What Is The Difference Between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils

  • By: Author: Irene Mills
  • Date: June 9, 2020
  • Time to read: 8 min.

I came across a question online that asked What is the Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils?

It reminded me of when I bought a Soap that stated it was 100% real.

And Fragrance-Free.

This caused me to wonder what the differences were between essential oils and fragrance-free oils. 

The simplest answer to this question is that essential oils are natural while the fragrance oils are artificial (Lab made).

For starters; Who doesn’t love a good scented soap?

I definitely do, But when it comes to Loving Organic and synthetic-free products, it doesn’t hurt to get knowledgeable about buying the best quality.

And of course REAL ingredients.Many Product makers don’t say the truth about the ingredients unless You do Your own research.

Below I will be going over with you what is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils.So Lets dive in.



Think of it as: 

GMO, Dyes, man-made scents that lead to health problems like cancer, skin irritation, a skin condition that leads to PH imbalance, etc.

In 2008 the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, DC, petitioned the Food.

And Drug Administration (FDA) to ban artificial food dyes because of their connection to behavioral problems.

You can find the Medical study here.

However, the inclusion of synthetic fragrance to make natural products is one of the most common misconceptions – especially when it comes to handmade soaps, candles And beard balms.

Thus, the synthetic fragrance is not an aromatherapy practice.

What is aromatherapy?

It is the healing process of using natural oils originated from stems, flowers, bark, roots, leaves. And other natural resources to improve the physical as well as psychological health.

However, aromatherapy can be used by using Essential Oil Diffusers, candles etc.



You may have purchased several products like soaps, candles and beard balms labeled as “Natural” but they often contain synthetic fragrance.

Most of the natural Products will list:  Essential Oils” as an ingredient, but does it also have “Fragrance Oil”?

If so, these types of product labels can be deceiving.

As there are important differences between essential and fragrance oils.

Therefore, I decided to make a complete review and comparison to explain the differences on What is the Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils are.

In the rest of this article, I will be explaining the differences between them both,

As discussed earlier, essential oils are extracted naturally from plants, herbs, stems, and other natural resources.

They are famous for aromatherapy, soaps, lotions and any practice where natural flavors and scents are required.

Organic Essential Oils


  • 100% Pure and Natural
  • Environmental friendly
  • Safe on pets
  • Vegan
  • Come in about 200+ options

Proven studies that have effective health benefits

  • Can be further blended to make soaps, candles, Beard Balm, Shampoos and  more for aromatherapy practices
  • Extracted from useful plants like lavender, tea, peppermint, etc.


• Fewer options

• Some essential oil when not dulled with another oil such as a carrier oil can cause skin irritations.

Fragrance Oils

On the other hand, fragrance oils are synthetic scent and can be completely or partially artificial.

They may be extracted from natural raw materials or petroleum.

For instance, many scented oils, soaps, and candles are labeled to contain both essential and fragrance oils.

Fragrance oils are cheaper, possess longer shelf to live, easily accessible, and common in so-called natural products these days.


• Come in about 200+ options

• Longer shelf life

• Used in bath bombs, soaps, lotion, candles, perfume, shampoo and more


• Synthetic and originated in the laboratory

• Some oils may bleach in cold process soap

• Many unknown chemicals, which can cause many health concerns like cancer.

A study found that fake fragrances and unknown chemicals that are found in artificial soaps cause Cancer.

There are many different harmful chemicals like Triclosan and Parabens that are put in soaps, shampoos.

And deodorants.

They both have a bad reputation.

Chemical Components of Fragrance Oils vs Organic components of essential Oils


Many Organic components of the essential oils are difficult to reproduce and imitate.

Overall, essential oils are known as volatile and are categorized as top, middle, or base note oils depending upon their behavior.

When it comes to the precise chemical components, they vary according to the species of the source, climate, season, and origin.

organic compounds are made up of hydrocarbon molecules.

And can further be classified as terpenes, alcohols, esters, aldehydes, ketones, and phenols, etc.

This means essential oils originated from the same plant or herb in different climatic conditions may vary slightly in terms of their aroma.


As opposed to the essential oils, fragrance oils do not vary according to the climatic conditions, season.

And source because they are synthetically made under strict conditions in a lab.

It is rare for the same fragrance oils to vary time-by-time because most of them are made in a chemical laboratory.

Note that fragrance oils can contain ingredients or chemical components of the essential oils.

Which is why many products are labeled to use both essential and fragrance oils.

