Do You Know the Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils???

by Jyoti S. interior designer

A good fragrance is something that is admired, appreciated and loved by everyone. We all like ourselves and our surroundings to smell nice at all times. Needless to say, fragrance products are one of the top selling products in the market. However, there are many things related to fragrance products that many people are not aware of. For example, ‘How they are made?’, ‘What ingredients are used for making them?’, ‘Are they natural or artificial?’ And so on. While many of us know that substances like ‘essential oils’ and ‘fragrance oils’ are used for their manufacture, beyond that our knowledge is somewhat limited. For most people the terms ‘essential oil’ and ‘fragrance oil’ mean one and the same thing and hence, they are commonly used in place of one another. Though there are some similarities between the two, fundamentally both are very different from each other. 

Essential oil is a naturally occurring substance which is found in the various parts of a plant such as leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers, stems, barks, roots etc. It is a 100% natural extract of a plant form. Depending of the resilience and nature of the plant, it is extracted through various complicated, time consuming and often expensive methods like steam distillation, chemical solvent extraction, cold press etc. The end result is an aromatic compound, made of various natural chemicals, which is both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. Essential oils are highly volatile and hence should be used with a lot of caution and care. 

Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are the non-natural chemical counterpart of the natural essential oils. They are artificial scents which contain artificial substances. They are made to mimic the chemical composition of the essential oil and are thus a manufactured product. While most of the fragrance oils are made from 100% artificial substance, some of them may carry a small amount of essential oil as well. Fragrance oils are also commonly known as ‘Perfume Oils.’ Unlike essential oils which lack viscosity and thus dissipate if left in the air for too long, fragrance oil shave a longer life. 

Both essential oils and fragrance oils have their own advantages and disadvantages on which their use and purchase depends. The biggest advantage of essential oils is that they are pure natural extracts and thus have healing properties. Whereas, fragrance oils are synthetic products and have no such benefits. The biggest disadvantage of essential oils is that to produce a small quantity of oil, a huge quantity of plant form is required. For example it is said that thousands and thousands of rose petals are needed to make just a few drops of ‘rose essential oil.’ This makes essential oils extremely expensive. Another added disadvantage of an essential oil is that it is extremely difficult for the manufacturer to maintain the same quality of oil produced every time as the quality of the oil depends on a number of reasons like the health of the crop, the conditions of crop production etc. While fragrance oil is an artificial product which is made in laboratories and factories, it poses no such problems and its production is,therefore, relatively much less expensive. 

The biggest advantage of fragrance oils is that as they are man-made substances, they are available in innumerable fragrances.Their production and variety depends on the imagination and talent of the perfumer. Whereas, essential oils, which are extracted from plants are limited to the types of plant form available and thus come in a limited number of fragrances only. On the other hand the biggest disadvantage of fragrance oil is that as they are artificially created synthetic products, they can cause sensitization, irritation, allergies or other harmful side effects in some individuals. When used in excess, essential oils can also cause adverse reactions, but as they are generally always diluted with carrier oils before application, they are mostly not harmful. 

Essential oils and fragrance oils are used in a variety of products. While both are used in making perfumes, bath and body products, soaps, detergents, home fragrance products, reed diffuser etc., essential oils are also used for internal consumption in the form of oral medication, for flavoring food and alcohol and most importantly in ‘Aromatherapy’. Although products made from essential oils are more beneficial,those made out of fragrance oils are sold more as they are cheaper, last longer and are available in a large number of fragrances. Some of the most commonly used essential oils are lavender, rose, lemongrass, cinnamon, ylang ylang, eucalyptus, lemon, orange, lime, rosemary, bergamot, patchouli etc. Some of the scents of fragrance oils which cannot be extracted as essential oils are banana, strawberry, melon, apple, baked goodies like fresh bread, blueberry pie, hot fudge cake, chocolate chip cookies, etc. 

It is difficult to say which should be used and which shouldn't as both essential oils and fragrance oils have their own benefits and drawbacks. The most sensible approach, therefore, would be to first determine the purpose for which they have to be used and then decide which one to go ahead with. Also don’t forget to read the list of ingredients and product description next time you are out shopping for your favorite fragrance product.

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About Jyoti S. Innovator   interior designer

30 connections, 0 recommendations, 81 honor points.
Joined APSense since, August 29th, 2013, From Delhi, India.

Created on Dec 31st 1969 18:00. Viewed 0 times.


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