Fragrance Oils: Sometimes Synthetic
Fragrance oils, aromatic oils or perfume oils as they are sometimes called, are usually defined as synthetically manufactured scents specifically designed to mimic a naturally occurring scent. Fragrance oils in the past were exclusively manmade, synthetic chemical reproductions of our favorite fragrances found in nature. If you read pretty much any natural product blog about fragrance oils, you’ll immediately notice that they are quick to warn about the dangerous synthetic chemicals contained in fragrance oils. A 1986 report by the National Academy of Sciences noted that 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, toluene, and many other known toxins.
Natural Fragrances on the Path to a Natural Origin
What’s changed? How can we achieve highly sought-after aromas such as blueberry, mango, and coconut without having to use petroleum or synthetic chemicals? This is the million dollar question that the world’s top perfume and flavor houses have been working on for decades. The good news–fractional distillation has proven to be the answer to achieving many of these fragrances. With fractional distillation, perfumers can create a wide range of fragrances that were previously out of reach to those who demanded less toxic chemicals. As demand for natural and organic fragrance and flavor oils grows, the more time and resources are dedicated to refining and perfecting this rather complicated process. Good news for those of us who prefer to lead a more natural life!
Natural Fragrance Oils
What is Fractional Distillation?
Put simply, fractional distillation is the process of separating chemical compounds. Each part of a compound (called an “isolate”) is separated from the other chemicals in the compound. Fractional distillation uses the different boiling points of each compound to separate or isolate the exact molecules that contain the scent desired. The mixture is heated so that each fraction evaporates and condenses into its own compartment. The process begins in the same way that it would if you were distilling an essential oil. Water and plant material are put into the still’s hopper and heated.
How Fractional Distillation Creates Natural Fragrance Oils
Unlike essential oil distillation, fractional distillation uses specific temperatures and times, even stopping the distillation process at certain points, in order to reach the boiling points of the desired compounds contained in the plant materials, isolate, and collect them. Of course, the hard work begins once these compounds are isolated and collected. Isolating and then combining different compounds from different plants to create Mango or Pear is an art in itself.
We are truly living in a wonderful time for natural and organic products. With increased demand, more attention is being given to creating natural solutions. Essential has been very cautious to steer clear of questionable fragrance oils. With fractional distillation, however, we are now able to offer a line of Natural Fragrance Oils. We use these in some of our favorite products, like the Mango Deep Conditioner, and hope you have fun adding these unique scents to your products!