As the popularity of essential oils has grown, so too has confusion over what they are. More specifically, many consumers are unsure as to what marks the difference between essential oils versus fragrance oils. Both products are designed to smell nice - isn’t that all that matters?
While both experiences are pleasant in an immediate, sensory way, essential oils offer satisfaction on a deeper level as well as potential contributions to your overall health. Fragrance oils meanwhile, provide only fleeting enjoyment and can often be detrimental to your wellbeing. Though fragrance oils are not without their uses, they cannot offer the plethora of benefits that have made essential oils so popular.
Natural vs. Synthetic Oils
The primary factor that marks the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils is how they are created. Essential oils are collected through an intensive distilling process gathering the extracts from flowers, fruits, herbs, and other natural ingredients. Fragrant oils, meanwhile, consist of artificially created synthetic compounds which contain few or no natural ingredients. This doesn't mean synthetic products are without value. The issue here is that the creators of fragrance oils have not yet determined the makeup of the natural compounds that lend essential oils their unique health-related benefits.
It should be said, though, that manufacturers’ current inability to reproduce the special qualities of essential oils hasn’t stopped them from pretending that they have. Though labeling regulations prevent anything but pure essential oils from being marked as such, that distinction can be hard to determine when fragrance oils contain ingredients like plumeria oil, which is a synthetic creation that reproduces the scent of plumeria flower extract and not the extract itself. Further muddying the waters is the fact that synthetic oils are often marketed with natural-sounding names such as lavender, cactus flower, and lilac. Fragrance oils of this nature typically contain very little or none of the actual natural ingredient whose scent they’re reproducing, and as such offer none of the benefits provided by their essential oil counterparts.
If you find yourself unsure as to whether a product is an essential oil or a fragrance oil, here are a few tips to keep in mind. The first giveaway is whether it uses “100% Pure Essential Oil” or a similar phrase to advertise itself. Take for example our lavender essential oil which is 100% USDA certified organic.
If the product doesn't use a phrase like this, it is almost certainly a fragrance oil. There are exceptions, however, so if you’re still uncertain, you can check the ingredients to determine whether the bottle, in fact, contains anything other than essential oil. In doing so, you can also learn whether a product is entirely essential oil or is instead a blend that consists of a small amount of essential oil bolstered by other, often unnatural ingredients. Finally, keep in mind that the intense distillation process from which essential oils are derived makes the product more expensive than synthetic counterparts; if you’re comparing two bottles that seem otherwise identical, the pricier one is likely the real thing.
Why Essential Oils?
Because of their higher price and the occasional difficulty in identifying a genuine product, you may wonder whether the benefits of essential oils are worth the extra cost and hassle. As mentioned, fragrance oils have some useful applications that make them valuable products in their right. If you’re interested in creating soap or candles, for example, choose a fragrance oil over an essential oil. That’s because the health-related benefits offered by essential oils can be diluted or eliminated when integrated into products of that nature, meaning that you’d be wasting your money to create a candle or a bar of soap that’d be the same with a fragrance oil.
If your pursuit is aromatherapy, however, then we strongly recommend that you use only genuine, 100% essential oils. Many individuals are unaware that aromatherapy consists of much more than merely exposing the subject to pleasant smells; by intaking essential oils through inhalation or consumption, what we’re in fact doing is introducing natural compounds and their myriad of benefits to our bodies and minds. Since these compounds are missing from fragrance oils, it’s impossible for them to offer those same benefits to their users.
Though science has yet to identify that exact nature of those compounds, researchers have been providing more and more proof of the benefits they offer to our physical and mental health. As with any other treatment, though, it’s important that you choose the variety that can help with your specific ailment. If you have any questions as to which essential oil could be the most useful to you, please feel free to get in touch with one of our knowledgeable customer care representatives.
Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils Conclusion
Though it can sometimes be difficult to track down the real thing when it comes to essential oils, you’ll feel the benefits to doing so once you’ve integrated these remarkable products into your aromatherapy regimen. If you’re just looking for something that smells nice, then, by all means, purchase fragrance oils instead. If you’re looking to improve your health and well-being, you’ve got to go with the real thing.