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Fragrance Oils and Essential Oils. Are they the same? This is a question we get often.

Our Penang Island-based Australian Co-Founder & Master Formulator, Dr Mike Thair, explains.

I have always found the term “Fragrance Oils” vague. It is also open to misuse.  Importantly, these are synthetic ingredients. These mimic the aroma of natural aromas. Further, they are far cheaper to produce. Also, they do not have the supply limitations of natural products due to harvest variations.

And these fragrances are often sold as “natural.”  In fact, they are synthetic and made from petroleum products. For example, these include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and others.

Issues of transparency

There is only minimal government regulation to check the safety of synthetic fragrances.  Also, there are trade secrecy laws. These allow toxicity testing and ingredient identification to be secret.

Besides, on labels, it is only required to use the word “Parfum.” So, there is no sign of what chemicals actually make up the fragrance. This is how you can be fooled into thinking that there is no difference between fragrance oils and essential oils.

In the same way, organic products may contain synthetic masking scents. These hide unpleasant-smelling ingredients.  In fact, these masking synthetic ingredients are not shown on the labelling.

When shopping for natural body care products it is important to study product ingredients.   If labelling is honest, it should distinguish between fragrance and essential oils.  A  product with fragrance should use  the word “fragrance.” Also, the word  “parfum” may be on the ingredients list.

Products should list natural ingredients using botanical names. These identify the plant source of the fragrance used.

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And by now you should understand the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils. They are not the same.

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