In The Know: Natural Vs. Synthetic Fragrances

Increased consumer awareness has caused many individuals to question the ingredients in their skin care and aromatherapy products.  One of the major questions or debates being that of Natural vs. Synthetic fragrances. And, like all debates, the two sides must be heard.

Natural fragrances are derived from essential oils, which in turn are derived from the laborious extraction of essences from flowers, fruit, sap, seeds or leaves of aromatic plants, and also from the wood, resin, bark or roots of some trees. These natural oils contain some amazing, healthy and therapeutic benefits, and can be quite costly to produce. But, keep in mind, natural oils can be harmful to the body if the person develops photosensitivity (sun sensitivity) or allergies to the particular type of natural, plant based fragrance.
Synthetics are usually made form petrochemicals. The idea is to duplicate the natural scents of plants. However, in doing so, much of the plants’ natural characteristics are broken down and stripped away, with the resulting fragrance being no where near that of its natural predecessor. The aromatic benefits that natural fragrances offer is lacking in synthetics. Furthermore, synthetics are also very cheap to produce (though there are exceptions) so, some manufacturers see it as cost effective.
According to a beautorium.com article, one natural perfumer likens the difference between natural and synthetic to playing a piano. Natural fragrances would be like an old Steinway – rich, reverberating, full of subtle harmony and complexity, while synthetic would be more like an electric piano – consistent, clean, perfect notes in tone and pitch, but lacking in depth.

On the other hand, a beautylish article reports, ” there’s no bad ingredient in perfumery,” according to Cosmo International Fragrances perfumer Arnaud Winter. ” And synthetic doesn’t necessarily denote cheap. In fact, some synthetic ingredients are even more expensive than their natural counterparts!” Arnaud is responsible for some of your favorite celebrity fragrances, and understands the practical nuances of perfumery. “But synthetic formulations give you the options to create scents that nature can’t give you, like lilly of the valley, for example.”

It’s important to also note that, in 1986, a report by the National Academy of Sciences reported,  95 percent of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrances were derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxins and synthesizers capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.

So Bellas, there you have it. No doubt the debate will continue. But, does it matter to you? Are synthetics or naturals the fragrance type for you? Leave us a comment and let us know your preference.

~Dixie Lincoln-Nichols

Follow @Dixieand Beauty on Twitter

Dixie Lincoln-Nichols has a passion for all things beautiful. She is a self-described beauty junkie and the founder of Dixie Bits.

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