Why Is Rose Essential Oil So Expensive [Plus Alternatives]

A few years ago, I attended a friend’s Doterra essential oil party. We were flipping through the catalog and discussing the various essential oil options when my friend started discussing the many benefits of rose oil.

It sounded lovely. However, I almost fainted when she mentioned the price, a whopping $275, and that was wholesale!

I couldn’t believe it, and then, of course, I had to investigate why rose essential oil is so pricey compared to other essential oils that are more moderately priced. 

The reason is that rose essential oil has an extremely high demand and is incredibly labor-intensive to produce. In addition, it takes a high quantity of roses to make a small amount of rose oil because producers can only extract the oil from the petals.

Furthermore, the roses must be harvested in the early morning hours before sunrise to preserve the oil, and the rose petals must be distilled the same day as harvest.

Finally, packing and shipping add to the overall cost of the product. 

It’s pretty fascinating when you think about everything that goes into the production of rose essential oil. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the costly production process, the best uses for rose essential oil, and alternatives to rose oil. 

What Is Rose Essential Oil?

Essential oil is a highly concentrated plant extract distilled into oil. Therefore, rose essential oil or the “Queen of Oils” is a type of essential oil sourced most commonly from the Rosa damascena (Damask rose) or Rosa centifolia (cabbage rose) plants.

Typical uses are in aromatherapy, and some believe it may have healing properties that we’ll get into later. Historical evidence suggests that rose essential oil originated in Greece.

However, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Morocco are now the largest harvesters of rose essential oil. 

Demand Is High  

High-quality rose essential oil is in high demand. Not only by consumers like you and me but also by producers of high-end luxury and therapeutic products worldwide.

The market for rose essential oil in its raw form is incredibly demanding since it’s an ingredient in many perfumes and natural medicinal products. Therefore, suppliers can ask for a higher price off the bat thanks to this general rule of economics. 

Production Requires A High Quantity of Roses

Can you believe that it takes over 10,000 freshly picked roses to produce only 5 ml. of rose essential oil? Each rose has a very low oil content, making the process that much more labor-intensive. 

Only 2 Rose Species Are Suitable For Oil Production

Out of 150 species of roses, only two types are suitable for rose oil production. The suitable species are the Damask rose and the Cabbage Rose because of their intoxicating scent and oil production. 

Production Requires A Lot Of Labor

Each rose must be handpicked for the successful production of rose essential oil. Therefore, producers of the oil need a lot of hands for the actual labor itself.

All of that labor adds up, and the additional cost is ultimately passed along to the consumer. 

Timing Is Everything

To produce high-quality rose oil, producers have to time the process perfectly. The roses need to be picked before sunrise because the sun’s heat can cause the oil in the petals to evaporate.

In addition, the petals need to be distilled the same day to preserve quality and prevent further evaporation of the precious oils. Additionally, roses only grow in certain months of the year (primarily May and June), providing a small window for the ideal harvest. 

Roses Require Specific Climate And Soil Conditions 

Damask roses need particular climate and soil conditions, so they only thrive in certain parts of the world. The Damask (or Damascus) rose originated in the Levant region near Damascus.

Therefore, this type of rose thrives only in this part of the world. The countries that harvest Damask roses for the world market are primarily Bulgaria, Turkey, and Morocco due to their unique climate during those Spring months of harvest. 

Shipping and Storage Costs 

It’s another logistical process to bring rose essential oil across the world to buyers like you. Suppliers must take care when packing and shipping rose essential oil due to its volatility.

Light and extreme temperatures can compromise the quality of the oils, so they must travel in a dark, temperature-controlled environment. Also, since quality suppliers sell the oil in glass bottles, extra materials for packing and padding the oils must be factored into the overall cost. 

What Are The Uses For Rose Essential Oil? 

The use of rose essential oil for aromatherapy and various natural remedies has been going on for centuries. Studies related to rose oil have uncovered its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. 


Rose essential oil has been used by many to promote healthy skin. Combined with a carrier oil such as jojoba, fractionated coconut, or sweet almond oil, it can be applied to the skin for hydration and to smooth out uneven skin.

Some common uses are for minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles, treating conditions such as acne, eczema, or rosacea due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Rose essential oil has even been touted for its ability to reduce the appearance of scars. 

Reduces Anxiety and Depression Symptoms

Diffusing rose essential oil can send calming messages to your brain and help relax your central nervous system. The calming effects of rose oil alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even insomnia. 

Boost Libido

Did you know that the scent of rose essential oil has been known to increase sex drive? Two studies found that it can have more of an effect on men than women, however.

Therefore, if you’re looking to add some romance to the bedroom, rose oil can be diffused or applied topically to have this effect. 

Ease PMS 

Studies have shown that discomfort from PMS can be relieved with the use of rose essential oil. Simply applying rose oil mixed with a carrier oil directly to the abdominal area can reduce cramping, fatigue, and mood swings. 

Are There Any Alternatives to Rose Oil

The high price tag of rose essential oil may make it out of the price range for many.

So you may be wondering if there are any alternatives to rose oil, and luckily, there are some excellent choices to give you the same calming, aromatherapy effects that rose oil can. 


Young Living or a similar brand Geranium is an excellent, lower-cost alternative to rose. Although the two have different chemical components, Geranium still makes a great substitute.

In addition, Geranium is ideal for skincare and can treat many of the same skin conditions. Similar to rose essential oil, Geranium also has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. 


A good quality Lavender essential oil from Doterra is a good stand-in for rose if you’re looking for a more calming oil for anxiety or during menstruation. Lavender is also one of the cheapest essential oils out there, so your wallet will thank you. 

Make Your Own Rose Infused Oil 

If you enjoy the scent of rose but don’t have the budget to purchase a costly name-brand oil, you can try to DIY it. Remember that DIY rose oil won’t be the same quality or as potent, but you will have some of the same significant aromatherapy effects. 

Step 1: Select Your Rose Petals

Ensure the rose petals you use are organic and free of any harmful pesticides. You can use either fresh or dried petals. Dried may be preferable as they are less likely to mold or evaporate during the process.

Step 2: Dry Your Petals

This step is only necessary if you’re using fresh rose petals. Arrange your rose petals in a single layer on a paper towel. Place in a warm, dry area away from direct sunlight and allow to dry completely. 

Step 3: Prepare Carrier Oil

Wash and completely dry a mason jar and fill 2/3 of the way full with a carrier oil of your choice. Good carrier oil options are fractionated coconut oil, jojoba, sweet almond, or grapeseed oil.

Drop the petals in the oil and make sure they are completely covered. 

Step 4: Heat The Petals

On your stovetop, boil a pot of water. Next, remove it from the stove and place the jar in the pot until it completely cools. 

Step 5: Store and Steep

Store in a cool spot away from direct sunlight. Allow the roses to steep for at least 24 hours. If time allows, let the oil sit for 2-6 weeks. The longer they sit, the more potent and fragrant your oil will be. 

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Final Thoughts 

A lot of time, effort, and resources go into producing rose essential oil, which is what makes this coveted oil so expensive.

Whether or not you choose to buy the product is a personal choice as it is considered a luxury item, but for centuries people have turned to this precious oil for their aromatherapy needs.

So if you want to give it a try, look no further than Young Living’s rose essential oil. 

Remember, if the price is just too much to bite off and chew, then there are some excellent essential oil alternatives, or you can make your own with a bit of time and patience. 

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