ALL NATURAL ESSENTIAL OILS VS. FRAGRANCE OILS - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

   As you have likely figured out by now, I only use essential oils in my products. Fragrance oils are widely used in the homemade soap world, and are often marketed as Natural.  They are not!  I am bothered by this practice because I feel it is very misleading.  It may be lack of knowing on the part of the producer, because these oils are marketed as “natural”.  While some may have some essential oils in the list of ingredients, their benefits are overcome by the chemical and synthetic ingredients. Here is a list of the differences between the two oils:

 

Fragrance oils

  • Always synthetic but may have some natural ingredients
  • Have no true floral essence, so they only add scent, no additional health benefit.
  • Always have a carrier oil which does not have to be disclosed
  • Can be dangerous when they are inhaled or applied to skin
  • Often the source of irritated skin when used in body products
  • The ingredients which come in liquid, powder or crystalline form are dissolved in solvents.  Either Di Ethyl Phthalate or Di Propylene Glycol.  One is a little safer than the other. 
  • Created by a perfumist
  • Much more affordable
  • A full list of ingredients does NOT have to be listed

 

Essential Oils

  • Essential oils are derived directly from the plants
  • The part of the plant that the oil is extracted from is listed
  • The method of extraction is also listed.  Usually pressed or steamed.
  • Nothing is added to a pure essential oil.  No carrier or alcohol.
  • Essential oils have medicinal benefits as well as aromatic benefits.
  • Depending on the oil, they can be quite expensive.  (This is why I do not make my products with some.)
  • The cost of using a natural product is ultimately less because of the benefits derived from it and because there are no skin issues resulting in visits to the dermatologist.  

A couple of interesting stories to think about as you decide which oil is better - 

When I first starte on my soap making journey, I decided to try a couple of fragrance oils in my soaps even though I was convinced that essential oils were best.  The soaps were in my soap room curing along side soaps made with essential oils.  Mice got in and ate my soaps!  They ONLY ate the essential oil soaps!  Not a nibble on the fragrance oil soaps!  Lesson learned!  No more fragrance oils!

The next story is not mine.  It is found on a number of newsources but here is a link to the one in USA Today.  A highschool was evacuated due to an unusual smell.  A hazmat team was called in and several students were taken to the hospital to be checked out.  The culprit?  An air freshener!