Natural fragrance oils are a new trend in the essential oils marketplace. Many popular essential oil companies are starting to offer fragrances and/or perfume sprays made from precious natural plant materials instead of synthetically composed ingredients that you’d find in traditional perfumes.
Fragrances improve our well-being through the power of scent, which offers a very direct and powerful access to our emotional well-being. If a simple scent like the smell of fresh flowers or a cinnamon-rich winter blend can uplift our spirits and make us feel more positive and powerful, that is a beautiful use of natural medicine on the holistic level of our emotions.
If you’ve traditionally believed that anything labelled “fragrance” must be synthetic, I understand! That’s what I used to think before I started researching this article.
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But it isn’t so. Natural fragrances are made from actual plant components.
What is a Natural Fragrance?
The trend in today’s natural health industry is for natural fragrance blends made with essential oil derivatives – so that the scent of the perfume will smell like the essential oil.
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) allows an ingredient to be called natural ONLY if it is plant derived. To determine what is plant derived, they follow a strict set of guidelines provided by the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) protocol “Aromatic natural raw materials – vocabulary” (9235:2013).
In general, ISO 9235 defines natural aromatic raw materials as being physically obtained from plants using distillation, expression and extraction. Synthetically reconstituted essential oils, synthetic nature-identical ingredients and intentionally chemically modified natural raw materials (e.g. chemical acetylation of essential oil) cannot be used in fragrance compounds that are described as being natural.
Natural fragrances are complex compositions of natural aromatic raw materials such as essential oils, fractions of essential oils, isolates, exudates such as resins, distillates, extracts and volatile concentrates.
Source: www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com ¹
Essential Oil vs. Natural Fragrance Oil vs. Synthetic Fragrance
- Essential oils are a highly concentrated version of the natural oils in plants. Essential oils contain a wide range of individual components and scent molecules all in one bottle of essential oil.
- Natural fragrances are made up of essential oil, absolutes, extracts, CO2’s and isolates of the natural aromatic components taken from the complex scent of the essential oil. Natural fragrances are made in a laboratory but NOT from synthetic materials.
- Synthetic fragrances are just as you’d expect, a chemically-composed scent. Especially to a beginner or first time fragrance buyer, a synthetic alternative may smell quite similar than its natural counterpart.
For more information on the subject of how exactly the chemistry works, head over to Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company, who has done an excellent job of explaining the process of how natural fragrance oils came to be. ²
The Power Of Smell
The human sense of smell has always been one of the most crucial senses. It is extraordinary and powerful on many levels. In fact, compared to our sense of taste, our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive 2. When our olfactory receptors are stimulated, we sense a smell. These olfactory receptors then transmit impulses to our brain in a pathway that’s directly connected to the limbic system – the part of the brain that deals with emotions.
It is through this direct pathway to our emotions that smells are a powerful way to control emotions and emotional well-being.
Do Natural Perfumes Have Therapeutic Effects?
To lead a happy and healthful life, essential oils can be helpful in therapeutic and aesthetic ways. Pure essential oils have holistic influences on the body, which makes them an ideal alternative for many ailments.
Natural fragrances may offer some of these same aromatherapy effects as the essential oil versions of their plant ingredients, but the real purpose of a fragrance is towards creating a beautiful and appealing smell. A multitude of ingredients are used to arrive at a complex and intriguing scent.
In traditional aromatherapy, it is advised not to blend more than 5-6 oils in one blend in an effort to let each oil fully express their healing properties without being muddled up into too much of a blur.
- See also: Guide to Blending Essential Oils
Don’t reach for a natural perfume and expect your headache to subside. For aiding a physical ailment like a headache, use the pure essential oil and dilute it in a carrier oil to enjoy the therapeutic effect.
Choosing Your Natural Essential Oils Fragrance
Natural fragrances are a beautiful and exciting plant-based new product development! Beautiful smells evoke memories and emotions. Natural fragrances may be used purposefully to help us emotionally and spiritually. Unlike in the traditional perfume industry, the essential oils fragrance industry is still quite young, yet offers superb benefits, such as:
- Natural perfumes are highly recommended for people with sensitive skin or skin allergies who may not be able to tolerate traditional synthetic perfumes.
- Using natural perfume supports making ethical choices towards natural products in all areas of life, home and beauty. If you’ve been trying to “go green”, try replacing your perfume or cologne with a natural fragrance perfume without having to compromise on luxury or quality.
- Use natural fragrances for making DIY home & beauty products, giving you the opportunity to use complex smells and scents without having to reach for chemical fragrances.
Much like regular perfumes, fragrance scents are tailored for certain occasions, seasons and feelings. For example, Plant Therapy’s EVOKE line offers 2 sets of 3 oils each:
- CELEBRATE Set including “Excite”, “Jubilation” and “Revere”
- THRIVE Set including “Spirit”, “Verve” and “Zest”
The fragrances in the “CELEBRATE” set smell fresh, uplifting and citrus-y. I like that in a perfume! The THRIVE set would be beautiful for fall perfumes, holiday candles, yoga/meditation and generally for creating a more calm, deep and rooted atmosphere. As you can tell by the names of the sets, I imagine that distinction between fresh & uplifting vs. grounding & rooted is exactly what the company Plant Therapy was going for in their launch of these natural fragrance sets.
Enjoy these beautiful scents that you can diffuse, apply topically, or enjoy in your aromatherapy necklace or personal diffuser. For a full list of ingredients, uses and cautions please visit https://www.planttherapy.com/evoke/.
Please note: If you plan to use essential oil fragrances topically as a perfume, know that each individual’s body chemistry is different. Using an essential oils fragrance or perfume will yield varying results from person to person. Pick a fragrance that reflects your personality – something YOU like.
As with all things essential oils, it’s important to shop with essential oil brands that provide high quality products.
Essential oil fragrances can add a beautiful touch to your overall well-being and you can use them at home to make room sprays, diffuse to beautify the aroma in the room, or even blend them for topical perfume application. Their use is versatile, but they are made specifically for aromatic purposes.
I hope you enjoy creating beautiful natural atmospheres around yourself and your home with natural fragrance oils. Let us know if you have any questions by using the comment box below.
¹ Comparatively Speaking: natural vs. Synthetic Fragrance: https://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/formulating/function/fragrance/136099708.html
² Natural Fragrance Oil… Really? https://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/blog/posts/natural-fragrance-oil-really/
³ BBC Science: Nervous System – Smell: https://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/factfiles/smell/smell_animation.shtml