Oils, in perfumery, are important for different purposes.
From Eau de Parfum (EDF) to eau de toilette (EDT), this importance is critical in introducing or boosting the scent concentration in oil applications and usage. However, not all oils are the same; there is a fine line between fragrance oils and essential oils, but their names do not tell the whole story. Therefore, before we delve into the full story, it is important to know what fragrance oils and essential oils are.
Fragrance oils are artificially made oils produced to mimic the scents in/of nature and other scents not found in nature. They are produced in a laboratory, from a mixture of natural and synthetic materials or synthetic materials only; this mix of natural and synthetic materials vs. synthetic materials only leads to the two variants of fragrance oils available:
- Natural Fragrance Oils.
- Synthetic Fragrance Oils.
Below, we will examine each of them in detail.
1, Natural Fragrance Oils
As the name does not imply, natural fragrance oils are still manufactured in a lab. However, there is a mix of synthetic and natural components in this fragrance oil variant, and the scents are directly extracted from natural plants. For instance, geraniol is directly extracted from rose, cucumber violet from cucumber, limonene from lemons, rosemary CO2 extract from rosemary, and vanillin from vanilla beans.
This fragrance oil variant is best suited for your skin.
2, Synthetic Fragrance Oils
Synthetic fragrance oils do not extract their scent from any natural plant/material. Instead, it gets its scent from artificial materials. They tend to last longer than natural fragrance oils, but their composition's chemical materials are a lot more concentrated (often, up to 80%). Often the synthetic concentration is so great that it is not a great recommendation for those with skin sensitivity or any other sensitivity to apply the synthetic fragrance oils directly onto the skin.
This type of fragrance oil concentration may be described in almost a dozen different names, such as parfum, fragrance, perfume, or fragrance oil.
Familiar Fragrance Oil Scents
Fragrance oils - natural and synthetic - are common; maybe you have noticed, or maybe you have not. Either way, depending on where you stand (the "have noticed" or "have not noticed"), here is a refresher or a guide to familiar fragrance oil scents you can try out or make a mental note of:
- Spiced orange.
- Strawberries and cream.
- Candy cane.
- Pine forest.
- Apple cinnamon.
- Sea breeze.
- French vanilla.
The widespread applications for these scents vary from domestic use to vehicular use. In detail, some of these applications are car air fresheners, perfumes, scented lotions, scented candles, colognes, rollerball fragrances, soaps, and creams.
Essential oils are as natural as they come. They are wholly produced from flowers, roots, and different aromatic plant parts; this means that no other material (read: synthetic material) is added to enhance, supplement, or maintain it over a period of time. Also, they are never diluted by other filler chemicals or oils like Dipropylene Glycol (DPG) Diluent, a Fragrance Carrier Oil. What you get when you pick up any essential oil is an oil in its purest form. This is precisely why, in some quarters, it is regarded as neat oil.
Type of Essential Oils
There are 90 types of essential oils available today. Of these 90, the following 10 stand out as the most common/popular:
- Tea Tree.
- Roman Chamomile.
These types of essential oils are used in three distinct ways:
- As a scent.
- As medicine.
- As a flavor.
Let’s see how these three ways of essential oil usage happens.
1, As a Scent
Essential oils are most commonly used in soaps, especially scented soaps, sprays, candles, colognes, perfumes, and detergents. This means that from washing your body to washing your clothes and getting prepared for work, an outing, or school, you get the purest form of oil on your skin, clothes, and in your home.
2, As Medicine
As a medicine, essential oils are great for therapy, massages, and meditation. Also, they help fight and reduce headaches without the need to see a doctor. In the various trimesters of pregnancy, they can come in handy as well. Another way essential oils are used as medicine is in the reduction or curbing of mental illnesses such as depression—another common usage for essential oils for the treatment of allergy symptoms.
You may experience seasonal allergies in late winter or spring or even in late summer and fall. For example, allergies may occasionally occur as a plant bloom. Or you may experience around-the-clock allergies during specific seasonal months.
Listed below are some of the most common essential oils used for the treatment of allergy symptoms:
1, Lavender – Used to calm and reduce inflammation.
Blend of Sandalwood, Frankincense, and Ravensara oils – Used to treat perennial allergic rhinitis and reduce blocked nasal passages, runny and itchy noses, and sneezing.
