Fragrance Oils


Fragrance oils are commercial oils which have mild aroma of an essential oil, or a synthetic chemical which resembles something natural. Fragrance oils are prepared in various ways, but their main purpose is to add a unique smell ( aroma ) to the environment. These oils are used in soaps, shampoos, scented candles, vaporizers, fireplace, bathroom and any other place in home. One can easily make fragrance oils at home and use them in homemade beauty products, house cleaners, sprays and in room fresheners.
Fragrance oils are also called scented oils. Some of them are perfume oils, as they are used in perfumes.

What is a Fragrance Oil ?

A natural fragrance oil is an essential oil which is diluted in some carrier oil. But, why don’t we use the essential oils directly ? That’s because many essential oils are very strong and have potent smell. If used in full strength ( undiluted ), their smell may become too strong to bear. That is why, in many applications, they are pre-diluted with a carrier. There are chemical carriers, like propylene glycol and natural carriers, like olive oil and coconut oil.
One can vary the amount of essential oil and carrier oil to get the desired intensity of aroma. More drops of essential oil would create a more powerful smell.

Fragrance Oils
Fragrance Oils (Image:Shutterstock)

Types of Fragrance Oils

There are many types of fragrance oils, but they can be grouped into these categories.

  • Natural essential oil in natural carrier – This is the most desirable. It is completely natural.
  • Natural essential oil in synthetic carrier – The carrier here can be a synthetic carrier, like propylene glycol.
  • Synthetic aromatic compound in natural carrier – Examples are lab created aromatic compounds in carrier like coconut oil.
  • Synthetic aromatic compound in synthetic carrier – These are completely inorganic, with most ingredients being created in the laboratory.

Most people first type of fragrance oil, which is natural and also provides many health benefits.

Essential Oils Used In Fragrance Oils

To achieve a particular aroma, one or more essential oils are mixed in carrier oil. These are some essential oils that one can use to make a scented oil.

Ylang – Ylang Essential Oil

The ylang-ylang esential oil has a custard like aroma, which is soothing and pleasing. It is added to confectionery, perfumes and for wedding celebrations. In Samoan Islands, this oil is used for many medicinal properties. Its smell is a queer blend of banana, jasmine and neroli essential oil.

Jasmine Essential Oil

This oil bears the characteristic aroma of jasmines. This aroma is sweet, pleasing and very relaxing. This smell is made use of in many ceremonies in different civilizations across the world. In fact, jasmine is prized for its unique smell. This smell can also be used to quickly mimic a jasmine floral smell, when jasmine flowers are not easily available.

Neroli Essential Oil

Neroli oil has one of the most unique smells. Its smell is predominantly citrus with a hint of metallic aroma. There is also a component which creates a honey like a smell. So, we it is a mix of metal, citrus and honey in aroma. Neroli essential oil is believed to be a major ingredient in many well guarded recipes.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood essential oils is one of the most cooling oils out there. If you want to create a cool, refreshing and pleasing smell, this is the oil to use. Putting a few drops in the vaporizer, it diffuses in the air and it relieves blood pressure. Sandalwood essential oil is heavily used in India in many ceremonies.

Vanilla Essential Oil

Vanilla oil really smells like vanilla. So, if you want to create a vanilla like smell, then this is the oil to use. Now, there are two kinds of vanilla essential oil, the one made from artificial vanilla flavor and the other one made from real vanilla beans. Now, obviously the real vanilla essential oil has a more richer aroma, with many smell notes for your nose.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

The characteristic smell of lemongrass is a unique citrus smell, which smells pretty much like lemons. Lemongrass essential oil is excellent as an insect repellent. Use it in a vaporizer and let its aroma pervade the air. This keeps the insects away. This fact is made use of in many ceremonies. The simplest way to get this done is to use lemongrass scented candles. You can easily get them online.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil has a characteristic minty smell, which is cool and refreshing. It is sharp, cooling, camphoraceous and menthol like smell. The cooling effect is really made use of in many products. Peppermint fragrant oils can help you cool off naturally in summer. This smell is also helpful in relieving fatigue and feeling active all day long.

