Fragrance Oils Vs. Essential Oils

The breakdown between fragrance oils versus essential oils! Is one better than the other? And read more to find out what Vellabox uses!
May 11, 2021

We often get asked the question, what does premium fragrance really mean?

And what is the difference between premium fragrance and essential oils? Is one better than the other in terms of quality, scent or safety?

Stay tuned as we describe the oils and their common uses. And the burning question, what oil ingredients do we use at Vellabox?

Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are made from the production of chemical compounds. This production process occurs in a lab. 

Because they are man-made, they are generally cheaper to produce and purchase. Fragrance oils are used to make many everyday products. Here are 8 common products that contain fragrance oils:

  • Scented candles
  • Scented laundry detergent
  • Scented soaps
  • Perfumes
  • Room sprays
  • Lotions
  • Car air fresheners
  • Scented bubble baths

There are two categories of fragrance oils: synthetic and natural.

Synthetic Fragrances

Created from artificial chemical components, synthetic fragrance oils can contain as many as 80 chemical ingredients. It’s good to note that because of this, be cautious if you are more prone to skin reactions and sensitivities with lotions or sprays.

On the bright side, synthetic fragrance oils are very well liked because they provide a plethora of scent options. Some common scent flavors include:

  • Birthday cake
  • Strawberries and cream
  • Pumpkin spice
  • Candy cane
  • Cotton candy

Natural Fragrances

Natural fragrance oils are still produced in a lab, yet their name comes from extracting parts of naturally derived fragrance components. 

Some of these oils include limonene from lemons, vanillin from vanilla beans and geraniol from roses.

Because fragrance oil products can touch the skin like soaps, creams and oils, use natural fragrance oils rather than synthetic fragrances. Natural fragrance oils are better for those with sensitive skin or any sensitivities to fragrances.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are 100% potent oils made from natural ingredients and extracted from plants. 

The process begins by hand-picking the necessary materials such as the root, leaves, fruit or flowers of a plant, followed by cultivation and careful pruning.

It can take several pounds of a plant to produce essential oils. Sometimes this might mean 600 pounds of rose petals to produce rose oil. 

A jasmine picker may labor for more than 20 days just to produce a single ounce of jasmine oil. Then, these aromatic parts of a plant are pressed to capture the oil fragrance.

Essential oils are considered to be neat because they aren’t diluted, processed or mixed with additives. 

Essential oils are categorized in three groups: odorants, flavors and medicines.


Essential oils are known for their aromatic qualities and medicinal purposes, so they’ve become popular for meditation and aromatherapy. 

Odorants are the most commonly known form of essential oils. Here are 4 ways essential oils are used in everyday products:

  • Scented soaps
  • Scented candles
  • Perfumes
  • Room and clothing sprays


Since essential oils are used in aromatherapy, they are said to have the same effects as antidepressants. Also, they have been used to relax and provide relief during pregnancy as well as ease headaches.

Oftentimes, essential oils are used in diffusers, massages or relaxing baths. Depending on the oil, they can be used for many different beneficial effects.

Some are more catered towards reducing stress from the mind and body whereas others focus on boosting energy levels, mental clarity, mood and immunity.

Is One Better Than the Other?

In terms of comparing, fragrance and essential oils one might consider the difference between natural fragrance oils and essential oils. And, is there even really a difference?

During the plant extracting of the production process, if an entire compound is extracted, then it’s an essential oil. If a single molecule is extracted, it’s a natural fragrance oil. 

Scent Variations

Because fragrance oils are synthetic, they not only can imitate natural scents but also scents not found in nature. Think candle scents not found in nature such as vanilla cupcake, sunday laundry, champagne toast or other unique scents. 

For essential oils, they have less options in terms of scent variety because all of their scents come from nature. 

Shelf Life

Although fragrance oils can be used for an array of different products, these oils have a pretty short shelf life compared to essential oils. Fragrance oils have between six and 12 months while essential oils have two to 15 years.

You can check if a fragrance oil has gone bad if it smells different or if the scent has faded.

Price Point

Essential oils are typically more expensive than fragrance oils because of the cost and steps in their production process. More time can be spent in the plant selection process with the rarity of the plant, location or difficulty in the conditions where the plant is grown.

Sandalwood in particular is an essential oil that is expensive to produce because of its high demand and tree maturity. In order to reach high quality, the Australian sandalwood tree is harvested for at least 15 years. 

Environmental Impact

Going off sandalwood essential oils, the entire tree is killed when this oil is produced. 

In general, producing essential oils is worse for the environment compared to fragrance oils because it can take several pounds of a plant to produce small quantities of essential oils. 

Like sandalwood, to produce a single pound of rose essential oils requires 10,000 pounds of rose petals.

On top of the high volume necessary for production, essential oil production is also leading sandalwood, cedarwood and rosewood to be endangered, yet are still harvested in high demand.

Burning essential oils in large quantities can be toxic. When essential oils are burned, it’s best to have them in a candle form or even in non-heated ways such as diffusers and soaps.

On the other hand, synthetic oils also have also garnered a bad reputation for being unhealthy and toxic. There are synthetic oils that contain toxic materials; however, this reputation can be avoided by going through quality testing to produce safe and toxin-free products.

Which Oils Does Vellabox Use?

Vellabox candles use a mixture of both premium fragrance and essential oils. We understand that there is not one best oil to use for fragrance in candles. That is why we believe in using only the highest quality and trusted sources when it comes to using both fragrance and essential oils. 

We use only the most premium fragrance oils and all-natural ingredients. Our candles are paraffin, phthalate and paraben-free.

We take pride in reducing toxins by only burning clean scents that not only smell great, but are healthy to breathe.

Final Thoughts

We can’t say that one type of oil is better than the other to use in candles.

However, we know that we can mitigate the harmful, environmental effects by using only the highest quality ingredients while minimizing our carbon footprint through sustainable practices.

We hope that we gave you a sense of different oil types and now feel more confident in the oil world.

DM us on Instagram with any questions and happy burning!