Frustrated with naturals and IFRA limitations

Bmaster

Active member
Sep 24, 2021
Hi everyone! I’m very new here, in fact this is my first post. I recently initiated my aspirations to design fragrances for the cosmetics I produce for my small-side business. With the intent of maintain my companies brand and philosophy, I took the bold leap to natural aromatic chemicals and started formulating a few colognes.

I’m currently aligning with the IFRA concerning my products, however, formulating perfumes has proven to be of great difficulty. Forgive me if I’m ignorant, but to me, it appears that every natural aroma chemical that would be beneficial for a men’s cologne is restricted (.01-3%). I’ve found myself frequently formulating a muddled cologne without any prominent notes. I’m losing patience, and feel frustrated that the artistic opportunities of producing an exceptional natural, IFRA compliant fragrance is impossible.

I’m contemplating if many other natural perfumers are not aligning their fragrances with the IFRA. What should I do…..
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Formulate as you wish, bit add a sticker with warning.
You sell to adults that know how to read and make decision.
Try to test on yourself and others before releasing just to make sure no serious skin reactions occur
 

greeneaj87

Well-known member
May 25, 2020
Why not use Natural Isolates to fill out your creations? This will give you so much more flexibility and power. They may be able to "fill the voids" left by low levels of oils and absolutes mandated by the IFRA. Perhaps more experienced DIY BN noses can chime in here....

A quick peek at the "natural isolate" section of Perfumer Supply House shows that you can get natural Nerol, Citronellol, Cis-3-Hexenol and Geraniol. Those four isolates, in my limited experience, seem like they would be useful in a cologne.

https://perfumersupplyhouse.com/product-category/isolates/

A search for "natural" on Perfumer's Apprentice produced 8 pages of Natural Isolates!!!!! You can use ANY of these, follow IFRA limits, have a powerful fragrance, and still call your product "Natural".

EDIT: I was assuming you were only using essential oils and absolutes. If you are already using Natural Isolates, you can disregard my comment. I have a tough time believing that all Natural Isolates (geraniol, for example) would be heavily restricted by the IFRA???
 

SubUmbra

Well-known member
Jul 9, 2018
Forgive me if I’m ignorant, but to me, it appears that every natural aroma chemical that would be beneficial for a men’s cologne is restricted (.01-3%). I’ve found myself frequently formulating a muddled cologne without any prominent notes.

All is forgiven! haha. I must admit, this does come off as somewhat ignorant, but it's simply because this subject has a steep learning curve and isn't always very easy to understand.

First, I'm trying to understand what you're doing. You're using "natural aroma chemicals" (I'm assuming that means natural isolates?) in cosmetic products, not fine fragrance diluted in alcohol, correct? If so, the way that formula interacts with a powder, clay, etc. is going to be much different from how it interacts on a test strip or in an alcohol-diluted perfume. So that's one challenge to keep in mind which may alter how much of anything you'd want to use in the first place.

Second, most of those restricted "beneficial" aroma chems are fairly potent. Have you tried using them in dilution and starting small, then comparing them in your formulas in larger doses? You may find there's another reason for their typically-low use.

I’m losing patience, and feel frustrated that the artistic opportunities of producing an exceptional natural, IFRA compliant fragrance is impossible.

I'm having trouble keeping up with how "natural" you're trying to go. Yes, if you're going "all natural," i.e. no aroma chems at all, just absolutes, oils, tinctures, and the occasional isolate, you're going to produce a lot of mud when you're first starting out, but that's also true if you're using "real" aroma chems as well. Fragrance blending is difficult and takes lots of time and patience. And natural materials are very beautiful, but they're also incredibly complex. You have to be incredibly judicious with your use of them and you have to study them closely to learn how they interact with each other (again, same if you're using some aroma chems). In my opinion, it's easier to create a muddy mix if you're using lots of naturals, simply because of how complex these materials are. It's almost like fingerpainting when you were a child: at some point, once you mix all these beautiful colors together, they're going to turn a sickly brown if you don't know what you're doing.

