A fragrance is a combination of chemicals that gives a perfume its scent. It can be naturally occurring or artificially produced. Fragrance is used in a wide variety of household products including bath foam, shampoo, soap, makeup, and air fresheners. They also help mask the unpleasant smells of other ingredients in the product.
The International Fragrance Association, or IFRA, is an organization that sets standards for the safety of the fragrance industry. In the US, they work with the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, which develops voluntary safety profiles for chemicals. These guidelines protect consumer health by limiting the amount of individual constituents in the perfume. However, many fragrances contain synthetic odorants. Several fragrance ingredients have been linked to serious health problems, such as cancer.
Perfumes are manufactured from a combination of 20 to 800 raw materials. Typically, the raw materials are filtered through fabric, heated in fats, and steeped in oils and alcohols. After the mixture has cooled, the fragrance oil is extracted. Once the perfume is extracted, it is ready for filtering, aging, and the formulation process. Some fragrances are composed of only one ingredient, such as Serge Lutens’ Sa Majeste La Rose. Others are composed of a mixture of several different aromatics.
One of the oldest fragrance families is the citrus family. Fruity fragrances are fresh, lively, and touch the soul. For instance, the eucalyptus fragrance in the cologne Calone imparts a fresh, ozonous metallic marine scent.
Another fragrance family is the woody. Commonly found in woody perfumes is patchouli. Most colognes contain preservatives and dyes, and some may contain UV-absorbers. Other natural scents include amber and musk. Many fragrances contain antioxidants, which can extend shelf life and improve marketability.
Natural fragrances vary greatly, depending on the harvesting and processing. For example, flowers grown in Morocco will have a completely different scent from those grown in France. As a result, there is no one correct way to produce perfume.
Modern perfumery began in the late 19th century with the commercial synthesis of aroma compounds. This allowed the creation of perfumes that had never before been possible. Today, perfumers use many types of synthetic odorants, and there are tens of thousands of fragrance chemicals. Many of the chemicals in modern perfumes are linked to health risks, such as birth defects and cancer.
Many unscented products such as cosmetics and shower gels contain fragrance. But the specific ingredients and their composition are not often disclosed. Thus, unscrupulous suppliers can take advantage of consumers by adulterating the fragrance with a different ingredient.
In the US, the FDA defines a fragrance as a mixture of chemicals. The term “fragrance” is sometimes used as a generic term for all scented products. Companies that manufacture these products are required to list the ingredients on the label. Nevertheless, most fragrances are listed under their generic terms.
Fragrance is considered an important factor in cleaning products, which are also subject to regulations. In addition to being an ingredient in many household products, fragrances are added to beauty products such as shaving creams and shower gels.