A Basic Introduction to Fragrance Oils - Whole Home Scenting

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An Introduction to Fragrance Oils

The leading scenting systems use fragrance oils. Fragrances developed in a lab last longer, have more pronounced scents and are less likely to cause allergic reactions than essential oils from natural sources. Find out more about why synthetic scents are a popular choice for homes, workplaces, retail environments, medical care facilities and many other locations.

What Are Fragrance Oils?

A fragrance oil is an artificial scent that consists of a blend of lab-made or naturally derived ingredients. Here are some of the most common components of these oils:

  • A carrier base
  • Alcohols
  • Aldehydes
  • Esters

One artificial fragrance may contain as many as 80 ingredients, whereas essential oils are derived from a single source. In addition to natural and artificial fragrances, some naturally derived scent compounds are also synthesized.
In many cases, a fragrance oil is intended to mimic scents that occur in nature. Gardenia, plumeria and lavender are popular floral scents available in natural or synthetic forms. It can take thousands of pounds of botanicals to render just a small amount of essential oil. Between the need for natural ingredients and processes, such as mechanical cold pressing or water or steam distillation, the cost of using natural essential oils to scent indoor air can be considerable. Fragrance oils made in a lab are more affordable alternatives.

Artificial fragrances have more consistent and stable scents than essential oils derived from natural sources. Natural ingredients also pose a greater risk of allergic reaction in sensitive individuals than synthetic fragrances. The International Fragrance Association assesses the chemical makeup of fragrances and publishes safety sheets and standards for ingredients and blends.

Fragrance oils allow for scents that are more pronounced and last longer than essential oils or natural oil blends. A fragrance product may be fully synthetic or semi-synthetic, meaning that it contains a blend of essential oils and synthetic fragrances. In general, lab-made ingredients are more stable and have less direct environmental impact than natural products.

How Synthetic Fragrances Are Used

Synthetic fragrances are used in a wide variety of products. Whole Home Scenting diffusers release fragrances that blend natural and synthetic ingredients to provide effective and safe home, retail or workplace scenting. Fragrances made in a lab are commonly used in air fresheners, perfumes and colognes. Many consumer products are also produced with synthetic fragrances.

A fragrance may be made with more than one synthetic fragrance oil. If every ingredient in a fragrance is synthetic, the blend is classified as full-synthetic. Semi-synthetic fragrances combine natural essential oils and synthetic fragrance oils. The ingredients in Whole Home Scenting fragrances comply with IFRA standards and are safe to use at 100% concentration.

While synthetic fragrances are not usually recommended for aromatherapy, the emotional effects of artificial scent notes can be as resonant as natural essences. Some essential oils are known to have beneficial effects, and these may not be present with artificial versions of the same fragrance. For most scenting purposes, synthetic fragrances are actually less allergenic, more consistent and more cost-effective than natural isolates.

If your goals for using fragrance involve evoking a mood in your home or linking sensory associations with a brand, you are likely to be more satisfied by scents made with fragrance oils. The fragrances formulated for use with Whole Home Scenting diffusers are safer than most other modes of scent dispersal. Whole Home Scenting fragrances are made with select synthetic and natural ingredients in the United States and are free of animal ingredients, gluten, phthalates and parabens. These scents are safe for humans and pets in residential or commercial environments.

Synthetic Fragrance Benefits

There are a number of benefits to using synthetic fragrances for scenting a home or workplace. The lower risk of allergic reaction posed by fragrances that are produced in labs is something to consider if you or your guests have known sensitivities to certain naturally occurring compounds. The consistency, stability and efficacy of fragrance oils sets these ingredients apart for home scenting, scent marketing and a wide range of applications.

Scents made in a lab tend to be more consistent in terms of the way they smell, which is crucial for sensory branding. When you think of the fragrance of your favorite products or encounter a smell you associate with a product, this experience involves the olfactory nerve that is directly linked to the part of your brain that processes and stores emotions and memories and the limbic system.

Brands that use artificial fragrance oil do not have to worry about variations that are inherent in natural products. A particular scent should smell the same regardless of when and where the product was made and independently of shipping and storage conditions. Synthetic fragrances can have a shelf life of up to five years, as opposed to just one or two years for natural scents. Fragrance oils are a better alternative to natural essential oils in terms of their composition and performance for interior scenting applications.

When synthetic fragrances are diffused in a home, retail location or workplace, these fragrances deliver aromas that are denser and richer than what is possible with essential oils. Fragrance oils also linger in the air longer and are less likely to fade out or shift over time than natural fragrances. Some essential oils also turn sour due to oxidation or chemical reactions that occur after prolonged contact with air or other substances. A fragrance formula may contain a combination of synthetic and natural compounds to achieve and sustain the intended scent profile.

Why Use Fragrance Oils?

Synthetic fragrances can make it easier to dial in an exact scent. These lab-made blends of ingredients are crafted to perform to specifications for any purpose. Natural essential oils may be inconsistent in the same applications based on the quality of ingredients and harvesting and processing methods.

