What is Fragrance?

Fragrance is a combination of aromatic materials that produce a distinctive scent. It can be natural or synthetic and used in a variety of cosmetic products like perfume, cologne and aftershave. Fragrance ingredients can also be found in cleaning products, body lotions and hair care items. A growing amount of research suggests that the scent of perfume can benefit a person’s health and mood. Perfume may increase self-esteem and confidence by improving one’s perceived attractiveness. It can also reduce stress and anxiety. Fragrance may be helpful to people with depression and chronic pain by activating opioid pathways in the brain.

Fragrances are composed of three main notes: top, middle and base. A perfume’s top note has a light, tangy and refreshing scent. It can be derived from citrus fruits or light herbs. The middle note has a deeper and more sensuous fragrance. The base note has a more musky and woody effect. Perfumers combine the raw materials to find the proper balance and effect that they desire when creating a fragrance. [2]

The International Fragrance Association and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials are two organizations that support manufacturers and researchers on fragrance and perfume safety. They have established standards that are the basis for the fragrance industry’s system for achieving safe use and enjoyment. Manufacturers are legally responsible for ensuring that their products do not contain any ingredients that could cause harm to the consumer. The FDA requires that all cosmetic products be tested for safety, however fragrances are not required to undergo premarket testing before being sold to the public.

Generally, a perfume is made from a natural product such as a flower (jasmine or rose) or a plant (lemon or lavender). The essential oil can be extracted by steam distillation or enfleurage. The oil is then diluted with a solvent such as ethanol or another neutral-smelling substance to form a perfume spray. Alternatively, the oil can be dissolved in other liquids such as jojoba or almond oils to make a solid perfume or a perfume containing a lower concentration of aromatic chemicals.

[3] The odors of the components that make up a perfume are combined by a perfumer to create a balanced, unified and harmonious olfactory impression. The perfumer may also add other compounds to a basic composition to create different effects and emotions. [4]

A perfume can be marketed for men or women and can be labeled as ‘pouf’ or ‘perfume’. Some perfumes are referred to as being unisex and may be labeled as ‘pour homme’ or ‘pouf femme’. Perfumes are often marketed by color as well as by scent. The color of a perfume can convey an impression of its mood or ambiance and is influenced by the chemical composition. For example, a green perfume might be a fresh or uplifting scent while a dark amber scent may represent elegance and sophistication. Perfumes are typically scented with natural oils but are also available with synthetic aroma chemicals.