Citrus essential oils are relatively affordable for those on a budget, istockphoto, used with permission
Citrus essential oils are relatively affordable for those on a budget, istockphoto, used with permission

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about substituting more expensive essential oils with lesser priced essential oils with similar therapeutic properties. This made me think about the pricing of essential oils in general. An aromatherapist chooses an appropriate essential oil for use by the therapeutic properties that it offers. However, in today’s economic climate, some of the more expensive essential oils might be out of budget for those starting out or for those who are new to making aromatherapy products at home. Although you should only use pure essential oils in aromatherapy practice, you might want to consider the cost of each oil too.

Over the next couple of weeks, I”ll be writing a short post on the various types of essential oils and a guide to the pricing of essential oils, to help you determine the difference between a true essential oil and an adulterated essential oil


Citrus Essential Oils

Citrus essential oils are, in general, easy to extract and in plentiful supply; this determines that citrus oils are usually one of the cheaper types of essential oils to purchase. The exception to the rule is neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) essential oil; although not technically a citrus oil, neroli essential oil is extracted from the orange blossoms of the orange tree. Cheap, but pure, citrus essential oils include


  • lemon (Citrus limon)
  • sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • bitter orange (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
  • lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
  • petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
  • bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
  • grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)


Depending upon your essential oil supplier, and the exact type of essential oil, these essential oils should be priced between $4 and $10 for 10ml of essential oil. If you are paying a higher or lower price than this guideline for a citrus essential oil, the essential oil might be adulterated, not pure or fake. Please note, this a guideline only; it is your responsibility to check the authenticity of the essential oil supplier.


How to Use Citrus Essential Oils

Citrus essential oils are described as a top note essential oil which means they are light, refreshing and uplifting. Most citrus essential oils are good for using with digestive disorders, colds and flu and in skin care. Citrus oils are gentle in their actions and, for this reason, are loved by children because of their “sunny” fragrance and color

Cautions for Using Citrus Oils

The majority of citrus essential oils are phototoxic so should be used in care in sunlight. However, this fact is not true for all citrus essential oils and some, such as sweet orange essential oil are not considered phototoxic. In addition, the method of extraction might affect phototoxicity in the oils; for example, distilled sweet orange essential oil is phototoxic but expressed sweet orange is not phototoxic. The high level of furocoumarins in citrus essential oils is responsible for phototoxicity. Be aware that some other (non-citrus) essential oils are phototoxic too


More Information on Essential Oils

If you want to learn more about essential oils and making aromatherapy products, take a foundation course in aromatherapy such as the nationally accredited Sedona Aromatherapie Foundation Course in Aromatherapy



  • Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons
  • Author is a certified and experienced aromatherapist
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