Q: What is the difference between natural and mainstream or synthetic perfumes?
A: Natural perfumes are made using only natural ingredients such as absolutes, essential oils and resins. Mainstream perfumes use synthetic materials made by chemical processes as these are cheaper and can be mass produced.
Q: Why don't natural perfumes last as long as synthetic ones?
A: Synthetic perfumes are made using synthetic aroma molecules created by one of the large fragrance & flavour houses. These are created to last as long as possible. Natural perfumes use natural ingredients and normally last 4 - 12 hours on the skin depending on what ingredients are used and at what concentrations - whether it is an Eau de Toilette, and Eau de Parfum or an Extrait de Parfum.
Q: Does it matter that natural perfumes do not last as long as synthetic perfumes?
A: Judging a perfume by how long it lasts is about as relevant as judging a book by how many pages it has or a symphony by how long it is.
Q: What is the difference between an Eau de Toilette (EdT), an Eau de Parfum (EdP) and an Extrait de Parfum?
A: The difference is in the concentration of perfume extract or compound used. An Eau de Toilette is usually between 5% and 8% of concentrate with the rest being alcohol. An Eau de Parfum is usually between 8% and 15% while an Extrait de Parfum is 15% to 25%.
Q: Are natural ingredients more expensive than synthetic ones?
A: The short answer is yes. The business model of mainstream perfumery is completely different to the business model in natural perfumery. Mainstream perfumes cannot use natural ingredients because they are far too expensive and not available in the quantities required. Synthetic perfume costs next to nothing to make and all the cost goes towards paying for the marketing. This includes the armies of people spraying the perfume on unsuspecting victims as they walk through duty free as well as the glossy adverts with the celebrities shilling the fragrances.
Q: What about natural perfumery?
A: In natural perfumery the main costs are down to the ingredients, which can be as high as £20,000/Kg in the case of Tuberose Absolute or Bulgarian Rose Otto. Natural perfumeries tend to be much smaller as natural ingredients are not available in industrial quantities. They are normally headed by a perfumer who creates the scents in-house.
Q: How can the great fashion designers bring out new perfumes if they are deceased?
A: Mainstream perfumes are usually not created by the fashion designers, or even by the companies that bear their name. The designers license their brand name to the perfume division of one of the large multinational luxury companies. These then commission a scent from one of the big fragrance & flavour houses like Givaudan or IFF, who will create various options. The multinational then chooses the one they want and the fragrance & flavour house supplies the concentrated perfume compound. This is then bottled in a factory somewhere. Not very glamorous.
Q: What about "celebrity" perfumes?
A: This is the same business model except that the name used to front the fragrance is not a dead designer but a living celebrity. However, their involvement in creating the scent is normally the same - none.
Q: Are natural perfumes safe?
A: All beauty products sold in the EU must be assessed for safety. This is to ensure that they do not contain harmful ingredients or allergens in high concentrations. Walden Natural Perfumes, like all perfumes sold in the UK, have all undergone safety assessment. The levels deemed safe for perfume ingredients is set by IFRA after testing and research.
Q: What is IFRA?
A: IFRA is the International Fragrance Association. They are the association that represents the fragrance industry and regulates their members products. IFRA researches ingredients and publishes guidelines for their use.