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It can be hard to identify the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils, and how to use each one. While many people assume that essential oils and fragrance oils are similar or are produced equal in terms of their pleasant scent and properties, the truth is that they are different.
Many people use essential oils for diffusion, aroma therapy and DIY projects. Fragrance oils are often used for similar purpose, such as diffusion, body lotion, candle making and soap making. We all enjoy the pleasant scent from these two type oils. Do you know the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils? Their main disparity lies in their creation method, composition and usage.
Essential oils are extracted naturally from plant parts and herbs as a highly concentrated essence. They are extracted from different parts of plants, such as steam distilling, pressing flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots, seeds. They are used for scenting, flavouring, or therapeutic healing aromatherapy. It is worth noting that most essential oils should not be used externally without dilution. To capture their beneficial properties, scents and flavours, they are obtained through the process of steam distillation, solvent extraction.
Essential oils contain naturally occurring volatile compounds. There are no added preservatives and stabilisers. Because the tools producing essential oils are water, heat and pressure, they have not been diluted, mixed or processed. It is a gentle process that ensures the sensitive compounds do not break down. Depending on the types of plants and some external factors like season, climate or growing conditions, the aroma of the essential oils can vary slightly between different harvests and batches. Furthermore, the essential oils industry is characterised by rigorous testing before coming into the market. The essential oils are GC/MS tested before they are hand-poured and bottled.
Under comparison, fragrance oils are manufactured from artificial chemical components with added chemicals to enhance the aroma. Sometimes, they have formulated similar to naturally occurring scents, such as lavender, pine and strawberries. Fragrance oils are synthetic and non-volatile. That means fragrance oils usually last longer than essential oils. Because fragrance oil can be duplicated in a laboratory, there is a wider range of fragrance oils compared to essential oils. Some popular fragrance scents, for instance, bubble gum, chocolate milk, pina colada, sea breeze.
Fragrance oils are usually diluted with a ‘diluent’ to enhance the uniformity of strength among various compounds. It is worth noted that some synthetic fragrances can be composed of thousands of chemical ingredients. People with sensitive skin should be aware of the ingredients when applying fragrance oils.
Essential oils have various natural ingredients can be used in aromatherapy and meditation to achieve the balance physically, mentally and emotionally. There are plenty of ways to use essential oils, such as applying via diffusers, massages, and therapeutic baths. It is good for skin softening, skin moisturising and helpfulness on stress and migraine relief. You can diffuse essential oils alone or blend with other types of oils based on their scents and function.
There are more than 90 types of essential oils with different benefits and health claims. For example, lavender oils ease anxious feelings, relieve stress and can help ward off insomnia; jasmine oils have a mild sedative and calming effect; orange oils lower feelings of anxiety and increased energy and happiness. In addition, applying essential oils in a massage can increase circulation, break up the fascia and relieve symptoms such as pain, fatigue or inflammation. Also, dropping essential oils into the bathtub is the simplest way to integrate the oil benefit into the daily routine. Many people enjoy DIY their bath oil, which can design different scents for different seasons. Similarly, a foot bath or a sit-bath with bath oil can have a greater beneficial effect on the body and mind.
On the other hand, fragrance oils do not have the natural healing properties as essential oils. Fragrance oils are great in the manufacturing of cosmetics and perfumes, such as candles, soap and body lotion, to enhance the aroma of these products. They have the long-lasting power and scent strength as compared to essential oils. However, fragrance oils do not have the benefit of the body. For instance, Lemongrass fragrance oil does not contain tonic and stimulating properties that help to soothes headaches, whereas Lemongrass essential oils do. Besides the medicinal properties, there are many uses for fragrance oils. For instance, fragrance oils are best used in at-home or office scents.