The Truth About Lasting Fragrance (Essential Oils)

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DianaMoon

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I always try to do my research before coming here. So I read this*:


But I always love to hear experienced soapers' hands-on experiences with scent.

In my (limited) experience, essential oils are all quite transient, and the only way to get a lasting scent is to go to a fragrance oil. I'd love to try geranium oil because I love the way it dries down, but not enthusiastic about spending the $$ and then finding out that it's faded.

The only scent that has lasted for me is that in cocoa butter. I love the way it ages. But if I want to make a non-CB soap, what essential oil alternatives are there? I'm not against fragrance oils by the way. Just curious.

*In any case the article above deals only with FO's which are designed to last through chemical processes. EO's aren't.

PS I apologize for posting this before I looked more thoroughly: there is a Review chart here, however, many of the links are dead.
 
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TheGecko

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I haven't played around with a lot of EOs...Orange 10x and Lemon. I have a few others in my Scent Rack, but haven't tried them yet. They do fade. The only reason I know that the two bars I have left are Orange and Lemon is because of the colorant (and the labels).

To be honest, outside of the above, I really have no interest in messing around with EOs. 1) You have to be even more careful of safe usage rates than FOs (IMHO), 2) Unless you are into single scents, then you need to get into 'blending' and that's just not a row I want to hoe, and 3) EOs are EXPENSIVE!

The closest you are going to get to a Chocolate EO is Cocoa Absolute and Eden Botanicals sells a 2 gram bottle for $15.00. I look for a 'safe usage rate' but couldn't find one. But let's say a usage rate of 2% for my 10-bar loaf...I can't even afford to make it for myself much less try to convince someone to pay $60.00 for a 4 oz bar.
 

DianaMoon

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To be honest, outside of the above, I really have no interest in messing around with EOs. 1) You have to be even more careful of safe usage rates than FOs (IMHO)try to convince someone to pay $60.00 for a 4 oz bar.

That is true. An FO formulated to be used in soap is probably far safer. "Natural" doesn't necessarily mean safe. Poison ivy is natural....
 
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I've had good luck with 5X and 10X citrus. Also works when I blend citrus with litsea cubeba.

I followed the 2 suggestions here and despite saponification, the cocoa butter still smelled. Also I love benzoin resinoid; I'm bad at describing scents but it's a sweet/chocolatey/vanilla-y/delicious scent. I used both in my hot chocolate soap with great success. keeping or duping scent of cocoa butter? .
 

lyschelw

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I read Brambleberry's article, thank you for sharing. I am still a new soaper here but I used to know a lot more chemistry in a former life. And my question, that goes along with yours, is - wouldn't over fatting the soap save more of the scent? Basically, saponification is a chemical reaction. For every molecule of lye it will change a molecule of fat...That being said, if you put in more fat than the lye will eat shouldn't you get stronger scents? I know it is a balance since you need to get the oils changed into soap. But I see some people doing like 10% Superfat. Doesn't it make sense that you would get stronger scents? Or an I missing something?
 
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I read Brambleberry's article, thank you for sharing. I am still a new soaper here but I used to know a lot more chemistry in a former life. And my question, that goes along with yours, is - wouldn't over fatting the soap save more of the scent? Basically, saponification is a chemical reaction. For every molecule of lye it will change a molecule of fat...That being said, if you put in more fat than the lye will eat shouldn't you get stronger scents? I know it is a balance since you need to get the oils changed into soap. But I see some people doing like 10% Superfat. Doesn't it make sense that you would get stronger scents? Or an I missing something?
@Iyschelw I took a look at your website & your product info for ‘IFRA’ on FO scents is a handy search 🔍option for multiple uses. your FO macaroon, sounds like it would smell wonderful as well. 💫🤗🕯🧼
 

lyschelw

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@Iyschelw I took a look at your website & your product info for ‘IFRA’ on FO scents is a handy search 🔍option for multiple uses. your FO macaroon, sounds like it would smell wonderful as well. 💫🤗🕯🧼
Thank you Peachy! I haven't done our Coconut Macaroon in soap yet. Now I am wondering if it would have the incredible fresh baked "pop" as it does in candles. Or if it will be one of thoses that gets eaten. I did our Candy Corn and it totally got blitzed. Kinda smelled like Play-Doh in the end. For some reason I fear that may happen to Coconut Macaroon too. Only one way to find out....
 
