Essential Oils - Cheap Vs Expensive

Sharon Brown

Why are some pure essential oils more expensive than others? Some are ridiculously cheap, others seem reasonably priced and then there are those that make you feel as if you just parted with a kidney!

The world of essential oils is a beautiful place to find yourself and then, as your collection grows you begin to treasure your pure essential oils more like little bottles of gold than 15ml of oil. The cost of 100% pure essential oils can vary enormously. But why? Here's four possible reasons...

1. Rare plant = Rare oil

Citrus essential oils are more affordable as they are widely available, the citrus rind holds a high volume of oil and it's a relatively simple extraction process.

Sandalwood trees on the other hand, take years to grow before they are ready for harvesting and during that time they need to survive storms, drought and pests.

Shortages of rare and popular essential oils have never been more prevalent than during the COVID19 global pandemic. Demand drove up the price of 100% pure Tea Tree and Peppermint essential oils as they are a key ingredient in many hand sanitisers and cleaning products.

2. Volume Required for Extraction

It takes the petals of approximately thirty (30) roses to yield a single drop of essential oil. I'll let that sink in for a moment...  there are about 250 drops in a 15ml (.5oz) bottle and no matter how you do the math (psst... its about 7,500 roses), the volume of roses required in rose oil production is huge.

In stark comparison, it typically takes around 45 lemons to extract 15ml of lemon pure essential oil.

3. Oil Extraction Process

There's an incredible amount of science and timing to the whole oil collection and extraction process. Jasmine blooms need to be handpicked, predawn in the cool early hours to gain the highest yield of oil. Sandalwood needs to be powdered and hydro distilled to cause the oil to be released. While Frankincense gum resin is prepared for oil extraction by steam distillation and its sap is in constant short supply due to the very high demand within the perfume industry.

4. Price Too Good to Be True

You may find some 'pure' essential oils cost less than $12 for 15ml. Beware! Chances are they may be diluted or thinned out with unfriendly additives such as kerosene or mineral oil. Images of stomach churning 'pure' essential oil injuries, skin rashes and scarring pop up all over internet searches, so stay clear of these cheap, fraudulent knock offs as they may cost much more in the long run. As the old saying goes, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. 

My best tip:  Ask questions such as: where do the oils come from; how are they processed; which suppliers operate with integrity and have the wellbeing of their clients in mind.