Are Natural and Organic Skin Care Products Too Expensive? - An indepth look at the real cost of natural & organic skin care products

Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre offers Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Western herbal medicine and Remedial therapies to the communities of Kurrajong, Richmond, North Richmond, Glossodia, Kurmond, and the greater Hawkesbury area.


Are Natural and Organic Skin Care Products Too Expensive?

There is occasionally discussion among consumers about the retail prices of natural and organic products. Some people wonder if they are being charged a fair price for the goods they purchase or if they are just being ‘taken for a ride’ on what could be the latest fad for  ‘natural and organic’ products. This article hopes to shed some light on some of the main factors that influence the retail prices of natural and organic products.

The Real Costs of Natural and Organic Skin Care Products - Too Expensive or Too Inexpensive?

We are asked daily in our business about the cost of our products: some people want to know, given that our products are based on organic and natural ingredients, why they are so inexpensive and others ask why our products cost so much. Two different questions asked from two different perspectives.

The first question is asked from the belief that organic and natural raw ingredients are frequently high in price and so it is expected that products based on these types of ingredients would be expensive. The other perspective is asked from the belief that the production of natural and organic ingredients (well, they do grown on trees don’t they?”) should cost less than the manufacture of synthetic or mass-produced ingredients and thus products based on these should be inexpensive.

The first question is probably closer to the truth than the second in its assumption about the cost of ingredients that are natural and organic.

The production of natural and organic goods, be they foods or raw materials used in further manufacturing, is labour intensive and the demand is currently relatively small compared to the mainstream. In addition, organic producers must go through a cost intensive process to achieve organic certification of their products. These three factors are primary contributors to the basic gross costs of natural and organic products.

Leaving aside global economic crises, the cost of essential oils can significantly influence the ultimate price of natural and organic skin care and personal care products that contain these ingredients. Growing, harvesting, oil extraction, quality testing, market demand and availability all play roles in this.

Essential oils are extracted from the leaves, roots, flowers, fruits and nuts of plants that may be grown as commercial crops or may be wild-harvested (although the latter occurs less and less frequently today due to conservation concerns). Extraction processes vary according to the part of the plant from which the oil is to be extracted and the quality of the oil required at the end of the process. In keeping with increasing demand for pure and high quality essential oils, extraction methods have become more sophisticated and technology-based on the one hand whilst growing and harvesting techniques have returned to more traditional, sustainable and labour-intensive methods.

For the most part, the amount of plant material required to produce a kilogram of essential oil can be huge. For example, it has been estimated that it takes about 500kg of rose petals to produce 1 litre of rose oil (and individual rose petals don’t weigh very much!).

Climatic conditions have a major influence on essential oil prices. For example, a bad season in which there is insufficient rainfall or the occurrence of natural disasters such as storms, hail, floods and fires, can affect the amount of plant material available for harvesting and therefore, the amount of essential oil that can be extracted. In this scenario, a limited amount of essential oil available to the market can cause a dramatic increase in price. Man–made disasters such as wars also have a detrimental effect on the availability of many of our much-loved essential oils.

Australia has a relatively small essential oil producing industry, with most of the essential oils sold in Australia imported from elsewhere. Included in the list of ‘elsewhere’ is Hungary, China, India, Egypt, West Indies, Thailand, Italy, USA, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, France, Somalia, Madagascar, Spain, Brazil, United Kingdom, Paraguay, Bulgaria and Tunisia. On average, of the most commonly sold essential oils available in Australia, only 16% are produced here.

We won’t even bother to factor in costs like import duties and other taxes on the imported essential oils.

Market forces also exert an influence on the cost of essential oils. One of the most useful and sought after essential oils in the perfumery and cosmetics industries is Rose Oil and this of course, increases its demand in the market place. The average cost of 1 kilogram of Certified Organic Rose Otto oil is AU$12,000!!! Amazingly, this is not the most expensive of the essential oils.

It is true that essential oils from plants that grow abundantly, easily and have a high essential oil content are less expensive. However, these are also often the essential oils that are less useful in skin care and body care formulations.

The average price of a 25ml bottle of pure certified organic essential oil is currently AU$72.00, so it can be seen that skin and body care products containing pure certified organic essential oils may have a good excuse to be more expensive than the average mass-produced, synthetic-based Brand X product.

Why then, you may well ask, do manufacturer’s put certified organic essential oils into their products? Why not leave the nice aromas out altogether?

The answer is simply that essential oils are not in the products solely for their wonderful aromas. Essential oils have amazing and often profound direct beneficial effects on the skin and hair as well as producing beneficial psychological and psychosomatic effects via their influence on the nervous and hormonal systems.

Natural and organic skin and body care products that contain essential oils are not just exerting a superficial or cosmetic effect on your skin but also have the potential to positively influence your health and well-being, with effects that are definitely more than skin deep.

So, to return to the original question of whether the cost of organic and Herbal Skin Care Products is too expensive or too inexpensive, it all depends on what’s in them and how much of the ingredients a product contains.

At Wildcrafted, our products contain therapeutic quantities of ingredients, this by necessity makes them expensive to manufacture. However, our costs are minimised, because we do not distribute them through traditional supply chains. That is we supply our products directly to our customers via our on-line store, which means they are not as expensive as they would be if customers where able to buy them at a local store.

If that were the case, the retail price of our products would be approximately double that of what our customers are currently paying.

Wildcrafted’s aim has always been to provide the highest possible product quality and effectiveness at an affordable price.

We hope that we have been able to shed a little bit of light on some of the contributing factors involved. We also hope that we have been able to show that the health benefits gained from using an organic and natural product go beyond cosmetic improvement to your skin and hair.

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Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre & Wildcrafted Cottage
7/1147 Grose Vale Rd.
Kurrajong Village, NSW, 2758
(02) 4573 0784

© Wildcrafted Cottage Pty Ltd. & Wildcrafted Herbal Products Pty Ltd. 2007 - 2016