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Thank you Peachy! I haven't done our Coconut Macaroon in soap yet. Now I am wondering if it would have the incredible fresh baked "pop" as it does in candles. Or if it will be one of thoses that gets eaten. I did our Candy Corn and it totally got blitzed. Kinda smelled like Play-Doh in the end. For some reason I fear that may happen to Coconut Macaroon too. Only one way to find out....
Thx for your reply’ appreciate it. 💫🤗🕯🧼
 

DianaMoon

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I've had good luck with 5X and 10X citrus. Also works when I blend citrus with litsea cubeba.

I followed the 2 suggestions here and despite saponification, the cocoa butter still smelled. Also I love benzoin resinoid; I'm bad at describing scents but it's a sweet/chocolatey/vanilla-y/delicious scent. I used both in my hot chocolate soap with great success. keeping or duping scent of cocoa butter? .

Cocoa butter is a different issue entirely - it's not an added scent. It's something intrinsic to the material. In my experience, it's the only scent that persists. I don't think it can be replicated.

I read Brambleberry's article, thank you for sharing. I am still a new soaper here but I used to know a lot more chemistry in a former life. And my question, that goes along with yours, is - wouldn't over fatting the soap save more of the scent? Basically, saponification is a chemical reaction. For every molecule of lye it will change a molecule of fat...That being said, if you put in more fat than the lye will eat shouldn't you get stronger scents? I know it is a balance since you need to get the oils changed into soap. But I see some people doing like 10% Superfat. Doesn't it make sense that you would get stronger scents? Or an I missing something?
Makes sense to me although there's a point where superfatting becomes tricky and you really get into the weeds and I'm just not interested in that.

Also hot process would be a better way to preserve the scent of an EO. But the whole issue of EO v. FO as far as "natural" is a dead letter to me. Whatever works - safely.
 
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I read Brambleberry's article, thank you for sharing. I am still a new soaper here but I used to know a lot more chemistry in a former life. And my question, that goes along with yours, is - wouldn't over fatting the soap save more of the scent? Basically, saponification is a chemical reaction. For every molecule of lye it will change a molecule of fat...That being said, if you put in more fat than the lye will eat shouldn't you get stronger scents? I know it is a balance since you need to get the oils changed into soap. But I see some people doing like 10% Superfat. Doesn't it make sense that you would get stronger scents? Or an I missing something?
I believe it is more complicated than that. First, you have the highly alkaline environment, which persists even after the lye has been broken apart chemically to create soap. Then you have exposure to the air, loss of moisture over time, possible rancidity over time in the unsaponified oils, and no doubt other factors that also affect scent retention. So while it is possible that higher SF could affect scent retention, I would doubt that it is any kind of linear or predictable outcome, given the almost endless possible combinations of base oils, additives, temperatures, FO components, and so much more.
 
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In my (limited) experience, essential oils are all quite transient
All EOs are not created equal.

It really depends what scents you are aiming for. Replicating cocoa butter scent sounds in reach, like a job for cocoa scCO₂ extract (don't ask who has a vial of it sitting around for too long already). It is technically not too far from an EO. Coconut is arguably nearly impossible to recreate even with the full chemical toolbox of FOs. Vanilla absolute/FO works fine, but interferes with colour. Some EOs are not lye-safe (alter their scent in soap), like lavender, clary sage, peru balsam…

Drying/curing/storage of scented soap is always a trade-off between water and fragrance evaporation.
 
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It takes some experimentation, but there are definitely some EOs that last very well in CP soap. There are going to be scents that you absolutely can't get with EOs (fruit scents for example), but you would be surprised at what you can do with blending EOs!

Some EOs are not lye-safe (alter their scent in soap), like lavender, clary sage, peru balsam…
You say these EOs are not lye-safe, but these are some of the best lasting scents to use, so I'm not exactly sure what you mean. Are you just saying they are different after saponification? Clary sage is one of my absolute favorite EOs to use in CP soap. It's got a fresh, grassy scent and can be used to approximate the scent of tea. Lots of FOs smell different after saponification as well.
 
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