5 Things You Might Not Know About Fragrances & Essential Oils

Fragrances and essential oils can be a soap-maker’s best friend (after all, who wants soap that smells like just, well, soap?), but they can also cause problems if you don’t use them properly or don’t know a lot about them. Of course, there are many things that are important to know about essential oils and fragrances, but here are just five you might not know already.

1. Fragrance oils degrade plastic

This is something you may not have thought about before, but it’s true, and very important to remember! When stored in HDPE bottles (these are like the plastic containers that your store-bought lotions and shampoos often come in) pure fragrance oils will degrade the plastic over time. Basically, the chemical makeup of the fragrance draws other chemicals out of the plastic and then those mix in with the fragrance. This changes the scent of the fragrance and makes it less potent but can also make it less safe to use.

So what do you do? Well, don’t store your fragrances in regular plastic. The best way to store and package fragrance oils is in amber glass bottles. The glass bottle won’t react with the chemicals in the fragrance, and the amber color keeps light from hitting the oil, which can affect the quality as well. Some stores will sell fragrances in plastic bottles, which means you then have to transfer them over to glass if you don’t plan to use the whole bottle immediately. At the Chemistry Store, we only sell fragrances in amber glass bottles, like the ones manufacturers use, so it’s less hassle for you and you always know your fragrance remains high quality.

2. Essential oils are even worse

Now you may be thinking, essential oils are natural, how can they affect plastic containers the same way fragrance oils do? Even though essential oils are extracted directly from plants, their chemical makeup is similar to fragrance oils and can still react with HDPE plastic containers. With these, the best thing to do is purchase and store them in amber glass bottles like we do here at the Chemistry Store.

3. Even diluted fragrances & essential oils will affect plastic

You may be getting a bit frustrated with me about now. Do I have to put everything I make in amber glass bottles? you ask. The answer (thankfully) is no. Almost any product you make using fragrance or essential oils will have such a small amount of oil, compared to the total amount of liquid, that storing them in regular HDPE plastic is no big deal. Over time, the plastic will degrade and the sides of the bottle may start to pucker inward, but we’re talking a long time here—longer than it would reasonably take someone to use up a bottle of shampoo or hand soap. So no worries! Keep using your plastic containers. Just be aware of how long that shampoo bottle has been sitting in the back of your cabinet!

4. Fragrances & essential oils won’t degrade PET

If you’re still worried about the effect HDPE plastic bottles will have on your products, just use PET! PET or polyethylene terephthalate is a kind of plastic with a different chemical makeup than HDPE that keeps the fragrances and essential oils from absorbing chemicals from the plastic. PET containers won’t degrade over time, so they’re perfect to use with diluted fragrances or essential oils like in body sprays and perfumes. They’re not ideal for storing pure fragrances and essential oils because they don’t have the amber coloring that keeps light out, but will work well for most finished products.

5. Not all fragrances & essential oils are equal

As with anything, there will always be someone selling fragrances and essential oils for a little bit less, and it’s tempting to go for these to save a few cents. Don’t do it! Even when someone does manage to beat our amazing wholesale prices, what you save in dollars and cents you lose ten times over in quality. At the Chemistry Store, we take high-quality, manufacturing-grade fragrances and essential oils and sell them directly to you. Some companies, however, cut their fragrances with other “filler” liquids to make the oil go farther and cost less. These diluted versions are much less potent and you’ll usually end up having to use much more of it to get the same effect as a pure fragrance or essential oil.

So when buying your fragrances and essential oils, make sure you’re getting only the highest quality. And the easiest way to do that is to shop chemistrystore.com for all your project supplies because we understand that quality matters and would never settle for anything less.