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Synthetic v. Natural Fragrance Oils

Synthetic v. Natural Fragrance Oils

At the Hive, we ONLY use natural fragrance oils in our products. We have spent a lot of hours researching suppliers,  ingredients, health risks and the importance of doing your homework when it comes to selecting natural ingredients. Not all natural ingredients are actually natural, but that's not your burden, that's ours. You can rest assured that we take the time to understand what we are incorporating in our products. 

When selecting other products for your home and body, read the labels and ask questions! Read on to learn the difference between synthetic and natural fragrance oils. 

Synthetic Fragrance Oils

There are two types of synthetic fragrance oils:

  1. Typical Fragrance Oils

  2. Nature-Identical Fragrance Oils

Typical Fragrance Oils are made in a laboratory from synthetic compounds and composed almost entirely of petroleum by-products such as benzene derivatives, aldehydes, toluene, and other known toxic chemicals. They are much cheaper, offer greater variety, and utilize scent binders like phthalates to help retain their aroma for a longer period of time. Chemists can create lovely scents produced through chemical reactions that have no corresponding scent in nature. Synthetic fragrance oils are completely human-made from chemical compounds that do not exist in nature.

The words "Nature Identical" are quite deceiving since these oils are also completely synthetic and built from materials that are not natural. The difference between creating a "Nature Identical" fragrance oil and a synthetic fragrance oil is that in the end the Nature Identical Oil is chemically identical to that naturally occurring in nature. It has a chemical structure that is exactly the same as its essential oil counterpart and is basically a man-made copy of a molecule found in nature.

These scents are often listed as "fragrance," "parfum," or "nature-identical" oils on the ingredients list. There are some fragrance oils that may contain a small percentage of essential oils. However, the addition of a little bit of essential oil does not mean they are natural. 


Natural Fragrance oils are also made in a laboratory but rather than being made from synthetic materials they are created by isolating one of the natural aromatic components from a complex scent such as that of an orange or rose. These single scents are called isolates 

natural isolate is a single chemical, isolated from a plant, that has a smell. It is a part of something real rather than man-made from another material. 


Natural fragrance oils are blends of isolates that are extracted through the same processes that are used to get essential oils. The difference is that ...

  • when you extract an essential oil you are extracting the entire scent complex compound
  • when you extract an isolate you are extracting a single scent molecule

For a very simple example, a water molecule is H2O, meaning it is 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen. So if we could pull out the hydrogen it would be an isolate of water. We could then use that hydrogen to make or build some other compound.

Hopefully this information is helpful. We built our brand after learning how toxic some of the name brand wax tarts were. From phthalates to synthetic fragrance oils... known for causing cancer, birth defects,  kidney damage and MUCH MORE. Our passion turned into a mission to change the every day products you use so that you can enjoy them without harming your family. 

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