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An Appreciation of Natural Fragrances

The debate over whether to use fragrance oils or essential oils has been going on now for a very long time (the invention of the first synthetic fragrance being Coumarin created in 1868). From then on the trend towards synthetic fragrances took hold. These were more economical and aroma consistant. Today the positive side of fragrance oils is the consistancy, cost and variety of non plant based aromas.

As an aromatherapy I am biased towards essential oils. I am also allergic to fragrance oils.
From the point of an Aromatherapist – Heres my reasons:

1. Synthetic fragrances that are manufactured scents do not contain the therapeutic properties of there counterpart whole plant based essential oils, therefore the true power and purpose of Aromatherapy is lost. As an example, one drop of lavender fragrance oil does not contain the same natural pharmacy as one drop of lavender essential oil. The synthetic fragrance oil only attemps to duplicate the aroma and not the properties transfered from the plant material itself.

Fragrance oils, aromatic oils or perfume oils as they are sometimes called, are manufactured scents. They are artificially created fragrances and they contain artificial substances. They are specifically designed to mimic the scent of a natural product (such as coffee fragrance oil) or are created to invoke a feeling (for example “spring rain”). The range of scents is enormous .and fragrance oils are quite inexpensive.

Aromatherapy essential oils are naturally occurring substances found in different parts of plants - the blossom, fruit, leaf, stem, bark, wood or resin. Through a complicated and often expensive process of steam distillation or solvent extraction, both hydrosol and essential oils are produced. Each essential oil is comprised of between 50 to 500 different naturally occurring chemicals, which can have both positive and negative effects. For example, cinnamon essential oil is known for its antiseptic and astringent properties yet it is highly irritating to the skin and caution must be taken.

In aromatherapy pure essential oils are used in a way to positively affect physical, emotional and mental health. They enter the body through the skin (via massage or bath) or the olfactory system (via a diffuser or humidifier). Essential oils may be used to enhance mood, to relieve symptoms such as pain, fatigue or inflammation, or be used to kill germs.

Fragrance oils are used primarily in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics and flavorings. They are also used by soap and candle makers to enhance the smell of their product. While some essential oils can also be used by soap and candle makers, they are not as commonly used for these purposes due to cost and a more complex blending procedure.

While scientists can duplicate the fragrance of essential oils, they have so far been unable to duplicate the benefits. Using Lavender as an example, there are many Lavender fragrance oils on the market. They all smell like lavender, consistently smell the same and are long lasting. They are great for fragrancing soaps, perfumes, cosmetics and candles but they have no other benefit. Lavender essential oil, on the other hand, offers the fresh aroma of Lavender plus a great deal of healing properties that may help with symptoms such as coughs, insomnia, hyperactivity, arthritis, muscle aches, rheumatism, acne, sunburn, wounds, insect bites, burns and irritability.

Synthetic fragrances have had several other negative issues come to light over the past few years including a high rate of allergic reaction, as wll as the controversy surrounding the undisclosed aroma chemicals and preservatives in every fragrance oil.
A lot of soap makers etc have chosen to work with fragrance oils because they are intimated by the powerful properties of essential oils. Fragrance oils often contain minute amounts of essential oils

People often ask me if fragrance oils would be safer to use than essential oils because of the powerful properties in essential oils. My answer is definility NO. Fragrance / synthetic oils are made up of a very long list of various chemicals often including essential oils with little regard to the natural qualities that make essential oils so precious.

2. Current laws do not require the full disclousure of the synthetic chemicals that makes up the fragrance oil. For example the formula for a fragrance oil that contains the synthetic version of the chemical compounds in citrus essential oils that cause photosensitization in addition to including nutmeg and cinnamon essential oils as well. Cinnamon essential oil renders the skin hypersensitive to the sun and is a photo-sensitizing oil. Combine the two and this can be harmful but as fragrance oil ingredients do not have to be disclosed fully the consumer would be unaware of these pontential issues..

