Believe it or not, this is quite a contentious area in candle making and you will hear different things from different brands. We're going to lay out our approach and why we take it.
Our default is we use fragrance oils in our crystal candles instead of essential oils. What is the difference? Simply put, essential oils are natural and derived from plants whereas fragrance oils are made in laboratories and designed to replicate the chemical structure and aroma of plant oils. Fragrance oils are rigorously tested for their safety, both by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials and the International Fragrance Association.
The first question from most people is, why wouldn't you use natural?
Drawbacks Of Essential Oils
A study in the Comprehensive Reviews In Food Science And Food Safety looked at the stability of essential oils and found that at higher temperatures essential oils can degrade quickly. For candles this means that the essential oils can degrade quickly at the beginning of burning a candle, which leaves little benefit for the majority of your candle experience!
Secondly, it is environmentally unsustainable to be using them frequently. Have a look at brand Doterra as they claim that to make 15ml of their lavender essential oils it takes 1.3kg of lavender and 5ml of their rose essential oils would use 242,000 rose petals! I don't know about you, but we feel that in today's world it is difficult to justify that sort of plant culling.
We are pet owners with two beautiful cats, so we always have furry friends in mind. We have become very mindful of what we have in the house and indeed what we put in other people's homes! Some essential oils such as cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, tea tree and ylang ylang are said to be poisonous to dogs according to VCA Hospitals and cats according to Michelson Found Animals.
Essential oils are also contraindicated for pregnant women in their first trimester, because they can potentially adversely affect the baby in its development stages.
But Fragrance Oils Surely Won't Give The Same Benefits?
You'll read a lot of claims about this, but no one will be looking at what the science actually says!
According to neuroscientist Dr Herz in the International Journal of Neuroscience (2009, Volume 119, Issue 2, p 263-290) there is no scientific study which has shown that fragrance oils are any less effective than their essential oil counterparts.
The field of studying the mood, physiological and behaviour effects on inhaling scents based on scientific study is called Aromachology. It is a term that was coined in 1982 by the The Sense of Smell Institute. This is to be distinguished from Aromatherapy which only focuses on essential oils, while aromachology looks at all scents, covering both essential oils and fragrance oils. Aromatherapists believe that only essential oils give benefits, while Aromachology has shown scientific studies that support both essential and fragrance oils give benefits. The two areas often complement each other as Aromachology has proven the effectiveness of numerous essential oils as well.
So we hope you now understand and appreciate our approach, and the differences between essential oils and fragrance oils.