Fragrance free is a fashion statement that arose in the heyday of the Women’s movement! This revolution against perfume was at the moment when Charlie hit the stores – well everywhere really from the dog to the movies. Charlie was everywhere.
Why fragrance free? Well some feel that fragrance is full of bad chemicals. ‘Fragrance gives me headaches’ says one person and another ‘perfume irritates my skin.’ Fair comments and this may happen to some small part of the population but such does not make perfume a bad thing. Fragrance is everywhere. In your soap, your toothpaste, your shampoo, your conditioner, your hairdressing, your deodorant, your polish, your washing-up liquid, your washing powder, your make-up, your hand cream, your lip salve, your fabric conditioner, your fly spray, your toilet cleaner, your socks, your everything. Even fragrance-free things have "odour neutralisers" in them to take away their intrinsically nasty or unpleasant smells.
Perfume and perfuming has been part of culture and human life since its beginning. The oldest found perfumery discovered so far by archaeology is in Cyprus dating back some 4000 years. All classical cultures from Egypt to Rome were big on perfume. In Europe it was only in the Dark ages that perfume use declined re-emerging with alcohol and the Crusades. Products that enhance the feel of skin and the smell of the body have been highly valued in every culture.
At various time religion has tried to curtail the use of perfumes with no lasting success. Likewise, today some very ‘Green’ people seem to think perfume is a luxury we should not afford being a decadence not needed.
However, we must remember that smell is all around us. There is really no such thing as fragrance free. All nuance of taste, for example, beyond sour, salt, sweet comes from retro smell. Some people are smell blind to certain odours and so choice and perception of good and bad is highly individual. Culture takes a great part of our likes and dislikes. What we are used to sells best till we get the message! When you apply perfumes apply them to pulse points such as the folds in the crook of your elbow and back of knees, wrist, neck and cleavage. Gently rub your wrists to warm them to volatise the top notes. This helps to diffuse it over your body and clothing. Apply to the back of knees to allow the perfume to rise.
Consider layering perfumes. Use all the same perfume in various products. Begin with shower or bath gel and then rub in body lotion or spray with a matching after bath spray. Finally apply the scent preferably as perfume or EDP.
Keep bottles tightly stopped, away from direct heat and out of sunlight.
Try to choose perfumes that suit you, not your friends or family. Test a perfume in a store and then walk around for a few minutes. Some perfumes take more like half an hour or an hour to truly develop. Do not go by the first sniff.
There is a trick being played by some companies working in the natural or organic field. Regulation requires that the pack is labelled with Parfum if it contains anything to improve, enhance or fragrance smell. Tis does not suit consumers who think f perfume only in a bad chemical context. So these manufacturers often claim they have essential oils (as though they are something special despite containing many allergens) and perhaps list them claiming they are calming or antiaging etc.
The problem with this approach is that if they are here as an active 1. A medicinal claim such as calming is illegal and makes the product liable to be banned or 2. A Cosmetic product whereby a specific claim such antiaging from sandalwood has by law to have been tested independently by a laboratory. Ignorance of the law and a shortage of enforcement officers allows this malpractice to go on.
A lot of fragrances can be made using entirely natural materials. At Fragrant Earth, we have our fair share and sell quantities to good cosmetic companies like Liz Earle or Elemis. Then we have our own products such as our diffusers and of course our famous Aromatherapy Synergies using real essential oils (most in the market are a mixture). Aromatherapy to us is a clinical therapy. However, many psycho or neurological effects can come from synthetic materials as well as natural.
Natural or synthetic is a consumer choice but even synthetics generally try to mimic the joys of our natural surroundings. Perfume is a pleasure and after the other seven arts is itself the 8th Art.