Cedar Wood Oil

Cedar oil has a strong woody smell. It is somewhat earthy and the area diffused with cedar wood oil smells like an enchanting forest. Its smell drives away insects and is great for incense sticks and candles. Cedarwood oil is not a single type of oil though. There are many varieties of cedar wood, each of them yielding a slightly different smelling oil. So, it all depends on the species of cedar wood, like Californian cedar, Japanese cedar or Ceylon cedar.

Mandarin Orange Essential Oil

Mandarin orange has an obvious orange like smell. It is a more sweeter citrus smell which is quite pleasing. It is commonly used in fragrance oils used for massage and aromatherapy purposes. It is used in formulations used for relieving stress and mental exhaustion.

Rosehip seed Oil

If you haven’t smelled rosehip seed oil, then you are in for a surprise. It smells less like a rose and more like a nut. Rosehip seed oil has a warm, nutty smell and a hint of cool, rose like fragrant smell. If you want a more powerful rose flower smell, you need to get rose petal essential oil. This is steam distilled from rose petals only, and so has higher concentration of rose fragrant aromatic compounds than the one obtained from hip seed.

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil has a warming, invigorating smell which may make a person feel happier. Cinnamon oil has an aromatic component which makes it smell somewhat like cloves. It is difficult to describe in words that unique smell of cinnamon. It is really sweet and mild, somewhat like honey. Cinnamon leaf oil has a more spicy and pungent aroma than Cinnamon oil obtained from cinnamon spice. So, you can try out the leaf oil as well.

These are the major essential oils used in fragrance oils. Now, some of the oils have specific applications in certain products. Like, a particular oil is more suited for use in perfumes and not so much in scented candles.

Fragrance Oils For Specific Applications

Certain essential oils have been used specifically for a particular product. Let us see which ones are good for what purpose.

Fragrance Oils for Candles

Most popular fragrant essential oils used in candles are :

  • Cottonseed oil – to create a mild aroma of cotton
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Vanilla oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Goji berry fragrance oil
  • Orange oil
  • Mandarin orange oil
  • Apple seed oil
  • Caribbean Teakwood oil

Fragrance Oils For Incense Sticks

These are the oils that are used to aromatize incense sticks.

  • Myrrh essential oil – most popular oil for incense sticks. It is used to make incese sticks produce a characteristic myrrh smell.
  • Frankincese oil – There is incese in its name. This signifies the importance and use of Frankincese oil in incense sticks.
  • Cedar oil
  • Sandalwood oil
  • Juniper oil
  • Nutmeg oil
  • Star Anise oil
  • Patchouli oil
  • Rose oil
  • Clove oil
  • Saffron oil

and many more oils.

Fragrance Oils For Home

Use these fragrance oils to aromatize your home. Use in room freshener, kitchen and in vaporizer.

  • Lavender  oil – to induce sleep.
  • Rosemary  oil – to boost alertness and memory.
  • Clary sage oil – great for reducing irritation.
  • Eucalyptus oil – creates a sharp smell in your house. Helpful for respiratory difficulty.
  • Lemon oil – great for citrus smell in the house. It is also great for putting on clothes as a perfume.
  • Peppermint oil – keeps mice away and has a cooling smell.
  • Sweet Basil oil – It has a basil like strong smell, but with sweet tones.
  • Thyme oil
  • Bergamot oil

Fragrance Oils for Soaps

These are the most well used aromatic oils in soaps and other bathing products. These oils should however be used in lesser concentration because in higher concentration, some of them may irritate the skin.

  • Lemon oil
  • Camellia oil ( also Tea seed oil )
  • Lavender oil
  • Bergamot oil
  • Blue Chamomile oil
  • Catnip oil
  • Bay leaf oil
  • Clementine oil
  • Coffee essential oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Oregano oil

The coffee essential oil is an exotic essential oil made from coffee beans which can give a coffee aroma to your soap. Oregano oil has been used in soaps to prevent against infections, which has been proved by this study. [4]

Fragrance Oils for Oil Burner

When using essential oil in an oil burner, remember to add more drops of essential oil. This is because an oil burner is a mild diffuser. It works on the principle of evaporation, which is faint. So, it is important to add more oil to the oil burner.  Try these essential oils in your oil burner.

