Unless you specialize in unscented products, fragrance is a vital part of your experience. Therefore, it is important to understand fragrance. If you feel you haven’t grasped what it is all about, you’ll get the short story here.
Two main types of fragrance are available —essential oil and fragrance oil. Nature identical oils are sold by a few vendors, but if you understand essential and fragrance oils, you can easily navigate the world of fragrance.
Essential Oil—Shortened to EO, essential oils are derived from plant sources, whether leaves, flowers, roots, fruit, bark or resins. Most are distilled, but a few, such as citrus fruits, are pressed. CO2 and are often referred to as EOs simply because they are processed from natural sources and offer benefits to the mind, emotions and body.
What do you need to know about essential oils before using them? Quite a bit, actually. You must research any oil you are considering to determine its suitability for your project. Is it skin safe? May it be used in candles and tarts? Should I have it around children or animals? Each oil is unique, and although they may be grouped into classifications such as soap safe or not for skin use and so on, each must be considered individually for its purpose and precautions, not to mention proper storage. They are well worth the effort, but come with a learning curve. Certified aromatherapists are most qualified to impart information, not representatives of essential oil companies.
Fragrance Oils—Shortened to FO, fragrance oils are man-made. Often essential oils are a percentage of the ingredients, but are not pure essential oils and therefore, no physical, mental or emotional benefits are to be expected except that they smell good. They are available in nearly every scent known to man, and a few that are not! You can acquire fragrances in dirt, leather and bacon, along with Snickerdoodle cookies and lilies. Nothing is outside the realm of possibility.
What do you need to know about them to use fragrance oils? You need to know if they are suitable for your product and in what percentage. Not all are safe for skin products. You need to know how much your product can tolerate, as well. Contact the manufacturer for proper usage rates if they are not listed on the product or online.
If you are a cold process soapmaker, search for testing results before you purchase the oil. If reviews or test results are offered, read them to determine how easy or difficult the oil is likely to be. Testing the oils for yourself in a small test batch is always a good idea, whether you choose EOs or FOs.
In other cosmetics, fragrance oils are much more straight forward and easy to incorporate and usually require a lower usage rate than they require in cold process soap.
If you are making candles, check the suitability of your fragrance for the type of candle you are making. And test, test, test.
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.