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Topic: The Official Fragrance Oil & Essential Oil Thread!  (Read 15135 times)
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Nymeria
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« on: March 09, 2009 10:59:50 AM »

This thread is designed to be kinda like the Supplier and Tutorial threads in that it should be the big introduction to scents for people new to soapmaking, or those who just want to chip in and see what others think. Much like the Supplier link, as people chip in, I will go back and edit this post and add thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately not every supplier lists all the info about their scents (whether they discolor, mutate, etc.) Did you buy an apple scent from a supplier that mutated horribly? Let me know and I'll add it to this thread!

DISCLAIMER: This is designed to be a general "rule-of-thumb" guide for beginners. If you have any questions on particular scents or EOs from particular companies, it is always best to check with them. Smiley

Fragrance Oils

These are artificial scents that may sometimes contain EOs in them, but they are primarily synthetic (man-made). They come in every variety under the rainbow (there is a Play-Doh scent for goodness sake!) and are generally a more cost effective alternative to EOs. Always be sure your FO is formulated for soap! There are a lot of FOs out there that are suitable for candles, but NOT for skin products! Please note that some FOs can be used in soap and lip balms, but not all. Also, most supplier websites will tell you if an FO is not suitable for CP soap, but is suitable for MP. Hopefully we will eventually get a good novella of a list here. Smiley

FO frequently asked question: What does "type" mean in the name of a fragrance? Example: Apple Jack Peel (type). This generally means that it is a knock-off of a well known fragrance or product. In this case, it is generally a knock-off of a Bath & Body Works scent. Most times the scents are VERY similar, but not identical (though some are so close you can't tell), so keep that in mind. They are often a soap supplier's interpretation of a scent.

FO FAQ #2: why are some FOs suitable for MP but not CP? Generally its a temperature thing. Because CP soap achieves such high temperatures when saponifying, some scents just cant stand the heat! Often times the scents will mutate which means they will smell different than the bottle. Lets say you buy a strawberry FO that says it will mutate in CP; it may smell like fresh-picked strawberries in the bottle, and in your MP projects, but when put in CP itll smell entirely different. Sometimes a scent merely loses some of its top notes, but maintains a pleasant scent (just not the one you initially planned on!), other times it turns into an entirely different, ugly animal!

Fragrance Oil Properties

Anything purchased at Micheal's, Joann's or Hobby Lobby: Eeeesh. They are weak and very, very poor quality. If you're going to start soap making, start it right and find a soap supplier either locally or online!! Smiley

Angel (type): Sweet Cake's version of Tierry Mugler's (sp??) popular perfume is by far the most superior, closest to the real thing I have seen and tried. I've tried a few other suppliers' versions and found them to not be as nice.

Vanilla: This is the big discoloring scent. In MP & CP soaps this FO will eventually discolor from a tan to dark brown color. You may have a lovely pale yellow when you first make it, but it'll turn brown, I promise. Generally any sweet, candy/food scents that contain vanilla will also discolor (cake batter, chocolate, sugar cookie, etc.). Many companies make a non-discoloring vanilla, but I find it to be more sugary than vanilla. (any input on a good non-disc. vanilla is appreciated!)

White Tea & Ginger: BrambleBerry's WT&G scent is heavenly in MP, scrubs, salves, lotions & bath fizzies but it does straaaaange things in CP soap; avoid it in CP soap and enjoy otherwise!


Essential Oils

These are pure plant extracts that bear the "essential qualities" of whatever they are from (i.e. lavender as an anti-inflammatory). EOs are generally a stronger scent and many people claim they carry healing qualities. Because they are pure, natural plant products, they are generally pricier than FOs, but it can be well worth it! I would say at least 95% of EOs are suitable for soap; I say 95% because I can't think of any that aren't, off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are some out there I don't know about. Smiley Word of caution when buying EOs: when buying online,* make sure you are purchasing PURE essential oil. There are a lot of "aromatherapy" oils out there that may contain a lot of essential oil in them, but they also have alcohol and other additives. Very, very bad! Keep in mind that most EOs are botanical/citrus in nature; if you find a website claiming to sell strawberry, banana or chocolate EO, do your research! Also, there IS such a thing as vanilla EO, but it is insanely expensive; if you find a site with vanilla EO for $4/oz, it is NOT vanilla EO!

