There is a saying, “You get what you pay for.” And I could tell you a few stories of how I’ve learned first hand that this saying is often true. Yes, I admit there are companies and businesses that gouge customers on overpriced items that are cheaply made. But let’s face it, quality comes with a price. And quality essential oils are no exception. It leaves many to think they can’t afford quality essential oils. But with some creativity, I think most people can afford them.
Why are quality essential oils so costly?
Before we get into affording quality essential oils, I think it’s best to know why they often cost as much as they do. First, essential oils must be sourced from a sustainable plant. Many of these plants are native to or can only be grown in very specific climates. This means more resources to find and care for them equalling a more expensive plant.
Next they must be harvested. It often takes hundreds of pounds of plant material to produce just a small amount of the essential oil. Take for instance the Damask rose. To distill only two liters of oil, it takes three tons of roses. And it takes one acre to grow that many roses-all for only two liters! But the amount of plant material is not the only thing that affects harvesting. The weather also affects harvest yields. Just as an overly dry or rainy growing season will affect your backyard garden production, plants grown for essential oil production are affected by weather conditions also.
Each business must then pay for each step of the distillation and bottling process. From paying the farmers who cultivate and grow the plants to the distillers and bottlers to their own overhead, there are many cost along the way. The reputable companies will also pay to have their oils tested for purity and quality. Last, is all the marketing cost. Regardless of whether the company is a direct sales company who pays consultant or advocates or whether they pay advertisers to promote and carry their products all this costs money.
Does that mean only the most expensive oils are quality essential oils?
Not necessarily. While I’ve already stated that you do often get what you pay for, that doesn’t mean that the most expensive are the best. (I wouldn’t recommend looking at your local Walmart or surplus department store to find quality essential oils though.) As in any business there are companies that only have their own pocketbooks in heart. But there are some companies that do have their customers health as their main priority. And while they are a business who must make a profit, they also give back to the community and customers.
These companies will also be dedicated to showing the quality of their oils. They will have batch numbers on each bottle and the GCMS reports can easily be found or requested from their website. Their oils will be tested by independent, third party companies. Expiration dates and warning/usage labels will be easily found for each oil. Yes, essential oils have expiration dates and not all oils can be used internally, topically without dilution, or on young children or pregnant women. Companies that list these basic items clearly in their marketing are companies who’s oils deserve a second look. (There are other things I would suggest looking for, but this is not the post to discuss all of that.)
How can the average family afford quality essential oils?
1. Replace cleaning products with homemade ones made with quality essential oils.
Have you looked at the price of cleaning products lately? Or I should say, the total cost of all the cleaning products under your sink? While $4.00 or $5.00 may not sound like much for one product, it adds up quickly. Just think of all the different cleaning supplies in your house. Kitchen spray. Bathroom tub and tile scrub. Disinfecting spray. Toilet cleaner. Mopping solution. Drain cleaner. The list may go on and on. These can all be made very simply and cheaply with natural products and essential oils.
Do homemade cleaners really work? Yes! I’ve been making our own cleaners for years and can say without a doubt they work just as well if not better than commercially produced cleaners. And they are better for my family’s health as well. They do not contain toxic chemicals and I know exactly what is in them. I can also customize them to suit our family’s needs. Here is my favorite tub and toilet scrub.
2. Replace your laundry detergent with a homemade one containing quality essential oils.
Laundry. That mountain of clothing that I can’t ever seem to get caught up on. The struggle.is.real. And if you have anywhere near as much laundry as we do and you buy laundry detergent, oh my! You are spending a small fortune. Let me just be really honest. One of the main reason I started making my own laundry soap wasn’t because I wanted to be healthier and avoid toxins. Although that was definitely a plus. It really had more to do with the fact that laundry detergent is ridiculously expensive. And I wanted to save money.
I’ve been through several different laundry soap recipes and the one I’m using now is what works best for us by far. It’s cleaned everything from sweaty workout clothes and sports uniforms to mama cloth and poop stained undies (real life of mamas with kids) and everything in between. And using quality essential oils not only adds a clean, natural scent, but also adds antimicrobial properties which helps keep smells at bay. Need I say more.
3. Use quality essential oils to support your immune system and avoid sick days.
Diffusing essential oils can support your immune system and help protect against environmental and seasonal threats. This can also be done by using essential oils in a homemade spray or just breathing them in or using internally. When your body is functioning at peak performance, it is better able to fight off infections or avoid them altogether. This in turn allows for less work and school days missed and therefore, less doctor visits. Just think what you could do if your family visited a doctor only half of the amount of last year, or even less.
4. Replace hand sanitizer with quality essential oils.
Is it just me or does it now seem like cold and flu season is almost year round. Regardless of time or season, someone always has something. Since we know that hygiene is a big factor in limiting the spread of germs, out comes the hand sanitizer. But many of the ingredients in hand sanitizers are very toxic. Endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, hormone imbalances, and organ toxicity are just a few side effects linked to ingredients commonly found in hand sanitizers. Besides that, hand sanitizers can dry skin out and often harm beneficial bacteria leaving hands less protected against against microbes. Making your own homemade hand sanitizer with quality essential oils can protect against environmental threats while still nourishing your hands and skin. And it’s quick, simple and cheap to make.