A fragrance blend that consists partially or entirely of fragrance oils will perform reliably in the intended application. Fragrances for Whole Home Scenting diffusers are formulated to work with the concentration controls and timer accessible directly through the buttons near the diffuser screen or in the Arome Home application for smart devices.

When you release a synthetic fragrance into an interior space, you can count on the scent to remain the same. Artificial scents may be used in the top, middle or base notes of a fragrance blend. Environmental factors can cause natural essences present in any of these notes to oxidize, sour or otherwise change in scent. Artificial fragrances are more stable regardless of interior conditions or other ambient odors and malodors.

You can use a Whole Home Diffuser system and fragrance cartridges to release a scent throughout a structure with central air by connecting a hose from the atomizer in the diffuser unit to HVAC outflow ducting. These diffusers can also be used in standalone mode to scent a particular area of a home or workplace. The extent to which a fragrance spreads or lingers may vary based on the use of fragrance oils in the blend.

The Leading Synthetic Fragrances

Some of the most popular scents are based on artificial fragrances. In some cases, the natural material that is the source of a scent does not tolerate the processes necessary for the extraction of essential oils, as is the case with vanilla.

The beans of the Vanilla planifolia plant, which is a vining orchid native to Mexico, cannot be mechanically pressed to produce oil and do not stand up to the heat necessary for steam distillation. A solvent is used to release aromatic compounds from vanilla beans. The labor-intensive process of extracting beans from pods results in vanilla being the second-most expensive spice after saffron. It is more affordable to synthesize vanillin, a chemical compound that is the main flavor component of cured vanilla beans, from a variety of raw materials.

Gardenia is another fragrance for which the cost or characteristics of a natural ingredient accounts for the frequent use of synthetic alternatives. Anywhere from 6,500 to 8,000 pounds of gardenia flowers are necessary to produce just over two pounds of solid perfume. In other cases, synthetic fragrances are useful when natural scents do not perform as well in the same application. Grapefruit essential oil does not last as long and is not as pungent as grapefruit fragrance oil.

Fragrances by Whole Home Scenting feature natural and synthetic ingredients and are IFRA-compliant. Some scents bring together naturally derived essences and fragrance oils. If you or another occupant experiences any signs of allergic reaction to a particular fragrance, discontinue use, note the ingredients and try a different formula.

Consider Synthetic Scents and Blends

Some sources object to the use of synthetic scents on principle. In reality, these scents can be safer for daily use than essential oils. There is really no reason to write off fragrance oils categorically, particularly if fragrance blends meet industry-leading safety standards.

Over the last 30 years, research studies have considered the use of scents in sensitive environments. An influential 1994 study that involved the administration of heliotropin, a vanilla-like scent, during magnetic resonance imaging found that the fragrance reduced anxiety levels among patients.

Heliotropin or Piperonal is an organic compound that naturally occurs in black pepper, dill, vanilla and violet flowers. Synthesis of this compound is frequently used in air freshener, perfume and cologne, in which it can contribute notes of almond, cherry pie or vanilla. Other fragrances that are synthesized from natural sources include patchoulol from patchouli and synthetic lavender fragrance oil that may or may not be plant-based.

In many cases, fragrance oils are a better choice than natural essences for use in medical care facilities and other environments where fragrance sensitivity is a concern. Using a synthetic scent can solve a number of issues associated with the use of natural isolates or blends. If you are experiencing fragrances that fade out prematurely even when you increase the concentration or frequency of release or aromas that degrade into less desirable odors, the solution might be to use artificial fragrance.

Confirm the Safety of Fragrance Oils

It is always a good idea to confirm that any fragrances you use are rated as being safe. Whole Home Scenting fragrances comply with the IFRA Category 11 standard because these fragrance oils contain no hazardous materials and are safe to use at 100% concentration. It is also easy to set up a diffuser to release the desired concentration of a scent on a timing schedule to prevent a fragrance from ever becoming overwhelming. 

Some of the most popular natural essential oils can cause allergic reactions and other health risks. Reviews of case studies and patch test results indicated that the following essential oils are among the most allergenic:

  • Clove
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea tree

You may want to exercise caution when using these natural essences, particularly in commercial or retail environments where customers or guests are exposed to these substances.

In many cases, artificial fragrances can be safer alternatives to natural essences. It is important to consider whether chemical compounds that are derived from natural sources are allergenic. In some cases, fully synthetic fragrances that meet IFRA standards can be safer alternatives to natural isolates or semi-synthetic fragrances.

Scents that are based on fragrance oils tend to pose less of a risk of allergic reaction than blends that contain essential oils or natural blends. Synthetic fragrances also tend to be more cost-effective, consistent and stable ingredients than natural isolates. Full- and semi-synthetic scents may also be more pronounced in an indoor space and linger longer than natural fragrances.

Try using semi-synthetic and full-synthetic Whole Home Scenting fragrances. Choose from nearly 20 fragrance oil blends by checking the top, middle and bottom notes to determine whether a scent could be the right choice for any location. Packs of sample size air freshener sprays are available to help you determine which fragrance oils to use in a diffuser. Based on average customer settings, you should expect to replace the 300 mL bottle of fragrance every one to two months.

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