Big Dollar Beauty: Why Some Ingredients Cost More

March 28, 2018
big dollar beauty

INSIDER recently interviewed me about some of the world’s most expensive beauty ingredients; big dollar beauty that is said to do more than your average skincare. While they only used a snippet of what I said, I spoke to them in-depth about why some ingredients are literally worth their weight in gold.

Below is my insight into why some ingredients deserve their big dollar price tag…

What are the most expensive ingredients found in skincare products?

Highest quality essential oils including neroli, rose, jasmine, helichrysum and melissa will always be more expensive to buy. Not only because they are so effective when it comes to skincare, as well as emotional and physical wellbeing, but because it takes a lot of work to actually retrieve the oil.

Specific to essential oils, when you break it down, the oil itself is a very small component of the overall plant from which it is derived—on average it’s between one and five percent. So, it stands to reason that many plants need to be used to source just a small amount of pure oil.

While some plants yield more oil, some do not, making them much more expensive. An example of this is with peppermint essential oil; it takes just one pound of plant material to produce a 15ml bottle. Meanwhile at the other end of the scale you could look at rose, which is a wonderful skincare ingredient. However, it takes 105 pounds of petals to produce just one 5ml bottle.

Just like rose, jasmine and Melissa, neroli is highly prized and highly priced due to the intensive labor versus the low yield for the effort.

So, if someone is selling a skincare product with any of these oils and the price tag is low, I would question the quality of ingredients used.


Helichrysum is one of my favourite essential oils. It’s particularly great for lightening dark spots and discoloration, and as a soothing ingredient after shaving. It also has antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. As with all essential oils, they also affect our emotions. Helichrysum is a wonderful support if you’re emotionally wounded. As an essential oil, simply dilute with a carrier oil and apply to help reduce blemishes and the appearance of wrinkles. Its rarity means any product that contains pure helichrysum will naturally be on the pricier side. As a pure essential oil, you could expect to pay upwards of $100 for a 5ml bottle.

Rose Essential Oil

As mentioned above, it takes many rose petals to make a small bottle of pure rose essential oil, hence its expensive price. But it’s worth it considering its skin benefits, which includes balancing skin moisture levels, skin blemish reduction and overall creating a more even skintone.

Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine blossoms are extremely delicate and can’t be distilled as other flowers are. It takes 21,000 freshly picked petals to fill a 5ml bottle of jasmine absolute. Jasmine is wonderful for helping keep blemishes at bay and also giving the skin an overall healthy glow.


This ingredient is an essential amino acid that gained popularity in protein powders specific to its ability help with muscle growth and weight loss. In skincare, it is said to act as an antioxidant and may help with collagen production and wound healing.  There is a fermentation process that is required to produce L-Arginine, which perhaps dictates its price.

White truffles

White truffles deserve their price thanks to their rarity. While the black variety are able to be mass-produced, white truffles may only be found in the wild, primarily in Northern Italy. You could expect to pay up to $10,000 for just one pound. Great for treating conditions such as pigmentation, white truffles help with diminishing wrinkles thanks to the high Essential Fatty Acid content.

24 carat gold

It’s probably obvious as to why skincare with this ingredient would cost more than your standard skincare product. Gold is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and it can also help brighten the skin when used consistently.

Other expensive ingredients include: koishimaru silk (not vegan), seaweed extract, caviar extract (not vegan) and water, and orchid extract among others.

big dollar beauty

Are people more likely to buy products with expensive ingredients?

It depends on the person, especially when it comes to buying products with a heftier price tag. While some may understand what has gone into sourcing ingredients, and therefore understand the need for a higher price, they may simply not be able to afford to buy the product and therefore look at cheaper options that perhaps deliver similar results.

Gorgeous packaging may help with some decisions, while marketing that promises youth in a bottle may be irresistible to others. In my experience, skincare, regardless of price tag, can only do so much if our nutrient intake isn’t up to scratch.

Our skin’s health is determined by factors beyond what we put on it. Our internal health plays a huge part, as our skin—our body’s largest organ—is generally a mirror to what is going on inside. When we look at skincare holistically and start to care for it as such, that’s when we see the biggest results. The best skincare always starts from the inside out, and that isn’t determined by a price tag.

Would you say the extra cost is worth it for your skin’s health?

While I absolutely adore some of these ingredients for their purity, potency and effectiveness, you don’t always have to spend a fortune to experience positive results. Some less expensive ingredients may perform just as well, but they are easier to source so the cost isn’t as high.

If you’re buying a product because it’s more expensive with the belief that it will perform miracles, but are stressed out having to pay for it, any good the product would do is negated by the stress, which absolutely affects the health of our skin.

However, it’s also important to know that some cheaper products may be mostly made up of water and boast synthetic, health-disrupting chemicals, so it’s still a great idea to do your own digging to look beyond the label. It really does depend on your perspective, your beliefs about a certain product and its formulation and how you think it will work specifically with your skin type.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend buying an expensive product as a miracle treatment. If you can afford it and it makes you feel good, then absolutely go for it, as long as the company is sourcing their ingredients in an ethical manner.

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