Difference Between Fragrance Oil and Essential Oil

Sometimes people confuse the phrases essential oil and fragrance oil, however, this is incorrect. It is a common misperception that these terms are interchangeable.


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Essential oils are distinguished from fragrance oils in several respects. They are not only valued differently, but they are chemically and physically distinct too.

Fragrance Oil vs Essential Oil

The difference between fragrance oil and essential oil is that fragrance oils are created in laboratories by combining various compounds in variable quantities. In the lab, any fragrance may be created by just altering the chemicals involved. On the other hand, each essential oil has a specific aroma that is unique to the plant from which it was obtained. Changing the scent will also vary its healing qualities.

Fragrance Oil vs Essential Oil

Fragrance oils are manufactured synthetically. These are created artificially in labs to produce a pleasing aroma, however, they lack the natural therapeutic powers of essential oils.

Since the old period, various fragrant oils have indeed been utilized in the production of scents, but these scents were mostly employed for their fragrance rather than for any therapeutic purpose.

Essential oils are naturally derived products from a variety of plants and plant components. These compounds not only have significant aromatic capabilities but also have a plethora of therapeutic effects.

Essential oils are beneficial in treating a variety of health ailments due to their therapeutic characteristics.

Comparison Table

Parameter of comparisonFragrance Oil Essential Oil
Natural or synthetic SyntheticNatural 
Source Aromatic plant parts and synthetic componentsAromatic plant parts 
Usage Scented candles, room sprays, perfumesAromatherapy, detergents, vaporizers
Shelf life Short (6-12 months)Long (2-15 years)
Effect on skin Thick and greasy, may cause allergic reactionLight and non-greasy

What is Fragrance Oil?

Fragrance oils are man-made oils created to mimic a naturally existing aroma. Because they are manufactured in a laboratory, all fragrance oils don’t originate entirely from the environment. Fragrance oil is classified into two types: synthetic and natural.

Synthetic ones are manufactured artificially from chemical components that do not occur in nature. When examining a fragrance description, avoid smells like these, particularly when you have skin concerns.

They are frequently made from petroleum byproducts, keeping them much more affordable but more versatile.

Many of the less expensive commercially available scented goods are made using synthetic scents since they can hold their aroma for extended periods.

Natural fragrance oils are generated in a lab as well, but by extracting natural aromatic ingredients from a complicated scent. Natural fragrance oils are still debatable as to whether they are natural.

Even if they are drawn from nature, they are nonetheless made by human science. Wherever feasible, we will use essential oils, although there are some circumstances where natural fragrance oils could be used.

Since fragrance oils are manufactured synthetically, it is simple to distinguish each element in the oil.

This means that each fragrance oil can be readily copied to have identical fragrances, and they can also be quickly tweaked to generate an infinite number of new scents.

What is Essential Oil?

Essential oils are concentrated oils derived from aromatic parts of the plant such as roots, herbs, and flowers to acquire their therapeutic characteristics, fragrances, and flavors.

Essential oils are made entirely of oil and are “neat,” which means they are not mixed, combined, or treated, and include no preservatives.

Essential oils have been used for ages, with references to their use dating back to Historic Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These oils seem to be well-known for their fragrant characteristics and have gained popularity in aromatherapy and meditation.

Essential oils are very volatile, with a complicated structure that is hard to recreate artificially.

This is further made more difficult by the notion that the chemical elements of the same species of plants sometimes fluctuate depending on the season, environmental circumstances, and growing environment.

Scientists have yet to accurately determine all of the constituents in these oils.

Because these oils are naturally generated from plants, they have a longer life span than synthetic alternatives. The longevity of each oil varies depending on the plant from which it is obtained.

They do, however, ultimately expire owing to oxidation, which results in losing their effectiveness and also their nourishing, therapeutic benefits.

Expired essential oils can be distinguished from the remainder of your inventory if they have lost their scent, changed color, thickened, or seem murky or foggy.

Main Differences Between Fragrance Oil and Essential Oil

  1. Fragrance oil is synthetic while essential oils are natural.
  2. Sources for fragrance oils are aromatic plant parts and synthetic components while essential oils are purely sourced from aromatic plant parts only.
  3. Fragrance oil is used in scented candles, room sprays, and perfumes. Aromatic candles, on the other hand, are used in aromatherapy, detergents, soaps, and vaporizers.
  4. Shelf life for fragrance oil is short i.e. 6-12 months. Essential oils have a comparatively longer shelf life ranging from 2-15 years.
  5. Fragrance oil feels thick and greasy on the skin, and it may also cause allergic reactions. On the contrary, essential oils are light and non-greasy on the skin.
Difference Between Fragrance Oil and Essential Oil


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01197930
  2. https://img.perfumerflavorist.com/files/base/allured/all/document/2016/02/pf.0011.pdf
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