Many people think that essential oils are eternal. Well, the smell of some of them can really be good even in 20 years. But not their chemical constituents. Hence not their therapeutic properties.

Unlike human beings, essential oils don’t need a breath of fresh air and sun to live happy and long life. On the contrary, when their constituents combine with atmospheric oxygen causing chemical changes, essential oils start to degrade. This process called OXIDATION.

Unfortunately, when oxidized our essential oils start losing their therapeutic properties, becoming slightly toxic that also increase the risk of adverse skin reactions! And it’s not what we expect to get out of essential oils.

Fortunately, everything is not as bad as it sounds – oxidation is a very slow process! Before it starts to take effect most essential oils keep well for at least 1-2 years. So, this is not an issue for somebody who is using essential oils up within 6-12 months of purchase anyway.

If you haven’t opened an essential oil yet it will stay fresh for a long time. Otherwise, start the clock when you first open the bottle and use the following guideline:

1-2 Years

Orange Sweet, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Grapefruit

2-3 Years

Chamomile, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Juniper Berry, Lemongrass, Tea Tree, Neroli, Melissa, Rosemary

3-4 Years

Clary Sage, Fennel Sweet, Lavender, Myrrh, Thyme, Basil, Jasmine

4-5 Years

Geranium, Ylang-Ylang, Palmarosa, Wintergreen, Rose Otto, Rose Absolute

4-8 Years

Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood

Note: these numbers are approximate and refer to essential oils that are refrigerated. For non-refrigerated oils, halve them, especially in warm climates.


Written by Yuliya Kireyeva.

Yuliya is a certified Aromatherapist and Aromadiagnostics based in UAE.

For Aromadiagnostics consultations, oils and Aromatherapy workshops you can connect to

Yuliya at Instagram @the_artofaromatherapy


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