When you buy a skin care product that is labeled "all natural" you expect that you are buying a high quality product. In all fairness, what you are buying is probably better than some of the alternatives, but you may not be getting the quality you should expect. One of the problems in the industry is lack of regulation on what constitutes "all natural". A hot button for me, and a violation I see frequently, is when a company or person says that their products are all natural but they are using fragrance oils.
I'll start by explaining what an essential oil is. Pure essential oils are derived directly from their source- lavender essential oil from the lavender plant, lemon oil from lemons, and so on. They vary in price, but as it takes a lot of the flower, fruit, etc. to make a small amount of oil, they can be quite pricey. A much cheaper, inferior substitute that's available on the market is fragrance oil. Fragrance oils are synthetically derived oils made from chemicals that are designed to smell like whatever the manufacturer wants.
So why would anyone use fragrance oils instead of the real thing? The reason I hear most often is cost, but if you are truly concerned with living naturally, there is no substitute for the real thing. The other reason I assume is that people may have not done their research and do not understand how bad chemically-derived fragrance oils really are. Some of the mild side effects include headaches, skin irritations, nausea, and so on. The far more scary long-term side effects can include damage to the liver, kidneys, and reproductive systems, as well as encouraging tumor growth. If that's not enough to convince you, there are still more reasons to use essential oils instead.
When I make a soap using tea tree essential oil, it helps clear acne, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, treats insect bites, and heals scars. If that same soap was made with tea tree fragrance oil, it would look the same, smell the same (or very similar) but offer none of these positive benefits. So not only do you run the risk of some of the mentioned side effects, you also receive none of the benefits.
The next time you are about to make a purchase make sure to read the label first. If it says fragrance, fragrance oil, parfum, perfume, etc. it is not held to the standard you should expect by a natural body care product. Another general rule of thumb is to be aware of long ingredient lists. Some soaps can be made with as little as 3 ingredients. If there are 10+ ingredients and you may/not be able to pronounce half of them, the manufacturer may be adding in unnecessary ingredients.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article, and I hope you found the information useful!