Fragrance Oil vs Essential Oil And Why It Matters to Know The Difference

It may seem obvious to go natural, but choosing natural is not always easy due to confusing marketing terms and branding companies use to sell products. One such example of this is claiming that fragrance oils, or fragrances made with essential oils, are a natural product. We’ll be comparing fragrance oils and essential oils, and outlining why fragrances are anything but natural.

Fragrance Oil

To put it simply, “Fragrance Oils” or even just “Fragrance” are synthetic oils created from a multitude of chemicals, mixed together to produce a desired scent. These concoctions rarely come from or even resemble their natural sources (Similar to how banana candy doesn’t really taste like bananas, but is the chemical version of banana). Fragrances are found in a multitude of products, from personal care items and perfume to scented candle lines, deodorants and more, fragrances plague consumers on a daily basis. On an ingredient list, ‘fragrance’ may look like just one ingredient, but oftentimes indicates a list of undisclosed, harmful ingredients.

Under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), the ingredients in any given fragrances are not legally required to be disclosed! Making it difficult for consumers to avoid ingredients they may be sensitive or allergic to. More unfortunately, it can be used to hide harmful ingredients from consumers.

There are a variety of concerns that can cause fragrances to be harmful for use, beyond just being potential allergens and sensitizers. Hormone disruptors and reproductive toxins are a few additional descriptions of some of the chemicals found in synthetic fragrances. In a study done by the Environmental Working Group, 17 name-brand perfumes were tested to find chemicals not listed on the labeling. On average, 14 undisclosed ingredients were discovered, including tonalide, Yellow 5, and galaxolide.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are simply the ‘essence’ of plants. In nature, they help to protect plants from diseases and insects, as well as communicate with other plants. Essential oils are obtained from plants by a steam distillation or cold pressing and are starting to be used more in personal care products for their natural odor control and therapeutic benefits. The benefits of essential oils vary widely, and research has shown that they have the ability to improve sleep, reduce pain, boost skincare and mitigate stress due to the naturally occurring aromatic compounds found within.

While many assume all essential oils to be pure and unadulterated, essential oils are actually oftentimes chemically manipulated to have consistent aromas. They’ve also been found to contain pesticides and have cheaper synthetic fragrances added, which can cut costs but at the detriment of consumers' health.

Working with reputable suppliers and naturally focused companies is crucial, and at Supernatural, we source from carefully vetted farmers and distillers. We stand by the quality of our natural focused products, whether it’s for cleaning your home, or using our deodorant directly on your skin. What you use matters to us, because we use it too!

Go Natural

Despite what you now know about the differences between fragrances and essential oils, you’re still likely to run into companies misusing these terms. That’s because essential oils are still largely unregulated in the US. Thus, companies are able to identify their products as containing essential oils when they contain very little or none whatsoever. It’s important to always read the ingredient list if having a natural product is important to you. Finding the right natural company can be a bit confusing, but reviews from other consumers can also help clear up any concerns.

It’s for this reason that many professionals in the Natural consumer product industry have created standards that separate high-quality, natural essential oils from fragrance oils so that essential oil users know what to look for when searching for true aromatherapy and naturally cleansing and moisturizing products.

Take care, and thank you for reading!

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