Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Difference between Essential oils & Fragrance oils

This may sound obvious so some but totally new to others: Essential oils ARE DIFFERENT from fragrance oils.  Mainly because the quality of the essential oil is what makes the difference between being therapeutic and just smelling nice.
There are about 150 different essential oils all with unique chemical compositions!
 They are usually processed through steam or water distillation

Essential oils are extracted from the seeds, roots, bark and berry of plants and are carefully refined to preserve the very thing that makes them "essential". They contain the vitamins and nutrients that keep the plant alive - the essential constituents that keep it free from disease and growing strongly. These parts of the plants are highly sensitive and can be damaged if not properly processed. One essentially needs to be a chemist to really understand them all!

Chemical Components of Essential Oils

The chemical components of many essential oils are complex and very difficult to reproduce synthetically; not all chemical components in essential oils have been precisely identified by scientists. Essential oils are volatile and, depending on the essential oil, can be identified as a top, middle or base note oil.

The chemical components of essential oils vary in the same species of plant because of season, climate and growing conditions, which means the essential oil aroma varies slightly between different batches, according to author and aromatherapist Shirley Price in her book "Aromatherapy Workbook."

Chemical Components of Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are not volatile because they are synthetically made; therefore, fragrance oils usually last longer than essential oils. The range of fragrance oils is a lot wider than essential oils because almost any fragrance can be made in a laboratory. Fragrance oils may contain a certain percentage of essential oils, but they are not completely natural, like essential oils.

Price of Essential Oils

Essential oils vary considerably in price depending on the type of essential oil, season and availability but in general, they are usually more expensive then fragrance oils. Why you ask?! .. To put things in perspective for you, it takes about 30 rose petals to make a SINGLE drop of rose oil. Citurs oils are usually cheaper beacause it's easier to extract them.

Price of Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are usually cheaper than essential oils because of the ease at which they are synthetically made but it may vary depending on the quality of the final product (Sometimes fragrances may have a mix of natural extracts) . Almost any aroma is available as a fragrance oil; Examples of fragrance oils that cannot be extracted in essential oil format include banana, strawberry, melon, apple, blueberry pie and hot fudge cake.

Uses of Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils

Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy practice for the therapeutic properties they possess. In addition, essential oils are used in perfumes, natural body products, Handmade/Natural soaps and as flavorings in food and alcohol. Fragrance oils are commonly used in commercial soaps, perfumes and body lotions because there a wide variety of fragrances available, they are cheaper than essential oils and they last longer.

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