Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils in Haircare: Are They Better Than Synthetic Fragrance?
DIY Haircare

Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils in Haircare: Are They Better Than Synthetic Fragrance?

Learn more about the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils to make sure you are using the right type of oil for your hair care products.
Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils in Haircare: Are They Better Than Synthetic Fragrance?

One of the most commonly mislabeled oil products out in the market today is essential oils. Its rise in popularity in the last couple of years has made it so attractive and profitable for many oil marketers to make synthetic fragrance oils as natural essential oils – but this could not be farther from the truth. 

What is the Difference Between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils?

Essential oils are the purest and most natural you can ever get to a plant’s oil. They are usually extracted by steam distillation and are not combined with anything else like water or alcohol.

Outside of extraction and bottling, there is hardly anything else done to essential oils. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are made in the laboratory.

There are synthetic fragrance oils which are chemical compounds created and manipulated to copy a natural scent; natural fragrance oils, on the other hand, are derived from natural sources used in the laboratory to extract its aromatic components and create a similar smell.

Are Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils Safe?

If you’re looking for an oil that you’re looking to use oil for your hair, fragrance oils are a no-no. They are drying to the hair shaft as well as the scalp. We highly recommend that you avoid fragrance oils if your priority is to maintain the health of your hair and scalp. 

However, you may not use essential oils directly onto your hair and scalp. Essential oils are often so pure and so potent that they carry the risk of irritation when applied directly to the skin or scalp. To enjoy the benefits of essential oils for your hair, you’ll need carrier oils' help.

Unlike essential oils which are derived from the plants’ leaves, bark, and blossoms, carrier oils are fat-rich, plant-based oils derived from nuts, kernels, or seeds that are used to dilute essential oils.

Some of the most popular types of carrier oils are coconut, olive, jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, almond oils, and shea butter. One other common cause of confusion amongst haircare newbies is the difference between virgin oils and organic oils, as in the case of virgin coconut oil and organic coconut oil, or in the case of organic versus virgin olive oil.

Are organic oils better?

A product’s being organic (or not) refers to the way the crops were grown. Organic crops were raised without synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, etc. While it’s easy to make organic claims on anything, what you need is proof from a standard-giving body (for example, the USDA in the United States) that the product was actually raised in a certified organic manner.

On the other hand, what makes your oil virgin or not does not involve the crop per se but in the manner of extraction. Where organic refers to crops raised without any synthetic elements, oils that are virgin are extracted without the use of chemicals or heat.

The most popular method of extracting virgin oils as in the case of extra virgin olive oils is a process called cold pressing. Cold pressing means that the temperature of the olives never went past 27-degrees C at any point of the process. Extra virgin oils are also unrefined – it has not been exposed to heat or enhanced with anything.

Advice for your next hair care shopping spree

Remember, the biggest mistake you can make when shopping for oils for your hair is taking a product at face value.

That extra step of reading through the ingredient list will make a whole world of difference in the outcome of your hair care. Fragrance oils should not be on the ingredients list of your product and if they are you better hope they are on the bottom of the list.

If you want to learn more about how to build a clean haircare routine check out our 14 Day Haircare Challenge here.

Write your comments

Try the 14-Day Haircare Challenge!