• Meghan B.

Fragrance Oils vs Essential Oils in Candles | Best of Both Worlds

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Scented candles derive their scent from fragrance oils or essential oils. While each of these oils smell great, there are very major differences between these two scent makers that need to be explored. For this reason, we decided to create a post covering the many differences and similarities of fragrance oils vs essential oils in candles.


essential oils vs fragrance oils in candles
Lavender is a common essential and fragrance oil used in candles

To really compare the two types of oil it is important to first understand what each is.


Essential oils are concentrated liquids derived from organic plant matter, and as such they are contain the strongest scents of that particular plant. For this reason the oils are referred to as "essential" in that the oils reflect the essence of a particular plant, root, or flower. (source)


Fragrance oils are highly concentrated synthetic or natural aroma compounds that have been mixed with a near scentless carrier oil. These aroma compounds are lightweight which allow them to reach your scent receptors as they breakdown (source).

Now that we have covered what each of the oils are it is time to take a deeper dive into how essential oils and fragrance oils differ from one another. The differences between the two spans production, price, user experience, shelf life and more.

Understanding just how different these two oils are from each other needs to start in how they are produced. Essential oils are produced with plants while fragrance oils are produced with chemical compounds.


Yes, there is much more that goes into the actual manufacturing process, but the main difference between the two really does come down to essential oils actually requiring the plant in order to have the scent created. Fragrance oils do not require any plant matter to create the scent you are experiencing.

If you are looking for the most intense scent per unit, fragrance oil candles win.


That is to say, if you take a single drop of essential oil and a single drop of fragrance oil and you put each in a different candle, the candle with fragrance oil will have the more intense scent 9 out of 10 times.


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Fragrance oils are manufactured specifically for the purpose of delivering a strong scent that makes an impact. For this reason, specific scents can be pinpointed and delivered in high concentrations.

If you want to see an example of a candle with strongly concentrated scent, check out our Espresso Stout Camping Candles; these are strong scented, and would be difficult to replicate through an essential oil candle.

Essential oils have a difficult time providing the same scent profile per quantity of oil. This means essential oil candles often require more oil to achieve a similar scent intensity.


This is primarily due to the fact that essential oils are not diluted with a benign carrier oil. Since they are being presented to you in their purest, non-diluted form, essential oils are more concentrated.

How long do essential and fragrance oils hold their scent? There is no easy answer because so many variables impact the shelf life of either, but when used in a candle the shelf lives tend to be pretty comparable.

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