In this respect, IFRA really isn't your problem. I think you should spend more time learning your materials and accept that this craft takes a LOT of time & effort. Your "artistic opportunities" are not being limited by IFRA right now -- they're being limited by your lack of understanding of the materials.

For what it is worth, of course there are some IFRA limits that annoy me, too. But whenever I feel tempted to blame my muddy work on another aspect, I have to stop myself and wonder, "is this just because I need to make a better formula?" The answer is almost always "yes."
 

Bmaster

Active member
Sep 24, 2021
All is forgiven! haha. I must admit, this does come off as somewhat ignorant, but it's simply because this subject has a steep learning curve and isn't always very easy to understand.

First, I'm trying to understand what you're doing. You're using "natural aroma chemicals" (I'm assuming that means natural isolates?) in cosmetic products, not fine fragrance diluted in alcohol, correct? If so, the way that formula interacts with a powder, clay, etc. is going to be much different from how it interacts on a test strip or in an alcohol-diluted perfume. So that's one challenge to keep in mind which may alter how much of anything you'd want to use in the first place.

Second, most of those restricted "beneficial" aroma chems are fairly potent. Have you tried using them in dilution and starting small, then comparing them in your formulas in larger doses? You may find there's another reason for their typically-low use.



I'm having trouble keeping up with how "natural" you're trying to go. Yes, if you're going "all natural," i.e. no aroma chems at all, just absolutes, oils, tinctures, and the occasional isolate, you're going to produce a lot of mud when you're first starting out, but that's also true if you're using "real" aroma chems as well. Fragrance blending is difficult and takes lots of time and patience. And natural materials are very beautiful, but they're also incredibly complex. You have to be incredibly judicious with your use of them and you have to study them closely to learn how they interact with each other (again, same if you're using some aroma chems). In my opinion, it's easier to create a muddy mix if you're using lots of naturals, simply because of how complex these materials are. It's almost like fingerpainting when you were a child: at some point, once you mix all these beautiful colors together, they're going to turn a sickly brown if you don't know what you're doing.

In this respect, IFRA really isn't your problem. I think you should spend more time learning your materials and accept that this craft takes a LOT of time & effort. Your "artistic opportunities" are not being limited by IFRA right now -- they're being limited by your lack of understanding of the materials.

For what it is worth, of course there are some IFRA limits that annoy me, too. But whenever I feel tempted to blame my muddy work on another aspect, I have to stop myself and wonder, "is this just because I need to make a better formula?" The answer is almost always "yes."


I should clarify that I’m experimenting with perfuming (cologne) and a desire to incorporate a fragrance into a cosmetic. I’m using natural isolates, EO, absolutes, tinctures, ect. and have around 50-75 constituents to work with. My issue is that every one of these components, exception to some isolates, are restricted to a small portion of the fragrance concentrate. This muddling of aromas are a result of my limitations, I’d like to say, use labdanum or oakmoss, or even pines, but they are very restricted resulting in a void to fill.

The other problem is that there are many natural isolates available to commercial houses, but not to a DIYer as these companies only sell to manufacturers. The isolates available to the DIY are floral, some aldehydes, and some isolates from veviter, patchouli, and labdanum, all but patchouli is restricted quite a bit. Thus, in I’m proposing to make a 30% formula to alcohol, I’m left with filling the void with other aromas or having a very weak cologne.
 

Jolieo

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2018
Hi ! Welcome!
First where are you? If you are in a be eu, they have different standards. Every country does.
Working in all naturals is possible: you have to use very good materials, and you’ll have to source some natural isolates, or other natural materials to extend your organ. Putting more of the regulated materials in won’t necessarily get you a better perfume. Using all naturals will limit you, I find that I can’t get the lightness or air into all naturals - I can get a good smelling long lasting perfume- but the performance will be lacking in projection, and subtleties, and as I said lightness.
The belief that naturals are better( and I believe this) is one thing, but the belief that naturals are better for perfume making is another-it’s like anything else: what’s better is what gets your vision up and moving.
Unfortunately it is a very hard thing to learn, so limiting oneself in any way, will make it harder to learn.
There are also cost considerations- I have some naturals that are crazy delicious, and I can’t find any limits eg jasmine tea leaf ( but it probably just means haven’t got to it yet) but making it the star would cost - it isn’t as strong as rose, or Jasmine, or tonka etc

