What's the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils?
When reading ingredient lists, often you would come across "Fragrance". What does that really mean? Because fragrances are considered trade secrets, full disclosure is not required. So it can be any combination of chemicals including those derived from petroleum such as phthalates that are hormone disruptors or benzene derivatives that has been linked to cancer and birth defects.
Essential oils, on the other hand, are derived from plants. Either cold pressed or steam distilled, or extracted by alcohol. Essential oils carry healing properties of the plants that they are derived from. The cost of essential oils depend on the type of plant it's derived from. For example, it takes 60,000s roses to make one ounce of rose essential oil. So rose essential oil is much more expensive than sweet orange essential oil, an oil with much higher yield. Just because essential oils come from natural sources, it doesn't mean they are safe for everyone. It's possible to have allergic reactions to essential oils, and you need to be careful when using essential oils during pregnancy. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, any pesticides or herbicides can also be dramatically concentrated. That's why I like to choose certified organic essential oils whenever possible.
Also, because it takes so much plant material, it's important to consider the sustainability of the resources and energy to grow the plants and distill the oils. Certain plants are endangered, such as rosewood and sandalwood. So always make sure that your supplier is using a sustainable source for your essential oils.
So what's your favorite essential oil and what do you use it for? Leave your comments below!