Natural Fragrances and Essential Oils
Posted by on February 26, 2014
When I first started my bath and body business I made all natural products using only essential oils. I quickly realized that at that time most customers didn’t understand the difference between synthetic fragrances and essential oils and most of my customers appreciated the natural products but wanted them to smell fruity or floral rather than herbal. That’s when I began researching fragrance oils and essential oils to better understand the differences between the two. I have heard many things about fragrance oils, such as that they are made from petro-chemicals, they are neuro-toxic chemicals and that they are harmful to the environment. Well, some cheap potpourri fragrances are all this and more, but the truth is that not all fragrances are equal. We use natural fragrances and high quality, skin safe fragrances.
Here are some facts about natural fragrance oil that you might not know…
A chemical is not necessarily a dangerous, synthetic ingredient. In fact, all essential oils are composed of many chemical constituents. These constituents or aromatic molecules can be isolated and removed from the essential oil or aromatic material. These natural aromatic molecules can be used in combination with other aromatic molecules to create a whole new “fragrance”. This can smell similar to the essential oil or can be combined to smell like something completely different. This can be done without using petro-chemicals or dangerous material. Since essential oils have many of the same chemical constituents, some essential oils such as the endangered sandalwood can be chemically duplicated with out ever killing a sandalwood tree. The fragrance is called “nature identical” meaning it is composed of the same aromatic chemicals as natural sandalwood essential oil but these aromatic chemicals actually derived from a different plant.
Here are some interesting facts about essential oils that you may have never thought about…
Essential oils have a therapeutic aroma and also healing properties for the skin. I love the many benefits that essential oils impart in the bath and body products. However, some essential oils are not environmentally friendly and this must be taken into consideration. I strive to create healthy products for the body, mind and earth. I am using the endangered sandalwood as my example. The sandalwood tree is grown mainly in India. The extremely expensive Sandalwood essential oil is much prized for it’s deep, earthy scent and it’s medicinal benefits. The oil is extracted from the wood of a mature sandalwood tree. However, overharvesting and deforestation have led to endangerment of the species.
Many essential oils are shipped to us from all over the world such as India where the sandalwood is grown. Since essential oils are derived from a particular plant, these oils are extracted and distilled in different parts of the world depending on where the particular plant is grown. It takes large farms to harvest enough plant material to create essential oils. My mint oils come from Oregon and tangerine and orange oils come from Florida but most of the essential oils that I use in my products come from Asia, India, Europe and Australia. By the time we get the essential oils, they may have created quite a carbon footprint. We also must take this into consideration when weighing the difference between essential oils and “natural fragrances”. I try to attain essential oils locally but I am limited to what is grown in my area.
In conclusion, I believe that high quality and natural fragrance oils are a safe and practical replacement for essential oils that are endangered. Not all plants and fruits contain essential oil, so those much desired sweet, fruity scents must also come from fragrances rather than essential oils. In addition, the very expensive florals such as rose. Rose essential oil costs approximately $200 for a ½ ounce. So if you don’t want to pay $100 per bar of rose scented soap, than you will end up with a rose fragrance. Nature identical fragrances are still expensive because they are comprised of pure essential oils but they are a fraction of the high price of the more exotic essential oils and thus can be incorporated into bath and body products at a reasonable cost to the consumer.