The amazing Mother Nature provides us with plants that produce natural oils containing properties that heal both the body and the spirit. These essential oils are used in aromatherapy to help treat a host of maladies, from arthritis and skin conditions to muscle pain and emotional issues. And their value is reflected in the price tag. but a more affordable alternative to essential oils are fragrance oils. These synthetic oils don't offer the health benefits of essential oils, but they do provide a pleasant aroma for soaps, candles and most other household products. Here are five of the most popular fragrance oils.
Whether you love it or leave it, if you've ever encountered the smell of patchouli, it likely made an indelible impression. Patchouli has had a loyal following since the 1970s, long identified as the cologne of "dirty hippies." This intense, earthy yet sweet scent was rumored to mask the smell of a not-so-legal herb. Today, those hippies are all grown up and now the smell is reminiscent of their youth and freedom.
If you spend a little time in the aisles of your local grocery store, you'll notice that a big trend in home fragrance is citrus scents, and grapefruit is definitely at the top of the list. Grapefruit is one of the few affordable essential oils, but it's a top note and tends to evaporate quickly, so it doesn't have the shelf life that retailers require. This means that most grapefruit scents on the market are grapefruit fragrance oil. Grapefruit is also a popular choice to mix with other citrus oils for a fresh and fruity blend.
Floral fragrance oils are extremely popular and gardenia is no exception. Known for its potent and alluring scent, this heady floral oil is particularly desirable in candles and room sprays. The evergreen shrubs that produce the gardenia flower are known for their sweet scent and the synthetic approximation is usually a close match. Since the natural gardenia only flowers once a year, it's no surprise that the essential oil is not very affordable.
The pleasing scent of vanilla is super popular in many households because of the homey feelings it evokes. It certainly helps that it's a scent namely associated with desserts. Typically used in products like candles, room sprays and linen sprays, vanilla can be pungent or more subtle, depending on the concentration used. While it's pleasing to the nose, there technically is no such thing as vanilla essential oil, so beware of products that tout their vanilla as aromatherapy.
Lavender has long been a popular fragrance in perfumes, body care products and home fragrance products. Nowadays, with fragrances that are reminiscent of nature being all the rage, it's even showing up in home care products, like laundry detergents and dishwashing liquid. The popularity of lavender is no surprise. Not only does it have a pleasant smell, but it also conjures up images of fields of flowers in Provence, which gives it a somewhat romantic association. This mild floral scent not only stands well on its own, but it also mixes well with just about every other scent.
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- "What are Fragrance Oils?" Aromaweb.com. April 29, 2012. http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/whatfrag.asp