When you walk through a field of wild flowers; a forest of pine trees; or an orchard of fruit trees awaiting harvest, the wonderful aromas wafting through the air are courtesy of natural essential oils (EO’s). Chances are, however, that’s not the case when deciding upon a new mass-produced cologne, hair product, or deodorant at your local department or chain store. Chemically treated cosmetics usually contain fragrance oils (FO’s).
Ingredients labeled as “fragrance oil” may involve a combination of natural and synthetic fragrances. But the majority are primarily composed of man-made chemicals, regardless of the wording on the packaging. EO’s are derived directly from plants. They utilize either fruit, flowers, stems, leaves, roots, bark, wood, or combinations of natural plant materials. They can be used to make soaps and other cosmetics through hot or cold processing due to their natural state. But heat will quickly cause the scent of your EO’s to evaporate. Fragrance oil’s are generally unstable during cold press attempts due to the common addition of alcohol as a carrier agent.
Fragrance oils are not mandated. The formulas are proprietary (privately owned) which allows companies to keep the ingredients a secret from the consumer. Products containing FO’s can contain up to 3500 ingredients per item. As such, most irritation caused by skin-related allergies can be traced to fragrant oil-based products. EO’s can also cause skin irritation if used often or left on the skin for lengthy periods of time. However, they typically aren’t as irritating as FO’s due to the lack of chemical additives. If irritation does occur with an individual EO or a mixture, you’ll know which essence (s) to stop using before experimenting further.
Most companies that add FO’s into their soap-based cosmetics mix several base scents. They also tend to use a highly concentrated supply of synthetic fragrances which often cause chemical burns. Purest versions of EO’s may not offer as many scent options; but they have no unnatural distributing agents and do not display the harsh chemical reactions of their counterparts.
Essential oils are the foundation of aromatherapy. Natural carrier oils such as coconut oil, jojoba, grape seed oil, or even pure vegetable or nut oil options can help create heavenly therapeutic soap; handmade shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face cream; and even massage oil. A little goes a long way, though. When added to hot water, EO’s evaporate quickly into the surrounding steam; so the quicker your shower or bath is, or the longer you wait to apply the EO product, the longer the natural scent will last. EO’s evaporate into the air and wash off more readily than synthetic fragrances. If irritation does occur, chances are it will be shorter lived than with synthetic fragrances.
The truth about fragrance oils is that they work well for those who don’t care about the chemical content of the product. In the event of simply wanting a cheap, long-lasting set-and-forget room fragrances or perfume, FO’s often fit that bill. But there’s something unmistakably decadent about all-natural products made with essential oils. They make the perfect spa gift for your favorite hard working female. But don’t let her have all the fun. Men also enjoy the benefits from natural EO’s that simply can’t be touched by chemical counterparts.
In the end, it all comes down to your personal needs and desires. Both EO’s and FO’s have their own unique benefits. But when it comes to applying one to your skin, one is a definite leader. If saving a few dollars means more to you than your overall health, then enjoy those FO’s. But once you truly understand and appreciate the amazing power of nature, nothing can come close to the enormous benefits of switching to cosmetic products made from pure essential oils.