Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils - Question

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Sep 2, 2007
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I notice in soap recipes some call for essential oils and others fragrance oils. What is the difference in them? Are the fragrance oils sold in stores like Earthbound Trading Company in the mall (they sell a lot of incense and hippy stuff :) okay to use in soaps?

Essential oils are made from nature.

Fragrance oils are synthetic.

Lavender essential oil is made from the lavender plant & has medicinal values, IE: causes relaxation.

Lavender fragrance oil is synthetic & has been made/developed by a chemist to duplicate the scent found in nature. It will not have the natural medicinal values such as relaxation but the power of suggestion is likely to create the effect anyway. The chemist *may* choose to use a bit of the natural essential oil into his/her manufactured fragrance oil.

Fragrance oils offer more variety, there is no naturally occurring cupcake, essential oil-LOL.

Fragrance oils is also offered cheaper because they tend to be cheaper to make.

You will need to use more fragrance oil to scent a product than you will essential oil. Essentials are much more potent.

Essential oils are "all natural" if that is important to you or your friends/family/customers.

FRAGRANCE SAFETY: There are several levels for fragrance oil safety as they relate to soap/bath/body.

1)Soap safe fragrances can be used for any rinse off application, EX) soap, scrub, shower gel

2)Body safe fragrances can be used for any rinse off or leave on product such as soap, scrubs, shower gels, body mists & lotions.

3) Lip safe fragrance/flavor oils may be used for any rinse off, leave on or oral application such as soap, scrubs, shower gels, mists, lotions, lip balms or flavored massage oils.

SOME candle safe oils may meet soap or skin safe regulations. You will need to ask or read the labels very carefully.

Chances are the oils at the mall are WAY over priced & are probably not soap or skin safe.

There are aslo levels of safety as they relate to candles but I am not familiar with that aspect.

I hope this helps!-Tabitha
Tabitha said:
I hope this helps!-Tabitha

Immensely! Thank you so much - that was one of my concerns, that the fragrance oils wouldn't be safe for skin. I appreciate you taking the time to give such a thorough explanation, it was extremely helpful.
Essential oils are derived directly from plants and flowers. Fragrance oils, which are synthetic, can cause seizing in soaps, so need to be used with caution. Essential oils are also used for healing, and in aromatherapy. Oils like lavender have a calming, relaxing effect, and ones like sweet orange and ylang ylang have an uplifting/antidepressant effect. I like adding drops to my bath water.

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