In the beginning, I did not know the difference between essential oils vs fragrance oil. Basically, essential oils are the real extracts from plants, and fragrance oils are created in a laboratory. Some unethical soap makers, even brand name ones, will use similar wording to imply a true essential oil. Words such as “essence”, “fragrant oil”, “fresh scent of organic whatever”, “extracts”, “concentrates”, or the ever-popular term used by the Body Shop to mislead the masses, “naturally inspired”.

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Essential oils vs fragrance oil:

Essential oils are usually obtained through expression/pressing, steam, and other extraction processes. Some flowers and plants just do not have the materials to allow for an essential oil, such as mangos or daffodils. Some essential oils are difficult and costly to acquire, such as jasmine or rose, therefore fakes are created. And other essential oils are considered not environmentally conscious to obtain, such as sandalwood – as the scent is obtained from the wood of the chopped down tree.

Fragrance oils are created in laboratories and factories all over the world. Some smell cheap and nauseating, and some smell divine. Although these scents are created cheaply, they get tagged as being glamorous, promoted by celebrities, sold for $100 or more a bottle, and you buy it thinking you will be rich and famous like the star. You won’t, but you just added to their million dollar salary.

Besides all that, fragrances are chemicals that just happen to smell nice, and these chemicals are known carcinogenics. Along with cancer promotion, it is also considered a neuro-toxin and harmful to lungs. More than 95 percent of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals (crude oil). These chemicals include: benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and a slew of other known toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders and allergies—some of which are cited on the EPA’s hazardous waste list.

Yet when I started making soaps, and all natural, people would ask for all sorts of scents, like rose and sandalwood. So in order to offer more selection, we started making fragrance oil soaps, then discovered that generally people do not know the difference. I see soap makers use the customers lack of knowledge in this area to lie about the naturalness of their soaps just to make a sale.

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Now you need to decide what to do about scenting your soap. I can’t tell you what to do regarding essential oils vs fragrance oil. Problem is, when you go to sell your soap, your all natural soap, and someone else at the market is selling soap with fragrance oils, I see the fragrance oils win almost all the time.

Pages about scents:

The best essential oils for making soap, all about my method of calculating costs regarding the purchasing of essential oils (and fragrance oils).

The best selling scents and the worst selling scents at my soap store. And yes, you will be surprised. I was.

Article on the psychology of color when it comes to making soap. Seriously, this customer would not believe that the un-tinted bar had the exact same scent level as the tinted bar.

Even if we go all natural with our lotion, there is the problem of preserving it. Most farmers market and home based businesses that create natural bath and soap products, often make lotion. And in here, with all the natural ingredients, will be a chemical preservative. Just can’t win. (article pending)

Stay tuned for more pages and articles!

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Get some great info here on what plant parts are used to make essential oils.

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