Scent and fragrances are one of the pillars of aromatherapy. It improves one’s mood and provides comfort. However, with more critical and self-aware consumers, there is a notion that they favor natural products over artificial ones.
Fragrance oils are no exception. However, even with that hasty generalization, they are still commonly used in many cleaning, personal, and home care products. Nevertheless, the best way to address doubts and misconceptions about fragrance oil products is to get straight to the facts and debunk some myths about it.
What are Fragrance oils?
Fragrance oils are manufactured mainly for their long-lasting and pleasant scent. They provide a sense of long-lasting freshness in bath and body products. They are also used in cleaning products to diffuse their scents into fresher ones, such as lemon essential oil. Lastly, fragrance oils are used in soap and candle making due to their long-lasting scents, allowing soaps and candles to hold on to their scents for much longer.
Fragrance oils vs. Essential Oils
Before tackling the common myths about fragrance oils, it is crucial to know the difference between fragrance and essential oils.
The main difference between the two lies in the source of their ingredients. Fragrance oils are mainly composed of scent compounds that are either synthetically made or a mix of synthetic and natural scent compounds. On the other hand, essential oils are composed of complex compounds extracted from specific parts of natural sources such as plant roots, seeds, and leaves via steam distillation.
There is a big difference in uses too. Fragrance oils are manufactured mainly for their scent. In contrast, essential oils are extracted for their function in aromatherapy and meditation.
Fragrance oils are also generally much cheaper than essential oils. The difference depends on whether the plant source is seasonal and the yield during the extraction process. So, fragrance oils are much cheaper to produce because they incorporate various compounds that mimic natural scents.
Debunking Fragrance Oil Myths
For some, the familiarity of fragrance oil is like the back of their hand. However, there is persisting information that we have long been pondering. Not because of the pique of interest they imposed but because we must fact-check them first. Let us debunk some of the common hearsay statements about fragrance oil.
1. All fragrance oils are synthetic
A common misconception is that fragrance oils are synthetic because of their frequent comparison with the “all-natural” essential oils. However, there are two types of fragrance oils—synthetic and natural.
Synthetic fragrance oils are manufactured in the laboratory. They are manufactured using chemical compounds that aren’t readily available through natural sources such as plants, flowers, and fruits.
Another type of fragrance oil is natural fragrance oil. Natural fragrance oil is created in the laboratory by isolating a scent compound from a more complex structure. The difference between this oil from an essential oil is simple. Essential oil holds the whole chemical from a plant extract, while natural fragrance oil only holds a part of the extract's chemical that produces the scent. This leaves therapeutic chemicals only in essential oil.
There are two more categories under synthetic fragrance oil: the typical fragrance oils and nature-identical fragrance oils. Typical fragrance oils are composed of petroleum by-products that can be toxic chemicals. Examples of these include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and toluene. While Nature-identical fragrance oils are made entirely or partially with the synthetic chemical. Their chemical structures resemble natural fragrance oils.
2. Synthetic Fragrance oils are toxic to humans
The typical fragrance oil is a type of synthetic fragrance oil, as mentioned in number one. It mainly contains toxic chemicals. So, the notion that fragrance oils are toxic is not entirely untrue. Harmful chemical binders to make the fragrance last longer are used in these fragrance oils. One example of this is phthalates.
This fragrance oil chemical was commonly seen in air fresheners and other cleaning products. Now they are banned due to their reported toxicity and mutagenic effects. To clear things up, not all synthetic fragrance oils are toxic. The best way for a consumer to combat this myth is always to read the labels.
3. Fragrance oils are not safe for the environment
Some fragrance oil is unsafe and could be considered harmful to the environment. One may have already guessed it, and yes— it is typical synthetic fragrance oil. They threaten the environment due to their petroleum derivatives components.
As such, they may also be considered greenhouse gases which have a terrible effect on the atmosphere and air quality. However, since most typical synthetic fragrance oils have already been proved harmful and toxic and, thus, banned, more companies are now shifting to a “greener” option.
4. Fragrance oils can disrupt your hormone balance
Some studies have linked synthetic fragrance oils with tumor growth due to their hormone disruptors. Most fragrance oils found to have such effects were also typical synthetic fragrance oils due to the mutagenic effects of the petroleum derivatives used.
On the lighter side, there are scents that is made up of synthetic hormones that you can use to attract someone. Read on our blog about the science behind Pheromones, a chemical that can make your significant other more attracted to you.
