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EO vs FO: Thoughts???

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AliciaE

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Hey y’all!

I just recently started soaping and I have been making A LOT lately while trying to get the lay of the land. My recipes in the soapcalc are calling for around 1-1.5 oz of fragrance give or take. That seems like a lot to me...

I would really like to use essential oil to keep my soap natural and get all the benefits possible but it’s expensive and heck, and with the amount of soap I’m making while I go through my learning period, I cant even keep up with ordering more when I’m running out.

So my question for y’all, is it worth not getting the benefits of EO to save on the cost by using FO? I know the soap is no longer natural but is FO completely safe to use, as in no heath risks aside from maybe allergies?

Thanks in advance!
 

Obsidian

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I do consider FO safe to use or I wouldn't use it.
The benefits of EO doesn't survive in soap, all they do scent soap, nothing more.

I've found FO to smell better and last longer. I'll use EO in some leave on products like lotion or cleansing oils.
 

DeeAnna

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I'm with Obsidian. The only time I will use EOs in soap is for shave soap. For this purpose, I add the scent after the cook and I scent shave soap lightly, so the use of EOs is economical.

For bath soap, I use FOs all the way. Reasons -- Lower cost per ounce. Wider variety of scents. Many FOs last longer and smell stronger. And last but not least, I don't believe EOs in bath soap really do anything more than smell good.

I do pay attention to the recommended usage rates for FOs -- especially the IFRA guidelines if available. If the usage rates for a given FO are under about 6% for soap (IFRA category 9) or for lotions (IFRA cat 4), I generally won't buy that FO. More about IFRA guidelines: https://classicbells.com/soap/fragrance.asp
 

shunt2011

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I use mostly FO's. I have a couple that I use EO in, I find they stick better and last longer. I use them at 6% in my soaps. I agree with the others that any benefits of EO don't likely survive. When I first started I used more EO's but found once I started selling that people were asking for fragrances like Love Spell and other dupes of fragrances on the market. So, I switched.
 

amd

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I concur with all of the above. Just to clarify Shunt's statement:
I have a couple that I use EO in, I find they stick better and last longer.
She means that she only uses a couple EO's that she has found to stick better and last longer - not that EO in general stick better and last longer. Not all do. I'm trying to use up my EO's and when they're gone they're gone. I briefly considered keeping Eucalyptus and Spearmint as I can get those pretty affordably and they hold well (and sell well!) but I've realized that I only get asked once or twice a year if I use EO's (and then by an EO rep who wants to sell me on the idea that if I use their oils I only need a few drops... so really... no one asks me about EO's), I get asked more if my soaps are vegan or not.

I know your goal is to sell, so you will need to evaluate what your target customers will want to buy. Are you selling to crunchy folks or minimalists? Are you selling to everyone? Are you selling to women in the 20-30's?
 

Misschief

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I have two or three soaps that I use EO's in (i.e. Goat Milk & Lavender, Charcoal & Lavender Castile, and one or two others); for the rest I use FO's as, like the others above, I find they last longer and my customers like them.
 

IrishLass

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To me, EO's are not worth the expense of using them in a wash-off product, especially when there are so few of them which can endure the the saponification process and come out smelling strong. I'd much rather use them in other types of products where their benefits can be more efficiently utilized such as lotions and body butters and perfumes.

When it comes to my soaps, it's FOs all the way.


IrishLass :)
 

cmzaha

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For me with my allergies, FO's are safer than Essential Oils. Any other answers are pretty well covered above. The only EO's I regularly use are Lavender, Peppermint, Patchouli, Lemongrass, and Litsea. This is because I just cannot find good FO replacements and they are good sellers for me. Otherwise, it is fragrance oils for me.
 

Mobjack Bay

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I use EOs and FOs. When I use EOs in soap it’s because I love the scents, not for any health or skin benefits. Some makers have found that certain EOs last for 6 months or more in cp soap, as discussed in this thread.
 

