How to Save Money on Essential Oils
Essential oils are expensive. I'm certainly stating the obvious, but the cost is certainly one of the largest considerations that we face when shopping for essential oils.
When I first heard the term "aromatherapy," back in the 1990s, I was recovering emotionally and financially from a difficult marriage, divorce and custody fight. It was a really rough time for me, and I had been hoping to find something natural that could help me relax and better manage stress and anxiety. When I first heard that term "aromatherapy," I was intrigued to learn more. I didn't even (yet) know what an essential oil was.
And indeed, I would immediately discover how helpful essential oils are (when used appropriately and safely).
...But I gasped at the cost.
Good quality, pure essential oils from honest companies are not cheap.
Do You Know Why Essential Oils are So Expensive?
It takes a significant amount of plant material to produce even small quantities of essential oil. Each of your 5ml, 10ml or 15ml bottles of essential oil required the distillation of large quantities of essential oil bearing plants to produce what is in that little bottle. For example, it takes all of the petals from 30-50 roses to produce a single drop of Rose Otto Essential Oil. [Reference: Andrea Butje, The Heart of Aromatherapy (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc., 2017), 6.] For more information about yields and to view the average yields for many essential oils, refer to AromaWeb's Essential Oil Yields article.
Essential oils are extremely concentrated. A little goes a very long way.
Although it's tempting, it's not always the most economical to purchase the cheapest essential oils. Cheap essential oils are at higher risk of being completely fake or adulterated. In the long run, fake and adulterated essential oils are the most costly because they offer minimal (if any) therapeutic benefit.
For a detailed overview of why essential oils vary in price, read AromaWeb's Guide to Essential Oil Costs and Pricing.
10 Tips That Can Help You Save Money When Purchasing Essential Oils
1. Less is More When It Comes to Essential Oils
Essential oils are very concentrated and a little goes a very-very long way.
Some salespeople encourage their customers to use essential oils very lavishly because the more their customers use, the more their customers will buy from them. Be careful when purchasing essential oils from those that advocate using essential oils undiluted on the skin or that suggest using essential oils in very liberal ways. Always doublecheck safety guidelines from a brand-neutral, reputable source such as Essential Oil Safety Edition 2 by Robert Tisserand.
2. Consider Purchasing Essential Oil Blends Instead of Individual Single Oils
Purchasing ready-made essential oil blends from reputable companies can save you from having to individually purchase all of the single essential oils necessary to create the blend.
3. Consider Purchasing Pre-Diluted Precious Oils or Roll-Ons
More costly essential oils such as Rose Otto and Neroli can sometimes be purchased as pre-diluted essential oils that offer a much lower price tag. This can provide a much more affordable alternative for working with and learning about more precious essential oils. Just be sure that the seller fully discloses what carrier oil the essential oil is diluted in (ie. jojoba or fractionated coconut oil) and at what dilution ration. 2%, 5% and 10% dilution ratios are common.
4. Purchasing Smaller Sizes Can Sometimes Make the Most Sense
Consider purchasing 2ml or 5ml oil quantities for oils that you haven't tried before or that you are not sure that you'll use often. It can be tempting to purchase larger sizes to get the bulk savings, but if you don't wind up using the oil, you've wasted your money and all of the plant material and resources that went into producing the oil has also been wasted.
The per ml or per ounce cost is typically reduced when you purchase larger size bottles of essential oil. Having said that, purchasing that larger size can be a waste of money if you don't wind up using it all before its shelf life ends. Essential oils don't go rancid like vegetable oils (carrier oils) do, but they do oxidize, and this process can impact the therapeutic benefits and aromatic quality of the oil.
5. Consider Purchasing a Kit
Kits often offer a lower price when compared to the total cost of each of the individual items in a kit. However, be very precautious when purchasing kits because the kit price becomes a lesser value if you wind up not using all of the essential oils or accessories included in the kit. When considering purchasing a kit, make a note of just the items that you really-really want and total up the cost that you would incur if purchasing them individually. Do not count the items that are of less interest to you in the kit. If the total monetary value of the items you really want exceeds the cost of the kit, then the kit is worth considering for purchase.