Also , when I first started, I bought some 3% samples from creating perfume. I thought why would they sell these if they aren’t useful? Then I got them, and I could barely smell them. I thought, huh? And put them away. A year later I was as working on a perfume and I wanted a very low dose of floral, so I pull d them out. Well now they smelled very strong, my ability to smell was better. And they did have an impact at that percentage in the perfume- it would have put the percent in formula at .03 or something like that. So creating with low percentages isn’t the whole issue.
I was ver resistant to acs when I came to BN, but they offered to teach me, I couldn’t dictate terms. They suggested I get acs, and I got very many acs. I still much prefer naturals, hasn’t budged at at. Acs are teaching me a great deal- not just about what they do: it’s important to be able to follow the conversation to learn- even if I don’t make every formula- because I have the materials ( well some of them) I can get the gist,and I can sort of see what is being aimed for, and why suggestions are being made.
This is a great place to ask for specifics on formulas, no one is going to steal it, they will try to help
Good luck
 

SubUmbra

Well-known member
Jul 9, 2018
I’m using natural isolates, EO, absolutes, tinctures, ect. and have around 50-75 constituents to work with.

Tinctures are tough. Few last a long time in a blend, and if they're not super-charged tinctures (tinctures with more than a couple of charges), they tend to be fairly weak in terms of diffusion. Don't know if you're using them a lot, but thought I'd give you a heads up.

Also, absolutes and EOs have their own separate challenges. Again, these tend to be very complex-smelling on their own, which is always going to be a challenge in terms of creating a harmonized blend. Once you start throwing more than a couple of them in, they can very easily start to overwhelm each other, and the result is muddy. I encourage you to look into solid all-natural houses like Providence Perfume Co. & Hiram Greene as examples of those who are able to overcome this challenge gracefully.

It is more likely, though not always true, that you'll get better diffusion from the isolates. In that respect, you won't always need to use tons of isolates in order to achieve better diffusion. Think of them like bones in the body: sure, they comprise a decent percentage, but organs and flesh are what you really see when you look at the human figure. So this "gap" thing you're describing may, or may not, come into play as much as you think it does. You might just need to experiment with proportions of isolates versus oils, absolutes, etc.

IMy issue is that every one of these components, exception to some isolates, are restricted to a small portion of the fragrance concentrate. This muddling of aromas are a result of my limitations, I’d like to say, use labdanum or oakmoss, or even pines, but they are very restricted resulting in a void to fill.

The isolates available to the DIY are floral, some aldehydes, and some isolates from veviter, patchouli, and labdanum, all but patchouli is restricted quite a bit.

I think you may have a skewed sense of what is and what isn't "small." If what I understand is true, Haitian vetiver EO (undiluted) can be used up to 12 percent of a fragrance concentrate (BEFORE being diluted in alcohol). That is objectively a LOT of vetiver, and I challenge you not to think so if you used 12% of it in a blend.

But you're also talking about how these isolates are limited, too, which I don't quite agree with. I've used a decent amount of certain isolates in my blends before, and I almost always feel I've used too much of them. This is of course a subjective thing because we're talking about creative decisions here, but can you give an example of a few isolates you really wish you could use more of?

Also, if you describe the type of scent you're having trouble making, maybe we can give you more specific advice and see if IFRA limits really are the problem.
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
I should clarify that I’m experimenting with perfuming (cologne) and a desire to incorporate a fragrance into a cosmetic. I’m using natural isolates, EO, absolutes, tinctures, ect. and have around 50-75 constituents to work with. My issue is that every one of these components, exception to some isolates, are restricted to a small portion of the fragrance concentrate. This muddling of aromas are a result of my limitations, I’d like to say, use labdanum or oakmoss, or even pines, but they are very restricted resulting in a void to fill.

