Health & Beauty > Body Care > Perfume


Although all the ingredients in these beauty recipes are natural, remember that it is still possible to be allergic to anything applied to the skin. DO NOT USE ANYTHING NUT BASED ON YOUR SKIN IF YOU HAVE A NUT ALLERGY. To test other ingredients make up a very small amount of the recipe you intend to use. Wash and gently dry a small patch of skin inside your elbow. Apply a little of the mix to the skin and leave for 48 hours. If you experience any redness or swelling DO NOT USE THE BEAUTY RECIPE AT ALL.

We strongly recommend that you do your own research before using any of the ingredients in these recipes since some ingredients should be avoided by certain groups of people. Mountain Rose Herbs' website has a wealth of information on herbs, their uses and possible side effects. Many essential oils and herbs should always be avoided by pregnant/nursing ladies. Always check with a qualified health advisor if in doubt.

Perfume is the most luxurious and indulgent of all beauty products. At one level it appeals to one of our most basic senses, that of smell, yet packaged in a beautiful box and bearing an evocative name, perfume represents the heights of sophistication.

To those of us that buy and enjoy perfume our main interest lies in the finished article but what is perfume other than an attractive smell? In fact it is a very complex product made from a mixture of many different ingredients. Perfume is a careful blend of essential oils, isolated constituents of essential oils, synthetic smells and natural animal products.

These ingredients are obtained by three methods, distillation, expression and extraction by effleurage and maceration. Distillation is an economical way of obtaining a fragrance. It involves heating up the petals in water and then isolating the perfume by condensing the resulting steam. Expression is just squeezing out the essential oils from citrus fruits, mainly from the skins. Extraction by enfleurage uses lard spread onto sheets of glass. The flowers are pressed into the lard and gradually their fragrance is absorbed into the fat. Extraction by maceration is a method of harvesting the perfume from gums and resins by covering them with alcohol and applying heat. Petroleum, ether and carbon dioxide can also be used to extract fragrance from natural products.

Some flowers produce better perfume than others. The essential oil of the Tubarose for example is highly prized and very expensive and the oil of the Damask Rose is one of the most costly ingredients used in perfume manufacture. Jasmine and lavender are widely used as are ordinary rose petals and are less expensive ingredients.

Other essential oils are extracted from bark, fruits, wood, roots and leaves. Patchouli comes from a leaf and vetiver from a root. Sandalwood oil as its name suggests comes from a tree as does cedarwood.

A large number of these perfume ingredients can be made synthetically which is actually very advantageous. Synthetics can overcome the problems of harvest failure, scarcity, fluctuating quality and also the fact that it is very difficult to extract the perfume of some flowers. The scents of hyacinth and lilac are far better made artificially, the natural extracts being very disappointing.

The role of animal products used in perfume making is a very unpleasant side of the perfume industry. Civet is taken from the Civet cat by a very cruel method although the animals are not actually killed. Musk involves the slaughter of thousands of musk deer in central Asia some of which do not produce musk. Castoreum is obtained from the glands of beavers whereas ambergris is the result of a disease in the sperm whale. The more highly prized form of ambergris is that found in the ocean after it has been excreted by the whale. Happily it is not so valuable when taken from the slaughtered whale. Only a very few perfumiers still use animla products and obviously the use of synthetics helps to limit these cruel trades.

When buying perfume it is as well to be aware of what you are actually getting. Real perfume contains 20 percent perfume and 80 percent alcohol. Eau de toilette contains between 5 and 12 percent perfume the majority of the product being a mix of alcohol and water. Eau de cologne is mostly water containing only 2 to 6 percent of actual perfume.

Perfume pointers:

1/ Always try out a perfume on yourself. do not rely on how it smells on someone else.
2/ Do not store your perfume where it is exposed to the light.
3/ Do not wear perfume while sunbathing.