Last night the SFP (Société Française des Parfumeurs) organized a round table / conference about the organic extracts, their production, uses and secrets, from the field to the consumer. The bio/organic cosmetic market in France knows today a constant growth (30-40% a year) and from a small niche in the past it has now an important market share (13% forecast in 2012). In the next future it will become even more important and it is estimated to grow up to 30%. Some rather unknown aspects were presented, mainly from the production and how the development changed everything. Surprisingly the biggest buyers of essential oils are not the cosmetic companies but the aromatherapy sector. Meanwhile, what brands usually market today in France putting together the words organic and ethic (bio et éthique) is not always true and far from real because the notions (organic agriculture and ethic approach) are quite opposed if you want to have volume. The intensive organic agriculture in poor countries is far from being ethic to the population or the environment. We were presented some facts / cosmetic research from Kibio (now part of Clarins) where a bio antiage cream proved to be extremely efficient under clinical tests (to their great surprise).
One of the main problem today is the confusion among consumers between the labels, what a bio can or cannot do but I believe this confusion (and lack of education) is something desired by the brands. The question of allergies and European regulations was also raised with its paradox - brands ask for more naturals in their cosmetic formulas (more allergens) but also ask for less naturals in their perfumes (less allergens to declare). In other words - brands ask for 99% synthetic perfumes with some naturals to put in the press release. One utopic brief today would be - an organic cosmetic line, hypoallergenic and perfumed with proved efficiency. The question of the total inefficiency of the labeling (for perfumes or cosmetics) was discussed and the discrepancies between ingredient / product / marketing / consumer. The current European certifications for cosmetics were discussed and how they will change in the next future. Some of the points from those labels (Ecocert, Cosmebio) are good, other are completely stupid and have nothing to do with modern cosmetology in my opinion. Why are they against animal extracts? Is all the Cosmebio board a collection of vegetarian militants who would die if they approach fish or meat?
The subject of organic extracts for perfumes was widely discussed. In some cases they are easy to be produced and in the future some classic materials will all be certified - this is because of their production method that meets the standards and only the certificate is to be obtained (no olfactory changes, just a question of papers). In other cases it is extremely difficult to have organic extracts - it is the case of the rose where the plant is very sensible and cultivating rose without pesticides on a large scale is economic suicide. The question of poor variety of extracts for the perfumer is a false one. Some plants are not cultivated / extracted because there is not a great demand (and it will become even smaller if the IFRA attack on naturals continues in Europe). At the end of the conference I smelled some recent organic extracts for perfumes, some of them of an incredible and amazing beauty, presented by Biolandes. The pallet today for organic products is incredible with new materials or new/rediscovered extraction types and there is no type of odor that is not represented. Even aldehydic and animalic notes can be done in Bio if you know well the materials! (the perfumer who spoke said the contrary but I think he is not aware of all ingredients). All you need as a brand is money and the desire to invest in creative products (be aware, because some French brand look like bio but act like l'Oréal!).
Ylang ylang - it is produced according the old method as it was used in the Ernest Beaux era and it smells divine - stronger and more long-lasting
Vanilla Madagascar ethanol extract - like a precious wine , balsamic rum
Orris resinoide ethanol extract - pure chocolate not very orris
Agarwood Laos Bio - strong animalic goat, heather with green facets
Rose bio Iran - a rose from the mountains, close to the Bulgarian type with a strong green-mint facet and less fruity.
Beeswax Laos - like the heart of an oak, woody resinous, dark and mysterious
Tonka Bean absolute - woody, chocolate, burnt, coconut
Black Truffle infusion - a top note, fruity creamy and sensual with a floral exotic facet
Curcuma inco - a very bizarre scent with a green narcissus note, then the ripped skin of carrots plus costus and a strong tuberose note, very unusual and original
Poplar buds absolute - previously used exclusively by Firmenich with some captives, it smells rich, floral, honey-fruity like boronia with the exotic balsamic facet of champacca
Tulipifera leaves absolute (feuilles de tulipier) - green rosy, tea, maté, violet (this a new extract)
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art