Your Basket

Shipping & taxes calculated at checkout

Checkout - Total:

2 min read / 13 January 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

Understanding essential and fragrance oil classifications and terminology

Here's your guide to some of the confusing terms you might find on your oils.

Whether you’re dealing with essential or fragrance oils, you will sometimes see some confusing terms on their labels.

It can be hard to determine whether these classifications are good or bad without an understanding of the terminology. Here are some of the common terms you may come across, and what they mean for you.

Paraben-free

Parabens are synthetic chemicals used in beauty and wellness products to give them a longer shelf life.

Some people claim that they may be harmful to the human body if used in large amounts, however there’s not sufficient evidence to suggest that parabens are dangerous.

Phthalate-free

Phthalates are often used to bind and blend fragrance oils, but they are also used in a wide range of other industries, and are commonly used to increase the rigidity of plastic.

They can sometimes make scents last longer and so some manufacturers of fragrance oils use them to create a more enduring product.

There isn’t concrete evidence that phthalates are bad for us, but some people still prefer to avoid them.

Vegan friendly

Vegan friendly oils contain no animal products. Strictly speaking, all essential oils should be vegan as they should be extracted from 100% pure plant material.

However, some fragrance oils may use animal products – make sure to always check the label.

Cruelty-free

Cruelty free products have not been tested on animals. If a product is cruelty free then it will always be advertised either on the label or the vendor’s website, so be sure to check before purchasing.

Cold pressed

Cold pressed oils are extracted by piercing the plant matter (often a fruit) to release the oil from the essential oil sacs, and separating it out using a centrifuge. Heat is never applied during this process.

Cold pressed citrus oils may be phototoxic, so it is important to always check the safety information or reach out to the manufacturer to confirm if the oil is safe to apply to skin.

Steam distilled

Steam distilled oils are extracted by passing steam through a closed chamber containing the peel and letting the oil condense on top of the water. They are not phototoxic.

Furanocoumarin-free (FCF)

Furanocoumarins are a group of substances that cause phototoxic reactions in the skin.

FCF oils have had their furanocoumarins removed, which prevents phototoxic reactions and makes them safe to apply to skin, even if they have been cold pressed.

Vanillin-free

Vanillin is a chemical present in some fragrance oils that can cause discolouration in soap and candles.

Many crafters therefore prefer to use vanillin-free oils in order to prevent discolouration.

Shop our essential oils here.

Shop our fragrance oils here.

You might also like to read

Outstretched hand in a wooded area

7 min read / 4 March 2024 / yasmin sharp

How to Use Essential Oils to Boost the Immune System

Discover natural ways to enhance your immune system using essential oils with proven health benefits.

How to Ship Perfume in the UK

5 min read / 1 March 2024 / yasmin sharp

How to Ship Perfume in the UK

Learn the essentials of safely shipping perfume within the UK and internationally, including packaging tips and guidelines for hazardous materials.

Drop of water on herb leaf

8 min read / 28 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

Peppermint Oil for Hair: The Benefits and How to Use It

Discover the powerful benefits of peppermint oil for hair health, including growth stimulation, scalp protection, and how to incorporate it into your hair care routine.

How to Start a Perfume Business

5 min read / 23 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

How to Start a Perfume Business

Discover the essential steps to launching your own perfume business, from crafting a business plan to choosing the right ingredients and navigating legal requirements.

Essential oil bottles in a row on a wooden table

7 min read / 21 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

How to Use Essential Oils

Discover the transformative power of essential oils for wellness, from aromatherapy to skin care, in our comprehensive guide.

How Long Does Potpourri Last?

3 min read / 20 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

How Long Does Potpourri Last?

Discover the lifespan of potpourri and learn tips to prolong its scent and beauty in your home.

Person applying oil to hand.

9 min read / 19 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

8 Benefits of Grapeseed Oil for Skin

Discover the transformative skin benefits of grapeseed oil, from acne treatment to hydration and sun protection.

Rosemary Oil for Hair: The Benefits and How to Use It

10 min read / 12 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

Rosemary Oil for Hair: The Benefits and How to Use It

Discover the benefits of using rosemary oil for your hair and learn how to incorporate it into your routine with our helpful guide.

Bottle of carrier oil being applied onto person's back

13 min read / 1 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

What is a Carrier Oil?

Learn about the use of jojoba, argan, coconut and others in diluting essential oils, enhancing skincare routines, and promoting wellbeing.

Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

We use strictly necessary cookies to personalise your site experience. You can learn more here.