100% natural perfume

100% natural perfume - everything you need to know

One hundred percent:

Every single ingredient, in every one of our perfumes, started its life as a plant. Our fragrances are made entirely of essential oils, extracts and plant derived scent molecules in a base of organically certified, food grade grain alcohol. That’s it. We believe in full transparency and as such, you can read our full ingredients list for each fragrance here, but to give you a little more background, we’ve outlined more about our philosophy, ingredients and trade standards, below.

Plant derived scent molecules (natural isolates):

Most people understand what an essential oil is, however we often get asked about our use of “natural isolates” and what that means. Plant derived scent molecules (or natural isolates as they are commonly referred to) are single aroma molecules that have the same chemical structure as their synthetic counterparts (remember, everything has a chemical structure – H2O being the most widely recognised!). These natural isolates are often extracted using the latest in natural science and many of them are byproducts from other industries or processes. Using natural isolates and a more precision approach to creating fragrances gives our scents more balance and finesse, and helps them last longer on your skin than if we used only whole essential oils. The natural isolate molecules we use are derived from a plant source – not a petrochemical, like most of the industry. As such, they are a renewable resource and readily biodegradable in the environment.

The two most high profile of these molecules are Ambrettolide (musk) and Ambroxan (ambergris) molecules. The synthetic molecules are both very widely used in the industry as replacements for the original animal derived scents. The Ambrettolide we use is manufactured from renewable plant sugars through a sustainable and efficient combination of microbial fermentation and downstream processing. The Ambroxan we use is isolated from Clary Sage essential oil where it is just one of many aroma molecules already present in the whole essential oil.

There is always a trace of the original source in the final molecule and while their structure may be the same, we can clearly smell the difference in the scent profile of a plant derived molecule compared to the petrochemical derived alternative.

Why don’t more  fragrance houses use plant derived molecules over petrochemical derived molecules? The cost. The plant derived ingredients are exponentially more expensive. For example the plant derived Ambrettolide musk we use is approximately 15 times more expensive than the fossil fuel derived non-biodegradable polycyclic musk which is most commonly used in the industry.

Lack of transparency & misleading information:

Many fragrance houses talk about “Natural” or “Clean” however as these are totally non-regulated terms, unless you can see an ingredients list, there is no guarantee that there are any natural ingredients in the formula. Some houses also talk about a percentage of natural ingredients. Don’t be misled by this number unless it explicitly excludes the volume of alcohol from the percentage. An eau de parfum is typically 14-20% parfum oils, the remainder (plant derived) alcohol. So technically a fragrance could be “85% natural” but only include one natural ingredient – a plant derived alcohol!

Synthetic molecules and why we avoid them:

Most of the fragrance ingredients used in perfume are synthetic fragrance molecules and most of these are derived from fossil fuels like crude oil. Three of the main reasons we don’t use them are:

  • Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource: Fossil fuels and the resulting petroleum products are a non-renewable (limited) resource. We are desperately trying to decrease our petroleum consumption when it comes to travel and plastic use, but most of us wouldn’t even consider it when it comes to our perfume.
  • Non-biodegradable pollutants: A review backed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency describes polycyclic musks and (the now banned) nitromusks as “toxically significant” and “bioaccumulative pollutants” meaning they don’t biodegrade in the food chain. Instead they have been shown to build up in waterways and accumulate in the fatty tissue of marine animals. A study by Greenpeace was one of the first to voice the concerns around synthetic musk bioaccumulation. The downstream effect on animals is rarely talked about when it comes to Vegan or Cruelty Free where only the production chain and finished product is taken into account.
  • Links to health concerns: There is a growing body of research that links various synthetic fragrances molecules to skin and respiratory irritation, migraines and asthma attacks, as well as more serious issues that includes Endocrine disruption, Potential carcinogen, Neurotoxicity and Birth defects. If you want to read more about these, we recommend referencing the Environmental Working Group where much of the research has been compiled.
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