*I flat-out don't recommend buying at natural, health grocers like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's because the prices are highway robbery

Essential Oil Properties

Cinnamon: Always exercise caution when using cinnamon EOs as there is a very thin line between "Mmmm this smells great!" and "OMG it burns!!!" Cinnamon can be very irritating to the skin, especially gentler skin like lips. Another one I avoid in lip balms.

Clove: This is another oil that in large quantities can be irritating to the skin, especially gentler skin like lips. Exercise caution when using in lip balms!

Grapefruit: As with most citrus scents, grapefruit can be very fleeting in CP soap. Some people claim combining citrus scents with Litsea Cubea will prolong them.

Lemon: As with most citrus scents, lemon can be very fleeting in CP soap. Some people claim combining citrus scents with Litsea Cubea will prolong them. Lemon is a photo-sensitizer, which means it makes you more sensitive to the sun. I suggest avoiding it in lip balms and lotions, especially during the summer months! However it is great to add to shampoo bars for blonds and swimmers! Smiley

Orange: As with most citrus scents, orange can be very fleeting in CP soap. Some people claim combining citrus scents with Litsea Cubea will prolong them. Orange is a photo-sensitizer, which means it makes you more sensitive to the sun. I suggest avoiding it in lip balms and lotions, especially during the summer months!

Peppermint: Always exercise caution when using peppermint EO as there is a very thin line between "Mmmm this smells great!" and "OMG it burns!!!" Too much peppermint can be irritating to the skin and can cause a burning sensation.



This list is VERY small to start off, I know!! I will add more as I think of them (I'm drawing a blank right now... always when I make posts!!), and hopefully more people will chip in so I can go back and edit!!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009 06:46:03 PM by Nymeria » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2009 09:15:51 AM »

Hello Nymeria!
THanks so much for starting this thread and the one about colours.

About essential oils, esp. the ones with a very thin line between smelling great and burning, do you have any suggestion for using them in CP soaps?
I usually do 10/15 ml of EO per kilo of fats, with a small spoon of rice flour to fix it. For the moment I mainly used lavander. Would this quantity apply to i.e. cinnamon? a friend of me has been dreaming of a cinnamon soap bar since I started with soapmaking...

Thanks again!

Vale
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2009 05:38:49 PM »

Something that some people don't realize and I though I would throw out there.

If someone online or even in a store is trying to sell you things like banana, blueberry, strawberry, cherry, chocolate or apple pie, etc essential oils... run the other way!  There is no such thing as essential oils in these or many other scents.  These are fragrance oils.  FOs are not bad if you are not sensitive or allergic to them ... but if you are questioning if there is such a thing as tulip EO ... research it.  When I started making my products, I purchased something sold as an EO.  I got it home and looked it up and found out I would have had to pay something like $200 an oz if it was.  I was unset to find out it was actually an FO and not usable in my natural products.

If we are putting personal choices/preferences of scents here ... I use mostly FOs from MMS

Amber Romance type Fragrance Oil ... I find is a bit more sweet that the VS brand.  But then I like a more earthy scent, closer the the amber scent currently available at B&BW.

Autumn Afternoon Fragrance ... great scent for men, my brother loves it in aftershave lotion, MP soap and shampoo ... it changes smell in CP or HP and is not so fresh smelling ... I think the leave start decomposing or something.

Bergamot & Chamomile Fragrance... love this one, such a fresh scent.  I have even made a body spray with it.

Chocolate Mousse Fragrance Oil ... love it .. that is all I have to say.

Cotton Candy Fragrance Oil .. the kids love it, it makes me think of a warm summer day, sitting on a Ferris wheel with the boy I have a crush on ... such a memory trigger!

Earth Fragrance Oil .... I hate this smell .. the kids love it, most of the outdoorsy people and gardeners I know, love it.  It sort of reminds me of a freshly watered garden.  The wet dirt smell.

Eastern Amber Fragrance Oil .. still not quite the amber scent, but I still love this one.  It smells natural and earthy.  It is strong so start small.

