Fragrances vs Essential Oils | What’s the Difference?

Fragrances vs Essential Oils | What’s the Difference?

So what is the difference? To understand the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils, we first need to identify what each are and what they are used for. 

Fragrance Oils: What are they?

Fragrance oils are manufactured synthetically in a lab setting. The scents are created by combining aromatic plant parts as well as synthetic chemical components. Typically used in perfumes, candles and lotions. Some fragrances are entirely chemical and synthetic. 

Pros to using fragrance oils:

- Can mimic scents not typically found in nature ie. apple pie, lollies, cake, sea breeze etc.

- Cheaper to produce and purchase than essential oils


- Short shelf life, expire within 6-12 months.

- No plant actives, as they are not an extract of the plant itself.

- Toxicity, can irritate sensitive skin. 

Essential Oils: What are they?

Essential oils are naturally derived oils that are extracted from plants and their parts including roots, herbs, flowers, peels, leaves, etc. The highly concentrated essential oil is made by extracting natural plants through a process of either steam distillation or cold pressing as well as other processes. 


- May have medicinal and aromatherapeutic benefits

- Natural plant oil extract

- Long shelf life. This means they last longer before going rancid. 


- More expensive to produce and purchase.

- Some essential oils may not be good for children, animals, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.


Now that we know the difference between these two oils, we can start to understand when and why each is used and in which context. 

Fragrance Oils: Uses

Fragrance oils are made for use in different products, so that they are deemed skin safe when used in the correct amount. Here are some common uses for fragrance oils:

● Perfume & cologne

● Soap

● Scented lotions

● Bubble bath 

● Scented Candles


Essential Oils: Uses

Essential oils are mostly used in aromatherapy and in medicinal naturopathy. Here are some common uses for essential oils:

● Essential Oil rollers

● Soap

● Room sprays

● Homeopathic remedies

● Aromatherapy 



There are advantages to using fragrance oils over essential oils, especially when pets, babies, pregnant and nursing women are consuming the products. 

However fragrance oils may also have harmful effects, including skin irritations, rashes, sensitivities and allergies. It is best practice to consult with your doctor regarding what is suitable for your skin.

We have chosen to use essential oils of a high quality and grade in our soaps and some of our lips balms. 

For our candles we have chosen to use natural fragrance oils, as using essential oils in candles can be quite dangerous. Essential oils may tend to combust (catch fire) when exposed to a direct flame, as they are made of pure undiluted plant extracts. 

The best way to enjoy essential oils is through a diffuser, but be careful when using these around pets as some essential oils can be fatal to animals.  

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