What are Fragrance Oils?


Our Australian Co-Founder & Chief Formulator, Dr. Mike Thair, has the following to say on Fragrance Oils.

I have always found the term “Fragrant Oil” ambiguous, and open to misuse.  Fragrant oils are synthetic ingredients designed to mimic the aroma of natural fragrances. These are far cheaper to produce than the natural essential oils. They do not have the supply limitations of essential oils due to harvest variations.

Fragrant oils are often sold as “natural.”  They are synthetic and derived from petroleum, including benzene derivatives, aldehydes and others.

There is only minimal government regulation and monitoring of their safety.  Also, trade secrets laws allow toxicity testing and ingredient identification to be kept secret. On labels, it is only required to use the word “Parfum,” with no sign of what chemicals actually make up the fragrance.

Organic products may contain synthetic masking scents to hide unpleasant smelling ingredients.  These masking synthetic ingredients are not declared on labeling.

When shopping for natural body care products it is important to study product ingredients.   A product using synthetic fragrance oils should include the word “fragrance” or “parfum” in the ingredients list.  Products using natural essential oils will usually (but not always) list the ingredient using the botanical (Latin) name of the fragrance source.


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