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Fragrances: Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils
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I've been making soap for a while now, both bar and liquid. I just wanted to share a few things that I've learned over the years for those who are just getting started specifically regarding scents.

Essential Oils are naturally occurring extracts directly from nature (from a plant leaf, fruit rind, seed, vine, etc). Fragrance oils are synthetically made. The choice of which to use it up to the soap maker, and whichever you chose should be clear on your label. Now the decision of what is "best" is up to you.

Essential Oils are generally more costly, with a few exceptions. And, essential oils have the reputation of having some really nice medicinal properties that can help you market your soap. They have been used for thousands of years, and are really pretty remarkable as natural remedies. Some essential oils tend to lose their scent over time, most notably citrus scents. Worldwide production of essential oils is variable, and some are extremely scarce.

Fragrance Oils are typically less costly and you have nearly an infinite amount of scents available. For example, there is no such thing as essential oil of mango nor oatmeal nor ocean breeze....but you can find fragrance oils for these and thousands more. Some soap buyers make purchasing decisions based solely on the scent and don't care if it's essential or fragrance. Some fragrance oils can cause skin irritation in certain individuals.

There are some common misconceptions about both essential oils and fragrance oils that should be cleared up. Essential Oils are definitely natural, but in my opinion they are not always "environmentally friendly" for a few reasons. First, some are extracted using hexane which many environmentalist would consider decidedly un-natural. Others are extracted with various solvents and only a few others are "cold pressed" with no solvent extraction. Furthermore, the amount of plant material that needs to be collected to produce some essential oils is IMMENSE. For example, it takes roughly 12,000 rose blossoms to produce a mere 5ml of rose essential oil. Again, many environmentalist would contend that the land used to produce 12,000 rose blossoms for 5ml of oil could be better put to use for more basic needs like growing food and building shelter. Yes, the rose essential oil is natural, but what is the environmental impact of the production?

Lastly, natural doesn't always mean "safe for topical use". Arsenic is naturally occurring and I wouldn't recommend you add that to your bar of soap. Me personally, I have a nasty skin reaction to cinnamon essential oil...as does a relatively high percentage of the general population (I think I read 5% but I'm not certain on that). Just be aware, sometimes the synthetic counterpart is actually safer for use on the skin.

ESSENTIAL: natural, good marketing angle, medicinal properties, limited options, higher costs, debatable environmental footprint, some can cause irritation, some will fade over time.

FRAGRANCE: synthetic, more cost effective (means customers have more money for organic milk, produce, kid's schools, etc), unlimited options, may cause irritation, can cause "soap seize" during process, won't fade as easily.

You chose the direction you feel best serves the interests of your market. I believe the individual buyer should have the freedom to choose and make decisions best for them and their family. Just make it clear on your packaging which type of scent you use. We are considering using only essential oils in our production moving forward, in large part because the market perceives them as "premium" and will pay accordingly. Also, the medicinal benefits are significant for us. But, we are constantly re-evaluating and if the environmental impacts gets out of hand (clearing rainforest to extract 1 liter of essential oil), we will certainly reconsider.

Just my 2 cents.

Dan C
 
Location: earth | Registered: November 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Essential Oils.

Artificial Scents.

I know a guy who had to have a liver transplant due to his exposure to the toxins in fragrance oils; I've never heard of or met anyone who had to have body parts replaced from using essential oils.



** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.


 
Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I understand your concern Legal, and it's never good to hear about someone needing a liver transplant from fragrance oils.

At the same time, the toxicity of essential oils needs to be considered.

Toxicity of Essential Oils

Just a few excerpts from the article above:

Calamus - Acorus calamus
The root of this plant is used in herbal medicine to treat a variety of problems, from nerves, headaches and vertigo, but the oil contains asorone - which is carcinogenic, and oral ingestion can cause convulsions as well as kidney and liver damage.

Sassafras - Sassafras albidum
This herb has been used for rheumatic pains and gout, but the oil is high in safrole (80 - 90%) which is banned by the FDA since it is carcinogenic (cancer causing) and it can be lethally toxic as well - even in small amounts.

Again, I use essential oils, almost exclusively, but by no means are they without risk.
 
Location: earth | Registered: November 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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caseyboy,

I have to agree with you. Sometimes the environmental cost of an ingredient is far worse than it's less natural counterpart.

