'Raw Beauty': All About Fragrance
In the third chapter of our “Raw Beauty” series, green beauty maven and London-based make-up artist Khandiz Joni shines a light on fragrance and gives you guidance on how to choose safe products and brands. And we have a little surprise for you - you can win a delicious scent by the 100% natural perfume brand Abel. Simply enter the competition here - and enjoy!
Chapter Three, All About Fragrance by Khandiz Joni:
If you are just dipping your toes into the juggernaut that is “clean beauty” no doubt you would have heard about how fragrance is the new “smoking”. You might have heard about the loophole in which – due to intellectual property laws – companies do not need to stipulate which ingredients make up any said fragrance. Perhaps you’ve heard that a fragrance can be made up of anything between ten and a thousand different ingredients.
All of this is true and if you are interested in detoxifying your beauty regime, fragrance as an ingredient is certainly something you need to consider when making your personal care and cosmetic purchases.
If you have recently picked up a skin care or cosmetic item off your bathroom shelf that claims to be organic but has fragrance/perfume in the ingredients list: Firstly, well spotted, but secondly, don’t panic. Any combination of ingredients used to scent a product must be listed as fragrance or perfume. ‘Clean’ brands can contain ‘fragrance’ as a singularly listed ingredient provided the ingredients of that fragrance are made up of naturally occurring ingredients. This is usually noted with an * and defined below the ingredients list. Or the product is certified by a regulatory body such as Soil Association or COSMOS (there are various certification bodies around the world who monitor how natural and/or organic products are produced).
Choosing brands that don’t hide their ingredients list is a good way to ensure that you know what you’re getting. If you have an allergy to a particular ingredient, you are therefore able to avoid it.
So now that you know a little bit more about the concept of fragrance in personal care products, let’s move onto the perfumes we wear as the final piece of our daily ensemble.
Do you know the difference between perfume and Eau de perfume?
In short, parfum, or perfume as we know it here on the English isles, is made up of aromatic oils suspended in alcohol (ethanol). Perfume consists of between 15-40% aromatic compounds. Due to its high concentration of perfumed oils, which are usually dabbed onto the skin, your chosen scent lingers longer and it carries the highest price tag. The more common Eau de perfume, with its literal translation to ‘perfume water’, has a slightly lower concentration of oils to ethanol and/or water (10-20% oil to water/solvent ratio). Eau de toilette simply translates to “toilet water” and offers a percentage of aromatic ingredients that consists of 5-15% aromatic oils. Naturally, Eau de toilette wears off much quicker. Eau de cologne provides the lightest fragrance with its 2-5% ratio of scented oils. Good quality natural perfumes, free from synthetic fixers and artificial scents, last for about 4 hours.
A word of advice on essentials oils:
It is not wise to apply neat essential oils directly to the skin. These powerful oils can cause skin reactions and stimulate different bodily functions, which could have adverse reactions. If you like the idea of being in control of your own blend of perfume, ensure you are mixing the essential oil into a carrier oil and have checked the safe ratios of essential oils to carrier oils.
Since switching to clean beauty and eliminating synthetic ingredients from my life, I can distinguish between natural and artificial fragrances in seconds. The latter enveloping me in a wave of nausea the moment they waft past me in the street, or stairwell, or lift. You get my drift.
Who can deny the allure of smelling good? I certainly can’t. I have always been a collector of fragrances. I’ve never had a signature scent, but rather choose my scents on my mood, who I want to be that day or simply for the memories that particular smell might conjure up.
To offer a little perspective:
For thousands of years, fragrant oils and floral waters have been used to mask body odor. It wasn’t until the 19th century, however, when these natural – often therapeutic – oils, were replaced with cheap synthetic alternatives. While these cheap alternatives made sense from a business standpoint, little research was carried out into the health and environmental implications of these ‘new’ ingredients. Commercial fragrances now consist of up to 95% petrol-derived – a.k.a synthetic – ingredients.
However, switching to clean beauty does not mean you have to be devoid of fragrance in your life. There are some wonderful brands that have developed complex scents, that don’t leave you smelling like you just hit up your local health food store and purchased every aromatherapy oil on the shelf. In this series, we have looked at various forms of fragrance offerings – from traditional Eau de perfumes, scented mists, deodorants and even hair perfumes.
Ultimately, I believe that the key to wearing a fragrance is less about what we smell like and more about how the combination of scents make us feel because when we are feeling confident, the world becomes our proverbial oyster.
“The Nature of Beauty”: Organic Skincare, Botanical Beauty Rituals and Clean Cosmetics, by Imelda Burke.
“Essential Oil Safety”: A Guide For Healthcare Professionals, by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. Both books are available via the Lissome/Store.
Björk & Berries – Dark Rain
With spicy top notes, floral mid notes and woody base notes, this is a good autumn scent. While this fragrance isn’t completely made from natural ingredients – 86% of the ingredients are naturally derived – it does contain one synthetic ingredient. I have included it because of the transparency of the ingredients list.
Honest – Nourishing Scent Mist
A mood enhancing natural Eau de toilette so to speak. The heady petitgrain and palma rose notes ground you.
Romilly Wilde – Idle
A complex layering of aromatic notes of wood, green and a touch of citrus.
Hailed as the natural “Molucle”.
Abel – White Vetiver
A delicious woody scent, with a hint of lime. I have always been partial to wood, leather and citrus smells and this particular blend of fragrances hits every note. It’s the perfect unisex fragrance. If this isn’t your personal preference, Abel sells a sample set of their 5 fragrances for £20, which is redeemable against a purchase of over 80 euros, within 30 days.
Fine – Cream Deodorant
With many people using a deodorant as a fragrance tool, I felt it imperative to include a clean option in our ‘Fragrance’ issue. Fine Natural Deodorant is free from nasty ingredients such as aluminum (and all the other usual suspects). Instead, they use a sophisticated blend of natural and organic ingredients that help illuminate odor-causing bacteria while imparting a wonderful scent onto the wearer.
Tabitha James Kraan – Hair Perfume
Yes, you read it right. This is a ‘hair perfume’. Based on the traditional use of perfuming, this wonderful product is designed to be sprayed onto the hair to help illuminate odor and encourage you to wash your hair less (we will cover more on this in our ‘Hair’ issue). With its wonderful fresh scent (and ingredients that benefit the hair and scalp) I find it an essential in my handbag when I have to use public transport to get to where I go. A quick all over spritz (it’s not limited to just our heads!) prior to walking into a room fills me with confidence.
Win a Perfume
Abel are kindly offering a giveaway and you can win their warm and spicy Red Santal scent. All entries must be submitted by September 14, 2017, and the winner will be announced in the following week.