2, Eucalyptus – This has been used as an anti-inflammatory and may help you with your congestion.
3, Tea tree oil – Recognized as an anti-inflammatory; however, tea tree oils can also trigger allergies. Do a skin patch test before using. In addition, tea tree oil is dangerous if swallowed. As a general rule, don't ingest any essential oil.
4, Peppermint - Known to reduce inflammation through aromatherapy
5, Lemon - Citrus-scented essential oils are often used in aromatherapy to boost alertness and energy. The lemon essential oil can also help clear your sinuses and reduce congestion, common symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Risks and potential complications of using essential oils.
Using essential oils is not without risk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not oversee the purity, quality, and packaging of essential oils. Therefore, it is important to use essential oils as directed and make sure you are using quality products.
If you have numerous allergies or are particularly chemical sensitive, essential oils can trigger even more allergic responses. Therefore, you will need to talk to your doctor before you begin any essential oil treatment.
Keep these points in mind when using essential oils:
You may experience allergic reactions to oils, so make sure you cautiously use them for the first time. Test the essential oil mixed in a carrier oil on unbroken skin, such as your forearm. If you do not have a reaction in 24 hours, it should be safe to use. Test each new essential oil, especially if you have allergies.
Never apply concentrated oil directly to your skin. Instead, dilute it in a carrier oil before applying it.
Do not ingest essential oils unless under the care of a physician.
Use caution when using oils around pregnant and breastfeeding women and children, especially young children.
3, As a Flavor
Using Food Grade (Edible) Essential Oils
Many essential oils are suitable for use as a flavoring and are safe for human consumption. Used sparingly, these powerful, all-natural oils can add intense flavor and aroma to candies, chocolates, frostings, baked goods, soups, and marinades.
Essential oils that are labeled as food grade (edible) are approved by a regulation of the FDA (a classification known as GRAS) or appear on the industry-approved register of safe ingredients for the flavor industry.
Many essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, and orange are commonly used to flavor desserts, candies, and chocolates. Other, more herbal oils, such as thyme and marjoram, are better suited for flavoring savory foods such as stews and sauces. Lavender and bergamot oils have become popular in chocolate crafting especially.
Essential oils are VERY concentrated, and therefore should be used in small amounts and not ingested undiluted or directly from the bottle.
Having clearly defined fragrance oils vs. essential oils, let's go back to the fine line between this duo that we mentioned in the initial paragraph of this piece.
The Fine Line (Difference) Between Fragrance Oils and Essential Oils
The fine line between fragrance oils and essential oils is in its formation. Where fragrance oils are produced in a lab with synthetic materials/ingredients, there is a departure on the production front with essential oils being composed of natural materials/ingredients; a good analogy for this duo is the difference between leather and leatherette - while leather is made from natural material/ingredient, i.e., the skin of animals, leatherette imitates leather through synthetic materials/ingredients. This is the key difference between fragrance oils and essential oils.
However, there are a few less noticeable differences that latch on to this key difference, and we will have a look at them under the following sub-headings: source, shelf life, cost, usage, and general comparison.
Fragrance oils are made from synthetic materials/ingredients and aromatic plant parts such as seeds, tree bark, wood, and flowers. On the other hand, essential oils are only made from these aromatic plant parts.
2, Shelf Life
In general, the shelf life can range from half a year to a year. This is the length of time fragrance oils last but not so with essential oils, which last anywhere between a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of a decade and a half (15 years).
The synthetic composition of fragrance oil makes it less expensive than essential oils. However, it is good to note that while this is the general case, there are possible exceptions.
It is likely that you find fragrance oils in lotions, perfumes, room sprays, and the likes, but essential oils are typically found in detergents, aromatherapy, soaps, and expensive niche fragrances.
Argos Fragrances use only the finest and essential oils in our luxury fragrances. That is why an Argos brand perfume or fragrance if cared for correctly, will get stronger and smell even more beautifully over time.
Overall, essential oils are more expensive to produce because the materials have to be derived from natural sources. Yet, its benefits in terms of longevity, healing, and medical qualities outweigh the cost of production and sales for the most part. On the part of fragrance oils, they are less expensive to produce, but they offer no healing and medical qualities and typically poor longevity. One plus they have over essential oils is the act of imitating scents that you cannot normally find in nature.
Now that you know more about fragrance oils and essential oils, which would you go for? You can tell us in the comment section below.