Essential Oils v Fragrance Oils

When looking to buy candles, one of the most important things to consider for many people is the fragrance of course! But do you know how the fragrance of your favourite candle is created?  

Traditional candles brands on the market, while incredibly popular (think The White Company, Jo Malone, Diptyque and more) for their luxurious perfume-inspired scents, their scents are actually created using fragrance oils and paraffin wax (Read our blog post about the dangers of paraffin wax here).

At HAN, we only use essential oils to scent our home fragrance and skincare products. 

What is the difference? 

We get asked a lot about what the difference is between fragrance oils and essential oils. Simply put, fragrance oils are synthetic while essential oils are natural. 

Fragrance oils (sometimes also referred to as 'perfume oils' or 'botanical oils') are manufactured, created using a whole array of chemical components. They are completely synthetic, and the way they are especially formulated means that the range of the different fragrance oils is very wide.

Fragrance oils 

Fragrance oils that are designed to resemble the smell of something that occurs in nature are often cheekily referred to as 'botanical oils', as they may take an existing natural component of the smell and recreate it in a lab. An example of this would be Amber. Amber is an incredibly popular and high-end aroma used often as a base note or a middle note in perfumes and home fragrance. It is known for its deep, honey-like sweet aroma. 

However, Amber in its natural form is very difficult and expensive to create, as Amber essential oil is produced from the fossil sap from a tree called Pinus Succinefera, and it's naturally-occurring form is incredibly resinous and difficult to work with. So Amber is a fantastic example of a common ingredient in home fragrance which will almost always be replaced with a more user-friendly and inexpensive Amber fragrance oil. 

Due to the creative chemical composition of how fragrance oils are made, often you will find candles that are said to smell like 'Clean Cotton', 'Fresh Rain', or even 'Chocolate'. These are completely synthetic scents which do not have a naturally-occurring alternative, and are created to evoke a mood or create a scent atmosphere. 

While fragrance oils can be made to a very high quality and are often much more versatile and inexpensive to use in home fragrance production, they contain absolutely none of the therapeutic benefits that you can find in essential oils. 

Essential oils 

Essential oils are naturally occurring substances derived from the actual plant itself. Often, either a CO2 extraction or steam distillation process is used to obtain the pure 'essence' of the plant, using the flower, stems, bark, needles, resin or rind of the plant.

For example, pink grapefruit essential oil is relatively easy to derive because it is a commonly-found plant and the oil is cold pressed from the rind of a pink grapefruit, giving it is bright orange colour. On the other hand, rose otto essential oil is incredibly expensive to create because Rosa Damascena is a type of rose plant that is only really found in Bulgaria. Furthermore, only the fragrant petals of the plant can be steam distilled to create the tiniest amount of essential oil!

Therefore, the price of essential oils are vary greatly, and are dependent on how readily available and sustainable sourced the plants are, as well as the volume of plants to the amount of oil they are capable of producing. 

Essential oils are also more volatile than lab-created fragrance oils which can be chemically stabilised for large manufacturing purposes. Different essential oils all have different evaporating points, which mean that some oils work better in candles than others. 

However, one of the key benefits of the use of essential oils which, in our opinion, far outweigh any of its tricky aspects, are their therapeutic benefits. Pure essential oils contain hundreds of naturally-occurring chemical compounds (such as limonene or terpenes) which can positively affect physical, emotional and mental health when entered through the body through the olfactory system. 

The verdict?

While much more expensive and harder to obtain in bulk, we believe in the principles of aromatherapy and only using essential oils to create our aromatherapy luxury home fragrances. 100% natural, vegan and made in small batches, you can rest assured that our candles burn safely and cleanly in your home.