FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
FAQ # 1: Why are your essential oils not labeled for ingestion?
Gigi’s House’s labeling has a few reasons behind it; the most important of these is your safety. One reason is that we sell pure oils and as such, these oils are very strong. Certain oils (no matter who sells them) are contraindicated for certain medical situations and certain medications that people may be taking. You will see that information in safety sections on each oil’s product page. Before anyone even thinks about internal use, they need to have a thorough understanding of the chemistry and contraindications of oils. The general household oiler doesn’t have this kind of knowledge. Internal use of essential oils should only be done under the care of a Registered Aromatherapist or a Physician who has been trained in the chemical structure of essential oils. One drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 15lbs of peppermint leaves; you have to understand and respect this kind of concentration. Statements by well-respected organizations can be found on their websites:
1) Alliance of International Aromatherapists (source): “AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal). Please refer to the AIA Safety Guidelines for essential oil use.”
2) International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association (source): “Essential oils should not be taken internally unless receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a trained and qualified Aromatic medicine practitioner.”
3) Aromatherapy Trade Council (source): “Never take essential oils internally, unless under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist who has received the necessary training in this very specialised mode of administration. Most aromatherapists have not had this training, so be sure to check this out first.You may read articles in magazines and books extolling the virtues of taking essential oils internally, but you should absolutely never attempt this without expert guidance.”
Another reason is that it is illegal to label a product as topical, aromatic, and internal. If you’ve been involved with some companies, you probably didn’t know this. However, those companies have been served letters by the FDA that clearly state that their oils cannot be labeled internal along with another use. You can see those here:
FDA Letter #1: “We note that some of your [company name removed by us] products are marketed as dietary supplements, but are offered for topical use and/or intended for inhalation. Under section 201(ff)(2)(A)(i) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)](2)(A)(i)], a dietary supplement is defined, among other things, as a product intended for ingestion. Topical products and other products that are not intended for ingestion are not dietary supplements. In any case, the claims referenced above in this letter are drug claims, which are not suitable claims for dietary supplements. As such, whether or not they are intended for ingestion, the above-mentioned products are drugs under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Act and not dietary supplements under section 201(ff) of the Act.”
FDA Letter #2: “We note that some of your products are marketed as dietary supplements, but are marketed for topical use. Under section 201(ff)(2)(A)(i) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)](2)(A)(i)], a dietary supplement is defined, among other things, as a product intended for ingestion. Topical products are not dietary supplements. In any case, the claims referenced above in this letter are drug claims, which are not suitable claims for dietary supplements. As such, whether or not they are intended for ingestion, the above-mentioned [company name removed by us] Essential Oil products are drugs under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Act and not dietary supplements under section 201(ff) of the Act.”
Last but not least, it’s been proven that aromatic use of essential oils is the most effective in most cases. Topical use is also effective, but aromatic is better unless it’s topical use for a specific situations.
FAQ #2: My child swallowed some essential oil. What do I do?
Call poison control (1 (800) 222-1222) immediately and have your bottle with the botanical name handy. Do not wait for symptoms to begin. They will guide you as to your next steps.
This isn’t a frequently asked question but it’s important info to keep on hand so we included it.
Be Safe! Keep oils out of children’s reach!
FAQ #3: Are your oils PURE?
At Gigi’s House, we only purchase 100% pure essential oils or other extracts (absolutes, CO2s, Carriers). The essential oils are double tested. The first test is on the sample that is sent from the distiller. If that sample passes organoleptic testing (smell test by a highly trained nose), it is tested for purity through GC-MS (Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry), specific gravity, refractive index, and optical rotation. If it passes these tests for purity and has constituent levels that are within acceptable ranges — for therapeutic reasons — it gets ordered. Once the bulk oil arrives, it is put through the same set of tests to be sure that they’ve sent the same oil that was sampled. You are assured that your oils are pure because we require that assurance for ourselves. On each single oil page, you will find a GC-MS tab which holds the GC-MS test report to go with the oil on that page.
