Monday, January 9, 2012

Essential & Fragrance Oils, The Difference?

I use both essential and fragrance oils to scent my soaps. Many times you simply can not get the fragrance you would like from a natural source and that is when I use fragrance oils. Fun fragrances like Vanilla Butter Cream, Strawberry, Chocolate or even Grapefruit would be a man made fragrance oil. Essential oils are often available and I use them with many of my soaps such as Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus. Often Essential Oils are very very expensive and I would have to charge you much more for the soaps, that is also when I use fragrance oils.

Originally, perfumes and fragrance materials came from plants or animal sources. There is growing concern about harvesting some raw materials, such as Sandalwood.  During the late 1800’s the first synthetic fragrance material was produced. From here, an explosion of fragrance houses came about. Now, perfumes were no longer reserved for the rich!
As an example, Patchouli oil has experience a huge markup in price lately. A tough year for crops, the yield was not just as large, creating a demand for Patchouli oil. 4 oz. of oil is $48.60 (and this is before I pay to have it shipped to me).  I use about 4 oz. for one batch of soap.  If you were to break it down to price per bar, I would need to sell an Essential Oil Patchouli soap for $8.50 or more per bar.   Many of you would simply not purchase soap for that price.  Due to this price, I chose to use the man-made fragrance oil.  It is much less expensive and smells just as wonderful.

There are many ways to "get" the oils from plants for essential oils.  Steam, Water or Solvent Distillation.  Different processing methods are required to extract essential oils from different plants. Most oils are extracted using steam distillation, during which the plant material is permeated with steam. As the plant tissues break down, the essential oils and water vapor are released, then collected and cooled.

Plants such as Patchouli, Mint and Lavender are steam distilled. Patchouli oil is steam distilled from the Patchouli leaves. Before distillation takes place the leaves are partially dried and stacked. Distillation is a physical separation process.

Commercially, distillation has a number of uses. Water is distilled to remove impurities, such as salt from seawater. Air is distilled to separate its components—notably oxygen, nitrogen, and argon—for industrial use. Distillation of fermented solutions has been used since ancient times to produce distilled beverages with a higher alcohol content.
After distillation, vapors are condensed, usually yielding a two-part system of water and the organic compounds, allowing for simple separation. Then you have your concentrated oil. It is a lengthy process.

The premises where distillation is carried out, especially distillation of alcohol, are known as a distillery. I can not do this on my own, I simply do not have the equipment, space, money or technology to perform this procedure.
(A distillation room)

I have a great supplier for these essential and fragrance oils. I have used and tried several different suppliers but found through trial and error that one supplier stands out among them all. I am happy to bring you the best essential and fragrance oils I can to use in my soaps.  ALL the fragrance oils that I use in my soaps are skin safe and extensively tested.    If it is of a concern to you, you can always ask me which soaps are Essential oils and which are Fragrance oils. 

No comments: