Fragrance Oils: The Shocking Truth Revealed

Fragrance Oils: The Shocking Truth Revealed

Fragrances come in many forms - detergents, deodorants, aftershaves, fabric conditioners, household disinfectants, sanitary pads, air fresheners. Almost every imaginable product has its own scent vying for your attention. Fragrance oils are actually synthetic oils added with chemicals to duplicate the aroma of flowers, herbs, and other fragrance sources. While using essential oils are naturally derived from plants that have high levels of healing properties for the body. 

Essential Oil vs Fragrance Oil: What’s The Big Deal?

Maybe you were thinking, but they both smell great, what's the big deal? The problem is in how the fragrance oils were made compared to the health benefits that essential oils can provide such as: relief against stress, anxiety, and other symptoms of depression. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are synthetic oils added with chemicals to duplicate the aroma of flowers, herbs, and other fragrance sources.

Essential oils come from plants that go through a series of processes to extract the plant's highest level of benefits. Essential oils can be used in diffusers to freshen up a room or in aromatherapy candles, massage oils, and even natural perfumes. They can be used alone or in combination with other essential oils. 

Pros of Essential Oils 

  • Can be used in aromatherapy since it has natural chemicals that are known to balance the emotions
  • Contains chemicals that improve mood, provide relief against pain, fatigue, and inflammations and can be used as a bug repellent
  • The properties of the essential oils will always be the same even if the concentration changes with seasonality and geographical considerations

Cons of Essential Oils

  • More expensive, especially those from rare plants, herbs, and flowers
  • Seasonal availability
  • Volatile aroma
  • Concentration is inconsistent with the seasons, location, climate, and growing conditions
  • Can cause skin irritation if used improperly and not all essential oils are safe to use for everyone

Pros of Fragrance Oils

  • Cheaper compared to essential oils since it does not depend on the availability of raw materials
  • Available all-year-round and can potentially stop the exploitation of animals or rare herbs and plants
  • Not volatile, scent lasts longer than essential oils
  • Can be used in perfumes, skincare and cosmetic products, soaps, and detergents

Cons of Fragrance Oils

  • Fumes or aroma from fragrance oils can upset the stomach, cause headaches, skin irritations, skin rashes, and coughing
  • May contain chemicals that mess up with our hormones and cause mutation of genes
  • For external use only, cannot be applied on the body
  • Too many unknown ingredients

The Shocking Truth About Fragrances

What's the Impact of Using Fragranced Products?

The volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from fragrance oils contribute to indoor air pollution, even those disguised as air fresheners.  After spraying an air freshener, you may experience headaches and other irritations on your throat and nasal passages. But do you know there is more to that? 

Even if you are not the one using fragrances, inhaling VOCs can be likened to inhaling secondhand smoke from cigarettes.  These reactions include asthma attacks, sinusitis, throat irritation, and even nausea. It can also cause neurotoxic reactions resulting in forgetfulness, balance and coordination problems, and hormonal disruptions.


    Aldehydes are usually denoted by the letter C and a number between 7 and 13. C stands for Carbon and the numbers stand for the number of carbon atoms. These are naturally-occurring chemicals from fruits and citrus and are recreated in the laboratory to mimic the aroma from these natural sources. Benzaldehyde is similar to almonds while peach aldehyde is similar to peaches. Other forms are ethyl methylphenylglycidate (strawberries), undecanolide (florals), and citral (lemons and orange rind). 

    It has a low-level threat to cancer, moderate effect on the organ systems other than the reproductive system, and high levels of allergens and toxic contents that may result in hormonal disruptions and irritation of the eyes, skin, and lungs. It can be present in nail products and retinol creams.


    Also known as Octanal (7-hydroxy-3,7-dimethyloctanal),  hydroxycitronellal was created to have floral odors and with citrus and melon undertones. 

    Fortunately, it is a low-level threat to cancer or developmental and reproductive toxicity. However, it can trigger allergies and other immune toxicity. It can be present in cosmetic products, fragrances, hair gel, deodorants and antiperspirants, bar soaps, sunscreen, bath oils, and hair products. 


    The most notorious products having ionones are perfumes (usually labeled as parfum) with a high level of allergens, reacts moderately with the endocrine system, and non-reproductive organ systems, and irritates the skin, eyes, and respiratory passages. It accumulates in the system so the more you use products with these chemicals can increase the level of toxicity. 

    Ionones are usually listed as limonene, butylphenyl methyltopional, homosalate, benzyl alcohol, hexyl cinnamal, linalool, geraniol, and many more. 


    Isolates may be listed as propylparaben, polyperfluoromethylisopropyl ether, teflon, perfluorooctanoic acid, imidazolidinyl urea, and methylparaben. These may be used in cosmetics. 


    Phthalates are present in food colorings listed as Cl 15985 (yellow), Cl 42090 (blue), and Cl 14700 (red). In cosmetics and personal-care products, these are listed as dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, and butyl benzyl phthalate, and others.  

    How Can We Avoid Fragrance Oils

    The future may be grim for us if we want to avoid fragrance oils but we can, with some work, that is. First off, the largest user of fragrances we are not even aware of is the laundry detergents we use. Instead, try using baking soda or laundry borax. Also, stop using fabric conditioners since their fragrances can be harmful. White vinegar mixed with water is a good alternative for fabric conditioners. 

    Essential Oils to Use Instead of Fragrance Oils

    Here are some essential oil combinations if you want to make your own perfume without using fragrance oils. 


    To make a floral-scented perfume using essential oils, mix the following: sweet orange, lime, vanilla, and jasmine. For that subtle rose scent, you can go for rose essential oil, sandalwood, and bergamot. Other floral essential oils you can possibly use are rose geranium, iris, and ylang-ylang. Try the floral combination of the Sacred Mood Mist and the Indulge Mood Oil that will not only leave you smelling nice, it will also give you a good mood boost. 


    Make your own perfume out of lemon essential oils, rosemary, and neroli. Careful with the neroli since it can be overwhelming so keep it to at least 20% of your essential oils. Grapefruit, lemons, and bergamot also work well for citrus scents. Brighten Mood Mist is a good choice for a citrusy perfume. 


    For an earthy scent, mix together patchouli, palmarosa, vetiver, cedarwood, and neroli. Together, these essential oils give you that classy, earthy scent that is perfect for the middle-aged woman. 


    For woody scents, go for either cedarwood, spruce, and pine. Add a hint of citruses such as bergamot or neroli and floral such as jasmine. This scent is perfect for your man. For that woodsy scent, try the Tranquil Mood Oil that can be used as your on-the-go stress relief roll on. 


    Go for musk without adding animal products by adding some ambrette. Ambrette is also known as musk mallow and is the closest thing you can get for a musky scent. However, this is very expensive so it is rarely used. You can add some white rose essential oil or cedarwood to even out the musky aroma. 


    Spices can be a very lovely scent. Some of the essential oils you can add are vanilla, cinnamon, cassia, and cardamom. Try the slightly spicy scent of Empower Body Oil made with a hint of cardamom and 11 other plant ingredients. 


    For a herbal scent, consider mixing lavender, chamomile, and rosemary with some rose or jasmine for that light herbal scent you’ll love. 

    Before you go

    Making your own perfumes can be intimidating at first when you don’t know how to mix them, but they are totally worth it since aside from keeping you smelling fresh and appealing, these essential oils can also help relieve your stress, giving you a happier disposition in life. Even if you feel anxious or depressed, these products can be a great help to you. Here’s to healthy and eco-friendly perfumes!

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