Natural Fragrance oil or EO ?

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CecileBC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2022
Messages
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Location
France
Hi !
After following your posts for a month now, and taking a ton of notes, I am finally ready to start on the soapmaking adventure. Please forgive my english if it is a bit crumbly sometimes - I am french... but I try ;)

I intend on making soap that is 100 per cent natural. No chemicals, so as to preserve sensitive and overreactive skins + strong personal will to go back to essentials and remove as much chemicals as possible from my life.

I always thought I would only use EO to scent my soaps, but I see some people use "natural fragrance oils" which apparently behave better in CP, and some even mix EO with FO (Thanks Kiwimoose for your advice on Citrus EOs - to be mixed with FOs - to slow down trace).

My question is:
Do I understand correctly that FO are made using chemicals, but none remain in the finished oil?
Would my soap still be considered "100 percent natural" if a natural FO is used ?

Just a little note: this is my very first post and I'm soooo happy to be here. It feels very comfortable !!
Thank you all !
 
Hi !
After following your posts for a month now, and taking a ton of notes, I am finally ready to start on the soapmaking adventure. Please forgive my english if it is a bit crumbly sometimes - I am french... but I try ;)

I intend on making soap that is 100 per cent natural. No chemicals, so as to preserve sensitive and overreactive skins + strong personal will to go back to essentials and remove as much chemicals as possible from my life.

I always thought I would only use EO to scent my soaps, but I see some people use "natural fragrance oils" which apparently behave better in CP, and some even mix EO with FO (Thanks Kiwimoose for your advice on Citrus EOs - to be mixed with FOs - to slow down trace).

My question is:
Do I understand correctly that FO are made using chemicals, but none remain in the finished oil?
Would my soap still be considered "100 percent natural" if a natural FO is used ?

Just a little note: this is my very first post and I'm soooo happy to be here. It feels very comfortable !!
Thank you all !
Im new here as well and would like to know the same thing! I also totally agree that it feels comfortable here and everyone is so informative and very nice.
 
I’m no chemist but L from what I understand:

- Soap isn’t 100% natural per se because it’s not something that you can go pick up off the ground - you mixed chemicals and made soap. It’s man-made.

- Some chemicals change during saponification but I wouldn’t say whatever is in the fragrance oil will disappear. Some “bad” chemicals don’t remain in the final product - the lye for instance. But I don’t think carcinogens or lead go away.

I use fragrance oils but I make sure they say they don’t have pthalates or benzenes - it’ll say on the SDS sheet if it has something on the California Prop 65 list. If the site doesn’t provide that information I don’t buy the fragrance oil.

People have different feelings about fragrance oils and essential oils - if you want to market a soap as natural I would expect that it didn’t contain synthetic fragrance oils or even synthetic colors. Whether or not that makes the soap safer or the synthetic ingredients make it harmful or dangerous is debatable.

Someone I know asked if my soap was natural because that’s what his wife wanted for their children. I made them some bars with natural fragrance oil.

It’s your soap, do what makes you comfortable!
 
Thank you Michelem017 and Andf !

I read that Natural fragrances are made up of essential oil, absolutes, extracts, CO2’s and isolates of the natural aromatic components taken from the complex scent of the essential oil (therefore do we understand that they also contain "some" therapeutic benefits ?).

I would not use synthetic FOs, and I understand that Natural fragrances are made in a laboratory but NOT from synthetic materials.

I did know that soap did not retain any lye once saponified; however, I did not think that natural FOs could retain chemicals after saponification. I will check the California Prop 65 list before I purchase one, thank you for the advice.
When you say: "I don’t think carcinogens or lead go away", you mean that these can be found in the FOs ?

Thank you :)
 
Hi there @CecileBC Welcome to the forum.

To start, fragrance and essential oils do not contain triglycerides, which means they do not saponify, but they may be affected/changed by the alkaline pH of soap and elevated temperature during soap making.

Fragrance oils include at least some synthetic chemicals, whereas essential oils, absolutes, etc. are distilled, extracted or pressed from plants. Hexane may be used during EO extraction, which blurs the line a little bit on the completely natural idea. The line is blurred further because many suppliers sell what they call natural fragrance oils made with synthetic compounds that are “nature identical.” As far as I can tell from my research, this means the chemical structure of the synthesized fragrance component matches the chemical structure of the one produced in nature. Then there are FO and EO blends which seem increasingly common these days.

