What's the difference between Essential Oils & Fragrance Oils?

Posted by Lauren Yearn on

The truth behind essential oils & fragrance oils.  And it may just surprise you...

Essential oils are complex aromatic compounds extracted from different parts of the plant. They are found in the fruit skin, flowers, leaves, twigs and bark. The term “Essential Oil” means, “to capture the essence of the plant”.
Essential oils are not actually oils and generally don't feel oily either. They are usually a thin, watery substance, with the exception of some resins which can be quite viscous in texture. They always require dilution for safety as they are highly concentrated, and they are not to be used neat. They are composed of complex chemical compounds e.g., Plant Alcohols and Terpenes, to name a few. These make up the individual plant’s complex odour profile. 

Clever marketing words and phrases like "all-natural" and "therapeutic" make it easy to gravitate toward products with essential oils. People often assume "natural" means safe, but there are plenty of natural compounds and chemicals that aren't safe (may I offer mercury as an example) and plenty of "good" substances that have shown no benefit in research studies (echinacea isn't as effective as many people think). Yes, they're natural and plant-derived, but it's worth taking a closer look before popping just any oil into your diffuser. The safety of any essential oil depends largely on the person using it, but like any plant product, these oils can contribute to skin irritation, respiratory symptoms and even hormone-related symptoms. 

Essential oils and their many components when split into individual chemical extracts, sometimes called aroma chemicals, are used by skilled chemists and perfumers. These create a wide range of fragrance oils, perfumes and other products. Your favourite perfume is likely a blend of these aroma chemicals. There are both natural and synthetic derived aroma chemicals used to create fragrance oils and perfumes today. Many of the fragrance oils that are used in our product's here at Lyla Belle compose of a mixture of natural essential oil and man-made aroma chemicals. These blends can create hundreds and thousands of safe, unique interesting fragrances. 

Chemists in the lab, can amazingly also recreate the blends found in essential oils too. These are sometimes referred to as “Nature Identical Oils. The chemical structure is the same as naturally occurring fragrance compounds, but they are man-made. They are used in synthetic fragrances, but the cost is typically lower than a real, naturally extracted or derived essential oil and more importantly, allergens or side effects found in the natural oils can be reduced. 

Often brands who use essential oils will bash other companies that use fragrance oils, purely to make it appear 'safer' to use their own essential oil products. Of course, this is purely for marketing purposes as this really isn't the case! Much like the SOY VS PARAFFIN wax debate...

But, I'll leave that one for another blog on another day!


So, in short..

Essential oils are derived from plant material whereas fragrance oils can be natural or synthetic chemicals. BOTH are safe to use in home fragrances in your home!

I hope that helps explain a little more between them. We use a mixture of natural occurring and man-made aroma chemicals in our fragrances, so you get the very best of both worlds! 

Lauren x

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