Synthetic oils versus Essential oils? Which to choose…

In today’s world there is always a cheaper option. Why have diamonds when you can get cubic zirconia? They are just as sparkly but a quarter of the price of diamonds and you can’t tell the difference. Why have real leather when you can have synthetic? It’s cheaper and easier to clean yet looks almost as good. This is the same with essential oils. They also have a cheaper alternative: fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are synthetically produced to replicate the scent of true essential oils. They cost less than essential oils and smell practically the same. So why bother with the real thing?

As an aromatherapist I have always used essential oils and never even thought about fragrance oils. Perhaps I am being misguided here.

Synthetic oils are manufactured to recreate the aroma of essential oils. They have a much stronger smell that lasts longer and can be produced on a larger scale. Thus making fragrance oils cheaper than their plant equivalent. This means that products that use these need less oil but they still throw a stronger scent than their natural equivalent. They are particularly effective in candles, soaps and perfume sprays because they do not break down when they come into contact with the air or heat. Perfumers prefer synthetic fragrances because they are manufactured to the same consistency each time but the qualities of essential oils vary depending on the time of year they were picked and the country they are from.

Essential oils are entirely natural. They have a delicate aroma, are a pure concentration of the essence of nature and as a result have many therapeutic properties for humans. It can take a lot of flowers to manufacture a small amount of oil. It takes around 60 roses to make 1 drop of rose oil. A 3 ml bottle of pure rose essential oil costs around £40. This almost makes it prohibitively expensive to use in products. Rose fragrance oils on the other hand costs around £5 for a 50ml bottle. But, the complex chemical compounds that make up a rose cannot be manufactured so subtle elements of the scent will be lost. Equally the therapeutic qualities of the essential oils cannot be recreated either.

To compare the two types of oils I made up two reed diffuser blends. One with fragrance oils and the other with essential oils. The fragrance oil blend dominates the house and gives a strong aroma. My husband likes it but I find it too heavy with a chemical undertone that gives me a headache. On the other hand, the essential oil blend is subtle and delicate, it gently scents the room. I think it is beautiful but my husband can’t even smell it. I find it soothing and relaxing and my husband is calmer when he is in the room with it. So even though he is unaware of it it would appear to be beneficial for him.

In conclusion, I will be remaining with the essential oils. I now have an appreciation of the purpose of fragrance oils but if I am going to experience the gifts of nature I would rather have the real thing. The same with diamonds…

What are your thoughts on using cheaper alternatives is it really as good as it seems?

3 Comments on “Synthetic oils versus Essential oils? Which to choose…

  1. Well put. Because I have a poor sense of smell I always gravitate to the stronger scents and others maybe the same. Can’t you do both? Heather

    Liked by 1 person

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