5. Fragrance oils are more harmful compared to essential oils
A particular class of synthetic fragrance oils contains toxic chemicals. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all fragrance oils are harmful. Likewise, it also doesn’t imply that essential oils are a much safer option just because they are much more natural.
Fragrance oils and essential oils alike could prove harmful when not used properly. Both oils are unsafe for consumption and might cause serious poisoning or allergies.
6. You can use fragrance oils directly on the skin
Fragrance oils are safe for the skin. However, it is crucial to be mindful of your skin’s sensitivity. Therefore, do a patch test with low dilution before liberal application to your skin. To know more on how to use fragrance oil on skin for a good smelling routine, read more about our tips.
Moreover, only use fragrance oil concentrations with five percent concentration. A two percent dilution of essential and carrier oil should also be followed for sensitive skin. Unless you saw the process of oil-making, let’s avoid putting them in our mouths, shall we?
7. Fragrance oils have a therapeutic value
As mentioned earlier in the comparison between fragrance and essential oils, the former is mainly manufactured for its scent. So, naturally, it doesn’t have a therapeutic value as essential oils. Therefore, fragrance oils are not the best choice for massage and aromatherapy.
However, some people may still opt to use them for massages to enjoy scent blends. Scents have positive feedback on memory building and mental health improvement. They also can improve your focus and lessen your stress level.
8. Fragrance oils don’t last long compared to essential oils
Fragrance oils last longer because they’re much more aromatically stable than essential oil. They don’t evaporate as quickly as the latter, so they last much longer. In addition, fragrance oils are often created with either preservatives or a mixture of isolates, allowing them to be stable enough to have a longer shelf life than essential oils.
If your are still looking for a good smelling and sophisticated treat to your senses. Try our Egyptian Musk Oil, it has a musky and earthy odor that will stick longer than any fragrance oil and essential oil.
9. Fragrance oils are just as versatile as essential oils
Fragrance oils are much more applicable and favored in various products such as soaps, room sprays, candles, and cosmetics due to their longevity. They are arguably more versatile than essential oils. One may create artificial scents or mix natural isolates if you don’t want something synthetic to create unique scent profiles or blends.
10. Fragrance oils don’t lose their scent
Fragrance oils eventually go bad, in a way. Although fragrance oils last much longer, they also eventually lose their scent, particularly when not cared for properly.
The average shelf life of fragrance oils ranges from six months to a year, depending on the fragrance oil’s composition. However, storing them properly in dark places makes them last longer.
Benefits of Using Fragrance Oils
After debunking and disproving fragrance oils’ myths, it’s finally time to know why they’re beneficial. The benefits of fragrance oils mainly fall into four main points: uniformity, cost, variety, and longevity.
Fragrance oils create unique scent profiles that are easier to replicate for mass production, especially for products like soap, cream, and other personal scented items. Producing a uniform scent allows consumers to enjoy the type of blend and profile they particularly like without worrying about any possible changes in its scent.
The variety of fragrance oils is closely connected to its uniformity. With fragrance oils, people have a more comprehensive range of options that could easily fit their preferences for formulation and scent.
Another good thing about using fragrance oils is that they are relatively cheaper, with natural fragrance oils slightly more expensive than their synthetic counterparts. Nonetheless, scent blends to replicate a specific scent profile of naturally extracted oils using natural fragrance oils is still much cheaper.
Finally, the last point further emphasizes the previous one as fragrance oils last longer compared to essential oils, making it a more worthy spend.
Of course, knowing the benefits of using fragrance oils, it’s only fair to balance it with caution due to some disadvantages they may have: they lack natural synergy and aromatherapeutic effects.
Fragrance oils, composed of synthetic aromatic compounds and natural isolates, lack other components and minerals that may be present in whole oils. With this, it lacks the natural synergy of different chemical components that constitute the oil’s therapeutic value.
The absence of such synergy is also why the primary function of fragrance oils is to provide scents. Lacking natural synergy strips fragrance oils of any aromatherapeutic properties in essential oils.
A lot of people may still be adamant against using synthetic fragrance oils. At this point, it’s only a matter of preference, as each formulation type has its pros and cons.
However, it is crucial to keep yourself informed to make wise choices with your purchases. Now that the common misconceptions surrounding fragrance oil have been debunked and proved, it is up to you to spice up your life with your favorite scents.
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