Not sure what to do with those? We suggest that you compare the constituents with the ranges in Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals (2013). A second comparison would be the Essential Oil Database, where you can view results from actual regional reports. Need a CAS number to find it easier in the database? Contact us and we’ll be glad to supply it. Keep in mind that EOU’s database may have many reports for the same CAS number. Don’t just look at one and assume the constituents in all reports will be the same. They won’t. You will find one that comes very close to our levels, though. It’s one of our checks when we buy oils.
FAQ #4: Are your oils organic?
Many of our oils are organically produced but since our facility is not currently certified organic by the USDA we cannot claim they are certified organic.
If you create certified organic products, we suggest that you purchase from a certified retailer, like Oshadhi.
FAQ #5: Are your oils 'Therapeutic Grade?'
Actually, no company’s oils are classed “therapeutic grade” by any authority because there is no such thing, except for companies who have registered a trademark (used by companies for marketing purposes). While we may have trademarks, these have to do with brand not marketing ploys.
There is no universal system for grading essential oils. There are only 3 kinds of oils: pure, synthetic, and adulterated. Pure oils are usually sold with some kind of testing that allows the buyer to see the test results and judge the oil quality for themselves. Synthetic oils cannot be used for therapeutic purposes. Adulterated oils are often sold as pure but offer no test results, because a trained eye can often catch adulteration.
You may hear people refer to food grade oils or fragrance oils. These are still oils that fall into the above categories. Some oils are rectified for the food industry, but are still pure essential oils. Fragrance oils may be synthetic or pure. I can’t say that anyone wants adulterated oils. They’re just out there and we all have to watch for them. If you’re interested in learning more about oil testing, we highly encourage you to check these sites:
Phytochemia’s Blog (We’ve linked to their GC Analysis series, but info geeks (like me) will enjoy the rest of their articles ~ look for the one about extraction in their lab if you’d like to know more about how your oils are removed from the plant material)
Phytochemia’s Facebook Page (Info on the blog discusses essential oils and testing more than their Facebook Page, which is in French but can be translated)
Essential Oil University (Very limited unpaid info on the blog but we do like their Myths ~ we love the site because of the EOUdb, which we subscribe to for comparison in quality)
Essential Oil University’s Facebook Page (This is where Dr. Pappas will get “down and dirty”with discussion about testing, just keep in mind, he’s human . . . and has his own personality ~ whether you love it or hate it, you have to respect the knowledge he shares. Personally, I find it a breath of fresh air for someone to speak their mind.)
We’ll stop here because you’re probably on information overload. If you enjoy those and want more, contact us and we’ll give you more sources 😉
FAQ #6: Are your oils safe for my kids?
With all pure oils (no matter what brand), some are safe for children and some are not. Safety is determined by the constituents in a pure oil, not by a brand. Our safe use guidelines come from Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals (2013) and apply to any oil from the same botanical species. If you’ve heard that one brand is safe for everyone, you might want to do more research outside that brand.
We’ve taken the guesswork out for you by classifying our oils by age group. Pure oils must be properly diluted according to the age of your child as well. You can achieve this proper dilution by purchasing pure oils and diluting them yourself (see our Safe Dilution Chart) or you can purchase pre-diluted oils for the age of the child. The following links will give you lists of oils that are safe for your child:
FAQ #7: How do I store my oils?
All oils should be stored in a cool, dark place. Don’t keep them in bathrooms. Don’t set them in window sills. Personally, most of my personal oils are in a drawer, but I do not have children to consider. Store yours in a cool, dark, safe place that children will not be at risk. Proper storage directly affects the shelf life of your oils. For instance, citrus oils can have a shelf life of 2 months to 1 year . . . . depending on your storage.
