Fragrance oils vs Essential oils 

Fragrance oils vs Essential oils 

As a specialized soap maker, when it comes to scents in soaps, we know that there are no limits to the possibility. There are so many different scents and fragrances that you can choose from - rose to orange - that the options can be overwhelming for us and the customers as well. However, amid all the options, there are two different sources of fragrances - fragrance oils and essential oils. Learn the difference between the two and see what is the fragrance mix that’s best for you. 

Essential oils 

When it comes to having natural fragrances. essential oils are the best options. These oils not only add fragrance but also skin benefits sourced from the extraction. It is condensed from herbs, flowers and plants through steam distillation. It is produced from heating the components or parts of the plant until the gas is released. The gas is then condensed and gets back to liquid. Since these oils are not too concentrated with the fragrance, it does not cause any breakdown on sensitive skin. 

It is also important to note that not everything available in nature can produce essential oil. 

What is the shelf life of essential oils? 

Because essential oils are naturally sourced from plants, they tend to wear down quicker than synthetic fragrance oils. Each of the natural essential oils differs in shelf life, depending on the plant they are sourced from and other qualities. Some essential oils expire after two years while others can last for more than 10 years. Proper storage, quality and treatment also influence the shelf life of the essential oils. 

The expiration of the essential oils occurs as it gets oxidized which reduces their effectiveness and also decreases the aroma. You can tell that the essential oil has oxidized if it loses the fragrance, color, texture and appears to be thick or foggy. 

Pros and cons of using essential oils in soap 


  • It is naturally sourced/ derived 
  • It may have health and therapeutic benefits 
  • Essential oils in soaps are best for sensitive skin
  • It has a pleasant fragrance.


  • Limited options 
  • Expensive 
  • It does not have a long shelf life 
  • It may contain allergens 
  • The scent is not effective

Fragrance oils 

Fragrance oils are concentrated, man-made oils that imitate the natural scent. They are created in labs and are not fully sourced from nature. However, there are two categories of fragrance oils - 

  1. Synthetic fragrance oils: Synthetic fragrance oils are usually created from artificial components that aren’t sourced from nature. Some available fragrance oils can have more than 80 chemical ingredients. These fragrances are labeled as parfum, perfume or fragrance in cosmetics.
  2. Natural fragrance oils: Don’t let the name fool you, these fragrances are still made in a lab. It gets its name because it tries to imitate a natural scent rather than a complex scent.

The fragrance may include limonene derived from lemons, vanillin derived from vanilla beans, and geraniol from roses. You can opt for these oils if you have normal skin with a bit of sensitivity but you still enjoy certain synthesized scents. 

What is the shelf life of fragrance oils? 

Fragrance oils are good for anywhere 6 to 12 months, depending on what the fragrance oil is made of. They tend to last longer if stored in good conditions - a cool and dark place. 

Pros and cons of using fragrance oils in handmade soap 


  • Wide range of available scents 
  • It is more effective in soap making 
  • It is cheaper than essential oils 
  • The scents can be simple or complex 


  • It can cause skin irritation and redness 
  • Some chemicals present in the fragrance can affect the health of the user and the environment 
  • It does not appeal to everyone, especially those who are allergic to fragrances.
  • It does not have any skin benefits nor is it therapeutic. 

Which one is the better option 

While both scent oils have their pros and cons, our answer would be essential oils. That’s because Lǜsè Essentials has improved the quality and concentration of essential oils in soaps. All the exclusive luxurious Lǜsè Essential soaps have a thoughtful blend of two or more essential oils that adds a unique scent while also delivering multiple skin benefits in just one product. We strive to deliver the best of both essential and fragrance oils to create the best of both! 

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