Honeysuckle Fragrance ... I haven't tried it in a CP or HP ... but it is nice in MP and in lotions, sprays, it reminds me of the old honeysuckle cologne that Avon used to have.

Welcome Home Fragrance ... reminds me of grandma's house during the holiday ... I love this scent in just about everything.


I like to mix FOs and see what I can come up with ... the same with EOs ... but I avoid mixing FO and EO together for any products.
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2009 03:47:26 PM »

Great point Shadeweaver! We had a discussion on a thread recently about there not being an actual Vanilla EO. Also, I have bought some really bad stuff off of ebay. If the price is too good to be true, (and it's not somebody just re-selling a well known supplier's oils to clear out their stock or whatever reason), then it probably is! I got burned a couple times from buying really cheap fragrance oils and lip balm oils. In the fragrance oils case they ended up costing quite a bit because they were so bad I couldn't use them, and in the lip balm oils case they weren't even oil...some jerk was selling colored flavored water!

I like to mix FOs and see what I can come up with ... the same with EOs ... but I avoid mixing FO and EO together for any products.

I actually don't like to mix FO's together unless they are a single note...vanilla and cherry for example. If you already have something that is a blend of a lot of scents, a lot of times it comes out really "muddy" smelling if you mix several blends together. I'm talking about, say, a Love Spell dupe and Black Cherry Vanilla, things that were already formulated fairly carefully.  I usually keep Fo's and Eo's separate too, but there are definitely occasions where a little EO added to an FO rocks (extra Orange EO to an Orange Dreamsicle, a bit of  Lavender Fleur to sweeten up a too medicinal Lavender EO etc)
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009 05:58:33 PM »

Great point Shadeweaver! We had a discussion on a thread recently about there not being an actual Vanilla EO. Also, I have bought some really bad stuff off of ebay. If the price is too good to be true, (and it's not somebody just re-selling a well known supplier's oils to clear out their stock or whatever reason), then it probably is! I got burned a couple times from buying really cheap fragrance oils and lip balm oils. In the fragrance oils case they ended up costing quite a bit because they were so bad I couldn't use them, and in the lip balm oils case they weren't even oil...some jerk was selling colored flavored water!

Eeesh, MareMare. That is awful! I've always been wary of buying off of Ebay. I guess because I'm one of "those" people who expects the guarantee fairy to put something under my pillow... (Tommy Boy anyone?)

I actually don't like to mix FO's together unless they are a single note...vanilla and cherry for example. If you already have something that is a blend of a lot of scents, a lot of times it comes out really "muddy" smelling if you mix several blends together. I'm talking about, say, a Love Spell dupe and Black Cherry Vanilla, things that were already formulated fairly carefully.  I usually keep Fo's and Eo's separate too, but there are definitely occasions where a little EO added to an FO rocks (extra Orange EO to an Orange Dreamsicle, a bit of  Lavender Fleur to sweeten up a too medicinal Lavender EO etc)

Mixing FOs and EOs can be a tricky process. I always do small samples to get an idea. Some go great and others... ick. I agree about complex blends not being a good idea. Especially Black Cherry Vanilla where it's already mixing three scents together... probably best to keep it to itself. Some scents, though are great mixers, even FO & EO. I have mixed orange & lemon EO with BB's Fresh Baked Bread FO and it came out smelling like the most divine scones.  Grin
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2009 01:54:15 AM »

This is probably a dumb question, but if an essential oil from one supplier is safe for use in skin care products, would that same oil from anywhere else also be safe? I keep seeing warnings about making sure fragrance oils are skin safe, and I'd assumed the same was true for essential oils. It finally occured to me that essential oil is essential oil is essential oil. I know certain EOs are irritants and should be avoided or used sparingly, but if, say, lavender essential oil is safe for use on skin & in soap, then lavender essential oil should be safe from any source as long as it's pure, unadulterated lavender EO, right?
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009 08:35:43 AM »

This is probably a dumb question, but if an essential oil from one supplier is safe for use in skin care products, would that same oil from anywhere else also be safe? I keep seeing warnings about making sure fragrance oils are skin safe, and I'd assumed the same was true for essential oils. It finally occured to me that essential oil is essential oil is essential oil. I know certain EOs are irritants and should be avoided or used sparingly, but if, say, lavender essential oil is safe for use on skin & in soap, then lavender essential oil should be safe from any source as long as it's pure, unadulterated lavender EO, right?