The other problem is that there are many natural isolates available to commercial houses, but not to a DIYer as these companies only sell to manufacturers. The isolates available to the DIY are floral, some aldehydes, and some isolates from veviter, patchouli, and labdanum, all but patchouli is restricted quite a bit. Thus, in I’m proposing to make a 30% formula to alcohol, I’m left with filling the void with other aromas or having a very weak cologne.

I think the above post is correct that your issues with "muddling" & "weakness" have nothing to do with IFRA limits. I would read that post again.
 

Bmaster

Active member
Sep 24, 2021
Tinctures are tough. Few last a long time in a blend, and if they're not super-charged tinctures (tinctures with more than a couple of charges), they tend to be fairly weak in terms of diffusion. Don't know if you're using them a lot, but thought I'd give you a heads up.

Also, absolutes and EOs have their own separate challenges. Again, these tend to be very complex-smelling on their own, which is always going to be a challenge in terms of creating a harmonized blend. Once you start throwing more than a couple of them in, they can very easily start to overwhelm each other, and the result is muddy. I encourage you to look into solid all-natural houses like Providence Perfume Co. & Hiram Greene as examples of those who are able to overcome this challenge gracefully.

It is more likely, though not always true, that you'll get better diffusion from the isolates. In that respect, you won't always need to use tons of isolates in order to achieve better diffusion. Think of them like bones in the body: sure, they comprise a decent percentage, but organs and flesh are what you really see when you look at the human figure. So this "gap" thing you're describing may, or may not, come into play as much as you think it does. You might just need to experiment with proportions of isolates versus oils, absolutes, etc.



I think you may have a skewed sense of what is and what isn't "small." If what I understand is true, Haitian vetiver EO (undiluted) can be used up to 12 percent of a fragrance concentrate (BEFORE being diluted in alcohol). That is objectively a LOT of vetiver, and I challenge you not to think so if you used 12% of it in a blend.

But you're also talking about how these isolates are limited, too, which I don't quite agree with. I've used a decent amount of certain isolates in my blends before, and I almost always feel I've used too much of them. This is of course a subjective thing because we're talking about creative decisions here, but can you give an example of a few isolates you really wish you could use more of?

Also, if you describe the type of scent you're having trouble making, maybe we can give you more specific advice and see if IFRA limits really are the problem.

Thank you everyone thus far for the guidance and comments, it’s alleviating some of my frustrations 😂. To be honest, the natural isolates on hand (deemed natural) are florals, some citrus, green/herb, and of course, the terpenes. Now, I’m purely focused on a base accord, looking to modernize (with natural limitations) a chypre or fougere, perhaps you could argue that it’s more of a chypre. Now to my key notes:

I should quickly mention that this is purely a practice formulation, nothing final.

I really am bummed that I’m limited on oakmoss, it’s a fairly key component I’d like to shine, for now it’s limited to 1%

Secondly, I have some labdanum extracts or isolates that are restricted to 3.6%, these thresholds have been “ok”.

To supplement the mossy notes, I’ve tried implementing small doses of fenchol alcohol, with some mixed success.

Patchouli has not been an issue for me.

Now, if you total the above chemicals, I’m at, let’s just say 13% of my 100% concentrate. At this point, I can only add more patchouli or a small amount of labdanum, neither of which I desire to do as the balance breaks. I have supplemented the remaining base accord with notes of leather, musk, Amber, spice, with nuances (barely detectable) of pine, incense, smoke, and floral.

Consequentially, the composition is insanely busy…. I know this is the problem with essential oils or absolutes, they are perfumes in themselves. My goal is to simplify, yet maintain the amber, spice, and woodsy scents. For spice I’m incorporating a mix of clove, patchouli fractions, oakmoss (to no effect), tonka bean 1-2%.

