The perfume industry is a multi-billion dollar business that offers us a variety of scents to choose from. A perfume is a combination of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents which are applied to the skin or other surfaces in order to give them an agreeable odor. Whether you use it to impress your date, make a positive first impression at work or simply enjoy its smell, a good quality perfume can have many benefits.
Perfumes can relax you, boost your confidence or make you feel sexy depending on the particular type of scent you wear. The earliest known perfumes were produced in ancient Egypt and later refined by the Romans and Arabs. In fact, an archeological find suggests that the first perfume factory may have existed around 2,000 years ago in Cyprus. The rich elites of the day would adorn themselves with aromatic oils like lily.
It is also believed that perfume was used in funeral preparations and as a mark of social status. Even today, perfume is a very popular item on the cosmetics market. Some of the more famous brands include Yves Saint Laurent Kouros and Dior Poison.
Fragrances come from a wide range of plant and animal sources including flowers, grasses, herbs, spices, fruits, trees, woods, roots, barks, resins, balsams, leaves, gums, animal secretions and other natural substances. However, a significant amount of perfume is created using synthetic ingredients. The natural scents of certain plants do not yield readily to oil extraction, so they are re-created in the lab using chemicals.
These chemicals are then mixed with a carrier substance such as alcohol or oil and sold as a ready to wear perfume. Some countries have strict safety legislation on the ingredients of their perfumes, and these are typically listed on the packaging in order of predominance. This includes the EU and US, although it is possible to purchase a perfume that does not list all of its ingredients as some are considered trade secrets.
Some of the ingredients in perfumes have been shown to be harmful or cause irritation. This is why some people avoid using them and choose to wear unscented or hypoallergenic products instead. Others suffer from allergic reactions to perfumes and require special ‘fragrance free’ products. These can be bought from specialty shops.
There is a surprising amount of science and ingenuity behind perfume creation, especially those made from synthetics. If you’re fascinated by the science of it, you can take a peek inside a perfumer’s lab by visiting this website. It’s free and offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of a perfume chemist. There is also a community of perfume enthusiasts who swap their favorite scents on message boards and in blogs, such as Fragrantica. A great resource for information on perfume is the IFRA website which has a database of more than 4,500 different ingredients. This site also contains the regulations and safety standards that are used in the making of perfumes.