sexta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2016

Smell Good and Do No Harm: Cruelty-free Fragrance

by: Fabienne Christenson

“Cruelty free” is a huge concept in the beauty business and being vegan-friendly has become the new normal in the world of perfumery. What does it take for perfumers to call themselves vegan friendly? Simple, use no animal products at all in your work. The following are considered strictly off limits:
  • Musk from the civet cat
  • Musk from the musk deer
  • Castoreum from beavers (beaver musk)
  • Honey
  • Milk or cream products
  • Ambergris
Perfumers don’t need to use these things anymore. Man made substitutes are: much less expensive, more reliable, easier to refine, and much more versatile in their scent range. They are often “nature identical” in chemical structure and (of course) their scent.
Musks were displaced by compounds synthesized in the lab and have quite a strange story. A famous scientist named Baur was working on TNT (dynamite) when he noticed a beautiful fragrance in the room. It was coming from the dynamite on his work bench! This was Musk Baur and lead to a huge number of compounds which displaced civet and deer musks. As for beaver musk, its vanilla kick has been replaced by all of the myriad of vanilla/vanillin/coumarin and other similar compounds that we have been churning out over the past century or so.
sperm whale
Ambergris is a hardened lump of fatty excretion from whales which they form when they are trying to protect their digestive systems from the sharp bony parts of their prey. It is very rare and divinely expensive. A clever group of curious chemists studied ambergris and found that it had a structure resembling clary sage, which is used to make the modern ambergris substitutes like Ambroxan.
bee on clary sage
Honey and milk scent can be teased out of various ketones (but watch out, if you push it too far you can get the smell of armpits). The phenylacetates are very nice imitators of honey and its nuances.
Endangered plants benefit from the discovery of man-made stand-ins, too. So, endangered sandalwood trees are less prone to poaching because now there are santals which economically mimic rare and expensive sandalwood.
As you have noticed, there is a wealth of beautiful cruelty free fragrances being produced now, which proves that being a vegan doesn’t force you to sacrifice one of life’s most satisfying pleasures for you principles.