One thing that is very smart to do (especially with citrus oils, but really for all oils) is to switch them to smaller containers as you begin to lower the amount in a 15mL bottle. When you’ve used 1/3 of the bottle, transfer the remaining oil to two 5mL bottles (we highly suggest you keep your old bottles for this purpose – soak them in apple cider vinegar and allow them to dry thoroughly, then store them in a sealable bag) . . . or just purchase oils in exhaustible quantities like our 5mL bottles. If you have oils that are old and have oxidized, use them for cleaning purposes, but wear gloves to clean with them.
Having said that, there are oils that should be stored in the refrigerator because they can oxidize quickly . . . and oxidized oils can cause sensitization. Store these oils in your refrigerator (we suggest a small, lockable box if you have children in your home regularly):
Fir Needle (Siberian)
We, personally, also store any expensive oils in our personal stash in the fridge. All of Gigi’s House’s stock is kept refrigerated with a layer of argon, carbon dioxide and nitrogen over them to protect them from oxygen.
FAQ #8: What do you do to keep my oils fresh before I buy them?
We have a variety of systems designed to keep your oils as fresh as possible.
First, we purchase shorter shelf-life oils in exhaustible quantities (citrus oils and oils with a “floral scent”). We do not want to offer old, oxidized oils, so our purchases are timed in such a way that we should never have a short shelf life oil in our stock longer than 3 months and we store them properly. On occasion, this does mean that we run out of an oil. We try not to . . . but it does happen. Some oils are aromatically better with age. When we have the chance to purchase these oils aged, we very happily do so in larger bulk and store them properly.
Second, stock oils are kept in refrigerated, lined aluminum containers.
Third, we add a layer of a unique combination of argon, carbon dioxide and nitrogen to our stock containers any time we pour from them. Because this gas is heavier than oxygen, it creates a blanket of gas over the oil to help preserve it. This combination of gas is Inert, non-toxic, FDA approved, tasteless, medical grade and non-volatile.
FAQ #9: Do you offer samples?
You may request up to four mini-samples with orders of full-sized bottles. Those will be sent at no charge, but we do reserve the right to limit free samples sent, depending on our current stock levels. Samples sent along with an order will be scent samples (approximately 6 drops in a small vial). Immediately after ordering contact us through our contact form, listing the samples you’re requesting and the order number they should be sent with (you’ll see this number on the page you are redirected to after paying or in your account).
We also offer 2mL sample sizes for sale for those who want enough to truly try the oil but aren’t sure that they want our full-size bottles.
FAQ #10: Do you have an oil for . . . . ?
How to Use the Gigi’s House Tag Cloud
Many times, customers don’t know what oils might address their therapeutic needs. Because of this, we’ve got our nifty little tag cloud. Need an oil that will uplift you? Click on “Uplifting” in our tag cloud. Need an oil your hubby might enjoy? Click “Men Preferred” in our tag cloud. Clicking any word in our tag cloud will bring up the oils that fit that need.
If you’re already looking at a product, you can easily see the needs it addresses by looking at the tags for that oil. This makes it easier for you to know all of the ways you might use an oil that you’re considering. Still not sure? Contact us and we’ll help you choose and tell you the best way for you to use the oils to meet your need.
FAQ # 11: What about shipping and returns?
We ship through USPS and orders placed by 11:00 am EST will ship within 3 business days. This is usually sooner, but allows time for us to receive a product in the case of an accidental out of stock situation. Returns are accepted in qualifying conditions. We highly encourage people to purchase samples for oils they are unsure about. These sample sizes are large enough for you to determine if the oil meets your needs both aromatically and therapeutically. You may also request up to four scent samples with orders of full-sized bottles. Those will be sent at no charge, but we do reserve the right to limit free samples sent, depending on our current stock levels. After you check out contact us through our contact form immediately after ordering, listing the samples you’re requesting and the order number they should be sent with (you’ll see this number on the page you are redirected to after paying or in your account).
The long version can be found in Gigi’s House Terms and Conditions.