We are huge advocates of transparency. The overall objective should be to let consumers know everything in the products they purchase, and to protect consumers that are subject to allergies. This is done by providing thorough and detailed information of all ingredients. Consumers deserve the basic right to know if their perfume or beauty product contains allergens or toxic ingredients in order to avoid intolerance symptoms and prevent future ailments.
Perfume is thousands of years old, with evidence of the first perfumes dating back to Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Jerusalem. The English word "perfume" comes from the Latin per fume, meaning "through smoke.” The Ancient Egyptians & Mesopotamians were the first to incorporate perfume into their culture, followed by the Israelites, ancient Chinese, Hindus, Israelites, Greeks, and Romans.
In the 19th Century natural fragrances became replaced with a concoction of scent creating chemicals. Guerlain perfumers began the synthetics revolution in 1889 by pouring three synthetics into its perfume Jicky. As fragrance was becoming ‘mass marketed’, scientists discovered that they could imitate nature’s scent for a fraction of the cost.
A 1986 report by the National Academy of Sciences noted that 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil) and include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene, and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. A 2001 study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that synthetic fragrances were often shown to contain hormone disruptors linked to abnormal cell reproduction.
In September 2018 the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners put out a scathing report against synthetic fragrances called Right to Know.
As we are a natural perfumery, we avoid synthetics in all our Parfums. Luckily in the EU, legislation is better, however, our biggest concern is the nebulous ‘fragrance’ ‘parfum’ ingredient on labels which can hide hundreds of toxic undisclosed chemicals.
These chemical ingredients are not only harmful for us, they are polluting our environment as well. Published in the journal Science, the study finds that using scented products (which include items such as perfumes, hair sprays, air fresheners, and paints) emit the same amount of chemical vapors as petroleum emissions from cars — even though 15 times more petroleum is burned as fuel.
In addition, as a plant-based company we will never use animal products nor those tested on animals. The fragrances with most cruelty towards animals are often synthetic. There is a growing number of synthetic perfumes that are vegan, but they’re only vegan from source to shelf. Once used they no longer are. Synthetics bio-accumulate and do not break down in the environment so have therefore been found in bodies of water and stored in the fat of animals, causing toxic harm.
Most perfumes today use alcohol as the carrier (aka ‘Alcohol Denat’). It’s thin enough to go through an atomiser and easily breaks down the fragrance oils for blending. However, in order to be used on the market perfumer’s alcohol has to be ‘denatured’ by having toxic chemicals added to it so it cannot be purchased in bulk for human consumption. What is in these toxins is not very clear, nor if it’s been tested on animals so we personally don’t trust it and don’t use it. Our skin is our largest organ and it drinks and eats too. If the added chemicals are not fit for human consumption, they’re too toxic for our skin as well.
We use a fractioned coconut oil emollient (aka coco-caprylate) as our carrier. It is a fatty ether of coconut and considered a ‘dry oil’ in beauty products. It’s viscosity is similar to water so it’s thin enough to go through an atomiser, yet unlike alcohol which destroys your natural body oils and dries your skin, ours hydrates your skin and is healthy for you. It is also 100% organic, certified by EcoCert, kind to animals, the environment and skin.
In fairness and support of full disclosure most things aren’t black or white. There are shades of grey for natural ingredients too!
Some naturals contain allergens. In the same way some people are allergic to certain fruits or nuts, some botanicals can cause allergies. For this reason, we take a four-prong compliant approach:
- first, all of our formulas are assessed by a cosmetic chemist who will let us know if any of the botanicals we use need to be further diluted to avoid possible allergic reactions.
- once approved, each possible natural allergen is listed in our ingredients. You will see them listed with an asterisk and note that they are natural isolates. Natural Isolates are natural occurring chemicals (single chemicals) found in botanicals. Simply put, part of the larger rose compound (e.g.,), can be an allergen unless it’s properly diluted. To err on the side of caution, the EU requires potential allergens to be listed on all labels. [It’s important to note that these names can be used for synthetics as well. The synthetic versions are cheaper to buy and are often coloured to mimic the natural. Unless a company tells you it’s a natural ingredient, it is a very likely the synthetic version.] See the list of allergens here for more information about them.
- next, we clearly list any necessary precautions for essential oils. Whilst essential oils are fantastic (and created through a pure process called steam distillation), even too much spinach can be harmful and therefore appropriate doses and dilutions are needed.
- finally, we take this extra step of breaking it all down so it’s not merely words on a label and you have the links to do your own research if desired.
- please note that while our Parfums are 100% natural, we use high grade vegan synthetics in small amounts in our incense. The formula is mostly natural, but does contains a few synthetics (e.g., musk, that cannot be harnessed ethically or sustainably).
A couple other things to note in natural perfumery. Some natural perfumers use animal derivatives such as musk, castoreum, ambergris and civet... so stay away from these! Finally, please note that Absolutes are produced by solvent extraction. This causes heavy substances to pass through the prepared part of the plant. The solvent is then evaporated leaving only a natural material.
Our ethos is simple. All products, synthetic or natural, need to be clearly listed on all labels. ‘Fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ simply won’t fly. Not anymore. Consumers deserve to know what’s in their products so they can make an informed choice.
We believe natural fragrances are far healthier for you, for the environment and for the animals which we co-habitat with on this beautiful and complex planet. Our intention is to provide you with as much information as possible so you can decide if you agree with us. And of course, it’s ok if you don’t. Free will and all that, right?
We hope you found this helpful!