What are Essential Oils, Fragrance Oils and Flavor Oils?
An essential oil is a pure, natural, highly aromatic fluid generally obtained by steam distilling natural plant material. Essential oils are highly concentrated and contain natural chemical and aromatic constituents found in the original plant. Because of their natural composition, essential oils are not only aromatic, but also offer a number of therapeutic benefits, depending on the composition of the particular botanical. Not all plants produce sufficient quantities of essential oil to make them cost effective to distill. Because the amount of oil produced can vary from one botanical to the next and because botanicals can vary in cost, you will also find that essential oils can vary greatly in price. Essential oils must be properly diluted before applying to the skin because they are so highly concentrated. Even lavender and tea tree oils have the potential to cause sensitization, even though most aromatherapy literature suggests that you can use them undiluted. Some essential oils are safe for use in lip care products, but please do your research first.
Fragrance oils are generally comprised of a combination of essential oils and synthetic aromatic compounds. If desiring to make an all-natural product, fragrance oils should not be used because they contain synthetic compounds. The advantage to using fragrance oils is that they are often less expensive than essential oils. Essential oils cannot be used to replicate some scents like "coconut cream pie," or "ocean rain," even though some fragrances have rather "natural" sounding names. Fragrance oils are virtually unlimited in the range of possible fragrances. Fragrance oils are often easier to work with and do not need to be regulated like essential oils do. The disadvantage to the use of fragrance oils is that they are not natural products and they do not offer the therapeutic benefits that natural essential oils offer. Fragrance oils are generally used at 2-5% in formulations and can be used as perfume oils when diluted in a vegetable oil or jojoba. Do not use fragrance oils in lip care products. For lip care applications, look to our line of Flavor Oils.
From Nature With Love offers two fragrance oil lines: (1) our Cosmetic Fragrance Oils formulated in a quality cosmetic base and (2) our line of Candle Fragrance Oils formulated for use by candle and potpourri makers. Our cosmetic fragrance oils should not be used to make candles because the skin-safe based used to create our cosmetic line does not burn adequately in candles. Our candle fragrance oil line should not be used for creating personal care products because the based used within our candle fragrance oil line is not designed for safe use on the skin. Some fragrance oil manufacturers claim that their oils can be used in both candles and soap, because soap is not regulated by the FDA.
Flavor Oils are similar to fragrance oils, but flavor oils are specifically formulated for safe use within lip products. Despite their name, flavor oils do not add flavor to lip care products. i.e. They don't make your product taste like the name of the flavor oil. Their purpose is to safely allow you to add delicious smelling fragrances to your products. Use flavor oils within your formulations at a recommended rate of 2-5%.
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- Heather K Rodman | Boise, ID