Essential Oils vs Fragrances

I’m back to the big debate of whether I should use solely essential oils in my soap or if I should sometimes use synthetic fragrances.  Keeping a “green” and natural lifestyle is very important to me so it goes without saying that I want my soap to be as pure and as natural as possible.  However, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on essential oils and I’ve once again worked myself into a dither.

What I’ve concluded is that essential oils should be equated to “medicine.”  Just because essential oils are “natural,” that doesn’t mean that they are always good for you.  Some can be used to treat skin conditions, while some can make problems worse.  For example, I accidentally ordered Cinnamon Bark EO.  I want to make some Fall scents and cinnamon was an automatic go-to.  I knew from the start that cinnamon EO needs to be heavily diluted because it can be a dermal irritant if too strong.  However, there is a cinnamon bark EO and a cinnamon leaf EO.  The bark EO is highly hazardous and should never be used on the skin (only trained aromatherapists should be using it in the first place), but the leaf EO can be used safely when heavily diluted.

Moreover,I have read that pregnant and/or nursing mothers should avoid certain EOs, I haven’t found a definitive answer on WHY these women should avoid EOs.  Personally, I used soaps with EOs all throughout my pregnancy and still use them even though I’m nursing–partly because I didn’t know any better and because I haven’t had any problems.  One friend suggested that they be avoided in products that stay on the skin, like lotions, or in heavy amounts (perhaps with massage oils).  I’ve ordered a couple of books to hopefully explain the dangers to me more clearly.  If you have particular expertise on this subject, please! chime in!

I’ve considered trying some synthetic fragrances.  They are FDA approved and considered safe for cosmetic use, although I fully expect some people’s skin to be more sensitive to them.  If I do use fragrances, I’ll clearly label those bars and allow the consumer to choose.  I could also always stick the the common EOs that I know are considered safe for the general public (sidebar: I’ve researched the EOs that I’ve currently used, so don’t worry about them not being safe!) and include the note to “consult a practitioner before using.”   However, I’d be limited in what scents I can create.

Please weigh in…I could really use some feedback!


2 thoughts on “Essential Oils vs Fragrances

  1. Just out of curiosity, and to help me weigh in on this, which EOs can you use? You said you’d be limited on scents but how limited will you be? Do you see a lot of other people making and selling soaps with the fragrances? And are those people on the more green/natural side also?

    • Many of the soapers I follow use lots of synthetic fragrances and colorants…and they have huge variety and beautiful soaps. Some have a small selection of 100% natural soap too. However, just because others use essential oils in their soap, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re responsible and research their EOs or label them properly.

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