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Fragrance oils vs Essential oils: Can they be sustainable and natural?

Are Fragrance Oils in Candles More Sustainable Than Essential Oils in Candles?

With an increasing focus on eco friendly products and healthy lifestyles, it’s important to understand if the scented candles you use to fragrance your home, have an impact on the environment and how sustainable they are. There used to be an assumption that ‘sustainable’ also meant ‘natural’ but that’s not always the case and it can be very confusing.

In this blog, we aim to provide a comparison between fragrance oil candles and essential oil candles to help you make an informed decision.

What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils?

In the world of scented candles, there are two main types of fragrances to scent your candles; essential oils and fragrance oils. Each type of fragrance has it’s own unique benefits and drawbacks, making it difficult to choose just one option.

Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are carefully crafted in a laboratory from a combination of natural and artificial ingredients. They are designed to mimic the scent of various plants, fruits, and spices.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural, highly concentrated oils extracted from plants. They contain the essence of the plant's fragrance and flavour and offer many health benefits and a more natural fragrance.

Are scented candles good for my health?

Essential oils are derived from natural sources and offer many health benefits. For example, lavender essential oil is known for its calming and relaxing properties (our Calm candle is full of wonderful natural lavender oil). While eucalyptus essential oil can help clear sinuses and improve respiratory function. When used in candles, essential oils can improve the quality of the air in your home and enhance your well-being.

Candles scented with fragrance oils, can be an eco friendly option and bring a wonderful aroma into your home, but they don’t offer the health benefits associated with essential oil candles.

Are essential oil candles more sustainable than fragrance oil candles?

While essential oils are often touted as the more sustainable and environmentally friendly option, there are instances where fragrance oils can actually be the more sustainable choice. But there are many factors to consider.

Consistent Quality

Essential oils can vary greatly in fragrance, potency, and quality depending on the time of year and the region where the plants are grown.

Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are carefully crafted in a laboratory to ensure a consistent fragrance, potency, and quality. This consistency in fragrance and quality can help reduce waste and minimize the impact on the environment.

Less Resource-Intensive

Essential oils often require large amounts of plant material to produce just a small amount of oil. For example, 160,000 oranges are needed to make one litre of Valencene (an oil that has aromatic sweet citrus, herb and woody notes).

This can put pressure on the environment, as it may require the destruction of valuable ecosystems or the use of harmful chemicals to produce the oil. Take Sandlewood for example. The White Sandlewood tree grown in India, is now critically endangered. It’s valuable oil is found in the trunk, branches and roots, so the entire tree (which tend to be 35 to 40 years old) is uprooted and ripped out. So using sustainably grown supplies is extremely important if you’re conscious about the effect of using these valuable oils is having on our environment.

Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are typically made using a blend of synthetic and natural ingredients, making them a more resource-efficient option.

Easier to Transport

Transportation is another factor to consider when evaluating the sustainability of essential oils and fragrance oils. Essential oils are often sourced from different parts of the world and must be transported to their final destination, which can contribute to carbon emissions. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, can be made in a laboratory, reducing the need for transportation and minimizing the impact on the environment.


Finally, fragrance oils can sometimes be a more cost-effective option than essential oils. Essential oils can be quite expensive, due in part to the large amounts of plant material required to produce just a small amount of oil.

Whereas, Fragrance oils can be made using a blend of synthetic and natural ingredients, makes them a more affordable option for customers.


So you can see, if you’re looking for sustainable candles and natural candles, it can be very confusing. While essential oils are the more natural option, they’re not always the more sustainable and environmentally friendly option. Unless you’re sure you’re using sustainably grown essential oils, there are instances where fragrance oils can actually be the more sustainable choice. Factors such as consistent quality, resource efficiency, easier transportation, and cost-effectiveness can make fragrance oils a more sustainable option in certain situations. When choosing candles, it is important to consider both the fragrance and the sustainability of the fragrance source, to ensure that you are making the best choice for you and the environment.

At Mawgans we try and source the best quality oils from sustainable sources for both our fragrance oil candles and our essential oil candles. All our candles are hand poured by ourselves using pure soy, coconut and rapeseed wax so we can get as close to natural and sustainable as we possibly can.

We’re adding to our range of scented eco friendly candles all the time. We offer our Luxury fragrance oil range of candles and our Aromatherapy essential oil candles so you have a choice of which type of scented candle suits you best.

Thank you for reading our blog. Let us know if you found it interesting and please join our newsletter (if you haven’t already done so) to be the first to find out about our new products and special offers.

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