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It's not that one is inherently better than the other. There are benefits to using fragrance oils - they are cheaper, they come in a wider variety of scents, and they are sometimes more sustainable than essential oils (sandalwood, for example, is harvested by killing the entire tree). Fragrance oils will often last longer, and the scent will be stronger, than with essential oils.

There are also benefits to using essential oils - they are all natural, they have medicinal and aromatherapy properties, But they don't last as long and they aren't as strong.Let's talk about the typical fragrance oils first. These are made from synthetic compounds and are often made in a laboratory. Most are composed almost entirely of petroleum by-products. This includes benzene derivatives, aldehydes, esters, toluene, and other chemicals.


Which begs the question, how can something man-made in the laboratory be called natural?

Both natural fragrance oils and essential oils are extracted through the same process. The only difference is that, with natural fragrance oils, you’re extracting an isolate. Or, to put it another way, you’re extracting a single scent molecule. In the case of natural fragrance oils, they’re made in a laboratory. However, instead of being created from synthetic materials, they’re made by isolating natural aromatic components from a complex scent. These are called isolates and they’re natural since they’re isolated from a plant. 

Many of the distinctions people make between essential oils and fragrance oils fall apart upon close scrutiny. For example, "I want to stay away from chemicals, so I only use pure, all natural essential oils!" Everything is made of chemicals

Here's a great story from Louisville, Kentucky. Imagine if you came across a sign reading: 'DANGER. WATER CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF HYDROGEN.' Would you chuckle to yourself at the joke  Or would you be very afraid to touch the water? Well, those very signs were posted around a fountain at Louisville Waterfront Park. The park developer placed them there because he was banking on the public's lack of understanding of basic chemistry - and general fear of all things chemical - to keep people out of the fountain. 


Those well-versed in natural perfumery are aware of the (sometimes overprotective) regulations that are put on many natural ingredients - often because they contain chemicals that are dangerous, sometimes even toxic, at certain levels. Natural doesn't always mean safe. Arsenic is natural, after all. And if you're allergic to something, say- roses, you would do well to steer clear of all natural rose absolutes. But a rose fragrance oil would potentially be fine (rose is so expensive that any rose fragrance oil is going to have relatively little of the real thing in it). 


But all that said, there is still something romantic, and earthy, and ideallic, about using all natural ingredients.


Natural (or Naturally derived) Fragrance oils are made from a combination of synthetic chemicals and natural ingredients. Their chemical composition and formulation enable them to bind well in candle wax. If added at the right temperature, the chemical composition prevents the fragrance from dissipating during the candle making process. If added at too high of a temperature, the fragrance oil will dissipate in the hot wax and lead to an unscented candle. Fragrance oils are typically less expensive than essential oils and come in many different scents to choose from.  Since fragrances oils are produced from under laboratory conditions, they can be consistently reproduced with a high degree of accuracy. 


Essential oils are pure extracts derived from natural sources such as plants. They are characterized as therapeutic and are widely used in aromatherapy. There are several ways in which essential oils are extracted from their sources, such as steam distillation, enfleurage, and solvent extraction. Because of the essential oil extraction process and the large amount of plants required to extract enough essential oil from, they are typically more expensive than fragrance oils.  Essential oils can be trickier to work with in candles due to quicker dissipation and not being chemically formulated to stabilize in melted wax. Essential oils can also vary depending on the environmental factors and extraction process, making it difficult to generate a consistent scent.

Fragrance Oils vs. Natural Fragrance Oils vs. Essential Oils

Fragrance oils, natural fragrance oils and essential oils are all used for a variety of purposes, such as aromatherapy, cosmetics and perfumes. While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between them that should be taken into consideration when deciding which one to use.


Fragrance Oils

  • Pros: Fragrance oils are typically less expensive than essential oils and can last longer due to their synthetic ingredients. They also come in a wide variety of scents and can be blended together to create unique combinations.

  • Cons: Fragrance oils are not considered natural because they are made from synthetic ingredients, so they may not have the same therapeutic benefits as essential oils. Additionally, many fragrance oils contain phthalates which can be harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Natural Fragrance Oils

  • Pros: Natural fragrance oils are made from plant extracts and essential oils, so they have more therapeutic benefits than synthetic fragrance oils. They also tend to be more gentle on the skin and have fewer potential health risks associated with them.

  • Cons: Natural fragrance oils can be more expensive than synthetic ones, and they don't last as long due to their natural ingredients. Additionally, some people may find the scent of natural fragrance oil too strong or overwhelming.

Essential Oils

  • Pros: Essential oils are 100% natural and provide a range of therapeutic benefits such as stress relief and improved moods. They also come in a wide variety of scents that can be blended together to create unique combinations.

  • Cons: Essential oils can be expensive compared to other types of fragrances, and some people may find the scent too strong or overwhelming. Additionally, essential oils should always be used with caution as some can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions if not diluted properly before use.


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