Our fragrances contain the fragrance itself and a carrier. Our carriers are almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, and sometimes a small amount of isopropyl myristate, ethanol (alcohol) or benzyl benzoate.
Obtained from the kernel, this rich oil is about 30% omega 9 acids, 10% linoleic acid (linoleic acid is an omega 6 essential fatty acid). It is also a source of vitamin E. Almond oil can help soften hair and prevent drying.
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Fractionated coconut oil (FCO) is almost entirely made of medium chain triglycerides, namely caprylic and capric acids. This product is created by separating coconut oil into its basic components (different types of fatty acids) and then combining the caprylic and capric acids together. This process is called fractional crystallization and relies on the different solubility of each fatty acid. We use FCO because of its excellent shelf life and resistance to going rancid (oxidation).
Isopropyl myristate (IPM) is an ester of isopropyl alcohol and myristic acid (a fatty acid found in many plant oils and butter). We use IPM as a solvent to dissolve or dilute some ingredients such as ambrofix, which is a crystalline powder. It also functions as a preservative and emollient.
Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is produced by fermentation and distillation of plants. All drinking alcohol is ethanol. Ethanol is used to dissolve some crystalline powder ingredients, such as ethyl maltol. It also functions as a preservative and helps control cloudiness due to some natural ingredients.
Benzyl Benzoate is an excellent solvent for resins such as benzoin and styrax. It has a faint, balsamic (heavy, round, slightly sweet) odor. It is naturally present in many floral scents such as jasmine, ylang ylang, orchids, hyacinth and ginger lilies.
Ethical Sourcing of Ingredients
Ethical and sustainable is the hard rule when it comes to sourcing our fragrance ingredients. Some ingredients are extremely unethical or ecologically unfriendly to source. Some examples are:
Not only is the Mysore sandalwood tree (Santalum album) endangered, it is also becoming even scarcer due to criminal black market activities such as poaching and smuggling. True Mysore sandalwood is a gold standard of perfumery, but we feel the ultimate ethical and ecological cost outweighs the benefits of using it. We favor using accords made of several (up to dozens) of ingredients. This also gives us the flexibility to create accords to match our expectations for individual fragrances.
Originally musk was obtained from the glands of specific animals, such as the African civet (a cat-like mammal) and White Bellied Musk Deer. Musk Deer are an endangered species, and uneven conservation efforts have led to a further declining population. African civets are not endangered and have a stable population throughout the continent. However, the harvesting of musk leads to unnecessary killing of these animals. Natural musk has fallen out of favor due to more ethical and less expensive synthetics
Natural ambergris is somewhat of a morally gray area. Ambergris is formed in the digestive tract of sperm whales as a protection against the beaks of the squid they eat. While sperm whales are no longer hunted for their oils, the natural substance is incredibly rare and only found on specific beaches. Most synthetic ambergris replacements are much less expensive, completely consistent in aroma and are derived from clary sage, which is a renewable resource. We favor the synthetic versions for the previous reasons.
Synthetic Ingredients and Safety
The safety of synthetics is a concern for a lot of people. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) develops usage regulations based on results of testing by the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials (RIFM). These regulations are extremely strict, and in some cases, ingredients are outright prohibited from use.
Sensitization is by far the largest factor in usage regulations - repeated use of some ingredients above a certain dilution level can lead to an allergic response. Overall, the safety of synthetics is well documented and well regulated. IFRA and RIFM also evaluate and regulate natural materials. Many of these are also regulated for photosensitization and chemical sensitization. Some, such as pure cade oil, were found to contain carcinogens and are completely prohibited. We follow all IFRA regulations to the best of our abilities. Due to regulations changing from time to time, we may have to re-formulate our products. If this should occur, there will be a notification on the product page.
The European Union Cosmetics Directive requires listing 26 fragrance ingredients separately from the main ingredients. Even though we use these ingredients within safe levels (see above, Synthetic Ingredients and Safety), we have adopted this practice to help with consumer safety, business transparency and in the interest of consumer education.
A lifelong reading and music addict, Richard is heavily influenced by art - namely punk, post-hardcore, synthwave, science fiction and fantasy - in almost every aspect of his daily life. He dives headfirst into every interest with passion and a desire for perfection.
Some of his favorite bands are:
- Murder by Death
- Aesop Rock
- The Afghan Whigs
- