Fragrance Oils vs. Essential Oils in Soaps: Which Oil Takes the Cake?

For years people have been debating the difference when it comes to fragrance oil vs essential oil. Questions like “are fragrance oils safe?” or “is fragrance oil the same as essential oil?” surface. We can’t answer all these questions, but we can shed light on matters concerning oils in relation to soapmaking endeavors. But before we go ahead, let’s talk about some basic concepts first.

What Is Fragrance Oil?

Fragrance oils are manufactured in a laboratory so they can be handled better as non-volatile and more long-lasting fragrances. In a way, you can say that fragrance oils are more synthetic than essential oils. Fragrance oils are made from chemical compounds that aren’t naturally found in nature and often contain essential oils as a component of the overall fragrance oil. If you have skin sensitivities, you would do well in checking out the labels of products for ingredients you’re allergic too.

Note though that even though essential oils are abundant in nature, they are not found in the concentrations that you have in an essential oil, you can still have a reaction to it. Just because it’s organic or natural doesn’t mean that it’s a hundred percent harmless. Fragrance oils are made by locating and separating naturally occurring compounds in a scent and used to manufacture an enhanced version. This is actually why there are still ongoing debates about fragrance oils being organic at the heart of it all.

Essential oils are oils derived directly from natural sources. Although these scents are more authentic, they have limitations that have been addressed in their synthetic counterparts. For instance, an essential oil on its own can have a short shelf life but a fragrance oil makes it possible to prolong the shelf life of the same base scent. 

Fragrance Oil for Soap Making?

There are a huge plethora of soap fragrance oils available on the market today, and it’s because fragrance oils are more practical than essential oils, although both can be used for your soap making business. Safety wise, they are pretty much the same if you gauge them from a logical point of view. Even though fragrance oil is in a way synthetic, it doesn’t follow that it’s going to cause chemical reactions on people who will get their hands on them.

On the other hand, even though essential oils are organic, there’s still no guarantee that using it will be uneventful. Remember, people have reactions to organic things all the time (egg, peanuts, hay, etc). There really is no way to tell. Ultimately, this means that the risks of using fragrance oils as well as essential oils for soap making  are pretty much the same. True safety is still ensured with awareness and preparedness. There are international safety standards regarding the appropriate use of essential oils and fragrance oils in products that will come in contact with us humans.  All fragrance manufacturers, essential oil processes and end product manufacturers should be aware of these IFRA guidelines and strigently follow them in their manufacturing practices.

Which Oil Makes a More Lucrative Soap Business?

Looking at the various places you can get fragrance oils in Australia may give you a better idea on how lucrative a soap making business can be, provided that you know which oils to use. Knowing where to buy fragrance oils is also crucial when starting your business. Maybe you’re wondering why essential oils can’t be used for making soap. The answer? They actually can. However, all the work that goes into producing and collecting them comes with a huge price tag. This cost makes it impossible to sell essential oils at agreeable prices.

To better understand why, you need to know how essential oils are collected. First they are planted, grown, harvested, and eventually distilled to get the essential oils. This process can take anywhere from months to years. If something bad happens that affects the planting season, the process will have to be repeated. Production depends on the size of the farming area and other factors.

This doesn’t happen with fragrance oils. In fact, fragrance oil can be produced in bulk without having to sacrifice the quality. And since the components are handled in labs, they aren’t exposed to unpredictable forces of nature.

Which Oil Has Better Quality?

If you want scent consistency that isn’t too sensitive to the smallest changes, you’re better off investing in fragrance oils. Essential oils as previously mentioned are more volatile and sensitive to external factors. Here are just some of the ways that the quality of essential oil can change:

Growing Environment – How the essential oils will turn out depends on the conditions the plant is subjected to while alive. The smallest changes in amount of sun or rainfall, excessive or insufficient pesticides, soil condition, or shifts in temperature can affect the quality of the harvested oil. This makes it more challenging to maintain a baseline of quality.

Processing – Because some people believe that essential oils are more ‘concentrated’ they dilute them in the hopes of producing more of it. As you expect, this never works. All that this does is produce a tampered and watered down version of essential oils. So before you place an order, learn more about the company and how they handle their business.

Handling – Exposure to too much light or oxygen or heat can lead to chemical degradation especially in reactive essential oils. For instance, citrus fruit oils are known for being highly sensitive to oxygen. Too much oxygen and the oil loses its potency. These are the same issues being addressed in synthetically produced fragrance oils.

Blending Prowess

One common problem soap makers encounter is getting scents to perfom better. If getting the scents of your essential oils to perform is proving to be difficult, you might need to switch to fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are designed and formulated to perform in their intended application (soap, candle, shampoo etc)so you can achieve the best blend.

Who Won?

Both oils are perfect in their own ways, it’s just that they serve different purposes. But in the matter of soapmaking, there’s no question that fragrance oils are the best pick if you wish to succeed in your soap making business. If profit is highly important, then fragrance oils can help you reach your growth goals. And unlike other things in life, with fragrance oils, you can forego that more natural option and not have to compromise the product quality you offer to your customers.

If you wish to start your scented soap making journey, do it here today. Talk to our fragrance experts for more information.

Scroll to Top