What Is Fragrance Oil?

Jasmine lotion and a jasmine-scented candle.
Rosemary oil is completely natural.
Lemon essential oil is often used in aromatherapy and fragrances.
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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 19 April 2014
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Also known as aroma oils, fragrance oils are natural or synthetic oils used for their fragrance. Fragrance oils are found in candles, cosmetics, and household fragrance spritzers. All-natural oils, such as lemongrass and rosemary, are usually obtained from plant leaves. Synthetic oils are a blend of aroma compounds and are typically less desired but cheaper than natural oils. Some people are sensitive to fragrance oils, and these substances can be dangerous if not diluted.

Some natural oils are obtained using steam distillation on plant leaves. Lemongrass oil has many uses aside from fragrance, including as an anti-fungal, diuretic, and pesticide. In addition, peppermint fragrance oil is often integrated into products such as shampoos and soaps. Fragrance oil derived from eucalyptus is often used therapeutically through inhalation. Inhalation of a small amount of eucalyptus oil by adding it to hot bathwater, for example, can combat congestion as well as other respiratory problems.


Aroma compounds are chemical compounds with odors, which are often mixed together and added to cosmetics and household goods for fragrance. There are lots of aroma compounds, and they can create a virtually unlimited amount of combinations. For example, some chemical compounds have odors similar to rotting flesh, while others smell like fruit. In addition to making perfume or hiding the smell of cosmetics, the basics of synthetic fragrance oil are sometimes added to odorless substances like natural gas. If a strong strawberry scent is added to a gas and someone begins to smell strawberries, workers know they have a leak.

Fragrance oils can be used in different combinations and ways. For instance, oils are often directly used in aromatherapy as a way to address ailments. When employed for this purpose, oils are applied to a person’s skin or diffusing tool. Some oils are integrated into other products, such as soaps, lotions, and other household goods.

Some oils are harmful to pets and people even after they have been diluted. Sometimes a person is simply allergic to an oil, which is fairly common, and usually not a serious concern as long as the person avoids the oil in the future. Fragrance oil can also be toxic to pets if consumed in large quantities. On the other hand, some fragrance oils are used as bark deterrents, bite deterrents, and to prevent pets from entering a certain area of a house. These oils are typically used in small, diluted amounts.


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