Lastly, I think I’m battling with the desire to increase the fragrance projection, thus eliminating softer aromas from my blend, such as clearwood. I’m not going to say that the fragrance is unpleasant, it’s very appeasing, but I know it could be that much better with less aroma-noise.
 

SubUmbra

Well-known member
Jul 9, 2018
To be honest, the natural isolates on hand (deemed natural) are florals, some citrus, green/herb, and of course, the terpenes.

These notes don't tend to last too long in general, but it seems like your problem lies more in the base, so we can make suggestions there!

I really am bummed that I’m limited on oakmoss, it’s a fairly key component I’d like to shine, for now it’s limited to 1%

I know we all love to bemoan IFRA/oakmoss, but you can get around this by exploring other materials which come off similar to oakmoss (there are a number of "oakmoss replacers" which may or may not meet your standards re: "natural" materials). But if you want one suggestion, I'd look into trying Patchouli Absolute -- I'm talking about the actual absolute of patchouli, not the oil. It comes off a bit more earthy/grassy/minerallic than the oil, which when you think about it is more like oakmoss.

Basically, you need to think about accords, not just materials. Get to know your materials and ask yourself, "which of them give off the impression that I'm trying to impart with oakmoss/whatever material you think you can't use more of? What can I combine to give off an oakmoss/spice/whatever accord?"

Now, if you total the above chemicals, I’m at, let’s just say 13% of my 100% concentrate. At this point, I can only add more patchouli or a small amount of labdanum, neither of which I desire to do as the balance breaks. I have supplemented the remaining base accord with notes of leather, musk, Amber, spice, with nuances (barely detectable) of pine, incense, smoke, and floral.

I know why you're thinking about your formula as having "gaps" that you need to "fill." It makes theoretical sense. But I think you're going to be more frustrated thinking this way in the long run -- it may help simply to think about your formulas as melding a group of accords together harmoniously. You can get around any IFRA limit by simply finding other materials that fit a need. So think about what materials give off the "vibe" you're looking for and pursue your formulas with those.

...but I know it could be that much better with less aroma-noise.

Another approach you could try is to simply make something and not initially care about "overdosing" anything. Just make a small (like 2-4ish gram) formula according to your whim, let it age a little bit, and then analyze it. Then ask yourself if it is doing more or less what you want it to do.

If the answer is "yes," then you can scale it up to a round number (like a 5g concentrate formula, for example) and then replace whatever you've overdosed with other materials which are similar but less restricted. This way, you're carefully adding only what the formula needs to be "complete."

But if the answer is "no," then you'll know the problem isn't IFRA, it's the way you've blended the materials.

Side note: I hope I'm not coming off as some sort of IFRA fanboy, because I'm not. I definitely find some of their restrictions puzzling. But I also firmly believe that they get a lot of blame they don't deserve, and that many self-taught perfumers blame them for things they should only blame themselves for.
 

Michael Andrews

Well-known member
May 23, 2020
Hi everyone! I’m very new here, in fact this is my first post. I recently initiated my aspirations to design fragrances for the cosmetics I produce for my small-side business. With the intent of maintain my companies brand and philosophy, I took the bold leap to natural aromatic chemicals and started formulating a few colognes.

I’m currently aligning with the IFRA concerning my products, however, formulating perfumes has proven to be of great difficulty. Forgive me if I’m ignorant, but to me, it appears that every natural aroma chemical that would be beneficial for a men’s cologne is restricted (.01-3%). I’ve found myself frequently formulating a muddled cologne without any prominent notes. I’m losing patience, and feel frustrated that the artistic opportunities of producing an exceptional natural, IFRA compliant fragrance is impossible.

I’m contemplating if many other natural perfumers are not aligning their fragrances with the IFRA. What should I do…..

Remember the limits posted are for a final product, so multiply be 5.00x for 20% EDP, and 6.666x for a 15% conc.

