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Why are some essential oils more expensive?

If you have stood in front of a rack full of essential oils while shopping, you may have noticed that some oils are more expensive than others. And while they slight price differences may not matter to most of the oils displayed in the stores, there may be a few handful of oils with a much heftier price tag.

One of the reasons why some essential oils are more expensive is also because of their own distillation process. For example, to make one ounce of rose oil, you need to harvest, hand-pick and cultivate 600 pounds of rose petals. And if you want to acquire the best quality rose oil, all these must be done before dawn.

Other factors that contribute of the cost of the essential oil also includes the scarcity of the oil source, the growing conditions and region where the source is grown.

The 10 most expensive essential oils

We’ve rounded out the ten most expensive essential oils. The rankings are based by popular demand and market price, and may change in the future due to availability.

  1. Neroli

Attributes: Sweet, honeyed, and a bit metallic, with a refreshing and distinctive quality

Uses: Aphrodisiac, perfumes

Market Price: USD360++/oz

Neroli oil is an essential oil extracted from flowers of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium subsp. amara or Bigaradia). Although you can extract orange blossom from the same flower and both are used extensively in making perfume as they are classic elements in the industry.

A more surprising use of Neroli oil is that it is use to make the skin healthy. This popular essential oil is used from disinfecting wounds, keeping acne at bay, making skin glow and feel more elastic.

An independent study in 2012 also believed that Neroli oil can maintain blood pressure levels and a healthy immune system.  

  1. East Indian Sandalwood

Attributes: Woody, grounding, but fresh and uplifting

Uses: Sacred or spiritual rituals, cosmetics and soaps, perfumes

Market Price: USD450++/oz

Government restriction on harvesting Sandalwood trees in India makes this essential oil all the more hard to find, and the more expensive. Made from the mature bark and timber of Santalum album trees, this essential oil is used either as a base or a complementary ingredient.

There are many benefits from using East Indian Sandalwood essential oil, but a few would stand out. It is used to treat skin inflammation because of its calming and soothing effects. There have been studies that show this essential oil as one way to reduce skin cancer from progressing.

  1. Elecampane

Attributes: Sweet, floral, but has a camphor-like smell

Uses: digestive tonic, expectorant

Market Price: USD560++/oz

This essential oil is derived from the Elecampane plant, which is a rigid herb. Member of the sunflower family, its flowers are of a bright hue and is typically taken as tea. However, you can also take it as an aromatherapic agent or a topical application.

Like its cousin the sunflower, Elecampane essential oil can be used to treat wrinkles and age spots. It is more useful, however, in treating internal issues from periodontal diseases, bronchitis and asthma, immuno-deficiency to digestive problems.

  1. Seaweed

Attributes: woody, briny, with a herbaceous smell

Uses: perfumes, soaps, skincare products

Market Price: USD650++/oz

Seaweed oil is an essential oil made from a number of complementary species of algae and marine plants. Since they grow on bodies of water like ponds, seas, to oceans,  Seaweed contains health-promoting components as compared to the majority of other plant and animal-based foods or products that are available on land. The origins of seaweed oil makes it an excellent complementary ingredient in making masculine scents.

Benefits of seaweed oil generally range from anti-aging to skin-soothing. Popular to Asian women, especially the Japanese, Seaweed oil is a must-have element in a woman’s vanity kit.

  1. Bulgarian Rose

Attributes: floral, sensual smell

Uses: perfumes, skin care

Market Price: USD700++/oz

Rose ose oils are still perhaps the most widely used essential oil in perfumery, and Bulgarian Rose is one of the most expensive add-ons in making on. Bulgarian Rose oil is made from its namesake flower, the Bulgarian Rose Damascena, which only grows from the famous Rose Valley in Bulgaria, just south of the Bulkan Mountains and oversees 85 percent of the world’s rose oil production.

In order to produce just one pound of oil, you need to extract over 5,000 petals. However, the rarity and the production difficulty of Bulgarian Rose oil makes it a coveted product for beauty junkies everywhere. Bulgarian Rose oil can help increase collagen production and make your skin smooth and youthful.

Bulgarian Rose oil can also be used as a Digestion-stimulating agent and antiseptic. It is also a flavor enhancer for certain food and beverages.

  1. Agarwood or “Oudh”

Attributes: bitter-sweet, earthy, with a slightly nutty smell

Uses: Aphrodisiac, incense, perfumes

Market Price: USD850++/oz

Agarwood is one of the two essential oils in this list that is made from trees. However, you would need to treat or get an agarwood tree with a type of mould. The tree becomes a very dense, dark, resin-embedded heartwood.

Agarwood oil or Oudh is a powerful mood lifter. It can reduce stress and remove anxiety, making it a go-to essential oil alternative for people looking to feel relaxed and relieved and prefer a more strong, woodsy aroma.

Agarwood oil also have properties that can relieve flatulence and pain. It has also anti-microbial properties that you can use to get rid of toxins in the body.

  1. Cannabis Flower (Hemp)

Attributes: warm, sweet aroma and flavor

Uses: perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, candy and beverages

Market Price: USD950++/oz

This essential oil is simply expensive not because of its rarity, but because of its popularity. Cannabis flower oil is a concentrated version coming from the flowers and the upper leaves of the cannabis plant, or commonly known as marijuana.

Cannabis flower oil is different from hemp seed oil, hemp oil, and hash oil simply because it has low THC, the element that makes cannabis a psychoactive drug.

This pale yellow essential oil is used as a base oil in aromatherapy oil blends, particularly citrus oils like as bergamot oil, lemon oil, lime oil, and orange oil. It is also used as a delicate topnote for a perfume. Cannabis flower oil is also a carrier oil perfect for users who prefer a more delicate aroma and can work on the most sensitive of skins.

  1. Frangipani Absolute

Attributes: sweet, fresh ethereal smell, slightly viscous in appearance

Uses: perfumes, skin creams, soap and lotions, aromatic agent

Market Price: USD1,500++/oz

Frangipani essential oil is made from the flowers of the decorative Plumeria plant. The flowers of the Plumeria plant are also used for different health disorders, including tinnitus, inflammation, headache, and back pain. The flower extract can also be used to sooth dry and cracked skin, making it soft and supple.

Frangipani essential oil is used as a complementary agent in deep-cleansing products, and as an aromatic agent in other beauty products like shampoos, conditioners, hair packs, and gels.

  1. Tuberose

Attributes: Fragrant, warm, sweet aroma with subtle hints of peach and spice

Uses: Aphrodisiac, deodorant,

Market Price: USD1,650++/oz

Tuberose essential oil is made from the flowers of its namesake, which is a night-blooming plant native to Mexico. Just like the Bulgaria Rose essential oil, Tuberose essential oil requires a lot of flowers to make it.

Known as one of the most fragrant flowers in the whole world, did you know that the essential oil extracted from Tuberose protects skin from inflammation as well? Tuberose essential oil can be used to keep the skin free from dryness. It can also be used as a topical medication to reduce nausea and vomiting due to foul-smelling odors.

  1. Champaca Absolute

Attributes: Floral with fruity undertones

Uses: Aphrodisiac, for relaxation and creating sense of safety, perfumes

Market Price: USD2,300++/oz

Champaca absolute essential oil is derived from flowers (or Magnolia champaca). Wonderfully fragrant, it can be sensual and fruity for most people, which is a delightful benefit if you are looking for a natural remedy for headaches, tension, stress, or vertigo.

This “happiness in a bottle” is literal in what it can do for people who are suffering from depression, as Champaca Absolute essential oil has properties that help produce more endorphins.