Knice-N-Clean makes soaps with both essential oils and fragrance oils, we let the customer make the decision as to which best fits there natural interpretation.

There can be danger in both natural and synthetic products. Organic peanut oil is just as harmful to someone with peanut allergies and non-organic peanut oil.

We have to be sure we accurately label our products to be sure that the consumer can make choices that fit them and they can also be made aware of anything they may be allergic to.

There are also some fragrances that are not possible or not at all cost effective as essential oils.

BTW... I have some of caseyboys soaps and they are really nice, both essential oil and fragrant oil recipes.


-Rick

http://www.knicenclean.com your single-most largest free BDG soaping content on the internet.
SAP Testing, Ingredient Properties, Soap Glossary and Recipes just to name a few.

Making Biodiesel Byproduct Soap Learn how to use your biodiesel byproducts to make great bar and liquid soap!!!

"Closing the loop on biodiesel production one bar at a time!"

Beware of the Dunning–Kruger effect.
 
Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: April 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by caseyboy:
Essential Oils are generally more costly, with a few exceptions. And, essential oils have the reputation of having some really nice medicinal properties that can help you market your soap.
Dan C


It's not wise to market your soap as having medicinal properties, although many people do. When you do that it becomes classified as a medicine and under FDA regulations and guidelines. It's a whole can of worms. The only claim that you can make about soap is that it cleans.
 
Registered: December 26, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, you are absolutely correct for the U.S. market.

But in many other countries, it's treated differently. Where I am, all soaps have to pass "FDA" inspection. Once they do, you can claim that they will make you look younger if you so choose.
 
Location: earth | Registered: November 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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In the United States if you market your soap as ANYTHING other than "soap" you are falling squarely inside the jurisdiction of the FDA, and may be classified as a drug or a cosmetic depending on the claim. It is the only country where this applies. "Soap" falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Labeling anywhere else must be according to the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients)criteria.

All of this and more has already been published in The Guide.

BTW, almost to a one, the EO's listed as potentially toxic are not and never will be used in soap making by the vast majority of those involved in the hobby. We have offered a list of EO's in Lather! that best suit biodiesel glycerin soaps, and not one of those on the "toxic list" appear there.

On the other hand, there are a plethora of people in the so-called "soap community" (being those involved in the extensive use of synthetics and chemicals, also called "fake soap" by professional natural soap makers) who use all kinds of fragrance oils that have been shown to have negative effects on health.

I agree, people really should do some research for themselves before just believing anything that so-called "experts" tell them.

Turning orange juice into "Tang" doesn't make it equal in quality and nutrition no matter what the promoters say...



** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.


 
Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Legal Eagle:
In the United States if you market your soap as ANYTHING other than "soap" you are falling squarely inside the jurisdiction of the FDA, and may be classified as a drug or a cosmetic depending on the claim. It is the only country where this applies.
Just so I umderstand what you are saying. Do you mean that except for the USA, in any other country in the world such as the UK, Germany, France, Canada etc, if I make and sell home made soap I can claim that it cures Cancer, TB and Cushings Syndrome and these respective governments will not ask for any proof of this claim?
Why do I not believe that?
 
Location: Massport | Registered: April 29, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Legal Eagle:
In the United States if you market your soap as ANYTHING other than "soap" you are falling squarely inside the jurisdiction of the FDA, and may be classified as a drug or a cosmetic depending on the claim. It is the only country where this applies.
In Australia Home mad soap is classified as a cosmetic. Does that count?
If you claim your home made soap cures Cancer, TB or Cushings Syndrome you are likely to go to gaol.
 
Location: Upton | Registered: December 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, it is obvious that there are still people who do not have The Guide as this and other questions along this line are covered in there.

What I said is that "IN THE USA" if you claim that what you have is anything but "soap" (and I have the government quote in The Guide on this) you fall under the auspices of the FDA. Under the rules of INCI even this does not apply, and ALL soaps, be they home made or big pharma made they are ALL to a one classified under the regulations governing cosmetics; unlike the USA all other countries do not make a distinction between "soap" and cosmetics.To them they are all in the same boat. IMO, the USA is one up in this regard, but at the same time falls down flat in many other regards where soap is concerned.

