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Are essential oils better than fragrance oils

Yes and no is our answer. In terms of home fragrance, both essential oils and fragrance oils have positive and negative properties so the question of ‘better’ really depends on the kind of product you want to create or to have in your home. Firstly, let’s educate ourselves:

What are essential oils?
Essential oils are pure extracts from plant parts. They retain the natural smell and flavour, or essence, of their plant source.

What are fragrance oils?
Fragrance oils are by definition, synthetic and man-made. They are blends of essential oils and aromachemicals often diluted in a base.

What are aromachemicals?
Aromachemicals are single molecules that contain smells. Often described as the building blocks of perfume, they can be blended to produce new and exciting fragrances.

What are the positive benefits of essential oils in terms of home fragrance?
1. Essential oils are completely natural scents derived from plants
2. Essential oils can have medicinal and aromatherapy properties
3. Essential oils can contain less carcinogens/ toxins than fragrance oils*
4. Essential oils will often have a greater depth of character

What are the positive benefits of fragrance oils in terms of home fragrance?
1. Fragrance oils are cheaper than essential oils
2. Fragrance oils come in a wider variety of scents than essential oils i.e Tropical Watermelon
3. Fragrance oils can be more sustainable than essential oils (i.e sandalwood is harvested by killing the entire tree)
4. Fragrance oils will last longer
5. The “scent throw” of fragrance oils is often better than that of essential oils; meaning a product will sometimes fragrance an interior more effectively
6. Fragrance oils do contain some essential oils
*When we talk about fragrance containing carcinogens and toxins – in reality the amount is so small you would need to be burning hundreds of scented candles at once in an unventilated room for years to have a toxic effect on humans. You may find there are more toxins when you step onto a busy street from pollution or even more toxins in your shampoo or toothpaste. It’s even true to say that there are more toxins in some food and drink.

Myth Busting
Many customer distinctions between essential oils and fragrance oils fall apart under close scrutiny.
Myth: “I do not like ‘chemicals’ in my candles and diffusers; I will only buy natural.”
Fact: Everything is made from chemicals, even water (H2O). Thus natural fragrances are chemicals too.

Myth: “I only use natural fragrances because they are safer for me.”
Fact: Natural ingredients can also be dangerous; they are not all safe. For example, Limonene is oil found in citrus peel and can be a skin irritant, but it is natural and gives you a wonderful citrus aroma. Don’t forget some humans can also be allergic to natural ingredients too!

Myth: “Natural fragrances are better for the environment.”
Fact: Best to check the origin of your natural fragrance if that is even possible as traceability regulations are vague. How has it been farmed? Is the ingredient endangered?
The yield of natural oil per plant is so tiny you need a massive amount of plant to produce a small bottle. So although natural is best for you, it may not always be best for the environment.

We hope the information in this blog gives you some food for thought in making up your own mind whether you prefer products that use natural or synthetic fragrances. 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.

Whichever you decide is the fragrance type for you, you will find a suitable product in the Shearer Candles’ portfolio. Here at Shearer Candles, we only work with reputable scent houses who can outline the origins and makeup of their fragrances, so we can make informed choices about what ends up in the product you purchase.

So enjoy our home fragrance products which come with the guarantee of quality ingredients, safety and performance.
All views, opinions and conclusions are our own.