The main difference between essential oils and fragrance oils is that one is natural and the other is synthetic.
Therapeutic grade essential oils are made from the different parts of the plant. They may come from the blossom, stem, fruit, leaf, bark, well… you get the idea. The extraction process is often complicated and sometimes expensive. But essential oils have been used for centuries for their health benefits. Sometimes these naturally occurring chemicals are irritating to the skin and must be diluted in a carrier oil (or lotion) before use. Do your research before you buy just any essential oil and slather it on!
Fragrance oils are used for just that—their fragrance. They are synthetic and created to mimic natural scents (like mocha fragrance oil or freshly washed cotton fragrance oil) that may not lend themselves to essential oil production. A lavender fragrance oil may smell like fields of lavender but it will have none of the therapeutic value of a lavender essential oil. However, they are inexpensive and their scents last a long time.
More Expensive But Worth It
When I was creating Colorado Crème, I decided to use essential oils for two reasons. First, I feel they smell more real somehow than synthetic fragrances. They don’t seem to overpower me, either. Have you ever gotten in an elevator with someone who overdid their perfume or cologne? Enough said. I also liked the idea that the essential oils in my lotions would provide an additional benefit. They are more expensive but worth it.
Natural Fragrance Oils
There are some all natural fragrance oils that are a hybrid of both; they are blends of essential oils, plant resins, or naturally derived aromatic chemicals. In other words, natural, but not as natural as an essential oil. I think that qualifies them for Colorado Crème and so for August you’ll see a new Mousse of the Month scented with a blend of essential oil and all natural fragrance oil. It smells wonderful—a great way to wrap up the summer! I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog post.