Perfume is thousands of years old, with evidence of the first perfumes dating back to Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Cyprus. The English word "perfume" comes from the Latin per fume, meaning "through smoke.” The Ancient Egyptians were the first to incorporate perfume into their culture, followed by the ancient Chinese, Hindus, Israelites, Carthaginians, Arabs, 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.
- 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.