There’s some debate out there about the use of synthetically produced fragrance oils versus plant-based essential oils in soap making.
At Little Avalon’s Soapistry, we use both essential oils and fragrance oils in our products. Our decision-making around which one to use or not to use can change as new information becomes available. Our decisions are based on some of these important factors such as:
1. There is the likelihood of essential oils causing allergic reactions. Essential oils are more likely to cause adverse reactions in some people. On the other hand, some people find fragrance oils too overpowering and/or cannot have any fragrance so we have created a line of Naked soaps that contain no additives at all whether it is colour or fragrance, even clays or muds.
2.The relative value-add of using essential oils in soap is low. i.e. soap is not being produced for any type of “therapeutic” purpose so those kinds of properties in an essential oil are better used in other kinds of products like massage oils.
3.There are ethical, political or social reasons not to use an ingredient. For example, some claim that certain fragrance oils contain potentially dangerous (but often unavoidable) phthalates or essential oils are being harvested unethically (treetops in the rainforest) or causing deforestation in sensitive areas. “Safer” bets for essential oils for us are ones that have been in domestic production for a long time like Lavender essential oil from France (or other countries, but local is even better), and for fragrance oils, we source phthalate-free options
4.There are availability and cost considerations too. Some essential oils are prohibitively expensive (for good reason), so we choose a good, phthalate-free fragrance oil is instead.
For you, the consumer, check the ingredients list on the soap packaging and talk to the makers. Finding out about the contents and ingredients is an important step to making sure you get a product that works for you or the person you may be buying a gift for.
Feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts on this important topic!