“There’s virtue in products as natural as your skin.”
OK. Not tuna casserole. But we have gotten requests for the others. Being certified, our answers always return to what’s allowed and what people should want in an all-natural, organic soap, especially the ingredients providing its scent. For soap and skincare, there are two primary sources of scent: Fragrance Oils and Essential Oils.
This is easy to remember. Fragrance oils are always synthetic, even though they have perfectly natural names and might contain natural ingredients. Some synthetics – Caramel Bliss, for example – are easy to spot. Others aren’t so easy – Lemongrass, for instance. To further the confusion, many products combine the words “natural” and “fragrance” on their labels, and many of the major natural-product brands use synthetic fragrances in their skincare products.
A product might call itself natural, and it might be found in a natural products store. Still, its scent might be synthetic. If it isn’t natural, what that means for most people is dry skin. What it means for many others is irritation.
These are the good scents, and product labels will always say “essential oils” if that’s how the product is scented. Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts, obtained from the roots, bark, and
leaves of plants, usually through steam distillation, but in the case of citrus oils, through cold-pressing. Sadly, for fans of these other fragrances, non-citrus fruit scents – apple, pear, berries – are
nearly always synthetic.
The Smell Test
There’s virtue in products as natural as your skin. There are also practical benefits to using essential oils for scenting skincare products. As plant extracts, essential oils used in proper
proportions don’t irritate the skin. We have customers with bad cases of eczema that can still enjoy our scented bars, because the scent is naturally compatible. Natural scents also smell better. They smell real, especially to men. Essential oils contain none of the synthesized perfume bases found in fragrance oils, and in smell tests, people invariably express a preference for the natural.
Read carefully. If you see any variation or combination of the words fragrance, fragrance oil, or natural fragrance, don’t be fooled. There’s nothing natural about them.