Fragrance tends to be one of the most important aspects of soap making -- for obvious reasons. Those that "scent-shop" for soap tend to fall into one of three categories: those that want or need unscented soap; those that seek a soap that is "clean-smelling"; and those that prefer a cologne or perfume scent in their soap. This section, obviously, deals with the later two.
TYPES OF FRAGRANCE:
Soap/Candle Fragrance Oil
There are, to my knowledge, over 1,000 fragrances available which, unfortunately are not generally available in most craft stores. Craft stores, I have found, usually offer unlabeled squeeze bottles (very similar to the liquid colorant bottles) or brown unlabeled bottles, which may (or may not) come with an eyedropper. Unless you purchase squeeze bottle type fragrances, you'll need an eyedropper to add fragrance. I have also found the selection of fragrance oils at craft stores to be extremely limited and rather redundant: lavender, vanilla, something citrusy, something fruity, something floral and something herbal.
FRAGRANCE TIP #1
Label any unlabeled fragrances as soon as they are removed from the package. I, for one, cannot discern between many of the subtle flower fragrances. As with colorants, you need to be able to re-create your creations.
Above left: Sold as soap fragrance
Above right: Sold as soap or candle fragrance.
If you look closely, you can just make out my chicken scratch! You can also see how the "permanent" marker has been smeared or rubbed off with use. Though this beats having no label at all, the cut of paper or permanent shipping label works much better.
Ironically, I am not an avid online shopper, but I must admit to having a "new best friend" for fragrances . . . www.WellingtonFragrance.com has a huge selection of fragrance oils! They are well-priced and I received my order, carefully packed, in less than a week. I was also happily surprised at a number of fragrances: "Lettuce" is a crisp, clean fragrance; "Coriander" is marvelous; and "Champagne", though I'm not sure it smells like champagne, is a delightfully elegant scent. The other fragrances were also strong, accurate representations of their namesakes.
Part of my Wellington Fragrance fruits collection.
Notice how they are nicely and clearly labeled!
Reed Diffuser and Potpourri Fragrance Oils
These can be a cost-effective alternative. I have found them in dollar-only stores and have been generally pleased with the results. Keep in mind that this type of fragrance is almost always diluted in a carrier oil, which means you may have to use more. Also, these are often a blend of fragrances . . . for example, a Christmas scent may be a combination of pine, bayberry and vanilla, rather than just bayberry. Also, these oils are, clearly, not specifically formulated for use on skin.
The scented crayons I have been able to find were rather one-note for fragrance rather fragrance-to-color related. I was thinking sage, pine, lemon, lime, orange, grape, cherry, almond, chocolate . . . that the color of the crayon and it's fragrance would match. Sadly, such was not the case. I can understand that the manufacturer may have been concerned that children might try to eat crayons that smell good or smell like something edible . . . but, of course, children already try to eat them.
These are the most cost-prohibitive option. Essential oils are extremely concentrated plant extracts. As such, they may prove irritating to some skin types and may also NOT be fragrant in the way you might anticipate. Essential oils are named after the plant from which they are taken, NOT the way they smell. These plant extracts may be taken from the blooms, leaves, stems or even roots.