Essential oils or fragrance oils

I guess that my love of simple naked soaps is shared by some, but most people want to smell their soaps.  They pick up soaps and shove them up to their noses, inhaling deeply.  What a disappointment if there is no smell!

I can relate to that.  I tend to do it myself with soap... and with flowers.  I like fragrance a lot and in a way it's almost a wasted opportunity not to have a lovely smell (how can they breed roses that don't smell!).  But I like to have the option to use pure and unscented soap when that suits me and add scent with a perfume if I choose to.  I guess that the fact that there are so many allergies in the family contributes to my love of "no unnecessary stuff added" things.

I would not hesitate to fragrance almost all of my soaps with essential oils if they weren't so expensive.  I'm still looking for a wholesale supplier that sells them in bulk, although not huge bulk, at better prices than the teeny, tiny little bottles that are most common.  I have found some in the US and I buy a lot from there, but sometimes the shipping costs are so high that it doesn't make sense.  I would love to find suppliers in Europe.  France, Italy and Spain sound really exotic and I have thought about trying to find suppliers in India, but shipping costs are an issue there.  I may have found a supplier in the UK, I have their website bookmarked and am browsing their selection.  The natural colours that I am waiting for come from the UK - English is so easy).

I wrote before that I have a love/hate relationship with the colour issue and that is certainly also the case with fragrance oils.  They are less expensive and, if I understand correctly, they last longer that essential oils.  I use perfumes that are probably made with synthetic fragrances - I think Chanel no. 5 and Joy (a personal favorite for evening) are almost the only ones that still use real flower essences.  So why not fragrance the soaps similarly?  Fragrance oils are available in scents that are impossible to get naturally.  Delicious Sweet Pea is an example!  And honeysuckle!  Oh jummy!  And there are some suppliers that have such tempting descriptions to their fragrances that my credit card is dire danger!

Sometimes I long for a shedload of fragrance oils to play with, but then I wonder if they would be a turn off.  Artificial and insincere!  I just don't know!

The photos: Sweet Peas in a little glass vase.  I have a few of those and they are perfect for small flowers like Sweet peas, Violets and Lily of the valley.  My sewing machine is a 1928 Singer on a Husqvarna base.  It's missing the belt, but I expect it would work if I got the spare parts it needs.  I paid 8000kr. for it.  Rather expensive for a thrift shop find.  The other photo is ine of my three Honeysuckles.  Unfortunately it is not possible to make Essential oil from it, nor Sweet Peas so I sniff it every chance I get and also use it in honey for sore throat.  


  1. Hello. An interesting question you raise and one of the many choices that soapmakers are faced with. I think a lot of soap makers use fragrance. As you say, I think they last longer, they are cheaper and they provide so much more option for scent!! However, I, Personally am not a fan. For my soaps, I feel best about producing ALL natural soaps. How can I give someone a "Mostly Natural" soap with synthetic fragrance in it? I have realized that many people label their products All Natural when they are not. Still, I feel best about my soaps with only Essential Oils in them, and natural colour. I think these are very personal choices. As for Essential Oils at reasonable prices, hard to find. The essential oils are the most expensive part of my soaps. Tiggy at Future Primitive recommended Fresholi & Freshskin. They are both in England and ship to Spain so I suppose they ship to Iceland (that is where you are?). I tried them both and was really impressed. Good luck making the decisions that are right for you. xo Jen

  2. Thanks for your input. I tend to agree with you. Although I am sure that I will succumb to temptation and order a few fragrance oils and try them out. I will surely post my experience here, so you'll know :)
    And thanks for the tip about supplies. I will check them out.
    And, yes I am in Iceland and let me just use this opportunity to apologize to everyone about the flight ban! We are so, so sorry!

  3. Oh yeah... about the volano.... I am due to fly to Madrid on Wednesday and I can't get up-to-date information about delays or cancellations! Iberia won't pick up the phone.... let's hope I can get back to Spain for my daughter's ballet competition!!! xo Jen

  4. Jen, thanks a lot for those suppliers names! I'm definitely going to order from them.
    And I do hope you get home OK. The volcano is slowing down and the aviation authorities in Europe are beginning to relax a bit, I think. Although, better safe than sorry...

  5. One word for Essential Oils. The only way to make them affordable for commercial soaping I think, is to import them DIRECTLY from Asia where they are made most of them. Once them come via Europe, and NorthAmerica or the UK, them you are adding a middleman for most. I researched this for months and finally found SHIVA out of India. Research what paperwork you need to get them imported and import in bulk enough for like a years production. Otherwise forget it as with the little bottle price one ends up putting 30 dollars or alot more even into a 15 lb oils batch....Cant work.

    You can order 5 dollar samples from SHIVA of any of their oils etc to try them out. There are many other companies in India, and then some specialty products like thr Rose oils still out of Eastern Europe.

    Hope this helps.


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