One of the questions I get most often relates to how I scent my products. I use only essential oils.
What other oils are out there? Fragrance oils.
What's the difference?
The easiest way for me to tell you how to determine the difference is to smell. Does what you are smelling smell exactly like what you should be smelling? For example, when you smell something purporting to be orange, does it smell as though you've just cut into an orange? If not, you are likely dealing with a fragrance oil. Fragrance oils are synthetic (man-made) and are generally less expensive than essential oils. If what you are buying is quite inexpensive, you are probably dealing with a fragrance oil or something scented with a fragrance oil.
Also, while all plants have essential oils not all are easily extracted. For example, people will often ask me if I have anything scented with lilac or gardenia. I do not. While essential oils do exist for those plants, they are hard to get. Most of what you get is a synthetic fragrance oil.
Should I care?
Not if you are looking more for a scent than any herbal or medicinal benefit. Fragrance oils offer no benefit other than scent and may even be harmful. Essential oils offer many benefits, a few of which I've listed below (please don't consider this list exhaustive):
Lavender is soothing and relaxing and may aid sleep. It is also good for bug bites and bee stings.
Citrus scents (grapefruit, lemon, orange) are uplifting.
Lemongrass and lemon eucalyptus are insect repellents.
Peppermint is stimulating and good for headaches.
Eucalyptus helps with congestion.
Both peppermint and eucalyptus are vasodilators (expand the blood vessels) and help with headaches.
Many essential oils are also used in cleaning products as they are antimicrobial. Many are also antiviral. Remember that they are what help to heal plants when they are in their natural state.
There are many uses for each essential oil and even I don't know them all. I doubt anyone truly does! I learn each day as I meet and speak with people and as I read more and more from reliable sources. As I do so, I will share that knowledge here.
In the meantime, please take a look at the What's In It section of this website for more detailed information about the ingredients in our products including the different essential oils.