Essential Oil vs. Fragrance Oil

essential oil, fragrance oil, lavender oil

When it comes to scented bath and body products, the possibilities are endless. There are thousands of awesome fragrances to choose from. If you have ever wondered about the word ‘fragrance’ in the ingredients list then this one's for you. Continue reading to explore more about fragrance oils, and their alternatives, pure essential oils.

What is it?

Pure essential oils are extracted from herbs, flowers, and plants. The extraction process usually involves heating the components until a gas is released, then condensing the gas back into a liquid. Overall, it’s a gentle process that ensures the sensitive compounds don’t break down. 

Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are not extracted solely from nature. Rather, they are synthetically created scents with added chemicals to enhance the aroma. One fragrance oil can be made up of 40-80 materials, with luxury perfumes often made up of 5x that number.


Pure essential oils are used in aromatherapy as the natural ingredients can be used in a way to achieve physical, mental, and emotional balance. They are used to enhance mood, relieve symptoms like pain, fatigue or inflammation.

Fragrance oils, comparatively, are commonly used in soaps, perfumes, and body lotions since there are a wide variety of fragrances available and lasts longer than essential oils. While some essential oils can be used to make soap and other body care products, they are not as commonly used as they are more expensive than fragrance oils, require a complex blending process, and can be unstable.

Chemical Components

The chemical components of essential oils are complex and difficult to reproduce synthetically, so essential oils are considered volatile. Chemical components of essential oils vary in the same species of plant due to seasons, location, climate, and growing conditions, which means the essential oil aroma may vary between different harvests and batches. Comparatively, fragrance oils are synthetically made so they are not volatile, making them last longer than essential oils.


Pure essential oils vary in price, depending on the type, season and availability. Some essential oils, such as Rose and Sandalwood, are always expensive because of the complex and timely extraction processes involved. For example, one drop of Rose essential oil takes a thousand rose petals, making the price relatively high.

Fragrance oils are usually less expensive compared to essential oils because they are synthetically made and not priced based on harvest or season.

However, not everything in nature produces an essential oil – like strawberry or vanilla. So, options are limited. Additionally, some essential oils can’t be used in leave-in products, while others can’t be used during pregnancy or if you have kidney problems. 

Fragrance oils are great to enhance the aroma of cosmetics and perfumes. While the fragrance of essential oils can be mimicked, they do not have the natural healing properties of essential oils. For instance, you can easily find various lemongrass fragrances on the market. They smell like the essential oil and have similar or longer lasting scent strength; however, they do not have any of the benefits. Pure lemongrass essential oil contains tonic and stimulating properties which help to soothe headaches.

Essential Oils


  • Truly Natural
  • 100% Pure
  • Aromatherapy benefits
  • Can be used to enhance mood and relieve body ailments


  • Few options
  • Some can’t be used on skin
  • More expensive
  • The same scent may vary based on season, location, etc. 

Fragrance Oils


  • Scents are endless
  • More stable for skincare products
  • Less expensive
  • Scent can be reproduced so it is more consistent and will not change based on season, location, etc.


  • Synthetic
  • Some people may have skin sensitivities

Cashmere Moon uses both pure essential oils and fragrance oils. I mean, let’s face it, we like to smell good and we want variety. Currently, we only use fragrance oils in our body creams. Our Glow Oil is scented soley with essential oils. We are highly selective in our fragrance oil choices. There are five main “hazard groups” that we simply don’t allow:

  • No carcinogens: These are materials known or thought to cause cancer
  • Mutagens: Materials that change the DNA of a cell, harming the cell and causing diseases like cancer
  • Reproductive toxins: Toxins that adversely affect reproductive organs and increase the risk of birth defects
  • Organ toxins: These are toxins that can cause adverse effects or disease within specific bodily organs
  • Acute toxins: Toxins that can cause adverse effects from a single exposure. Generally, this would be accidental exposure like spillage or ingestion

We are committed to having the safest, highest quality, most thoroughly tested fragrances. We are happy to provide such a range of premium products, for people that want only the best for their skin.