6. Beware of Fake Essential Oils
Be care not to get mesmerized by incredibly super low prices or sales. This most especially happens with brands that primarily sell via Amazon or big box stores, even for essential oils that are labeled as "pure."
7. Familiarize Yourself With Reputable Essential Oil Brands
Sometimes, new essential oil users are told that there is only one "good" essential oil brand and that all other essential oil brands are inferior. Indeed, there are a lot of companies that do sell adulterated or problematic essential oils. However, the wonderful news is that there are quite a few companies that sell great quality essential oils and that are owned and operated by incredibly helpful and knowledgeable individuals that have significant experience working with and studying essential oils.
By finding several essential oil companies that you like and trust, you are able to have access to a large selection of essential oils and comparison shop while helping to support a lot of wonderful smaller, honest businesses.
Visit AromaWeb's Advertiser Spotlight to learn more about some really great companies that sell essential oils and aromatherapy products.
For many tips on what to look for when evaluating companies to shop with, read AromaWeb's How to Buy Essential Oils Guide.
8. Keep an Eye Out for Sales and Discount Codes Offered by Reputable Companies
When you come upon reputable essential oil companies or brands that you like, be sure to add yourself to their mailing lists and like/follow their social media. Keep an eye on their mailings, home page and social media for sales and discount code offers. The keywords here, however, is reputable.
9. Save Money By Investing in Your Essential Oil Knowledge
You don't need to have every single type of essential oil on hand in your home in order to greatly benefit from them. Having even just one good quality essential oil one hand and learning all that you can about that essential oil can be far more beneficial than owning many low quality or possibly adulterated essential oils.
One of the most costly mistakes that some people make is to purchase essential oils before having a core level of knowledge in how to use them. Of course, it's impossible to fully learn about an essential oil without first working with it, but you still can learn a great deal beforehand that can help you make better essential oil choices.
Even if funds are very tight for you, you can start learning about essential oils and how to effectively using them by referring to reputable free sources like AromaWeb. Gradually read through the articles and essential oil profiles on AromaWeb, and refer back to them as often as needed. The information on AromaWeb is free for you to read (but please do not repost/reprint AromaWeb's information without express permission).
Slowly invest in your essential oil knowledge by purchasing and reading reputable essential oil books. Before I purchased (or even smelled) my first essential oil, I was fortunate to have been given recommendations for good, affordable essential oil books, and I began reading them. Money was tight for me, and my books helped give me the foundation I needed to make affordable and wise purchasing and usage decisions.
For even greater knowledge that will help you get the most benefit and value out of your essential oils, consider enrolling in an aromatherapy course. You will find a selection of wonderful aromatherapy schools and educators within AromaWeb's Educators Directory.
10. Be Careful If You Feel Pressured to Buy Essential Oils
Are Friends or Family Members Pushing You to Buy Essential Oils?
If you don't feel compelled to purchase or use essential oils, don't feel that you should purchase them just because your friends or family are all eager for you to dive in. Please also be sure to supplement any usage information they give you with non-biased information from reputable resources that aren't affiliated with very specific brands.
I am so grateful for the countless ways that essential oils have enhanced my life. However, I was blessed to be able to experience their benefits on my terms and was lead to initially learn about them from reputable, pressure-free sources. You will have a hard time experiencing the same benefits that I did if you feel pressured to purchase or use essential oils.
Try not to feel bad if you have friends who are able to more easily afford essential oils. It can be easy for friends to become competitive about the number of essential oils that they have in their "essential oil collection." Please read Essential Oils are Not Collectibles for more information about that.
Having said that, if you have one or more supportive friends who share a genuine interest in essential oils, you can potentially save money by placing your orders together and then dividing the essential oils upon receipt. For example, if you and two friends all want 10ml of Black Spruce Essential Oil, you could go in on an order and purchase one 30ml bottle of the oil plus 3 empty 10ml bottles and labels. Then upon receipt, divide the 30ml of oil carefully between the 10ml bottles and label them. Of course, the original 30ml bottle could be used instead of using a third 10ml bottle, but headspace inside a bottle that isn't full can promote oxidation. The cost savings, in this example, is approximately $2.50 per person, depending on the current market value of the oil, where you purchase it, and the cost of the bottles and labels. Of course, that's not a huge savings in this example, but hopefully this example may spark some creative money saving ideas.