How are essential oils different from fragrance oils?

There are about 150 different essential oils all with unique chemical compositions that have therapeutic and holistic benefits. Some are quite costly, others rather inexpensive.

Essential oils are plant-derived scent. Essential oils are extracted from the seeds, roots, bark and berry of plants and are carefully refined to preserve the very thing that makes them “essential”. They contain the vitamins and nutrients that keep the plant alive – the essential constituents that keep it free from disease and growing strongly. These parts of the plants are highly sensitive and can be damaged if not properly processed.

  • Essential oils are usually more expensive to purchase because it takes a large quantity of the plant to get enough scent to use in soap. For example, it takes about thirty petals of a rose to make a single drop of rose oil.
  • Essential oils are usually processed through steam or water distillation. 
  • Oils produced from citrus plants are called essences and are usually made through cold pressing the rinds. 
  • The quality of the essential oil is what makes the difference between being therapeutic and just smelling nice. 
  • The effect of the oil also depends on the species of plant used and how it was processed. 
  • Different varieties of the same oil can have different qualities and be used for different things. 
Fragrance oils are synthetically made.
  • Most candles are often scented with fragrance oils. 
  • Fragrance oils have usually been mixed with other synthetic oils or substances. 
  • Fragrance oils are usually cheaper in cost because they are manufactured in a lab environment, and the process to create them is less extensive. 
  • Lesser amount of fragrance oils are used in soap-making—teaspoons of the fragrance oil scent versus tablespoons of the essential oil scent. That’s how highly concentrated the fragrance oils are! 
  • Some fragrance oils can cause headaches and dizziness due to impurities or synthetic properties. If you have scent sensitivities, it may be due to the synthetic, fragrance oil scent that you are smelling. 
I often recommend to people who have scent or skin sensitivities to use an UNSCENTED soap, or a non-irritating essential oil soap (e.g., lavender).

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