E.g Cinnamon Bark 0.07% meaning in your concentrate you can have (0.07%*5 = 0.35%) which can also be thought of as 3.5 parts per thousand (3.5 ppt)

If you make a perfume with 3.5 ppt cinnamon it will be cinnamon-y, if it's not then you know you're not blending properly and you're not leaving enough room in the formula for the cinnamon.

You'll find that the limits are usually fine, and if you max them out then that's all you really need, they actually can act as a nice buffer to make sure you're using your materials properly.

A scale with a 0.000g (1mg) measurement is pretty necessary, and then dilute some materials to 10%, or even 1% so that you can dose things properly and in small enough batches that you can trial enough so that you learn.

Good luck and have fun
 

Bmaster

Active member
Sep 24, 2021
Remember the limits posted are for a final product, so multiply be 5.00x for 20% EDP, and 6.666x for a 15% conc.

E.g Cinnamon Bark 0.07% meaning in your concentrate you can have (0.07%*5 = 0.35%) which can also be thought of as 3.5 parts per thousand (3.5 ppt)

If you make a perfume with 3.5 ppt cinnamon it will be cinnamon-y, if it's not then you know you're not blending properly and you're not leaving enough room in the formula for the cinnamon.

You'll find that the limits are usually fine, and if you max them out then that's all you really need, they actually can act as a nice buffer to make sure you're using your materials properly.

A scale with a 0.000g (1mg) measurement is pretty necessary, and then dilute some materials to 10%, or even 1% so that you can dose things properly and in small enough batches that you can trial enough so that you learn.

Good luck and have fun

Thanks everyone! Sorry for inadequately quoting here (mobile device). With the responses I’ve received thus far, I have reconsidered the approach to “making it work” with IFRA standards. I think what was mentioned “learn your materials and find a similar replacement” is feasible. I am very familiar with the experience of learning a new material, at first sniff, you try to associate it with something you know or smelled before, overtime you differentiate these materials from one another - it’s quite a strange phenomenon. I remember when I first sample ambrettolide, I wrote down notes of it smelling like baby powder - it’s nothing near baby powder (haha). It’s a beautiful delicate, musky, clean, somewhat floral.

Thanks for the tips about the scale and dilutions, I’m learning quickly about the aldehydes, I have them diluted to 1%, some are at .05%.
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
If the IFRA limits for oakmoss & labdanum are 1% & 3.5% on skin, respectively (I have no idea, just taking what was stated above), then for a 20% EtOH-based perfume, those would be 5% & 17.5% of formula respectively. Those are each ENORMOUS doses of those materials & if you are finding you need more than those doses to work in a chypre, something else is very wrong.
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
If the IFRA limits for oakmoss & labdanum are 1% & 3.5% on skin, respectively (I have no idea, just taking what was stated above), then for a 20% EtOH-based perfume, those would be 5% & 17.5% of formula respectively. Those are each ENORMOUS doses of those materials & if you are finding you need more than those doses to work in a chypre, something else is very wrong.

OK, I guess the IFRA oakmoss limit is 0.1% on skin. For a 20% perfume, this is still 0.5% of formula, which should be plenty for a strong oakmoss effect if used correctly and is not low-atranol.
 

sorance

Well-known member
Feb 14, 2020
Oakmoss is 0.1% restricted, and it is not so clear what does it mean = IFRA RESTRICTION LIMITS IN THE FINISHED PRODUCT (%), 1. just the concentrate perfume without alcohol, 2. or the final product with alcohol included.
If 1. it is pretty ok, but if 2. a pretty bad restriction. 0.1 oakmoss despite it is very powerful, for 2. case is too little.
 

