Guide: Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils

Guide: Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils

When it comes to scented products like perfumes or candles in Singapore, we're sure you've come across many different scents ranging from everyone's favourite Lavender to other popular scents such as Cotton Candy.
However, did you know that there are major differences in the scenting ingredient manufactures use? These can fall into 2 main groups - essential oils, and fragrance oils. Let's dive into the differences so that you can better identify what is more suitable for you and your lifestyle. 

Essential oils

If you prefer scenting your space with natural products, essential oils are a great choice. Additionally, they are a healthier option for your wellbeing as it is 100% pure essential oils and all essential oils comes with therapeutic benefits as well. Pure essential oils are extracted from herbs, flowers, and plants, most often through steam distillation. That involves heating the components (for example in the case of lavender, it would be the lavender buds) until a gas is released, then condensing the gas back into a liquid.  It’s a gentle but yet timely extraction process that ensures the sensitive compounds don’t break down, which makes it generally pricier. 
Credits: Institute of Food Technologists
In aromatherapy, pure essential oils are utilised for health benefits, used topically or via inhalation, can help achieve balance physically, mentally and emotionally. It can help reach a state of relaxation, encourage better quality of sleep and even relieve symptoms such as fatigue and pain. Some essential oils doubles up as a great addition to the house too! Lemon oil is a great option that can also be used as a cleansing agent for surfaces and countertops for degreasing. 
Here at ChubbyCo., we only use 100% pure essential oils in all our products. 
We want to offer a large range of scents available so that you can choose the one you favour most - be it herbal, citrusy, floral or even food-like.
Let's break it down for you today - or, you can also refer to our summary table right at the bottom!


Fragrance oils

With that, not everything in nature is able to produce an essential oil – you won’t find strawberry or cotton candy from sugar! This is where fragrance oils come in.
Fragrance oils are synthetic, they’re created with a mix of aroma chemicals and natural ingredients like essential oils and extracts, produced in a laboratory. You can find almost every scent available as there is no limitations - you can even create the smell of the salty sea breeze, or the smell of your fresh linen laundry. 
As fragrance oils does not require complex extraction, and there for it is generally much cheaper to purchase products made with fragrance oils as the cost of fragrance oils are generally cheaper than essential oils. 

🚨 Important to note: Some fragrance oils may contain harmful substances such as phthalates which are used to dissolve raw materials when making fragrance oils,  that could cause harmful effects on the body.  

If you were to look around your home, a lot of products uses fragrance oils e.g. detergents, perfumes, reed diffusers and candles. In many beauty products, the use of fragrance oils can be disguised in the ingredients lists as "fragrance" or "parfum" or "perfume" so be sure to look out for them the next time you shop! 

Identifying Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils

As a general guideline, here are a few tips to identify and differentiate between essential oils and fragrance oils:

1. The Name

For 100% pure essential oils, it would be listed as 100% pure essential oils - and not, 100% plant extracted essential oils, or 100% plant-based essential oils, or water-based essential oils. If it is not pure, it falls within the fragrance oils category. 

2. The Packaging

A good way to know if you are receiving good quality essential oils, is to check on the packaging of the essential oils. They should be packaged in glass bottles and preferably amber, brown or black bottles or UV coated bottles as essential oils are sensitive to UV. Essential oils can also corrode plastic bottles due to its strong concentration. 

Summary of Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils

Essential Oils Fragrance Oils
Natural or Synthetic Natural Synthetic
Source Aromatic plants Aromatic Plants and Synethetic Components
Price Generally more expensive Generally less expensive
Pros Aromatherapeutic benefits Great variety of skin-safe scents, including scents not available in nature
Cons Pricier, limited variety of scents Does not have natural healing properties
Examples Lavender, Peppermint, Bergamot, Tea Tree Cherry Blossom, Apple Cinnamon, Sea Breeze, Cookie Dough
Usage  Aromatherapy, vaporizers, soaps Candles, soaps, perfumes, lotions


Now that you have a better understanding of both essential oils and fragrance oils, you can choose what best suits your needs - be it as a gift, or for yourself!

ChubbyCo. is an aroma studio based in Singapore that aims to create an aromatherapy range with only the finest 100% pure essential oils that helps you and your loved ones find comfort in everyday living with aromatherapy. 
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