Difference Between Essential Oil & Fragrance Oil

Essential Oil vs Fragrance Oil

Although the terms essential oil and fragrance oil are occasionally used interchangeably, they are significantly different in terms of their properties and constituents. Both are popular in the cosmetic industry and perfumery, but only essential oils can be safely used in aromatherapy, while fragrance oils can cause various side effects.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are liquids extracted from various parts of plants, often through distillation. Flowers, leaves, bark, seeds, roots, and other plant elements contain beneficial compounds that can be extracted as liquids. These extracts are volatile and hydrophobic, which makes them easier to isolate through distillation. During this process, plant material is boiled with water, causing the volatile compounds to evaporate and, when condensed back by cooling, essential oils can be obtained. These extracts are colorless or have slightly pale colors and are highly concentrated, so they must be diluted before use. Apart from distillation, solvent extraction and expression methods are also used to extract essential oils from plant materials. These extracts have unique smells and are used for medicinal purposes, cookery, cosmetics, perfumes, and more. Inhaling or applying essential oils to the skin provides various mental and physical therapeutic benefits, including antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiseptic, analgesic, and diuretic properties, among others. Jasmine, cinnamon, lemon, rose, clove, black pepper, and ginger are some of the commonly used plants to extract essential oils.

Fragrance oil

Fragrance oils are mixtures of synthetic substances, or sometimes a combination of essential oils and synthetic substances. Sometimes they are made to smell like something natural, and sometimes they are formulated to create a new fragrance. Not all fragrance oils are safe to use on skin or for therapeutic purposes. They are used in cosmetics, perfumes, or perfumed products like candles and air fresheners. They do not disperse well in water, but a solubilizer can help with this. Fragrance oils are not volatile since they are synthetically made.

Key Takeaways

  • Essential oils are volatile and extracted from various parts of plants, while fragrance oils are non-volatile and made from synthetic substances.
  • Essential oils have therapeutic properties, whereas fragrance oils do not.
  • Essential oils are typically more expensive than fragrance oils, which are cheaper due to their artificial synthesis.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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