Which is Better, Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil?

  • By: Carole Brooks
  • Date: 16.05.2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil

Fragrance oils and essential oils are two distinct types of oil used for different purposes. Essential oils are extracted directly from plants and other natural sources, while fragrance oils are manufactured in a laboratory.

Fragrance oils are designed to create a long-lasting scent throw, making them popular for use in candles, perfumes, soaps, and other scented products. On the other hand, essential oils are more volatile than fragrance oils and evaporate more quickly when exposed to heat, resulting in candles with shorter-lasting scents.

The ingredients used to make each oil type differ as well. Fragrance oils are lab-made with synthetic compounds that mimic the aroma of natural materials such as flowers or herbs.

Essential oils, on the other hand, come from natural sources such as flowers, leaves, bark, or roots of plants. As a result of their differing compositions, fragrance and essential oils have different properties and uses.

For instance, essential oils can be used for aromatherapy due to their therapeutic properties, while fragrance oils are unsuitable for this purpose.

When it comes to choosing between fragrance oils and essential oils for candles, there is a disparity in terms of budget-friendliness as well as the intensity of scent.

Although many assume that using essential oil would provide fewer ecological risks than fragrance oils’ synthetic components, truthfully, the latter option offers more robust fragrances without excessive toxicity concerns.

Overall, it is still a matter of choice.

Nature lovers quickly proclaim essential oil as a safe and healthier alternative, but is that actually true?

When burned in candles, are essential oils really a healthier, natural alternative to fragrance oil? Can they match the intensity of fragrances that is desired — and at what cost?

This article will answer these questions and provide clarity on which type of oil works best for achieving quality scents. Let’s dive into the world of essential oils!

Fragrance oils, what are they?

Fragrance oils are a type of synthetic scent created in a laboratory. They are composed of various chemical aromas and natural elements and can be divided into synthetic and natural.

Essential oils are naturally sourced from nature, while fragrance oils are synthetically created in a laboratory. Fragrance oils are a mix of natural and synthetic chemical components carefully formulated by perfumers to create a desired scent.

These may contain essential oils or synthetically made constituents of essential oils, which have been approved for use by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) and the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).

The DuPont Corporation used “Better Living Through Chemistry” as their slogan, which is particularly apt for the fragrance oil. This product of chemistry is designed to make our world smell better and can be found in many everyday products such as perfumes and candles.

It is important to note that while these products may smell great, they should not be used on the skin or ingested.

However, the petrochemical ingredients used to create synthetic fragrances are some of the most toxic substances when used at dangerous levels. These include aldehydes, phthalates, and toluene, just to name a few.

Types of Fragrance Oil

Fragrance oil is a popular ingredient used in many products, from soaps and lotions to bath bombs and candles. It comes in more than 200 types and can be divided into two categories:

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  1. synthetic
  2. natural

Synthetic oils are made from artificial chemical ingredients, while natural oils are derived from naturally occurring scents.

Fragrance oils are not as powerful as essential oils, but they still offer a range of uses. They can be used to make car air fresheners, laundry detergent, bubble baths, perfumes/colognes, scented candles, soaps and creams, massage oils, room sprays, lotions, and more.

However, when using fragrance oils on skin or clothes, it is best to use natural fragrance oils instead of synthetic ones as they can hasten and fade in cold procedural soap and expire faster than essential oils.

Essential oils, what are they?

Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts of plants and herbs that have been used for centuries in aromatherapy, massage, cleansers, soaps, and room sprays. They are natural oils that contain the essence of a plant, extracted by distillation or other processes.

Popular brands have made essential oils widely available for sale and use. Essential oils are powerful organic chemicals derived from plant material, usually requiring hundreds of pounds to make a pound of essential oil.

It can be used to make soap, candles, room sprays, lotions, bath salts and oils, and balms. Some plants (like an orange tree) contain several different essential oils in different parts.

Care should be taken when using either essential or fragrance oils in candles and soap, as they can be very potent and cause skin irritation if not used correctly. Essential oils are a great way to add natural scents to your home or products without the use of harsh chemicals.

Types of Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural plant extracts that are produced using steam distillation, cold-press, or extraction. They are made from different parts of the plant, such as fruit, blossom, leaves, peels, cones, stem, bark, wood, or resin.

The production process requires only water, heat, and pressure with no chemical solvents. Essential oils contain the essence of the plant and can be used in place of synthetic fragrance oils.

Essential oils are widely used in aromatherapy and can be vaporized and released into the air for therapy purposes. They can also be used to make scented bathing soaps, although they can be costly.