Jolieo

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2018
Eden botanicals has an oakmoss that I like that is ifra compliant- whatever that means. Their safety and data sheet says for eu to see section three of the eu allergens section.
This is probably my biggest concern w ifra , I can’t easily navigate.
Also - I have been perusing white lotus aromatics( who are sadly gone) in the wayback machine- and perhaps their “ recipes” could be helpful to you. I never took them too seriously because of the huge amount of materials 3 ounces? 1 ounce of an expensive absolute?) I would envision rich people buying “ ingredients “ to make xmas presents etc. Except white lotus was successful and very well considered, especially here, so I figured it’s worth a second look and a scaling back. And I thought of you. I am sure that if you tested on a small scale some of these formulas it would help, show what naturals can do. I would not worry about ifra , I am not in the same process- I try to see what can be accomplished , achieved - then I at least have a standard- then I can try to substitute, or reconfigure to meet ifra standards.
You still haven’t said where you are: ifra standards are not the standard in eu, you actually have to have your formula tested - to meet eu standards
If you are other places, other regulations are in place- you might be going through the the wrong hoops
 

Bmaster

Active member
Sep 24, 2021
Alright, thank you everyone! I’ve begun to realize that I was indeed overdosing materials, and for the components that are restricted - there are alternatives (more synthetic options vs natural). I’m based in the U.S and follow IFRA guidelines as the FDA requires a safe product.

I’m learning about the difficulties of attaining a linear formulation with naturals, especially absolutes and essential oils. Their respective evaporation rates are discrete and as such, do not diffuse at once.

I’ve been developing a leather and rum/bourbon type of fragrance with an exceptional base accord of leather and rum, however, I’m struggling with bridging the gap with my middle notes. I have a soft West Indies bay with orange citrus for the top, and this leather and spiced rum for the base. I’m struggling with the transition of top>base. I’m limiting myself to naturals and I’ve tried other liquor like EOs but they tend to throw off the blend/transition.

Things I’ve explored as a middle note:

Oakwood (too fruity)
Barley tincture (decent but needs support)
Floral blends (this works, although is not very attractive)
 
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mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
It's much trickier to build a heart from naturals that doesn't mess with yr top & base, bcs they almost all have substantial top & base effects. One really nice natural floral heart material that doesn't have much top or base character is the Robertet Geranium Heart. It is a recombination of selected molecular distillation fractions of geranium essential oil. I use this frequently to bridge citrus tops with woody, mossy, ambery, leathery bases. Alternatively, you can make a pretty self-contained generic floral heart by combining linalool, linalyl acetate, geraniol, citronellol, and PEA. There are gazillions of example formulas on Good Scents that include combinations of these materials to give you a sense for ratios.
 

WitchingWell

Well-known member
Aug 29, 2020
Hi everyone! I’m very new here, in fact this is my first post. I recently initiated my aspirations to design fragrances for the cosmetics I produce for my small-side business. With the intent of maintain my companies brand and philosophy, I took the bold leap to natural aromatic chemicals and started formulating a few colognes.

I’m currently aligning with the IFRA concerning my products, however, formulating perfumes has proven to be of great difficulty. Forgive me if I’m ignorant, but to me, it appears that every natural aroma chemical that would be beneficial for a men’s cologne is restricted (.01-3%). I’ve found myself frequently formulating a muddled cologne without any prominent notes. I’m losing patience, and feel frustrated that the artistic opportunities of producing an exceptional natural, IFRA compliant fragrance is impossible.

I’m contemplating if many other natural perfumers are not aligning their fragrances with the IFRA. What should I do…..
If you’re in America, you technically don’t have to follow IFRA in order to sell, but it’s generally good practice as you never know when we might have to assimilate.

Natural perfumery is going to be like this, I’m afraid. Not sure if by natural you mean only EOs, Co2s, absolutes, tinctures, and attars or you’re willing to add naturally derived isolates. (TBH, they’re the same thing just harvested in a different way and typically more expensive). If you’re not working with isolates, then yeah, it’s gonna be hard to do something complex. You need those bridge chemicals to make a formula work. Not everything is available natural.

So my advice if that, if you continue with naturals, to change your expectations of how they will smell. They won’t smell like designer colognes because those are all synthetic. Try smelling some purely natural colognes or EO blends.

Additionally, things like Absolutes, and Co2s are very strong. You can dilute them to 1% and see how they perform. People often complain about oakmoss being restricted but I’ve never had to use more than what’s allowed because it’s so strong.
 

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