Fragrance Oil vs. Essential Oil: What You Need to Know

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You may have wondered, what’s the difference between fragrance oil vs. essential oil? Sometimes the words are used interchangeably in product descriptions or marketing materials, but they are very different things! Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of fragrance oil vs. essential oil and how to know exactly what you’re buying and bringing into your home! 

Are Fragrances The Same As Essential Oils? 

No, fragrance oils are not the same as essential oils. While essential oils obviously have amazing fragrances, the word “fragrance” is used in product descriptions and ingredient labels to mean something very different from essential oils. 

What Are Fragrances? 

In terms of product labels and ingredients, the main difference between “fragrances” and essential oils is that fragrance oils are manufactured in labs while pure essential oils are natural ingredients extracted from botanicals. Fragrances are also sometimes called synthetic fragrances or just simply “synthetics.” 

Many companies use synthetic fragrances to make their products smell nice because synthetics are cheaper to produce. 

Benefits of Essential Oils vs. Fragrances

While fragrances are generally cheaper for companies to purchase or produce, synthetic fragrances offer absolutely no medicinal value or aromatherapeutic benefits to the consumer. They can also contain toxic chemicals or irritating ingredients. Some people experience headaches and allergies when they inhale synthetic fragrances. And synthetic ingredients are not only often harmful to people but are often harmful to the planet! Essential oils, on the other hand, are nature’s gift to us. Essential oils have medicinal value and aromatherapeutic properties. In fact, essential oils have been used for centuries for wellness purposes. When sustainably sourced and organically farmed, essential oils are better for the environment and the people and animals who share our planet. 

Some essential oils also have a longer shelf life than some synthetic fragrances. And essential oils can be more concentrated than some of their synthetic counterparts. So if you purchase essential oils for DIY projects, aromatherapy, and wellness benefits, you can stock up on your favorites and be sure that a little will go a long way! 

Are All Essential Oils Pure?  

Essential oils are preferable to fragrances for many reasons. But unfortunately, it’s not as simple as looking for “essential oils” on a product description or label. Just because essential oils are technically pure and natural, you still need to check ingredient lists and labels. Some products are sold as essential oil products but also contain artificial ingredients and synthetic fragrances. Some products will include a trace amount of essential oils for marketing purposes but then include mostly synthetic fragrances to cut down production costs. Always check ingredient lists and research a company’s transparency to be aware of exactly what you’re buying. Certifications such as USDA-Certified Organic and B Corp Certified can help you know that the product you’re buying is not only better for you but better for other people and the planet! 

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