Candle making is one of the best uses for essential oils as they provide a pleasant scent when burned. It has many therapeutic benefits and can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality.

They also have antiseptic properties, which make them great for cleaning surfaces around the home.

When choosing essential oils for candle making, it is important to consider the flash point (the temperature at which the oil will ignite) and aroma strength.

Popular essential oils with higher flash points include Basil, Cinnamon-Leaf, Clove-Bud, Cedarwood-Atlas, Clary Sage, Geranium, Guardian Blend, Lavender (Any), Lavender Magnolia Blend, Meditation Blend, Palmarosa Patchouli, Tranquility Blend. Ylang Ylang is also an excellent choice for candle-making due to its strong aroma.

Which one is best for candles?

When choosing a scent manufacturer for your candles, your decision revolves around these three things: scent release, scent variety, and cost.

1. Price

Price is a key factor in distinguishing between essential and fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are made with fewer amounts of synthetic compounds, making them cheaper than essential oils.

Fragrance oils range in price from $3.75 to $15.00 depending on type and size, while essential oils require several hundred pounds of natural ingredients to produce, making them more expensive.

Both fragrance and essential oils can be used for at-home projects or candle making, leaving a strong scent.

Essential oils offer aromatherapy benefits that make them worth the extra cost. They are often used for relaxation, stress relief, and even healing purposes due to their natural properties.

However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option for your home projects or candle-making needs, then fragrance oil may be the better choice. It still provides a strong scent without breaking the bank.

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Ultimately it comes down to personal preference when deciding which oil is right for you.

2. Type of Fragrance

The fragrance is an important part of candle making, and various fragrances are available to choose from. Candles can be made with both natural and synthetic oils, which offer different scents.

Natural oils tend to provide more subtle aromas, while synthetic oils offer a wider range of scents. Combining the two types of oils through diffusion can create unique scents that are impossible with either oil alone.

General Wax carries two main families of fragrances: Regular and Ultra. Regular fragrances are typically used in candles, while Ultra fragrances are designed for use in wax melts and tarts. Fragrance oils come in various forms, including liquid, solid, and powder.

For more information on fragrance oils, visit the blog post “Scented Candles: Everything Candle Makers Need to Know About Fragrance.” This post provides detailed information on selecting the right fragrance for your candles and tips on getting the most out of your fragrance oils.

3. Health Concerns

Essential oils are derived from natural ingredients and have healing properties. They can be used in aromatherapy to help ease muscle pain, skin problems, and other bodily afflictions.

Lavender scent can help reduce stress, while peppermint smell can act as an insect repellant. Essential oils can be applied directly to the skin or taken internally for their therapeutic benefits.

However, it is important to consider individual health when using essential oils. Artificial ingredients blended with fragrance oils, such as parabens, should be avoided in large quantities for health concerns.

Fragrance oils do not offer the same health benefits as essential oils but can enhance the aroma of cosmetics and perfumes. Natural does not always mean it works for everyone; every individual is different and may have allergies to the components of essential oils.

Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before using any type of oil on your body or ingesting them orally.

4. The longevity of the scent

The debate between essential oils and scented candles has been ongoing for years, with many people now choosing essential oils over scented candles. Essential oils are natural ingredients that are free from toxins, making them a healthier option than scented candles.

They also have therapeutic benefits, such as reducing stress and improving moods. Furthermore, essential oils are more cost-effective than scented candles and can be used in diffusers to create a stronger scent that lasts longer.

Additionally, they are environmentally friendly due to their natural ingredients and lack of toxins.

Essential oils can be used in various ways to create a pleasant aroma in the home or office. Diffusers are the most effective way to use essential oils for a strong scent, while candles may not be as effective and can even be toxic in some cases.

Aromatherapy has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its therapeutic benefits, leading many people to choose essential oils over scented candles for their longevity and health benefits.


Fragrance oils are better than essential oils for candle-making in general.

Fragrance oils have a higher odor profile and are cost-effective. Although they are chemical based, they are considered safe to use as long as they are free of phthalates and parabens. You are also guaranteed a consistent scent if that matters to you.

Essential oils are certainly healthier than a fragrance, but not for this specific candle-making application. You may get delicious scents with an unlit candle, but it doesn’t retain the scent well when you light a candle.

Essential oils won’t let you down if you prefer to go all-natural, as long as you are careful, but fragrance oils are probably the best choice for most.

  1. From my perspective, it seems that both fragrance oils and essential oils have their merits, offering unique qualities that cater to different preferences.

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