Essential Oils Are More Than Just "Scents" or "Fragrances"
Too often, I hear individuals refer to both essential oils and fragrance oils as "scents." This mostly happens when listening to individuals that don't really grasp the difference between both types of aromatic oils.
Although essential oils are concentrated and highly aromatic, referring to essential oils as "scents" is rather inaccurate, especially within the scope of holistic aromatherapy. Essential oils offer a broad range of therapeutic properties than span beyond merely "scenting" a product. Many essential oils are anti-bacterial or anti-viral and some essential oils like Roman Chamomile contain constituents that can act as a natural sedative. In the field of holistic aromatherapy, essential oils are often selected not only for their particular aroma (i.e. floral, earthy, herbaceous, etc.), but also for the specific constituents and therapeutic properties that they possess.
The word "Essential" contains the phonetical sound of "scent," (e+scent+ial) and that may also confuse some individuals. But just like the word "essential" contains more than "scent," so do the oils that they describe.
Fragrance oils are synthetic and don't offer the anti-viral, antibacterial and other range of therapeutic properties that essential oils can offer. The sole purpose of fragrance oils is to add scent to personal care or home fragrancing products.
The term "scent" (i.e. "I just bought several new scents for my candlemaking project") is best left to referring to fragrance oils or perfumes that have no purpose other than to add "scent" to something. It can cause a lot of confusion when essential oils are also referred to merely as scents, especially for those new to using essential oils.