Fragrance is an element of scent that is used in a wide range of products, including personal care and cleaning products. It is a common ingredient in shampoos, shower gels, shaving creams, body lotions and laundry detergents.
Generally speaking, fragrance is an essential oil, or a mixture of multiple oils, which are mixed with alcohol to produce a perfume or cologne. The concentration of essential oils varies from fragrance to fragrance, depending on the synthesis method and the intended effect.
Natural aromachemicals – often called “essential oils” – are sourced from plants, trees, and other sources, using a variety of processes to capture their fragrant molecules. These methods include steam distillation, enfleurage and maceration [3,4].
Some of the natural essential oils that make up perfumes come from plant materials such as flowers, leaves, and stems. Others are synthetic. Typically, natural essential oils are more expensive than synthetic aromatics. This is due to the time and cost involved in sourcing, distilling, and testing the natural ingredients.
Synthetic fragrances are more commonly found in perfumes and colognes. They are not a direct replacement for natural aromatics, but they can be more affordable because of their availability and their shorter synthesis routes. However, they are less recognizable, and do not have the same longevity as natural perfume oils.
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) maintains a list of the most common fragrance ingredients and their safety profiles. The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) also conducts tests and publishes reports on the safety of many of these ingredients.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, including some fragrances that are treated as drugs by the FDA. For example, if a fragrance is supposed to treat a condition, the manufacturer may need to get an FDA approval before it can sell it as a drug.
Perfumes can be extracted from many different raw materials, and each process has its own unique benefits and challenges. Distillation, for example, is one of the most common methods and is most suitable for extracting essential oils from raw materials like flowers, which have very high concentrations of fragrant compounds.
While perfumes can be made from a variety of natural and synthetic aromatics, the best ones are those made from a combination of both. A blend of natural and synthetic aromachemicals will be more recognizable to the nose, and is easier to wear for longer periods of time than either alone.
Creating a great fragrance is a process that can take months, even years, to perfect. Scentsy’s Fragrance Development Team guides this process, helping ideas become the next generation of beloved Scentsy fragrances.
The word “fragrance” is derived from the Latin root fragnus, meaning “scent.” In some cases, the word may be used in a humorous way to refer to a scent that smells bad. For example, the scent of rotten eggs can be described as fragrant.
Some ingredients in perfumes are considered allergens or have a potential to cause sensitivity in some individuals. While the FDA does not have legal authority to require allergen labeling, people who are concerned about fragrances can choose to use unscented or sensitive-friendly fragranced products.