Fragrance Oil -v- Essential Oil

Which is best? Fragrance oil or Essential oil?

For the craft boxes I use fragrance oil. But not just any fragrance oil, a lot of research has gone in to this decision. So, lets do a bit of a dive into oils and see what is best for you.

You can jump straight to a comparison table here.

Fragrance oils are man-made oils, manufactured to imitate a naturally occurring scent. They are created in a lab, meaning all fragrance oils do not come fully from nature. Fragrance oils are created from artificial chemical components.

Many commercial products opt for synthetic oils because they hold their fragrance for much longer than naturally occurring fragrances.

Just one fragrance oil can be made up of 40-80 materials – luxury perfumes are often made with 5 times that number. You can choose from more than 200 scents with multiple notes. You’re not limited to natural sources that produce essential oils.

Some fragrance oils contain phthalates, a chemical compound used to give plastics more rigidity. This chemical is linked to some health problems. The oils we use DO NOT include this chemical.

Essential oils are potent oils extracted from aromatic plant parts, including root, herb or flower to capture their beneficial properties, scents and flavors. Essential oils are 100% oil and are “neat,” meaning they have not been diluted, mixed or processed, and do not have any additives. It takes an enormous amount of plant material to produce even a small quantity of essential oil. Rose essential oils for example, is priced quite high because it requires a precise and timely extraction process, where around 1,000 rose petals are required to make just one drop. Citrus essential oils, on the other hand, are normally cheaper because they are a lot easier to extract.

At a glance:

Fragrance Oil

Essential Oil




Number of ingredients


One - for a single note oil




Scent range



Scent life

6-12 months

2 - 5 years

Scent throw

Far - depending on scent


Scent intensity


Not as strong

Therapeutic benefits



Environmental impact

Low - depending on scent

High - depending on scent


Possible - depending on scent

Possible - depending on scent

Both essential oils and fragrance oils have positive and negative properties and there’s no right or wrong; it’s simply down to personal preference.


Any product, natural or man made can create an allergic reaction. For example, cumin oil is safe in food, but can cause the skin to blister. Certain citrus oils used safely in food can also be harmful in cosmetics, particularly when applied to skin exposed to the sun.

I am sensitive to lavender oil, as are all members of my family. We had an incident where one of my grandchildren hurt himself and a well meaning, but misinformed, person decided to give him rescue remedy which contains lavender oil. This was a case of the cure being worse than the cause.

If you are using any oil, fragrance or essential, for a body product I recommend that first you dab a small amount on to your skin and wait to see if you have a reaction. You can mix the oil into a small amount of body lotion that you have used previously to make application easier, and to dilute the oil as you would in normal circumstances.

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