Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils: What Is the Difference?
DO YOUR PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS CONTAIN ESSENTIAL OILS OR FRAGRANCE OILS?
Read this week’s blog to learn the differences between essential oils and fragrance oils to decide which is better for you!
In recent years, oils have become a trend in the health and wellness industry as well as the cosmetics industry. With the various oils claiming numerous benefits, consumers are overwhelmed when it comes to choosing which is better for them.
Often, many people think that essential oils and fragrance oils are the same. It certainly is recognizing the differences when all of them seem to have unique invigorating aromas.
Let’s take a look at the differences, benefits, and uses of essential oils and fragrance oils to get a better perspective of what they really are.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are liquid extracts from the leaves, flowers, resins, peels, roots, and bark of plants. The oils draw their scents or essences from their sources. Often their smell is much stronger than their natural sources because they contain high concentrations of active ingredients.
Essential oils have been used since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, and Persians. They used essential oils for various purposes such as skin care, relaxation, mediation, and healing.
Although essential oils are called oils, they do not feel oily. They contain oil-soluble chemicals. Each essential oil contains roughly 100-200 oil-soluble chemicals that give it its therapeutic attributes. Different essential oils may have overlapping effects because they may contain a number of similar oil soluble chemicals.
How are essential oils extracted?
These are the two common ways of extracting essential oils
1. Cold pressing
This method of extracting essential oils uses machines to grind or squeeze seeds, fruits, flowers, and other parts of the plant to free or extract the oil.
Cold pressing through the use of a grinder is used to extract oil from soft or smaller seeds such as sunflower seeds. There is no heat required in this process, but heat is produced when the paste mixture is rotated to set apart the oil from the juice and the pulp.
2. Steam or water distillation
It is a continuous distillation process with multiple stages where the steam is directed at the plant to extract its oils. The mixture of hot vapors is collected in a chamber and undergoes a condensation process to produce a liquid which consists of two distinct layers- water and oil.
How are essential oils used?
Many cosmetics and personal care companies use essential oils to create cologne and perfumes. They are also added to creams, lotions and body washes to add fragrance.
Essential oils are also popular in aromatherapy by diffusing them into the air to relax the body and mind. When diluted with carrier oils, they can be used in massage to help relieve sore muscles and headaches.
How long do essential oils last?
Since essential oils are derived from natural sources, they have a longer shelf life compared to synthetic oils. The shelf life depends on which plant the essential oil is sourced. Typically, essential oils last from two to fifteen years. They lose their potency due to oxidation. Expired essential oils lose their smell. Their color becomes cloudy or murky and tends to develop into a thicker consistency.
Popular Essential Oils and Their Benefits
Peppermint oil is used to boost energy, aid in digestion, and ease nausea. According to a study in 2016, peppermint oil can also relieve chronic itching.
Lavender oil has numerous benefits for skin health such as minimizing acne, lightening the skin tone, and diminishing wrinkles. It also improves hair health and aids in digestion. It also soothes eczema and dry skin. Insect repellants also contain lavender oil as one of the potent ingredients.
Orange oil has a variety of uses which include treating stress and acne, reducing pain and inflammation. It is also a natural household cleaner and adds a refreshing citrus scent to a room.
Some health benefits of sandalwood oil that are supported by studies include boosting alertness, managing anxiety, supporting wound healing, and fighting bacteria.
For many years, eucalyptus oil has been used as a potent ingredient for over the counter cough medicines. Famous insect repellent creams use eucalyptus oil as their active ingredient. Diluted eucalyptus oil can promote the healing of minor burns. Research also found that it eases joint pain, making it a popular ingredient in over-the-counter creams and ointments for arthritis.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil can be used as a natural hand sanitizer that may help eliminate microbes that bring colds, flu, and other illnesses. If you are looking for a safe and effective deodorant, it helps fight bacteria that cause body odor. It also eliminates nail fungus.
According to some research, lemongrass oil possesses powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and astringent abilities. In aromatherapy, lemongrass oil is a popular oil used to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
Chamomile oil helps relieve aches, sprains, nausea, and anxiety. It aids wound healing, including sores and ulcers, and eases skin conditions like eczema and rashes. Its sleep-inducing properties also make it a popular essential oil.
What are the fragrance oils?
Fragrance oils are synthetically made fragrances containing artificial substances. Fragrance oils are much cheaper than essential oils because it does not have the aromatic and therapeutic qualities that essential oils have. They mimic the natural scents of essential oils.
There are two kinds of fragrance oils.
1. Synthetic fragrance oils
Synthetic fragrance oils are made from artificial chemicals. They have fragrances that last longer, so many commercial products use these oils. Avoid these oils if your skin is sensitive to fragrances since they contain a lot of chemical ingredients. They could be labeled as perfume, fragrance, or fragrance oil in cosmetic products.
2. Natural fragrance oil
Natural fragrance oil can be mistaken as organic, but they are not. They are produced by isolating naturally sourced fragrance ingredients from a complex scent, hence why it is called natural fragrance oil. Some common examples are limonene which originated from lemons and vanillin which originated from vanilla. These fragrance oils are less irritating than synthetic oils.
How long do fragrance oils last?
Fragrance oil has an average shelf life of six to twelve months depending on its composition. They should be stored in proper conditions, such as cool dark places, for them to last longer. To know if the fragrance oil has gone bad, it may lose its scent all together or develop a strange smell.
What are the common scents of fragrance oil?
These are the common scents found in items that are commonly used every day
Apple Cinnamon Peppermint Patty
Birthday Cake Sea Breeze
Candy Cane Spiced Orange
French Vanilla Strawberries and Cream
What are the common uses of fragrance oils?
Fragrance oils are commonly used in crafts, home scents, and personal care products. Here are some products that usually contain fragrance oils:
Scented soaps Car fresheners
Scented creams/lotions Laundry detergents
Scented candles Bubble baths
Perfumes/colognes Deodorizing room spray
The bottom line:
Essential oils are usually safe for topical application when combined with a carrier oil. They are also safe to be inhaled or used in aromatherapy but should not be ingested. As a supplemental therapy to minor health concerns, essential oils are likely harmless. However, for those with serious medical conditions, pregnant or breastfeeding women, the use of essential oils should be discussed with a healthcare professional.
Fragrance oil provides aroma to many skincare and personal care products. However, most fragrance oils do not possess the same health benefits as essential oils. Fragrance oils are made by separating the natural aromatic element of the plant while the potential benefits are left out.
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