Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oil vs. Unscented

One of the key components to products I make is of course their scent. When I first started making my products they were exclusively for me so I made most of them unscented. However, everyone likes things to smell extra yummy, so I started making products with various scents. Now I know some of you are going but who wouldn’t want scent? My answer to you is simply everyone that is allergic to it (which I can tell you is more people than you realize). Some of you are asking yourselves why would I scent my products to begin with. That answer is simply because the majority of the market responds to scented products (you vote with your dollar). Because I’m on the fence, I do both.

Fragrance Oils

Do some of my products contain fragrance oil? Yes. Now I know some of you are shrieking in terror but give me a sec. Fragrance oils in several instance are composed of primarily essential oils, but there are synthetic additives which is why they are not considered all natural. The honest truth of the matter is that if you have sensitive skin you are likely to have problems with fragrance oils AND essential oils. The biggest issue I see is that many companies that use fragrance oils use way too much in their products. Laundry detergent is a great example. There is no official regulation on this product because it can actually be classified as a potpourri product (aka - they can load it up with TONS of fragrance). I can also tell you that many of the scents you all love are not true scents available in essential oils. So the poor soul that uses the detergent wears their clothes whole wondering why they are breaking out (unaware they are literally wearing their allergens). Play it safe, use unscented if you have any type of skin sensitivities.

Essential Oils

Do I use essential oils in some of my products? Yes. I use these because they are highly regarded as a better quality ingredients. “But I have sensitive skin, can I use essential oils?” My answer, don’t do it. I know my natural people are like “LIES!!” Here’s why. Essential oils are still considered concentrates! And even worse, if you have an allergy to the plant it comes from then it can be even worse than synthetic versions. You’re also likely wondering who is allergic to rosemary oil. Trust me, I have a LIST of allergies, people can be allergic to anything. I’m allergic to garlic for goodness sake! That’s as common as salt! Now if you enjoy the therapeutic benefits of essential oils I invite you to try these items. If you can tolerate scent in the air as opposed to direct use on your skin, try some of my candles and diffuser oils! They’re great!  Why do I not just use only essential oils? The simple answer is cost. As a modest consumer I try to keep my products reasonable. Catnip oil is phenomenal at repelling mosquitos. It’s about 10x more potent than DEET at it. But if it cost $40 for a tiny bottle of it, and that’s only enough to make 3 bars of soap, you do the math…


I know this is the “boring” section. But consider this. If you are scenting your laundry soap, your shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, hand soap, fragrance/perfume, lotion, and your hair products, you’ve left the house in way more fragrance than you probably intended. And I’m willing to bet they’re all different scents too! This is why I want people to be open to unscented products. They don’t clash with other things you wear! You can put on some raw shea butter and spray your perfume on over. Viola! No clash! Now if you’re forced to use unscented you probably have a hard time finding truly unscented products. When I label my products as unscented I mean that they are fragrance free. No essential oils, no fragrance oils, no concentrates. It will only contain whatever the natural scent of the ingredients is (e.g. Coconut oil smells like cake naturally). I try to always make sure that at every event I attend I always have some unscented products available. I’ve also made a promise to myself to start working on maintaining a base of more exciting looking unscented soaps. I think often when you have to buy the unscented soap it seems like the reject product and who wants that? Consider though, your products are handmade New Orleans made body care. I put a lot of time and effort into every product I sell. I still feel like having more decorative unscented soaps helps to compensate for the lack of scent.

I know this was a ton of info about scents, but I want y’all to know why I have some of the options that I do. If you have any questions on what items to choose or if you’re battling sensitive skin, eczema, etc. and want to chat about it, give me a shout! I’m no doctor, and nothing I say should be considered official medical advice. Please just remember to read the labels on anything that you buy wherever it’s from, especially if you’re looking for sensitive skin products (there is a ton of misleading labeling in that world). Happy soaping!

- Shae