5. Cook with quality essential oils.
I know not everyone is comfortable using essential oils internally. And that’s ok. I strongly advise anyone to study and do their homework before using oils internally, even quality essential oils. But with that said, I do feel that once educated, many people find that essential oils are an amazing tool in the kitchen.
Culinary use of quality essential oils is a great way to get started using essential oils internally. Because this focuses on only using enough oil to flavor a dish and not on consuming enough to produce a desired effect in the body there is a very large window of safety. Again, they are a tool and all tools should be learned-when and how to use them and when not to use them. (For instance, adding them to water isn’t really the safest way to ingest them. They should always be incorporated into a fat or fat mixture in a recipe.)
Did you know that if you’ve ever added orange, lemon, or lime zest to a recipe you’ve added essential oils. Citrus oils come from the peel being pressed. So next time that recipe calls for orange zest and you’re all out of oranges, try adding a drop of a good quality orange essential oil (to the oil or butter when mixing) instead.
6. Replace your perfume with quality essential oils.
When I had my first daughter I stopped wearing perfume. I was like most people and had my favorite, but once I realized how strong it would smell to my new baby, I just couldn’t overwhelm her with a chemical spray. It wasn’t long before I was pregnant with my second and then came our third child. By this time, I had long given up any chance to smell nice anymore. I was just happy if I didn’t smell like spit up.
But there were those times I missed “smelling pretty”. Then I realized I could actually custom make my own perfume with essential oils. Oh what glorious day! And it wouldn’t be toxic to my children; it could actually be calming or uplifting to them as well as to me. I could make my own custom scent or could have several depending on my mood or time of year. And it wouldn’t cost me any more than those expensive bottles of spray I once liked. Depending on my preference of smell, I could probably even save money.
7. Replace costly candles with quality essential oils.
I am honestly not one that likes my house scented with all different smells year round. If the weather is nice, I am happiest with the windows open and a fresh breeze wafting in. But then comes fall and the holidays. Something about that time of year makes me want to smell spiced pumpkins, apples, and cinnamon everywhere.
There are some amazingly great smelling candles in those scents too. But they come with an equally great price tag. They are not cheap. But that is not the only cost. To get that tantalizing smell, they are loaded with chemicals and synthetic fragrances that can wreak havoc on our health. A price I don’t care to pay.
The good news is that I can create the same scents with essential oils and I don’t have to worry about toxins. Instead, I can feel good knowing that airborne microbes are being attacked as I diffuse oils and many of the oils are great at supporting emotions. They can soothe and calm or brighten and energize. You just can’t get that from a candle.
8. Start with common quality essential oils that are less costly.
Regardless of brand or even quality, some oils are just more expensive than others. Frankincense, for example, is an amazing essential oil, but it is known as being very costly. Citrus oils and lavender are much more reasonable. I have a quality lavender essential oil that cost about $20.00 and my lemon essential oil is only about $10.00.
Since all essential oils have some antimicrobial properties, I don’t have to choose the most expensive to get results. Lemon is a great option to add to laundry soap or household cleaners since it’s cheap, smells great, and a great cleaner and degreaser. Lavender is known for calming and promoting sleep, but it is also great to use in cleaning products as well. Each essential oil is very versatile and has many benefits allowing for a wide range of uses. So choose ones that are cost effective and still cover all the areas of use you need.
9. Quality essential oils require less to be effective.
First let’s just think of any essential oil. A standard 15mL bottle will hold around 250 drops. This means that even those more costly oils aren’t as costly as they seem when you realize how many uses you will get out of each bottle. Diffusing oils uses more drops of oil per use than most other ways to use oils-typically around five drops. But even if the only way I used one 15mL bottle was to diffuse it, using five drops each time, it would last me about two months! I’m pretty sure we could find multiple items used or consumed regularly in our homes that cost more for a two month supply than many quality essential oils cost.
If you have ever tried a cheap or off brand essential oil, it may have worked, but you might have found yourself using more than expected to get the results wanted. That is because it is very common for subpar companies to dilute their oils with a carrier oil, adulterate it with additives or add fragrances to the oil to stretch the oil further at a cheaper cost. This means that only a fraction of the bottle actually contains the real essential oil therefore more is needed to be used before any results can be seen.
Quality essential oils are pure oils with nothing added. That means that it will take less of the real oil to produce the same effect received from the “watered down” oil. This not only provides quicker results using less oils, but also reduces much of the need to repeatedly use that same oil. All of this means that quality essential oils may cost more up front, but you get more bang for your buck so in the long run they are actually very cost efficient.
Do you have some great hacks on using essential oils or how to afford them? I’d love to hear about them.
Want to know more about essential oils?
Learn more about Bergamot here
Check out this post and video on Cinnamon.
Find out why Tea Tree (Melaleuca) is a great oil to have on hand.