Let me begin with this.
I only use essential oils in my soap making. During the many months of research, learning, and creating my own formulas, I experimented with fragrance oils. And, let me tell you, there is a huge difference between fragrance oils and essential oils that may surprise some of you. Thus, the reason why I only use essential oils!
First – what is a fragrance oil?
A fragrance oil is a synthetic product that is chiefly comprised of essential oil that has been diluted with other oils, such as olive oil on the good end, plain old vegetable oil on the not-so-good end. There are other additives such as fragrance enhancers, that are chemical compounds, that can be added as well. In short – fragrance oils are a mixed bag of ingredients, that while starting out with essential oils, end up with a finished product that only bears a small resemblance to those essential oils.
The bad? Due to the processing, the healing properties found in essential oils are gone.
The good? They do retain their fragrance at high temperatures, which makes them very attractive to anyone using hot process soap making.
Additionally, fragrance oils are much cheaper to buy than pure essential oils. That also makes them quite attractive to those who are making soap as a business.
Next – what is essential oil?
The best of the best as far as I’m concerned! Essential oils are made by harvesting the plant/flowers from which they come. Lavender, as an example, is made by placing a large quantity of lavender flowers and leaves into a pot, covering with water, and boiling. The boiling time can vary depending on who you talk to, but 10 minutes slow boiling, followed by about 3 hours simmering on low heat, is generally found to be an ideal time. After that, the plant is strained from the water, and that liquid is refrigerated. Within 24 hours or so, an oily film will form at the top of the water. That oil – which is the essence of the plant – is then skimmed off and bottled. It takes a huge amount of plant flowers/leaves to make even a tablespoon of essential oil.
That’s what pure essential oil is – and it’s the only type of fragrance I will ever use in my soap!
The bad? It’s a lot more expensive than fragrance oil. And, depending on the essential oil variety, the cost can be many times greater than fragrance oil. Even “high quality” fragrance oils are still just diluted down versions of an essential oil, and come at a much lower price.
The good? Essential oils can heal the skin, and fight harmful bacteria that can grow in bar soaps and other personal care products. Additionally, the lovely aroma can be healing all by itself.
The neutral? Well, it’s neither good or bad that essential oils lose about half of their aroma quality (but not the healing ability) when used in higher heats. Temperature of my soap mixture ranges from 150F to 155F so that’s hot enough to cause the essential oils to lose some of their more intense fragrance. However, I tend to be very generous when adding EO to compensate for that, so my soaps come with a fresh scent that is of the highest quality. Many other bar soaps don’t come with enough EO to make a noticeable fragrance – but mine do!
A final note about essential oils is that the healing properties found in them have been well documented for centuries. I, for one, have no intentions of arguing with any of that. I love how my soaps make my skin look and feel!
Find my beautiful soaps at The Honey Soap Store on Etsy. Come on in and browse!