07-14-2014, 12:45 PM
#1
User Info
I am hoping some of our artisan soap makers can reply to this thread as I think they will have some good insight here.

Can someone explain to me the true difference between essentail oils and fragrance oils. Is it that essential oils are natural and are derived specifically from the source. Like Lavender essential oil comes directly from a Lavender bush? How would Lavender fragrance oil differ and are essential oils truly better for our skin and better for our products?

I guess I'm just looking for a basic education. I know some artisans only use essential oils and some use both and label them specifically.

32 344
Reply
 07-14-2014, 01:03 PM
#2
User Info
I'm not an artisan soap maker, but I can tell you that essential oils are oils that are derived from the plant, usually by distillation, but there are other methods, as well.

Fragrance oils are synthesized. They are oils that smell like things, as opposed to being oils that are derived from those things. Certain pleasant scents may come from items for which no essential oils exist. Others are made because making certain scents is a lot less expensive when you make a fragrance oil rather than producing an essential oil (rose is a classic example). It takes thousands of roses to make a single ounce of rose essential oil.

Honestly, I don't buy into the dogma that essential oils are always better, nor that fragrance oils are to be avoided, nor that adverse reactions to shaving software are much more likely if fragrance oils are used. Some people are definitely allergic to essential oils. Whichever gets me a great scent in a great soap works for me!

2 1,387
Reply
 07-14-2014, 02:51 PM
#3
User Info
Essential oils are what happens when you apply an extraction method to the plant in question. You get the scent, as well other things that you may or may not be able to smell.

There are lots of different compounds in an essential oil. Maybe we smell half a dozen out of a hundred things that are extracted from the plant.

Fragrance oils are constructed in some way. Kingfisher is slightly inaccurate when he says that fragrance oils aren't derived from the things they smell like. Sometimes they are, sometimes they're entirely synthetic, and sometimes it's the same substances that were maybe taken from a different set of plants and then mixed together.

Fragrance oils also don't have the extra, non-scent-contributing substances. This means that the scent can be more concentrated in a fragrance oil. This can be good (stronger scents) but can also make them more likely to cause reactions (in people that react to the fragrance compounds.)

Fragrance oils have a variety of levels of quality, and some scents are more thoroughly understood than others. So some fragrance oils smell almost indistinguishable from the natural source, and others smell right, but oddly "flat." You can tell there's some subtle note missing.

I'm not an aromatherapist, so I won't comment on any other properties of the oils. But I do understand that fragrance oils are thought not to have the same effect.

10 1,858
Reply
 07-14-2014, 03:55 PM
#4
User Info
Just to confuse things even further, I'd like to add that many fragrance oils and fragrance oil blends contain essential oils as part of their makeup.

3 897
Reply
 07-14-2014, 09:44 PM
#5
  • CMur12
  • Semogueiro de Coração
  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
User Info
In my own case, I have become very sensitive to fragrances, including almost all perfumery, as I have gotten older. Fragrances (FO) almost always burn my olfactory, while natural scents (EO), provided they aren't too concentrated or strong, don't.

Some people get skin irritation from certain EOs.
Some have chemical sensitivities that include specific FOs.

If you aren't negatively sensitive to fragrances, I see no reason to avoid them.

- Murray

4 1,150
Reply
 07-15-2014, 06:21 AM
#6
  • Balj86
  • Senior Member
  • Maryland USA
User Info
(07-14-2014, 09:44 PM)CMur12 Wrote: In my own case, I have become very sensitive to fragrances, including almost all perfumery, as I have gotten older. Fragrances (FO) almost always burn my olfactory, while natural scents (EO), provided they aren't too concentrated or strong, don't.

Some people get skin irritation from certain EOs.
Some have chemical sensitivities that include specific FOs.

If you aren't negatively sensitive to fragrances, I see no reason to avoid them.

- Murray

+1 My skin burns with any soaps that use fragrance oils. But any other soap I use that is made essential oils pairs well with my skin.

