UV Light, Amber Glass, and Essential Oils

Why are essential oils so often seen packaged in amber glass?

Storage method of essential oils directly affects its shelf life. Because of the potency of essential oils in their purest state, glass containers in general are the safest method of storage.

Read more about that in our Glass vs Plastic post

But why amber? Is clear glass the same?

Essential oils are volatile. Basically that means:

  1. Essential oils have the potential to oxidize
  2. Essential oils evaporate

It’s important to remember that essential oils are compounds with chemical compositions. And certain reactions (Oxidation, isomerization, cyclization, and dehydrogenation) can change an oil’s chemical composition which can affect not only its efficacy, but also whether or not it is safe for use.

These reactions can be caused by a few factors, but the main 2 to remember are:

  1. Oxygen
  2. Heat/ light

Oils can be kept safe from exposure to oxygen by being stored in an airtight container. Check.

But heat and light can still penetrate the walls of a glass bottle.

Dat da daaaa….

Enter, AMBER colored bottles.

Amber is a low-intensity, low-frequency color, which means that it is able to block some light (including harmful blue and ultraviolet rays) but also allows some frequencies in the red to yellow range.That makes amber the perfect solution to having some transparency in a bottle, but also protecting those expensive and precious oils. Some oils are also seen in cobalt bottles, and we’ve received questions about the difference. Cobalt glass is more protective than clear, but allows blue light to pass through, which amber protects against.

Thank goodness many oils come packaged in protective amber glass. But it’s still important to treat your oils with care.

To extend the shelf life of your oils and minimize exposure to damaging heat light oxygen, make sure to store in a cool place and replace lids tightly after use.