A fragrance oil may be affected by the high pH of the soap and high temperature, but those sold by reputable soap making suppliers for cold process soap are formulated to “stick” in soap. Some will fade, but other fragrances will stick around for years. If you decide to try FOs of any type, delve into the reviews on a supplier‘s website to learn more about how the scent holds up in CP soap and also how the FO behaves in soap making, i.e. does it cause acceleration or discoloration.

Essential oils are very complex chemical mixtures that are difficult to fully reproduce in the lab. Some of them stick reasonably well in cold process soap and others do not. You can learn more about that in this thread. Other then scent fading, the downsides to using EOs include the price and the fact that high demand and over-harvesting of some of the plants and trees used for essential oils may seriously strain Mother Nature.
 
When you say: "I don’t think carcinogens or lead go away", you mean that these can be found in the FOs ?
If it has a chemical you would want to avoid, I wouldn’t assume it would go away.

It shouldn’t have anything bad in it. Some suppliers that have natural fragrance oils (like Crafters Choice) have them tested and provide safety data sheets (SDS). I just looked at the first one I saw - “Aloe Water & Jasmine” and the SDS says that it contains two chemicals on the Prop 65 list. These are naturally occurring and they’re in very small amounts.

I don’t know what could be in essential oils, someone else might know what to look out for.
 
I read that Natural fragrances are made up of essential oil, absolutes, extracts, CO2’s and isolates of the natural aromatic components taken from the complex scent of the essential oil (therefore do we understand that they also contain "some" therapeutic benefits ?).

We generally assume that most of the therapeutic benefits are not retained, but as far as I can tell, there is almost no research on this topic.

I would not use synthetic FOs, and I understand that Natural fragrances are made in a laboratory but NOT from synthetic materials.

Does what I wrote above address this question?

I did know that soap did not retain any lye once saponified; however, I did not think that natural FOs could retain chemicals after saponification. I will check the California Prop 65 list before I purchase one, thank you for the advice.

Any scent that remains in the soap is a chemical.

When you say: "I don’t think carcinogens or lead go away", you mean that these can be found in the FOs ?

Lab-produced scents should not have lead in them. Essential oils may contain low comcentrations of lead because the plants they’re made from are harvested from nature and there is lead in soils around the globe from pollution.
 
Hello Mobjack Bay !

Thank you so much for your very thorough answer, which will no doubt send me on the right track :)
Much appreciated !

(I did write an introduction, but it was a while ago so it may have been sent far away on the list of introductions...)

Thanks again ;)
 
I guess I missed your intro post! I forgot to mention earlier that when using EOs, and also FOs, you will want to stay within skin safe limits. EoCalc.com makes it fairly easy to calculate safe blends for EOs and, as mentioned above, many sellers provide the information for FOs and EOs on their websites. Good luck with the research!
 
Thank you Michelem017 and Andf !

I read that Natural fragrances are made up of essential oil, absolutes, extracts, CO2’s and isolates of the natural aromatic components taken from the complex scent of the essential oil (therefore do we understand that they also contain "some" therapeutic benefits ?).

I would not use synthetic FOs, and I understand that Natural fragrances are made in a laboratory but NOT from synthetic materials.

I did know that soap did not retain any lye once saponified; however, I did not think that natural FOs could retain chemicals after saponification. I will check the California Prop 65 list before I purchase one, thank you for the advice.
When you say: "I don’t think carcinogens or lead go away", you mean that these can be found in the FOs ?

Thank you :)
Since you mentioned you speak French, I assume you live in either France or Canada. Bad chemicals in Europe and Canada are restricted much more than in the US by REACh and Canada Health regulations and if those chemicals are in a product over a certain limit they can’t be sold. So if you live in either country you don’t need to read California Prop 65.
 
I want to start out saying no bar of soap is all natural. NaOH is not naturally occurring and while the lye doesn't remain in the bar of soap when finished, it still went into it. Many people also seem to think all chemicals are bad. Water is a chemical compound and we can't live without it.

When I started out, I used only essential oils. I learned over time and lots of trial and error and research that sometimes the "natural" stuff isn't better for everyone.