Sources of Essential Oils Vs Fragrance Oils

Aromatic plants are the greatest source of essential oils. The common aromatic sources of essential oils are leaves, flowers, roots, fruits, and stems.

Note that there are only a few plants with extractable oils – even some plants with sensational scents cannot be used for extracting the essential oil.

Most importantly, adding essential oils to another synthetic solution or carrier oil will void its natural aromatic abilities.

There are quite a few plants, which can be used for making essential oils.

But some oils such as rose petals can only be mass-produced using certain procedures.

On the other hand, fragrance oils can be mass-produced in the laboratory – they are simply synthetic compounds.

Fragrance oils can contain essential oils, but a part of the solution will contain artificial ingredients.

Fragrance oils are manufactured synthetically in laboratories and cannot be created locally in small cottage industries.

Different Scents of Essential Oils Vs Fragrance Oils

Essentials oils are limited as compared to the fragrance oils.

There are many plants with mesmerizing scents.

But they cannot be used to extract oils. For instance, bananas have a mesmerizing scent, but they cannot be used to extract oils from the aroma.

Some scents of the essential oil include tea tree oil, citrus oil, and bark oil.

As opposed to essential oils, fragrance oils have about 200+ scents to choose from.

They are synthetically manufactured and may contain partially or fully essential scents.

Thanks to the development in science, fragrance oil can come in almost all possible scents with a combination of different chemical compounds.

For example, banana, which has an un extractable aroma, can also be synthetically manufactured as a fragrance oil.

Uses of Essential Oils

Essential oils are well known to be used in the aromatherapy practice for the physical as well as psychological well-being.

They also play a key role in the beauty and health industry.

Essential oils are believed to contain natural elements that aid in human health, such as enhancing the healing process.

Thus, they are used in massage oils, aromatherapy kits, and more.

Essential oils are also the primary ingredient of many beauty and health products – including the homemade natural vegan soaps.

Uses of Fragrance Oils

Its fragrance oils are well known in beauty products, soaps, lotions, perfumes, hair products.

And beauty enhancers.

Yes, all these products are specifically enhanced by the artificial aroma, which comes from fragrance oils.

Again, the only key difference is that essential oils are natural.

And fragrance oils are synthetically made. Created by using various chemical components.

However, products containing fragrance oils are not recommended to new-borns, people with certain health conditions, such as sensitive skin.

Steadiness and Shelf Life of Essential Oils Vs Fragrance Oils

As essential oils are, 100% organic and they have a shorter shelf life as compared to the fragrance oils.

Essential oils are also more volatile than fragrance oils. However, they do not go rancid like most carrier oils.

Essential oils often lose efficacy after a certain time.

And can oxidize after time. Note that oxidized essential oils offer no health benefits or aroma.

Overall, fragrance oils are more stable than essential oils, but the health benefits of essential oils are superior to fragrance oils.

The Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils?

Hazards of Essential Oils Vs Fragrance Oils

As discussed earlier, many people with special health conditions experienced health hazards with essential oils.

In such conditions, essential oils were noticed to act as skin irritants. Thus, they must be used with carrier oils to prevent the illness or irritation.

Thus, if you’re currently taking any medications or often experience skin hazards.

And make sure to consult with a doctor prior to using an essential aroma product.

The health hazards of fragrance oils are more harmful to the unknown chemical the big name company’s use.

However, fragrance oils are noticed to be bad for ingestion.

Make sure to use both oils in small amounts before extensive use.

Pricing of Essential Oils Vs Fragrance Oils

Like most of the beauty products, both essential and fragrances oils come in different quality and options – thus their prices vary.

As essential oils are extracted from natural plants and herbs, sometimes, it becomes difficult to produce them in bulk.

There are rare plants such as sandalwood essential oil and can be quite expensive.

Thus, the prices of essential oils are often higher than fragrance oils. However, the health and beauty benefits compensate for the added price.

Though common essential oils and its relevant products can be found in retail stores, other rare products are difficult to come by.

In addition, you cannot be sure if they are 100% natural or partially mixed with fragrance oils.

That is why it is important to get certified essential oils.

Fragrance oils are considerably cheaper, easier to find, and available in multiple options as compared to essential oils.

Final Verdict

The answer to the question What is the Difference between Fragrance Oils and Essential Oils is that they Overall, both have their cautions, advantages, disadvantages, and uses.

Like every other beauty and health products, it is up to the manufacturers to produce the best and label the item correctly so that the consumer is aware of the ingredients.

In case of further questions about is this blog or have any suggestions, feel free to leave an email and

If you want to learn more about all-natural soaps and beard balms you can read our other blog posts.

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