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The Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Fragrance


Scent is central to our brand experience at Guests on Earth, which is why we worked with expert perfumers to develop our signature essential oil blends, using natural sources (plant, leaf, flower essence).

Fragrances can be found in a wide range of products, from candles and perfumes to laundry detergents and air fresheners. The fragrances used in these products can be either natural or synthetic (or a mix of both).

Understanding the nuances in fragrances can help you make more informed decisions about the products you use. 

One thing to note is that the term "natural" is not regulated and therefore gets used widely, and often in misleading contexts. For example, a product with a very small percentage of essential oils might be marketed as "natural." If the product has a truly natural scent, the botanical name will be listed in the ingredients i.e. lavendula angustifolia (lavender) oil. The more informed you are, the better equipped you are to make the right decisions for you and your family.

Natural Fragrances

Natural fragrances are derived from plants, flowers, fruits, and other natural sources (e.g. essential oils, botanic extracts). These fragrances are obtained through a process called distillation (which involves extracting the essential oils from the plant material), solvent extraction, cold-pressing, or infusions.  

Essential Oils, for example, are made from 100% organic plant matter. The reason why they are called "essential" oils is that they are the essence of a particular plant, root, or flower —which is also why they contain the strongest scents of plants. They are extracted through steam distillation or solvent extractions and have a lot of natural medicinal and aromatherapeutic benefits. 

Natural fragrances are considered safe and are often used in products such as essential oils and perfumes, but some people may be allergic or sensitive to certain natural ingredients (allergens). Just because a scent comes only from a natural source, does not mean it is completely safe. If you know you will react to certain allergens, make sure to real the scent labels before you dive in.

Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are created in a laboratory from chemicals usually derived from petroleum or wood pulp from the paper industry. They are often used in products such as candles, air fresheners, and laundry detergents.

Synthetic fragrances are not derived from natural sources, but they can mimic the scent of natural fragrances. They are generally considered safe and are widely used. Synthetic fragrances can also be stronger, longer lasting, more complex and sophisticated and less expensive than natural fragrances, which is a key reason why they are widely used. However, they may cause headaches, dizziness, and other health problems. Not to mention the fact that they are proprietary blends of chemicals that people don't have access so there is no way to know what we are inhaling or putting on our skin.

When purchasing products with synthetic fragrance (or a mixture of natural and synthetic), make sure they are free of parabens and phthalates.

    It's important to be aware of these differences when choosing products with fragrances, to make more informed decisions about what you use.

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