Words: Emily Venables
Perfume ingredients can often look like they're written in a foreign language, but there are some very common ingredients and when you know what they are, you'll start to understand what's housed in your fave bottle of perfume. So, to get you started we're taking a look at and explaining 5 of the most common ingredients found in perfumes.
Musk is quite an interesting ingredient and its background may surprise you! Natural musk is harvested from the glands of the musk deer (yes… a deer!), however due to extensive poaching, the deer is now protected, and musk is generally made from a mixture of synthetic and plant-based ingredients. So, why was it such a sought-after ingredient? Some say the scent resembles that of testosterone, which may act as a pheromone to humans. So, if you’ve ever felt instantly attracted to someone due to their fragrance, the chances are they’re wearing musk!
Known as one of the most expensive perfume ingredients in the world, Oud can be found from the Agar tree found mostly in Southeast Asia. When the tree becomes infected by a mould called Phialophora parasitica, it reacts by producing a dense, dark and super-fragrant resin to protect itself. It’s the resin from the tree that is the source of oud - isn’t nature clever?
With it’s sweet, vanilla-like odour you’ll understand why this is a very common ingredient in perfumes! The distinct smell can be found both synthetically and in natural sources such as from the Tonka bean tree, vanilla grass and sweet clover.
Another important ingredient in masculine perfumes is vetiver. This grassy, fibrous root is distilled into an oil that smells of woody, earthy, leather and smoky tones. Its fresh scent is found in both male and female fragrances.
Aldehydes are used to give your perfume a bit of oomph, and they really changed the way in which fragrances were developed. One of the most famous accidental discoveries in the perfume world was when too much aldehyde was put into a formulation of what would become Chanel No. 5. Instead of ruining the scent, it gave the perfume its power and strength and the perfume industry has continued to use it ever since. It can be found in both synthetic and plant-based sources such as rose, cinnamon bark and orange rind.
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