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Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils

We normally like to make our blog posts fun, but today we’re talking about a more serious issue. The difference between essential oils and fragrance oils is not always made clear, especially when labelling laws mean manufacturers don’t need to disclose all the chemicals contained. So while they may seem similar on the surface, in reality, these are two completely separate products that can have very different effects on the body. To really understand these differences we have to start with how the two products are made.

One note to make is that Tender Essence sells both oils – these are in separate sections of our website and are clearly denoted by our bottle colours and labelling – Essential Oils are supplied in our Green Glass bottles and have a different colour on each label to depict the essential oil contained, the fragrance oils are su[applied in Brown bottles with a non-coloured label – they are also stored and bottled in separate places in our 3000 square foot warehouse so there is never the chance of these getting mixed up.

How are essential oils made?


Essential oils are derived from nature – they’re extracted from the fruit, leaf, flower, seed, bark or root of a plant or tree, and distilled to create a pure oil.

A lot of raw materials are required to create the oil, which is very potent – this varies and depicts the price of the oil. For example, to make Chamomile (Roman) you will get around 1.2kg of essential oil from a crop of 1 Acre!

Whereas for an essential oil like Orange (Sweet) this is an easy process, using, in effect, the waste product from orange juice manufacturing – the rind (and sometimes leaves and flowers) are cold-pressed to release the essential oils from the orange so, this is a much cheaper process and yields more per kg than a lot of other oils.


How are fragrance oils made?

synthetic chemicals

Synthetic fragrance oils are a man-made product, primarily created with petrochemicals – petroleum chemicals extracted from crude oil – designed to imitate the scents of essential oils at a lower cost. While some might be cheaper, they are by no means better – they lack many of the benefits of essential oils and instead contain harmful toxins, including parabens and sulphates.

The fragrance oils we sell on Tender Essence are cosmetic grade oils that can be used in most cosmetics, each oil has an IFRA document that shows the percentages that are safe for use in which cosmetics, while we do sell cosmetic grade, we would use you to use natural essential oils when possible unless you want a combined scent that just couldn’t be replicated with essential oils, we would also urge you just to use fragrance oils in home fragrance, such as candles, diffusers etc…

Dangers of fragrance oils

These chemicals can easily be absorbed into the bloodstream through your skin, as a result of either direct application, contact with fragranced items, or simply through exposure to fragranced air. Of course, any substance can be dangerous so all care should be taken with all types of oils and any instructions should be followed to ensure the safest possible use of each product.

What are the benefits of essential oils?

/One of the main benefits of essential oils is their use in aromatherapy (you can read more about this on our blog) – they can often provide physical and mental health benefits, with some even possessing antibacterial, antiseptic or anti-fungal properties. All of these qualities are derived from their origin plant, but synthetic fragrance oils – since they’re only designed to mimic scent – don’t share any of these properties and are therefore useless for aromatherapy. 

*For further details on some of the information here, you can follow this link which cites the findings of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study on the most common chemicals found in fragrance products: https://www.organichealthandbeauty.com/EPA-Fragrance-Study_ep_46-1.html

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