The Difference between a Fragrance Oil and an Essential Oil

What’s the difference between a Fragrance Oil and an Essential Oil?

It’s summertime and time to relax and enjoy family time, explore your surroundings, catch up on some reading, watch a movie, or even take up a new hobby.
Pic 1 Couple relaxing on beach with bikes 2018
We have had many inquiries lately about the difference between a Fragrance Oil and an Essential Oil.  As an Aromatherapist, I thought this would be the perfect time to touch on the subject.  It’s really quite simple.

What are Fragrance Oils? 

Pic1 About Fragrance Oils 2018
Fragrance oils are used in many products as an alternative choice for fragrances (aromas) that are more costly or unattainable in natural form.  They are synthetically processed oils with no therapeutic qualities.  Only their fragrance (aroma) is used to scent products or scent the air in the environment.  There are many lovely fragrances on the market today.  A quick example of a fragrance not attainable through natural means would be for instance – ocean breeze, pina colada, banana crème pie, melon, peach, or strawberry, and the like.  If you see names like this, they are most definitely a Fragrance Oil.

There are also two grades of Fragrance Oils.  There are Cosmetic Grade oils which are thick, skin safe oils designed to be worn on the skin as a Perfume Body Oil. These oils may also be used on light rings, simmering pots and more!  At Arlys, we do not carry these.

All of the Fragrance Oils we carry are Manufacturer’s Grade oils.  This means that our Fragrance Oils (synthetic scents) are in a pure highly concentrated form meant for dilution in a base product and should never be used directly on the skin undiluted.  They contain no Dipropylene Glycol, Diethyl Phthalates (DEP), alcohol, or other cheap diluents.  They must first be added to products such as soaps, candles lotions, bubble bath, shampoo, create perfumes, or added to a fixed oil (jojoba oil, sweet almond, etc.).  No additional or artificial coloring is added.  They are highly fragrant oils that will yield a long lasting aroma with clear bold notes.  They are not in any way essential oils.   Arlys Fragrance Oils are not to be used for lip balm purposes.  There are specific flavoring oils for lip balms.

Fragrance Oils can come in single note fragrances like Lavender or Orange for example.  There is a multitude of scent variations created for reed diffusers, soaps, candles, bath/body products, air fragrance, to cleaning products.   The list is endless and experimenting with fragrance oils should include FUN!

Sensitivity to fragrance oils is also individual to each person but just know the same can happen with using anything natural as well.  Anyone can be sensitive or allergic to anything.  Interested in Fragrance Oils?  Be sure to visit our Perfumery section on Fragrance Oils.  Arlys Fragrance Oils are already formulated as a complex fragrance.  Fragrance Oils are also less expensive to make so they are lower in price compared to Essential Oils.

What is Aromatherapy?

“Aromatherapy” simply refers to the study and use of Essential Oils (highly concentrated oils) which aromas encompass not only the sense of smell but also the positive properties and chemical effects essential oils have on the body.  This allows Essential Oils to help with a wide variety of emotional and physical issues, or just ease one’s environment or mood, promoting a lifestyle of health and wellness.

What are Essential Oils?

About Essential Oils Pic1

Essential Oils are natural plant substances, “volatile liquids”, extracted via distillation processes such as steam distillation, CO2, expressed (cold-pressing the rind), infusions and extractions from roots, seeds, blossoms, flowers, grasses, leaves, barks and peels. They are 75-100 times more concentrated than dried herbs and spices.  Due to their concentration, unless being added to a diffuser, they must first be added to a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, salts, sugars, gels, creams or lotions to facilitate their absorption.  This is due to the fact that they are truly an oil and do not mix in water by themselves and will float on top of water.  For help to consumers, Essential Oils used in aromatherapy should be labeled 100% pure essential oils and use the botanical name for reference.

How do Essential Oils Work? 

Massage Oil Pic1 2018

They penetrate the body in two ways – through the nose and the skin.  First, the olfactory system (our sense of smell), is the most direct link to the limbic brain where emotions and memory functions lie and why we react to aromas before we identify them. The limbic system is the oldest part of the brain.  It is associated with the feelings such as hunger, anger, sadness, sexual arousal and pleasure.  It is also associated with creativity, learning and memory.  This is why when something we smell can trigger a memory or remind us of something or someone.  It can be both pleasant or unpleasant, depending on the memory.

Second, when essential oils are diluted and applied externally to the skin, the essential oils tiny molecular structure permeate the skin quickly, passing through capillaries and into the blood stream, which then carries them to all parts of the body.  Depending on the essential oil used, the oils release neurochemicals that have relaxing, purifying, calming, balancing, invigorating or pleasurable effects on the body.

 Application of Essential Oils –

Direct Application
Body and/or Foot Massage
Auricular Therapy (Rim of the Ear)
Perfumes or Colognes

Every culture has their own history of using essential oils for religious rituals, spiritual prayer, infusions used for their healing and soothing properties, as well as for bathing rituals, romance and beauty.  Today, it seems that we are embracing not only the elements of these ancient practices, but also recognizing the connection that smell has on our individual psyche and well-being.

At Arlys, we encourage you to embrace the “body, mind & spirit” connection of aromatherapy.  Spend your time celebrating life and enjoying the diverse benefits of nature’s aromatic gifts for your continued overall well-being.

’til next time,


About Aromatherapy Contessa

I love creating aromatic blends with essential oils whether for my Arlys Naturals product lines, for fun, or for customer special orders. I'm just drawn into the veil of mystery that nature has provided through these living plants, not just in their aromatic properties, but also their natural healing properties.
This entry was posted in Aches and Pains, Bathing Rituals, Carrier Oils, Diffuser Blends, Essential Oils A-L, Essential Oils K-Z, For the Feet, General, Hydrosols, Massage Oils, Music, Respiratory Issues, Skin Care. Bookmark the permalink.

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