The crafter using this fragrance oil would not be aware of the presence of cinnamon in the blend when creating their product and may even think that this synthetic version is safer than the its natural oil.

I think its important for people to be aware that synthetic fragrances work completely differently on the human body than natural essential oils. One really good example of the differences between essential oils and fragrance oils is a real slice of orange and a piece of orange confectionary. The real orange has health benefits to the body and comes directly from nature, Every thing about it - the colour the shape, the flavour, scent and taste, the vitamins as well as the psychological and physiological benefits come again directly from nature. It was designed to nourish our body as well as provide vitamin C for health benefits. One the other hand a piece of orange confectionary gets its sweetnees from refined sugars, shape from gums, artifically flavoured and coloured and has no health benefits whatso ever and actually can be bad for our bodies.
An essential oil is an orange and a fragrance oil is a piece of orange confectionary. The body gains nothing from the fragrance oil because this man made substance was only created to duplicate a natural aroma – not the properties. The essential oil is a by product, a function of a plant created to protect, heal and polinate life. The hormonal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral properties of a plant are captured in the essential oil hence the human body is able to use the plants vital energy to benefit itself.

I believe that consumers are insulted these days by companies claiming their products are natural when actually they are using ingredients that are to the contrary of their marketing. Recently I noticed on a well know brand of shower gels “contains the puriest Essential Oils, I looked on the back as I knew immediently upon opening the lid that the product contained only synthetic fragrances. I looked on the back of the bottle at the ingredients list and not a single oil or natural ingredient was present. Upon raising this point with my local trading standards I was told I was reading too much into it and the product was stating that it contained oils that were essential to the blend not as I had read – essential oil.
Marketing is a clever thing.
At KAT we believe one of our goals is to be true to our ourselves and our customers.

Vanessa Kemp has created, in her bubble bath melts, soaps and bath essences fragrances based on the blending of only the purist and most natural oils. The scents stand on their own merits, blended with a few ingredients of the very highest quality, often reminiscent of a fragrant garden in summer, a herb garden, memories of childhood, the English countryside.

The scents (Notes) of essential oils

Citrus oils are energising refreshing, exhilarating
From the first sniff, the crisp, zesty character of citrus scents has instant uplifting appeal,Essential oils in this family include lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit and mandarin.
Lovely green light citrus / floral notes, fruity and warm
Fruity again energising, refreshing, invigorating, revitalising, stimulating

Fruity fragrances burst with mouth-watering juiciness. Just-ripe fruits, sweet and soft juicy oranges, ripened by the sun, give essential oils a youthful, fresh sweetness. Mixed with light florals and a hint of spice, perfection!

Delicate, memory envoking, elegant, exquisive
Light and sweet
This light, floral family includes some of the world's most enchanting flowers, cooled with crisp, aromatic herbs and light citris oils like lime. Relaxing, calming , refreshing.

Heavy floral, Exotic, romantic, intoxicating
Heavy and sweet
These rich, full-bodied florals are the essence of high summer – opulent notes such as gardenia, white lilac, water lily and blue agava. In these fragrances, the potent, heady quality of the blooms is counterpoised with fresh fruits and unusual notes such as cardamom, cacao bean and myrrh.

Warm, evocative, memory envoking, comforting
Often strong in aroma - they blend perfectly with the sweet fragrances of flowers and citrus fruits.They tends to soften the heaviness.
Bergamot, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mandarin, Orange, Petitgrain
The spicy fragrances are rich and enigmatic, loved by men and women alike.

Grounding, natural, earthy, warm extracts of shrubs and trees. These oils have a deep and relaxing scent. Often very calming.
The woody fragrance family celebrates notes such as vetiver and cedarwood that are rich in aroma. Perfect when mixed fruits and flowers.

There are many special events to celebrate through out the year and invariably special aromas are associated with them, for example Christmas Cinnamon and clove mandarin and orange pine cedarwood frankinsence and myrrh. Saint Valentines Day - rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and geranium, Easter - spring flowers like geranium and rose,

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