How do essential oil and fragrance oil differ and why does it matter?

Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils are often confused as the same thing, but they couldn't be far from different! In this post, we explore their differences.

How it’s made:

Essential oils are made of up all natural substances. Essential oils are extracted from different parts of a plant, such as flowers, herbs, or roots. These oils are pure extractions that are obtained through the process of steam distillation or solve extractions and are not cut with a type of carrier oil. Sometimes, depending on the type of plant, the extraction may prove to be very complex. These 100% pure oils are "neat", meaning they have not been processed, diluted or manipulated in any way with solvents or other additives. Essential oils are difficult to reproduce synthetically since they can be made up of 50-500 different naturally occurring chemicals found in the plant and not all of them have been identified.

Also, depending on the season, climate, or growing conditions of a plant, the chemical components of a particular essential oil may vary. Therefore, it is difficult for craft makers to keep their finished products consistent.

Fragrance oils are artificially manufactured oils. Since they are synthetically made, they are non-volatile and generally last longer than essential oils. There are some fragrance oils that contain a small percentage of essential oils. However, they should not be confused with being a natural product just because they have essential oils added. Because it’s manufactured, there are a lot more scents that can be created. We’ve had to turn down requests for creating bubble gum, cotton candy, fresh laundry scented soap because such scents can only be created synthetically and not naturally!


Varying health benefits

Essential oils have many uses in aromatherapy to help ease muscle pain, skin problems, and other bodily afflictions. The reason essential oils are so valued is its use in skin and hair softening, skin moisturizing, rash, and eczema relief, and it's helpfulness on stress and migraine relief. Also essential oils can be taken internally while fragrance oils cannot. Many people apply essential oils directly to skin or use it during their baths. Other may apply it through an olfactory system, such as a humidifier.

Fragrance oils don’t provide the same health benefits as essential oils, as they’re designed purely for the purpose of mimicking a scent. However, fragrance oils do enhance the aroma of many cosmetics and perfume products, as well as candles (they hold a better scent in hot temperatures)


Price difference:

Essential oils are typically pricey and vary depending on the type of oil, the season of the year, and the availability of the product. Take rose essential oils for example, which is priced quite high because it requires a precise and timely extraction process, where around 1000 rose petals are required to make just one drop. Citrus essential oils, on the other hand, are normally cheaper because they are a lot easier to extract. Either way, we can expect most essential oils to be more expensive than their fragrance oil counterparts. This is mostly due to the health benefits that come with essential oils that are not found in fragrances.

Fragrance oil, unsurprisingly, its much cheaper due to the ability to manufacturer it and no need for extraction (often a very expensive process)


So what does b.a.r.e. soaps use?

In our bar soaps, we are 100% committed to using only essential oils. We believe that anything that goes on your skin, your body’s largest organ, should be as natural and pure as possible. We often blend a variety of essential oils to produce a unique scent- for example, our popular Cupid’s Love bar is scented with a blend of Lavendin and Lavender, which produces a much smoother floral scent than just using Lavender alone. However, because we use essential oils, you may see the scent beginning to fade after 6 months.

In our candles, we use a blend of essential and fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are able to hold a much stronger and longer scent, which makes sense for candles. Since the oils are being burned into a large open space, our main requirement is that the fragrance is phthalate free.

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