Essential Oils vs. Perfume Scents: what is the difference?

Real cleansing. Real smells. And real benefits. That’s what we’re about at Fabric, when it comes to our skincare line. But there’s a question we’re often asked. Essential oils vs. perfume scents: what is the difference?


Understanding Fragrance Oils

Perfume scents are complex mixtures of many chemical compounds; perhaps a few natural compounds and other synthetic fragrances. These are chemical compounds created in the lab, typically from petroleum, and they are often designed to mimic the scents we encounter in nature. Synthetic fragrances tend to be high performing: they’re very good at what they do. They are also cheap, versatile and provide a wide range of olfactive notes.


The Essence of Essential Oils

Essential oils, on the contrary, are distilled directly from the plants they’re named after. The most common extraction method is steam distillation, but solvent extraction, cold press extraction, and CO2 extraction are all other options. What happens in each of those processes is that the active components in the plant is being separated from the fiber and water that makes up the rest of the plant. All the excess is removed, and the only thing remaining is the oil that gave that plant it’s unique flavor, smell, and medicinal properties.

If you analyze an essential oil, you will find it includes far more than just one type of molecule. In fact, essential oils are complex mixes contain much more than just a scent: they include the actual fragrance of the parent, plus its active ingredients. As it happens, many of these active ingredients are very beneficial for your skin. They may smooth, invigorating, and soothe, or stimulate the growth of collagen.


Why Skip the Parfum?

Perfumes aren’t bad just because they’re artificial. After all, we use artificial things all the time—the smartphone or computer you’re using to access this, for instance, is a complex blend of artificial plastics and metal components. You’re not eating it, though, or coating your skin with it.

When it comes down to it perfumes aren’t what they pretend to be, and they are missing all of the benefits of the compounds they mimic. What’s more problematic is that many of them aren’t good for you, either. They tend to cause allergic reactions, irritation, and redness. Since they’re considered trade secrets, they’re not subject to full ingredient disclosure: simpy putting ‘fragrance oil’ on a label is enough for the FDA. What is inside that fragrance oil is entirely up to the perfumer.


Essential Oils vs. Synthetic Fragrances: Our Position

While perfume is not necessarily bad, it can be, and it is neutral at best. Essential oils, on the other hand, can be carefully chosen for their beneficial properties as well as for their scents. They can be instrumental in reducing inflammation, killing harmful bacteria, and removing blemishes or uneven tone from your skin.

Synthetic fragrances are both cheaper and easier to use than essential oils. If you know a product contains essential oils rather than artificial fragrances, you know that the maker put quality first, and refused to compromise with second-best ingredients. You know that the ingredient list on the back of your bottle is a full disclosure of what’s inside, and there are no potentially problematic ingredients hidden behind a ‘trade secret’.

We choose to use only the best, and we’ve committed to not adding any synthetic fragrances in any of our products. Our men’s skincare regimen contains only the highest quality ingredients, and our meticulously crafted scents are a mix of the purest natural essential oils. Whether you use our cleansers, moisturizers, aftershave balms or deodorants, you can have complete confidence that everything you’re putting on your skin is real, honest, and will do you good.

Get The Starter Kit

Start here