  • Ylang-Ylang oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Sandalwood oil

And other oils that are mentioned in the beginning of this article. These oils can also be used in oil warmers ( electric, candle, plug-in ), diffusers, vaporizers, oil lamps and lanterns.

Fragrance Oils For Perfume

By far the most prominent application of essential oils is in the perfume industry. High quality and oils from exotic ingredients are used in some of the most popular perfumes. The recipes for many of these recipes are also well guarded. However, one can make a perfume at home with all natural ingredients.
Did you know that most perfumes contain harmful chemical and aroma identical chemicals. Some of the compounds in these products are even potentially carcinogenic [source ]. And the worst thing is that many of these harmful chemicals are not listed on the labels of these products many of the times.

These are the essential oils that you can use in your homemade perfumes.

  • Neroli essential  oil
  • Bergamot essential oil
  • Rose petal oil
  • Jasmine essential oil
  • Vetiver essential oil
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Citrus essential oil
  • Olibanum essential oil
  • Petitgrain oil
  • Sweet orange oil
  • Myrrh essential oil
  • Coriander seed oil
  • Frankincese oil

You can play around with the smell of these products, and then use them in combination, or singly to create perfumes at home.

How to make your own designer perfume at home ?

The basic formulation for a perfume is about 20 % essential oil, 70 % alcohol and rest is Spring Water. These values can be changed a bit if the essential oils are strong or weak. One can combine essential oils based on many features, like.

  • Aroma
  • Effect on the psyche ( mental effects of essential oil )

Health Benefits of Fragrance Oils

Essential oils used in all kinds of fragrance oils have potent health benefits. A strange fact about these oils is that even though they come from different plants, nuts, herbs etc but still the aromatic compounds in them may be similar. For example, limonene is an aromatic compound found in many essential oils. The difference in these oils comes from the unique VOC ( volatile organic compounds ) and the relative composition of these aromatic compounds. Below, we see some common aromatic compounds which lend their properties to respective essential oils. These chemicals, when extracted in a laboratory and used in an inorganic manner may be harmful. But in natural oils, they are generally good for health. The “source” in the table below indicates the most prominent source of that natural aromatic compound.  But it is often found in many other essential oils.

NOTE : Some of the aromatic compounds below are not natural. They are marked with an “Artificial” in the “Properties” tab. These are created in the lab to mimic something natural.

Aromatic compound  Source Properties
Geranyl Acetate Rose petal oil Used in soaps and creams for rose smell
Isoamyl acetate  – Artificial. Used for banana smell
Benzyl acetate Jasmine oil Flowery smell which is that of jasmine
Myrcene Bay oil, Ylang – Ylang oil Analgesic effect, relieves pain
Nerol Neroli oil Characteristic smell used in perfumes
Limonene Orange oil  Characteristic sharp orange smell
Camphor found in many oils  Characteristic camphoraceous smell
Eugenol Clove oil Anaesthetic and used in perfumes
Vanillin Vanilla  Used in perfumes, may trigger migraines
Thymol Thyme oil  Antiseptic, used in mouthwash
Anethol Anise oil  Perfume
Thujone Juniper oil  Menthol like odor


1. INDOOR AIR QUALITY: Scented Products Emit a Bouquet of VOCs. Carol Potera
2. Going Bananas Over Isoamyl Acetate. Adapted by Kurt Rublein and T. Prueksaritanon from Introduction to Organic Laboratory Techniques, A Microscale Approach by D. L. Pavia, G. M. Lampman, G. S. Kriz, and R. G. engel, 1990. 10/18/06
3. Evaluation of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties of vanillin in carbon tetrachloride-treated rats. Makni M1, Chtourou Y, Fetoui H, Garoui el M, Boudawara T, Zeghal N.
4. Oregano essential oil as an antimicrobial additive to detergent for hand washing and food contact surface cleaning. Rhoades J, Gialagkolidou K, Gogou M, Mavridou O, Blatsiotis N, Ritzoulis C, Likotrafiti E.
5. PERFUME QUALITY AND ART. Neurobiology of Sensation and Reward.

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