Furthermore, if you claim that your soap has moisturizing properties for example they are classed as cosmetics but if you claim that your soap will alleviate psoriasis or any other condition it would then fall under the classifications reserved for drugs. This later is true of The USA or anywhere else.

Again, the ONLY exception is in the USA where you can claim what you have is "soap" and it is NOT governed under the authority of the FDA, and furthermore you do not even have to legally list the ingredients for "soap" in the USA (unless the rules have changed very recently), although there is a movement to bring the US in line with INCI along with everyone else.

Just like you can stick all kinds of synthetics and other assorted junk in a product and if the main product is saponified by turning fats,water and caustic into "soap" then you have "soap" and in the USA you don't have to list the synthetic crap you put in it so the consumer is aware of what he/she is getting. As long as it is marketed only as "soap" as stated before.

Under INCI you do not have to list ingredients that are no longer in their original form as long as they have been completely used up in the process of saponification IE: NaOH need not be listed as it is used up in the process; scent DOES need to be listed as it is not completely used up during production; all acids (oils and fats) must also be listed as for the most part soap makers will superfat their bar soaps (meaning that they intentionally leave a percentage of the acid not saponified to achieve a desired effect) which leaves a percentage in its original form.

It is always best to list ingredients regardless as to whether or not you are legally required to do so; this, if you are honest about it, gives the consumer the opportunity to decide for themselves what they do and do not want to expose themselves and their children to. In other words, let the buyer read what you use in your product and the be in a position to make an educated decision rather than give only vague descriptions that mask the true nature of the ingredients in the product.

Some US regs on what constitutes "soap".

For INCI just do a simple web search and all kinds of information will pop up; either INCI or International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients will give up the info.

When making soap as a hobby or as a small business venture it is imperative that proper research be done into how various ingredients will react with high concentrations of glycerin as biodiesel glycerin soap contains a very high level of glycerin, and while have been wholly negligent in this department it is in your best interest to do so as it is YOUR door Mr. Attorney at Law will send the summons to should you fail to do so and your soap causes injury. One way to avoid the potential for injury causation is to limit the types of ingredients you put in the soap to ONLY natural products as chemically altered and synthesized ingredients are not under your control but come from some far away lab who's quality control you have no control over.

The same is true of SAP values; it is no big deal to undercut your caustic values up to 10% as this falls within the parameters of superfatting standards even though it is a bit on the high side requiring you use the soap forthwith (average superfat is 3-7%). Where the problem arises is when you overdo the caustic quantities as this results in a very harsh soap that can be quite hard on the skin and even burn it in some cases. Look up "Lye soap", a traditional (not to be confused with modernist)way of dealing with the sting of poison ivy/oak ect. It is an intentionally harsh soap to acquire this effect. The biodiesel glycerin soap is reputed to accomplish the same task without being harsh when done properly, but if you claim it does it you are then, in the USA, falling inside the parameters of the jurisdiction of the FDA's regs on drugs.Under INCI you move from "cosmetics" to "drugs" under the jurisdiction of the various health ministries.



** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.


 
Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Guys (and Ladies)

I have recently opened a dialog with the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission concerning our soaps.

http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/ev...0109192/m/1487047533


-Rick

http://www.knicenclean.com your single-most largest free BDG soaping content on the internet.
SAP Testing, Ingredient Properties, Soap Glossary and Recipes just to name a few.

Making Biodiesel Byproduct Soap Learn how to use your biodiesel byproducts to make great bar and liquid soap!!!

"Closing the loop on biodiesel production one bar at a time!"

Beware of the Dunning–Kruger effect.
 
Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: April 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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on a related note, we just made some soap using essential oil of lemongrass and it smells great...

 
Location: earth | Registered: November 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Looks great caseyboy!
Wish we had smell-o-web so we could share in the aroma!!!


-Rick

http://www.knicenclean.com your single-most largest free BDG soaping content on the internet.
SAP Testing, Ingredient Properties, Soap Glossary and Recipes just to name a few.

Making Biodiesel Byproduct Soap Learn how to use your biodiesel byproducts to make great bar and liquid soap!!!

"Closing the loop on biodiesel production one bar at a time!"

Beware of the Dunning–Kruger effect.
 
Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: April 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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