Writing in Molecules​​, a team of researchers from universities in Italy, Turkey, Vietnam and Mauritius conducted a review on the use of essential oils as natural sources of fragrance compounds for cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. The aim, they said, was to “highlight the enormous versatility of essential oils as significant sources of natural fragrances”​ in these categories.

According to data in the review, the €6.25bn (US$7.51bn) global essential oils market, valued in 2018, would surge at 9% CAGR between 2019-2026. And findings showed many “high-valued essential oils”​ were used in the cosmetics industry as fragrances, including citrus, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree and other floral oils, among others.

Interest in the research of essential oils was also “mainly championed by the perfume industry”,​ the researchers said.

Beyond aroma – essential oils offer a ‘complexity of active compounds’

“Essential oils have seen a revival in popularity in the last few years,”​ the researchers wrote.

“…Their ability to impart a wide range of unique and pleasant aromas in cosmetic products and at the same time acting as bioactive agents (anti-ageing, antimicrobial, sun protection, and whitening) make them prized and highly valued ingredients in cosmetics and cosmeceutical products.”

And whilst the primary purpose of incorporating essential oils into cosmetics remained aroma, increased interest in was now being fuelled by scientifically backed health benefits of many, the researchers said. The additional health story made essential oils “more tempting and attractive to consumers”, ​they said.

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