer genuinely nourishing, beneficial, and affordable foods as well as education for food preparation methods that deliver the nutrients needed to maintain good health.

In striving to learn for ourselves and pass this knowledge on to others, I recommend an amazing educational resource: the video documentary Food Inc. Request it at your local library, borrow it from a friend, or rent it. The education it provides as to why our nation has reached its current food and nutritional crisis is priceless.

I hope you enjoy this Winter Catalog. Snuggle up in front of a fire, or curl up under a blanket, get a hot cup of whatever beverage makes you happy, and enjoy! May you and your families be warm, well nourished, and healthy this winter.

As always, if there’s anything I can do to help or encourage you or your family, please write to me anytime at steph@beeyoutiful.com

Blessings,

Steph Tallent