Hello!
I'm sure you get better replies from somebody who knows more about EO (and speaks a better English then me), but I would definitely say no. (if an essential oil from one supplier is safe for use in skin care products, would that same oil from anywhere else also be safe?).
I.e. I bought some EO with a label writing they are ok on skin, but not to be "eaten", and some (from a different shop) with a label that they're ok for being "eaten" (I don't know how to translate in English, in Italian is "per uso interno", it means you can "eat" a few drops of them, not eat or drink a big amount of it).
I think the "process" for making the one you can "eat" is more pure and more unadulteraded.
More or less, the same applies to oils and other stuff, I can buy castor oil in pharmacy, and it has an expiry date of (I think) one year, and it's for "medicinal use" or I can buy it in supermarket or herbalist's for "cosmetic use", and it doesn't have any espiry date, but just a PAO, and the label says "for cosmetic use only. Do not eat".
I guess the process for the one sold in pharmacy has stricter rules.
The strange thing is that the one sold in pharmacy is much cheaper Smiley

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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2009 09:33:32 AM »

This is probably a dumb question, but if an essential oil from one supplier is safe for use in skin care products, would that same oil from anywhere else also be safe? I keep seeing warnings about making sure fragrance oils are skin safe, and I'd assumed the same was true for essential oils. It finally occured to me that essential oil is essential oil is essential oil. I know certain EOs are irritants and should be avoided or used sparingly, but if, say, lavender essential oil is safe for use on skin & in soap, then lavender essential oil should be safe from any source as long as it's pure, unadulterated lavender EO, right?

If it's an actual essential oil, yes, they should all be the same. If you buy EO at a store and it says "not for use in skin products" my guess is that one of two things is going on: 1) It's not actually an EO (this is actually common amongst aromatherapy "oils"), or 2) they are being overly cautious and telling you that skin irritating oils are not safe. As mentioned in the first post, some EOs can be irritating in large quantities, so maybe they're just being safe and saying not to use it. But for things like lavender, citrus scents, chamomile, etc., if it's an actual EO you're good to go. If it's in-store, check the labels well! If it's online, I'd call the supplier and ask why they say lavender EO is not safe for skin use because something fishy is going on!  Cheesy

Fragrance oils are a whole other bag. If you buy a cotton candy FO at, say, BrambleBerry that is skin safe, don't assume cotton candy FO from a candle-supply store is skin safe. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2009 10:05:08 AM »

Thank you both for answering my question. Smiley  I haven't seen any essential oils that specifically say they aren't safe to use on skin, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't have to ask every supplier I might want to purchase from for the rest of my life.

I'm finding this thread really interesting and useful, so thanks, Nymeria, for starting it. I had no idea real vanilla oil was so expensive!
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2009 11:15:06 AM »

About essential oils, esp. the ones with a very thin line between smelling great and burning, do you have any suggestion for using them in CP soaps?
I usually do 10/15 ml of EO per kilo of fats, with a small spoon of rice flour to fix it. For the moment I mainly used lavander. Would this quantity apply to i.e. cinnamon? a friend of me has been dreaming of a cinnamon soap bar since I started with soapmaking...


I didn't see if this got answered, so I'll stick in my two cents. For the potential irritants I use the smallest amount possible, and then once it's cured test it on myself (also in the shower, all over the body because it can, um sting in certain places but not on, say, just if you're washing your hands). I haven't actually used cinnamon in a soap (although I have 2 pounds of oil, jeesh) but I do an orange clove soap that I use a large amount of orange, a little litsea and a touch of clove. So I would do probably 1 ounce of orange, 1/4 ounce of litsea, and 1/4 ounce or possibly less of clove per pound of fats. Sorry I can't put that into kilos and milliliters, my mind can't do it lol. (Since they are citrus and tend to fade I use way more citrus then I would anything else, typically I use way less eo than I would fo, this is just for this particular example!)
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