Fragrance Oil vs Essential Oil-What Are Essential Oils?

What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils? Is there a difference? Here I will answer that question for you.

First, what are essential oils?

Essential oils are concentrated oils extracted from different kinds of plants. The “essence ” of the plants fragrance. Essential oils have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes. Some common essential oils used for aromatherapy in candles are:

  • Lavender- Calming
  • Lemongrass-Refreshing, rejuvenating and balancing
  • Eucalyptus-Helps with colds, soothes nasal passages
  • Citrus-Energizing and uplifting
  • Patchouli Oil – Tranquility, and helps promote clear breathing
  • Rosemary Oil – Calms apprehension
  • Ylang Ylang – Relaxes the mind and seduces the senses
  • Bergamot Oil- Energizing oil that balances the mind

These are just a few essential oils for aromatherapy that can be used in candle making. I’ll be honest, I never really got into using essential oils in my soy candle business, but I did use Lemongrass and I definitely didn’t need to use much of it to achieve a strong scent throw! Plus Lemongrass is one of the lower cost essential oils. I may try some different essential oils in the future though.

Use essential oils for your soy candles with no dye for a truly natural soy candle!

What are fragrance oils?

Fragrance oils are oils that are manufactured and artificially created to mimic natural fragrances. There are countless kinds of fragrance oils to choose from and fragrance oils tend to be much less expensive than many essential oils. In my experience even though essential oils tend to be more expensive, you usually use less so for some essential oils, it can actually cost less using essential oils rather than fragrance oils, but you definitely need to test, test, test, to make sure you’re getting the fragrance throw that you’re looking for.

Fragrance oils do not have the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils, so if you are wanting to make aromatherapy candles, you will need to use essential oils.

There are also different grades of fragrance oils by concentration. Usually very cheap fragrance oils are probably more diluted than more expensive kinds and you’ll need to use more to get a good amount of fragrance throw from your soy candles.

So that’s the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils. One is all natural, directly from the plant, and the other is artificially manufactured.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me!


  1. Camille says

    Hi Melissa,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful, easy-to-follow videos, and this very informative website. I just started making candles – based on your videos and website to purchase supplies! – and wanted to know how much essential oil to use in 1lb of wax?

    I actually left you this same question on youtube, so no need to respond on both.

    Thank you again!

    • SoyCandleMakingTime says

      Hi!, sorry I didn’t get back to you on the Youtube one! So glad to hear you’re enjoying the videos and info! So, I haven’t worked with essential oils much yet, but now that I’m not so busy selling the candles, I do plan to experiment with them more. I have used Lemongrass essential oil and I used about half of what I would normally use of the fragrance oil. So around 1/2 an ounce per lb of wax. It will definitely vary though. Lemongrass is a pretty strong fragrance anyway so I didn’t have a problem with fragrance throw.

  2. Kayla Miller says

    I used ylang ylang essential oil to make a candle and I used probably 2 teaspoons of oil into an 8 ounce candle and got zero scent throw.
    I posted another question on why my soy candles have no scent throw.
    I would really appreciate any advice.

    • says

      Essential oils are tough. I’m experimenting with them, too. Oftentimes the scent will burn off if your wax is too hot when you add the essential oil. Then again, I’ve also had fragrance oils that give very little throw as well. :( It’s hard to find the right information. I wish someone near me taught a class on it. lol.

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