My original purpose in soap making was having scented soaps. I wanted soap, not detergent due to skin issues that detergents exacerbated. And I have had issues with scent triggered migraines since before I was a teenager so spent most of my life up to that point only using unscented things. I wanted pretty smelling soaps! I discovered that several essential oils (lavender at the top of the list) resulted in instant migraines when opening the bottle. I also became pregnant not long after I started making soap. The list of essential oils that shouldn't be used while pregnant or nursing was a bit of a shock. I also didn't like some of the methods of extraction for essential oils and some are cost prohibitive or don't react well in cp soap. So I ventured into fragrance oils.

I now sell soaps and lavender is a very popular scent. I had hopes of finding a fragrance oil blend that I could use without blinding pain. Most anything lavender does bother me, but I've found a couple that I can tolerate well enough to make for sale.

Long story shot: I have some soaps that I use essential oils for. I have some that I use fragrance oils for, and some blends. Lots of research on what you want to use will lead you in the direction that is best for you.
 
Since you mentioned you speak French, I assume you live in either France or Canada... So if you live in either country you don’t need to read California Prop 65.
The profile location states France, so they would need the regulations for that country.

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Hi !
After following your posts for a month now, and taking a ton of notes, I am finally ready to start on the soapmaking adventure. Please forgive my english if it is a bit crumbly sometimes - I am french... but I try ;)

I intend on making soap that is 100 per cent natural. No chemicals, so as to preserve sensitive and overreactive skins + strong personal will to go back to essentials and remove as much chemicals as possible from my life.

I always thought I would only use EO to scent my soaps, but I see some people use "natural fragrance oils" which apparently behave better in CP, and some even mix EO with FO (Thanks Kiwimoose for your advice on Citrus EOs - to be mixed with FOs - to slow down trace).

My question is:
Do I understand correctly that FO are made using chemicals, but none remain in the finished oil?
Would my soap still be considered "100 percent natural" if a natural FO is used ?

Just a little note: this is my very first post and I'm soooo happy to be here. It feels very comfortable !!
Thank you all !
Greetings CecileBC: It's good you are French because working in the metric system makes life so much easier in soapmaking. I use both EO and FOs in my soap making and my concious is not bothered one bit. The concentration of an average soap recipe is 31g per kg which is a tiny amount. Also, FO's are very regulated and come with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) which lists all bad effects of
fragrance oil components.
It's a common misconception that "sythesized or man-made" means some strange and dangerous chemical. Actually, most synthesized frangrances are the same as essential oils; frangrance oils are copies of a natural product but are made by factory, not by a plant or animal. Here's an example:
Nature's Garden Black Cherry Fragrance Oil
Components and uses:

Benzaldehyde: natural and synthesized; used in foods and soaps for fragrance and flavoring; almond flavoring
Acetophenone: synthesized and occurs naturally; found naturally in apple, cheese, apricot, banana, beef, and cauliflower
Amyl Acetate: is used as a flavoring agent, as a paint and lacquer solvent, and in the preparation of penicillin.
Coumarin: found naturally in many plants
Ethyl butyrate: Ethyl butyrate is one of the most common chemicals used in flavors and fragrances
Benzyl acetate: It is a constituent of jasmin and of the essential oils of ylang-ylang and neroli.

Everything on the list except Amyl Acetate and Ethyl Butarate are naturally occuring chemicals. These make up 2-5% and 1 - 2% respectively.

So use fragrance oils and check their SDS data sheet (found on Nature's Garden web site). Enjoy your soap making and quit worrying about fragrances. To can assuage your concious by saying use use all organic compounds. It's a little trick chemists use at the Flea Market.
 
I noticed that Bramble Berry has started selling a line of “Natural Fragrance Oils.” I haven’t had time to dig into exactly what they are. Merely throwing this out there because it’s on-topic.

Thoughts, anyone?
 
I noticed that Bramble Berry has started selling a line of “Natural Fragrance Oils.” I haven’t had time to dig into exactly what they are. Merely throwing this out there because it’s on-topic.

Thoughts, anyone?
That must be where my NZ supplier is getting them from. They say they're not suitable for soap, so must be intended for perfumes/balms etc.
 

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