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What's The Difference Between Fragrance Oils And Essential Oils?

Posted on November 10, 2019 by Chad Pegura | 2 comments

What's The Difference Between Fragrance Oils And Essential Oils?

People sometimes confuse fragrance oils with essential oils because of the way these terms are used in advertising. Many companies and people use them interchangeably, as if they are the same thing. There is a staggering difference, however, between the two. Though both types of oils can be used for the same purposes, their chemical components are vastly different. This means that they might not do the job that you intend them to do, which can waste not only your time but also your money. 

How Are Essential Oils Made?

Essential oils are found in nature and are created by extracting the different parts of a plant that give them their distinctive scent. Essential oils can be found naturally in:

  • Flowers
  • Seeds
  • Bark
  • Resin
  • Wood
  • Fruit

Pure essential oils are extracted by using a complicated process of steam distillation to get the purest form of the oil. With the use of steam and a condenser, the oils are separated from the plant. The oil that remains is the essential oil, while the water that remains is called hydrosol. Hydrosol contains all of the same plant essences but in a diluted and milder form.

Some essential oils, such as those that come from rinds of citrus fruits are extracted through a cold expression method that does not use heat or solvents.

How Are Fragrance Oils Made?

Fragrance oils do not come from nature and are therefore not extracted from any plant. They are manufactured by scientists. Fragrance oils are synthetic compounds that contain artificial substances to give them the desired scent. They might contain a small amount of natural essential oil but the majority of their composition is chemical makeup. Since they are created synthetically, fragrance oils are generally cheaper than pure essential oils. For these reasons, it is not recommended to use fragrance oils in your nebulizing diffuser.

What's The Difference Between Fragrance Oils And Essential Oils?

Differences In Scents

Though many plants have scents that can be used in essential oils, some do not. Therefore, the scents available in pure essential oils are limited to sources of natural aroma. For example, orange rinds contain essential oils that smell like an orange. They can be extracted to produce orange essential oil. Bananas, however, do not have an extractable aroma and cannot be used to produce an essential oil.

Since fragrance oils are synthetic, they are not limited to scents that are naturally extracted from plants. They can be created in a wide range of scents that might smell like a plant, but do not actually come from that plant. This is why you might find fragrance oils that smell like coffee beans or strawberries. The oil manufacturer can mimic these scents using a host of chemical compounds. 

Differences In Benefits

Essential oils are well-known for their therapeutic benefits. They have been used in many cultures for centuries due to their ability to provide healing benefits to the mind and body. Essential oils contain natural chemicals that can promote good health and well-being. They are often used in aromatherapy. Essential oils can be added to a nebulizing diffuser to clean and purify the air or to deliver their beneficial compounds through inhalation. They can also be used in lotions or other beauty products to heal the skin and add a pleasant scent.

Fragrance oils do not have the same compounds as pure essential oils. Though scientists have been able to duplicate their aroma, they have not been able to duplicate the benefits that come from nature. Fragrance oils are often used in beauty products. They can be found in lotions, soaps, and any product that can be enhanced by a great smell.

Therapeutic Benefits Of Essential Oils

Different essential oils have different properties that give them unique abilities. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties. This makes them excellent at killing germs that can cause illness and infection. Try:

Other essential oils are known for their disinfectant properties that can kill household germs and be used as natural cleaning products. Try:

Some essential oils have antidepressant properties that can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and ease symptoms of depression, such as:

  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Elemi

Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can reduce swelling, ease muscle pain, or alleviate headaches, such as:

  • Turmeric
  • Basil
  • Frankincense
  • Ginger

If you’re looking for a specific fragrance, such chocolate raspberry cake, you’ll probably find it in a fragrance oil.

But if you’re looking to find a way to sleep better at night or fight off a common cold, essential oils are the way to go. Just put a few drops into your essential oil diffuser and start reaping the benefits. 

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What's The Difference Between Fragrance Oils And Essential Oils?


2 Responses


November 11, 2019

Great blog explaining the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils. This article was informative and extremely helpful.


November 11, 2019

I loved this article. Thank you for this factual information! My advice to readers: Do your research and don’t be fooled by those imposter companies out there who call their oils essential oils when they are anything but! They false advertise. I discovered reality from fiction the hard way, and I won’t make such a mistake again. Fragrance oils might smell good, but that’s about all they’re good for!

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