I also prefer EO because they are natural, and I'm always worried that FOs could be irritating for the skin (even though EO can be too if you use too much of them). Plus I too love the natural smell...
I started out using only EOs. I've just branched out to FOs and went a little crazy (this is very common, I hear).
Basically my standard is this: If there's a reasonably priced EO that doesn't come from an endangered species, I buy it. So I don't see any reason to buy a lavender or patchouli or orange FO when I can get an EO for a comparable price.
Rose, geranium, chamomile are hideously expensive as EOs. So I do without.
There are also some scents that you can't get "naturally." Fruits like pineapple and watermelon, coconut, coffee and chocolate (yes there are absolutes, but very expensive), vanilla, etc. If I want those fragrances, I opt for the FO.
Some EOs like wintergreen and almond in their natural forms are highly toxic. So artificial would be safer in those instances. And then there's fragrances like cannabis - which probably wouldn't survive the lye monster and would also be illegal..... :shock:
I buy fragrance oils if there isn't an essential oil that will do the job, or it's way too expensive. I'm still fairly new to this and of my pre-christmas soaps only the rose eo one and the lemon and lime fragrance oil one still smell! My lavender eo ones don't smell at all but I think I didn't add enough.
The lemon and lime fo had some tea tree oil added too so that might have fixed the scent better (it's why I put it in anyway).
I use both, depending on what I'm going for. I worry less about EO's accelerating trace, although I know a few of them do. And of course, price is definitely a consideration (like others have mentioned on this thread). I did order a tiny amount of geranium EO and I have to say, it smells heavenly, but it was ridiculously expensive and won't go very far. I think I'll be using that in bath and body products, not CP!
It all comes down to personal preference and/or what sales angle/customer base you are aiming for (and how big your wallet is :wink: ).
For me, I prefer to use FOs in my CP. One of the big +'s in their favor is that they cost me much less than EOs. When I factor in the cost savings, plus consider the fact that soap is a wash-off product, I figure I can get more bang for the buck if I save the more expensive EOs for leave-on products like lotions, cremes and butters instead, where their therapeutic benefits can be better retained and utilised.
totally personal preference. i love eo's, but they're so expensive right now i've really reconsidered my options. for the natural foods stores i'm using only eo's. but for other local outlets i'm having a great time using fo's like absinthe (love, love, love it), bay rum, even lavender and rosemary, etc. etc. do i feel guilty about the ones i feel should be eo's? yes. but truth in labeling is where it's at for me for now anyway...