The difference between essential oil and fragance oil


The difference between essential oil and fragance oil

Essential oils are volatile plant extracts obtained from distilled or cold-pressed flowers, bark, stems, leaves, shells, roots, seeds or other parts of a plant. These oils are pure extracts obtained by the steam distillation process and are not blended with a carrier oil. Depending on the type of plant, extraction can sometimes prove to be very complex. These 100% pure oils are “clean”, i.e. they have not been processed with solvents or other additives, diluted or manipulated in any way. Essential oils are difficult to reproduce synthetically as they can consist of 50-500 different naturally occurring chemicals found in a plant. Essential oils are used, for example, in cosmetics, wellness, room scenting and aromatherapy. They are mostly used externally very rarely internally. They are often said to have health or mood-influencing properties such as invigorating, activating or calming.


Fragrance oils are usually produced in a laboratory. One of the main advantages is that they are non-volatile and generally last longer than essential oils. Fragrance oils can be synthetic or partly natural. Synthetic fragrance oils are artificially made from chemical compounds that do not exist in nature.

Even if the label states that the product is natural, at least parts of the product are synthetically scented and definitely not purely natural, provided that the list of ingredients contains the words perfume, perfum, FO, fragrance, fragrance oil or fragrant oil.


Fragrance oils are developed exclusively for the purpose of imitating a fragrance.

Nature is complex and essential oils are not only made up of odorous substances, which makes them difficult to replicate. If we isolate only the natural aromatic components from a plant, we miss the potential benefits that the plant can offer. Fragrance oils, however, enhance the fragrance of many cosmetic and perfume products, as well as candles (they hold the fragrance better at high temperatures).


Price difference:

Essential oils are usually expensive and prices vary widely depending on the type of oil, season and availability of the product. Therefore, essential oils are usually more expensive than their fragrance oil counterparts. This is because it is costly to grow, harvest and distil the plant for essential oils.

That is why it needs a huge amount of plant material to produce even a small amount of essential oil. On the other hand, they are usually much more complex and consist of significantly more individual fragrances.


It is no surprise that fragrance oil is comparatively much cheaper, as it can be produced artificially and no extraction is required (often a very expensive process).

In addition, fragrance oils often consist of much fewer individual fragrances than their counterparts in essential oils.