What is the Difference Between Fragrance Oil vs Essential Oil?

With the wellness industry on the rise, the word “natural” is a buzzword that seems to be all the rage these days (and rightfully so!). Consumers are no longer buying products simply for their use – but are seeking direct benefit, specifically in the way that products relate to the environment, their health, and overall well-being.

So what does that mean for fragrances? Well, to understand the difference between man-made fragrance and natural fragrance it’s important to first understand how fragrances are made.


All fragrances begin in nature. Natural oils are extracted from fruits, seeds, herbs, and spices, and then converted into the three types of ingredients that make up the fragrances that we know today.

Each fragrance ingredient is made up of the same three basic elements; carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen each arranged in different ways. Knowing this, scientists have been able to easily replicate natural fragrance essential oils, creating what they call “nature identical compounds.”

This gives master perfumers more raw materials to work with when crafting their fragrances while also allowing costs and turnaround times to remain as low as possible.

The three types of fragrance ingredients are:

  • Essential Oils
  • Nature Identical
  • Man-Made


After identifying the three raw materials that perfumers use to create fragrances, it’s important to understand why perfumers like to use all three.

Essential oils are compounds that are directly extracted from nature. The extraction process is very labor intensive and extremely time consuming, thus they can be quite costly to work with. Think of pressing plants like a lilac or mint until its natural fragrance oil comes out.

Nature-identical compounds are replicated from essential oils using the same three carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules as their natural counterparts. Nature-identical fragrances can also be comprised of isolated fragrant molecules directly from nature. This gives perfumers the ability to use natural fragrances at a lower cost with much faster turnaround, while maintaining the same quality of fragrance and allowing for more creative flexibility.

Man-made fragrance compounds are the third fragrance ingredient option. These fragrance compounds are created using different combinations of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen than their essential oil or nature-identical counterparts. This gives perfumers the ability to extract specific isolated scents from one compound and create fragrances that mimic more obscure fragrance concepts like re-creating the smell of the ocean breeze.

There are also certain fragrance materials that perfumers have to create synthetically because they are no longer allowed to be extracted from nature, such as musk which was originally extracted from the reproductive organs of musk deer, whales, and beavers.


Many of our fragrance oils are crafted using a proprietary blend of essential oils, nature identical compounds, and man-made fragrance oils.

Our Natural Collection contains only a proprietary combination of essential oils and nature-identical ingredients. All of our Natural fragrances are ISO 9235 certified, which means that they are made solely of internationally recognized natural aromatic materials, regulated by the International Organization for Standardization.

All of our exclusive fragrances are phthalate free and compliant with IFRA Standards. For those new to IFRA, the IFRA Standards are the basis of the globally recognized management system for the safe use of fragrance materials.

We offer extensive information about each fragrance including the usage levels and skin safe percentages. For details you may refer to the Fragrance Specification Sheet found at the bottom of each product page or contact our Customer Service Team for corresponding IFRA documentation.

Here at the Wooden Wick Co. we pride ourselves on producing the highest quality home and body fragrance oils crafted with the sophisticated, health conscious, and environmentally friendly Maker in mind.

Happy Making!

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