Essential Vs Fragrance Oils: What’s the difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils is? Our R&D team have put together an article to explain the difference!

What are essential oils?

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” is meant, “to capture the essence of the plant”.

How are essential oils different to fragrance oils?

Essential oils are not oils and generally don't feel oily. 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.

What are fragrance oils?

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. There are both natural and synthetic derived aroma chemicals used to create fragrance oils and perfumes today. All these products can be blended to an exact customers specification.

Many of the fragrance oils that are purchased to make candles and soap are composed of a mixture of natural essential oil extracts and aroma chemicals. These blends can create hundreds and thousands of safe, unique interesting fragrances for the consumer.

What are Nature Identical Oils?

Chemists in the lab, can also recreate the blends found in essential oils. 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.

Essential oils are derived from plant material whereas fragrance oils can be natural or synthetic chemicals. Both are safe to use in your home fragrances, it’s up to you which you prefer.