Essential Oils vs Synthetic Fragrance

March 03, 2017

Essential Oils vs Synthetic Fragrance

"Light an aromatherapeutic candle, or ignite a chemical cocktail that is anything but healthy."

We are often asked why essential oil candles are more expensive than other scented candles, and the simple answer is: it takes a lot of product and a lot of time to extract these golden drops.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are the natural oils extracted from plants which have the concentrated scent of the plant they've originated from. There are several methods through which the oils are extracted such as 'steam distillation' where steam is used to rupture the plant membranes in order to extract the oil and 'oil expression' where the oil is taken from the rind of the fruit to name a few. Extracting essential oils is a highly labour-intensive process. 

What are Synthetic Fragrances?

Synthetic fragrance oils are primarily made from petrochemicals taken from petroleum and natural gases, and replicate the smell of specific plants. By dismantling the unique chemical compound of an essential oil, chemists re-assemble a "Frankenstein" fragrance using chemicals derived from petroleum, and include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxins and synthesisers. Petrochemicals have been known to cause allergic reactions such as eczema and asthma attacks. Most worryingly of all though is their reputation as known carcinogens. 

A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group found some artificial ingredients, particularly synthetic musks, were present in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babes, and also in toddlers. This means that mothers wearing certain scents are actually passing toxins onto their children.

Why are Synthetic Fragrances used in Candles?

Synthetic fragrances tend to be more pronounced than essential oils due to the 'fixatives' or preservative agents they contain. Again, certain fixatives such as phthalate are known carcinogens and have been linked to sperm damage causing decreased sperm counts. One to avoid if you're trying for a baby!

But the biggest driver behind using synthetic fragrances is that it's much cheaper to produce. And because the scents are more pronounced, much less oil is needed when making candles. In addition to being hazardous to your health, by not using  natural essential oil, you're also missing out on the aromatherapeutic benefits.

How to Ensure You're Only Buying Pure Essential Oils?

Many companies blend a small amount of essential oils with synthetic fragrances, perfumes, chemical enhancers and boosters in an attempt to cut costs and create a stronger, longer lasting scent. "Made with pure essential oils" often translates to an ingredient list with a small percentage of essential oils and a majority of the scent coming from a number of carcinogenic and toxic petrochemicals.

Unless it is disclosed that they only use pure essential oils, there is a possibility that you're still getting synthetic fragrances.

At The Bird Box we ONLY use 100% natural, essential oils. Blended in pure, organic soy wax that not only is the best match to get the most odour from the essential oils, it also has a cleaner burning - no toxins, carcinogens or pollutants. And it burns cooler, which means that you can enjoy your soy wax candle for generally 30-50% longer than a paraffin candle.


Inspiration: WayOutWax and experience essential oils