Fragrance Composition, Uses & Types
Ingredients in a typical fragrance
"recipe" generally include:
- extracts from plants and flowers (naturals),
- synthetic recreations (synthetic duplications of natural fragrance materials),
- synthetic innovations (variations of naturally-occurring materials which have unique olfactory properties).
In general, typical fragrance formulae contain 100-350 ingredients, with an average concentration of usually less than 1%.
In a perfume, ethyl alcohol (of the same grade and purity as in alcoholic beverages) composes 50-90% of the product, purified water may constitute
5-20% of the product, with the fragrance component accounting from 10-30% of the finished product. Also present are UV inhibitors (to prevent
degradation in the bottle) and any additional colouring agents.
Other types of consumer products also contain fragrance including:
- Creams, lotions, powders and gels which are 95-99% product base, with 1-5% fragrance;
- Shampoos and deodorants which contain 0.5-1% fragrance;
- Clothes, dish detergents, softeners which contain 0.5-1% fragrance;
- Hard surface, bathroom cleaners which contain 0.2-0.5% fragrance.
Almost all fragrance materials originated as natural extracts of flowers and plants. However, it was discovered that there were a number
of drawbacks in the use of naturals, including their variability in quality, increased cost, unreliable supply and the possibility, in some
cases, of allergic ingredients. Thus, as the technology advances, naturals are used less frequently in the creation of higher quality products.
The safety of an ingredient does not depend on whether it is natural or synthetic. For example, almost half of the ingredients no longer used
in fragrances are naturals that caused skin irritation.
Today, less than 10% of materials are derived from flower parts. However, many of the starting materials for synthetics are actually derived
from natural sources (i.e. citrus).
Types of Fine Fragrance
Perfume this is the most concentrated and purest form of fragrance because the essential oils in the perfume diffuse on contact
with the heat of the skin to release the scent. Perfume is long lasting due to its low alcohol content.
Eau de Parfum this form of fragrance is not as strong as perfume but longer lasting than eau de toilette.
Eau de Toilette a lighter, more subtle blend which contains the same fragrance notes as the original perfume.
Cologne the most popular form of fragrance because the essential oils have been blended with a high concentration of alcohol
to make the scent refreshing and more economical.
Eau Fraîche a crisp, cooling skin toner that is sprayed or splashed on the skin after a bath or shower.
Cologne has a much higher alcohol content than perfume and therefore does not last as long on the skin. Perfume may be more expensive, but
as it also contains a higher concentration of essential oils, it will not have to be reapplied as often.