10 963
Reply
 07-15-2014, 06:29 AM
#7
User Info
Eric, thanks for the clarification/correction.

2 1,387
Reply
 07-15-2014, 07:31 AM
#8
User Info
Very interesting topic as I could never imagine using soaps with scents. Biggrin

82 21,056
Reply
 07-15-2014, 08:54 PM
#9
User Info
Essential oils are extracted from plant material but the parts of the plant used depends on the type of oil: some comes from the flowers, or leaves, or roots, or resin, the rind of the fruit, etc. and the extraction methods vary too (distillation, pressing, solvent extraction, etc.) Some are very expensive, like rose and sandalwood, others are relatively cheap like orange peel oil and eucalyptus - it depends on how plentiful the raw material is, where it is produced (labor and transportation costs)and demand. The quality of the oil depends on a lot of factors such as the plant variety, where it was grown (type of soil, altitude), the weather (drought, too much rain), how it was treated after it was picked (was it processed properly and quickly, did it mold or spoil?) Like wine or coffee or tea, essential oils are not a completely standard product, there can be differences in quality from one batch to the next, one year to the next, one producer to another.

Fragrance oils are made in a laboratory from aroma chemicals and in some cases, with additions of essential oils, to approximate a natural scent or create a scent not found in nature. Scents like apple, melon, bubble gum, ozone, and leather, etc. don't exist in an essential oil. Some fragrance oils can be more expensive than many essential oils, so the "fragrance oils are cheap, essential oils are expensive" belief is misleading. Essential oils are also not necessarily safer than fragrance oils: many essential oils are toxic and should be avoided or used with extreme caution.

Essential oils can have medicinal applications because they contain complex chemical constituents of the plant that fragrance oils don't have.

0 272
Reply
 07-15-2014, 08:58 PM
#10
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
User Info
Very interesting information.
Thank you for sharing, Michelle.

102 18,548
Reply
 07-16-2014, 01:33 PM
#11
User Info
Great topic. The long and the short of it is EO is preferable to FO. Not to say that FO doesn't have it's place but it is synthetic while EO is natural. You can generally presume an extra degree of quality with EO vs. FO. Again, FO has it's place, but EO is considered by many to be superior.

0 84
Reply
 07-21-2014, 06:20 AM
#12
User Info
(07-16-2014, 01:33 PM)newkie Wrote: Great topic. The long and the short of it is EO is preferable to FO. Not to say that FO doesn't have it's place but it is synthetic while EO is natural. You can generally presume an extra degree of quality with EO vs. FO. Again, FO has it's place, but EO is considered by many to be superior.

This is not necessarily true. I have encountered many inferior, low-grade essential oils in my business and have heard stories from many others who have had the same experience. Also, there are some outstanding fragrance oils out there, some of which can be mistaken for some of the best essential oils. Essential oils can have some characteristics which are beneficial but one must remember that in certain products fragrance is used at 1% or lower so that the amount you are actually getting is minute! As in anything...let the buyer beware!

0 16
Reply
 07-21-2014, 06:58 AM
#13
User Info
(07-21-2014, 06:20 AM)MilfordNJGuy Wrote:
(07-16-2014, 01:33 PM)newkie Wrote: Great topic. The long and the short of it is EO is preferable to FO. Not to say that FO doesn't have it's place but it is synthetic while EO is natural. You can generally presume an extra degree of quality with EO vs. FO. Again, FO has it's place, but EO is considered by many to be superior.

This is not necessarily true. I have encountered many inferior, low-grade essential oils in my business and have heard stories from many others who have had the same experience. Also, there are some outstanding fragrance oils out there, some of which can be mistaken for some of the best essential oils. Essential oils can have some characteristics which are beneficial but one must remember that in certain products fragrance is used at 1% or lower so that the amount you are actually getting is minute! As in anything...let the buyer beware!
+1 Absolutely true.

0 272
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)