‘Clean’, a not-so-new label and a topic of never-ending discussion that you have surely read about in newspapers, magazines and blogs. Most commonly we hear the word used in the context of ‘Clean Food’ or ‘Clean Beauty’ and yet it is impossible to separate fragrance from beauty care. Almost all the products you use, for your face, your hair, your body, are fragranced one way or another and thus, inevitably, the revolutionising ‘Clean Beauty’ has expanded to ‘Clean Fragrance’! However, despite its common use, do we really know what ‘Clean’ means?
So, what is clean?
In reality, ‘Clean’ is merely an industrial label with no hard and fast technical standards or regulatory guidelines that actually constitute it, and yet, it is very powerful. Tag it onto any product, and in correlation to the consumers’ trust, it will convey and reconfigure the notions of quality, value, sustainability and transparency. For ‘Clean Beauty’ and consequently ‘Clean Perfumery’, predictions show this trend will only grow further, taking even more space on the shop shelves. According to a new report by Grand View Research Inc, by 2025, the global, organic and natural personal care is projected to reach $25.11 billion in size, expanding at a CAGR of 9.5% during the forecasted period! This astonishing growth just pushes to ask, why now? What is ‘Clean Perfume’ after all?
Perfume clean? What does it mean?
At a time when our planet and nature are at high risk, we equally begin to take better care of ourselves, expanding the definition of wellness and health and thus the burst of a new era. An era that promises “no nasties”, with products that are “eco-positive”, “sustainable”, and “chemical-free”; and an era that divides the good from the bad, the clean from the dirty, and the toxic from the nontoxic. But where is this really coming from?
The answer is easy: from the lack of transparency! Beauty companies use whatever adjectives, bold words, to ignite their marketing, and “greenwash” their products, whilst alluring their consumers; however, unfortunately, commonly, that what is flaunted on the front of the bottle, does not match the ingredient label at the back. This is because, by virtue of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), perfume companies don’t actually have any legal obligation to disclose what is used in the formulas of their products, as it's considered “proprietary”, or regarded as “trade secrets”. Turn your perfume bottle around and look for yourself, what do you see? It is unlikely that you will find the percentage of natural ingredients really used in the formula, or even the real dosage of perfume concentrate. Moreover, you for sure won’t find any traces of information regarding the percentage of biodegradability of the formula, nor will the perfume packaging reveal if there are any ‘nasty’ chemicals within, such as phthalates, CMR or NGO.
Although the fragrance industry is still resistant to transparency, mystery breeds paranoia…
The issue of non-clean fragrance revealed
With suspicion growing, secrets of the perfumery world have been exposed, with one of the most critical issues of non-clean fragrance being its effect on one’s health. Although it sounds obscene to wear a perfume that is toxic, with negative impact on your wellbeing, it’s sometimes out of your control, and simply naked to the consumer’s eye.
From the possible 2,947 ingredients that are listed by IFRA, there are many ingredients that simply must be avoided due to their negative impact on the immune responses, resulting in breathing problems, migraines and asthma attacks, such as some synthetic chemicals. Moreover, fingers are similarly pointed towards other chemicals, including octoxynol and nonoxynol (persistent hormone disruptors), as well as a class of harsh, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCS) called phthalates.
You may be thinking, why not just use natural ingredients to avoid these chemicals? Well, ironically, not everything natural is good for you, and not everything synthetic is necessarily bad for you. Plant-based essential oils that are used in perfume, although can be beneficial for your skin, can also be highly irritant if used in inappropriate dosage. Furthermore, with the scarcity and even extinction of certain ingredients, there has been a rising chance of ‘fake’ naturals. According to a recent study, when tested, 24 commercial essential oils showed traces of hazardous chemicals. Whilst they were labelled “natural”, or “organic”, the “fake” naturals are sometimes extracted and then diluted with synthesised molecules of the same smelling family to reduce their cost. Therefore, to avoid this, it’s important to have proper traceability of the naturals used in your perfume.
Just when you thought this was already enough to convince you to try ‘Clean Perfume’; there is another critical factor opposing non-clean fragrances: the animal ingredients. Heavily used in the past and still in the Middle East; they were the heart of a lot of famous compositions. From Ambergris to Civet and Castoreum, their uses have created much controversy, and finally have succeeded in being banned from all large international groups.
How Maison 21G introduces ‘Clean’ Perfume!
At Maison 21G, product ‘clean-ness’ and transparency is key in our values, and we follow three key rules, ways to fully achieve this…
Firstly it is key to highlight, our perfumery house draws no boundaries between the consumer, the master-mind ‘noses’, and even takes a step further, disclosing the full journey of your ingredient. Our scents are accords designed around iconic natural ingredients from Laboratoire Monique Rémy (LMR), in Grasse, France; which is the in-house naturals facility of the prominent perfume house, IFF. With exclusive sourcing at LMR, we know exactly where our natural ingredients are sourced. From the soil, to the plant, to the extraction process, and finally to the oil we use in our compositions; we love sharing their stories with you.
Secondly, our scents are all eaux de parfum, made and labelled with 21% of perfume concentration. Cruelty-free, with the majority of our fragrances being vegan; our perfumes show no use of preservatives, or phthalates, nor do our formulas have traces of GMOs: genetically modified organisms, or CMRs: substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. Moreover, exclusively to Maison 21G, we take one step further in providing total transparency. On our website, you are able to find the indicated value of percentage of each natural ingredient, found in each of our formulas; as well as the percentage of biodegradability, and the percentage of renewable carbon.
Now, you can undoubtedly be 100% aware of what you are spraying onto your skin!
Lastly, and surely not least, our packaging. Re-usable, and free-from plastic or unnecessary boxing; we offer sustainable perfume refills through the technology of La Source.
What else could be as appealing as being a part of an eco-friendly, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and all around ‘Clean’ movement! Join us in creating a better world of perfumery!