Garden Gives Me Joy

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To me, EO's are not worth the expense of using them in a wash-off product, especially when there are so few of them which can endure the the saponification process and come out smelling strong. I'd much rather use them in other types of products where their benefits can be more efficiently utilized such as lotions and body butters and perfumes.
Agree. However, I am happy to make 'fragrance free' soap. I have not yet begun to sell but figure that going 'fragrance free' creates a special niche of people that will appreciate it.
 

shunt2011

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Agree. However, I am happy to make 'fragrance free' soap. I have not yet begun to sell but figure that going 'fragrance free' creates a special niche of people that will appreciate it.
Most of us also make fragrance free soap. That way all bases are covered. However, fragranced soap outsells unscented 90-1.
 

Garden Gives Me Joy

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Most of us also make fragrance free soap. That way all bases are covered. However, fragranced soap outsells unscented 90-1.
Having not yet sold, I was unaware of the significance of the difference. :eek:

Might customers be happy with subtle aromas from naturally aromatic extracts? My soaps are certainly not strong smelling but, in some cases, the faint aroma is noticeable almost only by the user when (s)he uses it on the face or smells the product before using it.
 

cmzaha

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Agree. However, I am happy to make 'fragrance free' soap. I have not yet begun to sell but figure that going 'fragrance free' creates a special niche of people that will appreciate it.
Problem with that if selling it is to small a niche. I am lucky to sell half a dozen fragrance free bars a year.
 

DeeAnna

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"...Might customers be happy with subtle aromas from naturally aromatic extracts?..."

I'm sure a few will be fine with a mild fragrance, especially those with skin issues or sensitivities. But my experience has been that most people want a definite, clear scent.

I sometimes take soap to a weekend-long event where people stay in a large guest house with shared bathing facilities. I put a big assortment of sample-sized bars in a basket on the kitchen counter and let people choose whatever soap they want. It's interesting to watch. Most will smell the bars first, then pick which one smells the nicest to them. The pattern, color, and the ingredients list are largely ignored by most.
 

dibbles

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I used to sell, but now only sell at one holiday market. Color or design might initially attract someone, but if they don’t like the smell, they won’t buy. I notice the same thing that @DeeAnna mentioned when I take a basket of soaps to family gatherings or to a group of friends. Generally, a well scented bar is selected over those that are lightly scented or unfragranced.
 

Garden Gives Me Joy

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Not quite what I wanted to hear but thanks for enlightening me.

Re FOs. Does the average person (ie who has no skin sensitivities) wanting 'natural' products consider FO fragranced soap 'natural'?

Re using EOs in leave-on products. I've seen recent online content discussing concerns over post-extraction residual hexane. To what extent are consumers picky about the fact that EOs are mostly extracted using hexane?
 

Arimara

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I use FO's mostly but I am more inclined to make unscented soaps since I'm lazier now. I have used an EO only once and have not looked back. It was peppermint, which while it was not wasted in the soap, I had other more practical uses for it.
 

KiwiMoose

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Not quite what I wanted to hear but thanks for enlightening me.

Re FOs. Does the average person (ie who has no skin sensitivities) wanting 'natural' products consider FO fragranced soap 'natural'?

Re using EOs in leave-on products. I've seen recent online content discussing concerns over post-extraction residual hexane. To what extent are consumers picky about the fact that EOs are mostly extracted using hexane?
To be honest - most people don't know much. We do ,because we are interested to know for our soap making - but the general public just want something that smells nice. A few people might ask, but it's very rare. I always explain that EOs don't last as well as FOs if they do. I've never had anyone turn down soap because it was not an EO. I've had one person who wanted unscented in 7 months of selling. However, to satisfy my own need for Eos, I still use a small amount of EO in all my soap. Usually lemongrass, may chang, patchouli or sweet orange. I just choose the one which goes best with my fragrance oil. For example - Rose FO, with Patchouli EO to anchor. You can't smell the patchouli in the mix at all.
I still make some soap that is entirely EO - just because i like to have a few 'special' ones.
 

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