Aside from fragrance free or unscented products, most products - whether we realize it or not - are fragranced in some way. In many mainstream personal care products, as well as perfume colognes, these scents are synthetic. However, even natural fragrances are not what they may seem. Read on to learn about the different kinds of fragrances that may be contained in your scented products.
What Kind of Fragrances Are There?
Synthetic fragrances, as they sound, are produced in laboratories. Though they may have some natural elements, the majority of their construction is synthetic. These artificial compounds are most commonly derived from petroleum, such as benzene derivatives and aldehydes - specifically the aromatic class. These are chemical ingredients derived from things like fossil fuels, corn, and sugar cane.
There's over 3100 different synthetic scent compounds in use in the beauty industry. They provide a huge range of scent combinations as well as a longer shelf life than natural compounds. This is the reason why these synthetic ingredients are so common. They’re also far cheaper to make compared to natural fragrances.
Petrochemicals are also a common allergen, with 2-4% of the U.S. population estimated to have some degree of sensitivity to them. For most people, this takes the form of contact dermatitis, otherwise known as common skin rash. This can even occur when the product has been used before with no reaction.
Why are natural fragrances better?
As defined by the International Fragrance Association (yes, that exists), natural fragrances are compounds or molecules made exclusively from natural aromatics.
Natural fragrances come generally from natural fragrance oils called isolates, called such because they are a single molecule isolated from a 100% natural source, like say lavender. The difference between natural fragrance oils and essential oils is that fragrances oils are a single molecule, while essential oils are a compound. This means that essential oils are more complex.
There are a number of ways to extract natural fragrance oils, including cold pressing, fermentation, and distillation. This involved extraction process is one of the reasons natural fragrances are more expensive than their synthetic counterparts.
Like all of our ingredients, the natural fragrances used in our skin care products are processed in an environmentally responsible way. In addition, because there are some inconsistencies in naturally sourced ingredients, some products may smell slightly different. However, like our Deep Cleansing Milk, they always smell great.
The Transparency Issue
Scent combinations, particularly in perfumes, can be considered trade secrets and are therefore not required to be disclosed on ingredient lists. That doesn’t necessarily mean these ingredients are toxic, but it certainly prevents consumers from being able to make an informed decision about what to put on their skin.
In the clean beauty world, transparency is one of the most important principles, and it certainly is for us here at Poéthique. Beyond just natural, plant-based ingredients, our commitment to transparency is one of the things that separates us from conventional skin care brands. All of our products are 100% plant-based, including our natural fragrances.