Question: Synthetic agents in perfumes

Argane

Well-known member
Mar 21, 2010
Guerlain Jasminora contains: Alcohol, water, parfum (fragrance), aromachemicals and synthetic musks but these following additives are really freaking me out:

- 3 sunscreen agents: Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl salicylate;

- 2 solvents and preservatives: Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl alcohol which is said to occure naturally in teas and some essential oils (jasmine, ylang-ylang);

- Alpha-isomethyl ionone: Used as a perfume. But also skin irritant banned by IFRA from being mixed into fragrance products (i.e. perfume, cologne). But you can still find this ingredient in a variety of other cosmetics that are not categorized as a “fragrance.” Dolce & Gabbana (Classic for women) has also 1 restricted ingredient (Mutylphenyl methylpropional: synthetic scent ingredient, used as masking agent, usage restricted).

1) I don't get why the compagnies are still using the ones that are restricted??

2) Do you have to use all these synthetic additives (a sunscreen agent, a solvent and a preservative: 2 or 3!!) when formulating your fragrance (with or without aromachemicals)??
 

Irina

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
I think you might be panicking here. Chemical doesn't equal bad. Remember all fragrance materials are chemicals, everything is chemicals.

Let's take a look at the ingredients you worry about:
Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is a safe synthetic that protects cosmetics and personal care products from deterioration caused by UV rays. Most fragrance materials deteriorate because of light. Meaning that this component in perfume simply helps your juice to stay stable a while longer even when kept outside a dark cupboard. I think it may also help the perfume to retain its color.
Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane: same story as above
Ethylhexyl salicylate is an ester of Salicylic Acid and does the same as the above.
Benzyl benzoate can indeed be a component an essential oil or be synthesized. It's a nice building block for jasmine accords and a solvent.
Benzyl alcohol, same as Benzyl benzoate.
Alpha-isomethyl ionone is a wonderful violet and orris root smelling material.
Mutylphenyl methylpropional I think you mean Butylphenyl Methylpropional? That one is also known as Lillial and it's a lovely lilly of valley smelling ingredient.
The above 4 are flagged as perfume allergens by the IFRA so their use is restricted, but not forbidden. They need to be mentioned on perfume labels as potential allergens, regardless of their origin.

Why are they still used? Because they have a history in formulating perfumes that is fascinating and useful. In other words: they work. The idea of and research on allergens is quite new and ongoing.
Do I use them? Yes. Not all sunscreens though, there are different choices. Depends on goal and budget. But I do like BB as a solvent very much.
HTH
 

Argane

Well-known member
Mar 21, 2010
Yes, I was panicking indeed until I get your detailed reply. Thank you, now I get it!!! :)

I didn't think that, obviously, a sunscreen is necessary in a perfume formula, which is great... I like the idea of adding a stabilizer as well, but why a preservative and BB as a solvent? Perfumer alcohol is not powerful/efficient enough?
 

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