Essential Oil vs Fragrance Oil
The terms essential oil and fragrance oil are used interchangeably in various occasions. However, they are largely different in terms of their properties and constituents. Both of these are widely used in the cosmetic industry and perfumery. It is safe to know the difference between the two, because essential oils can be used in aromatherapy, but if fragrance oils are used, it can give various side effects.
Essential oils are liquids extracted from different parts of a plant. Distillation is often used for this purpose. Flowers, leaves, bark, seeds, roots, and other elements of some plants contain useful compounds, which can be extracted as liquids. These are volatile and hydrophobic, which makes them easier to isolate by distillation. In the distillation process, the plant material is boiled with water. During this, the volatile compounds evaporate, and when it is condensed back by cooling essential oils can be obtained. These extracts are colorless or have slightly pale colors, and are very concentrated. Therefore, they have to be diluted before using in applications. Other than distillation, solvent extraction and expression methods are also used to extract essential oils from plant materials. Different extracts have different smells, which are unique to them. They are used for medicinal purposes, cookery, for cosmetics and perfumes, etc. Inhalation or applying the essential oils in skin provides various mental and physical therapeutic benefits. Antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiseptic, analgesic, diuretic are some of the essential oil properties out of hundreds of them. Jasmine, cinnamon, lemon, rose, clove, black pepper, ginger are some of the commonly used plants to extract essential oils.
Fragrance oils are mixtures of synthetic substances, or sometimes it can be a mixture 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. All the fragrance oils are not safe to use on skin, or for therapeutic purposes. Fragrance oils are used in cosmetics and perfumes or perfumed products like candles, air fresheners, etc. They do not disperse well in water, but with an aid of a solubilizer this can be done. Fragrance oils are not volatile, because they are synthetically made.
Difference between essential oils and fragrance oils
– Fragrance oil contains only the distilled essence of the plant, but fragrance oil has artificial substances to give the fragrance.
– Essential oils are volatile; in contrast, fragrance oils are non volatile; therefore, they last longer than essential oils. (Fragrance lasts longer in fragrance oils)
– Fragrance oils don’t have a therapeutic effect as essential oils do.
– There is a large number of chemical components in an essential oil, thus, it cannot be artificially synthesized. But fragrance oils are artificially synthesizing. Therefore, there can be fragrance oils having smells similar to cookies, sea breeze, cakes etc.
– Most of the essential oils are more expensive, but fragrance oils are cheaper.
– The types of fragrance oils are higher than essential oils, because any number of fragrance oils can be synthesized artificially in the laboratories.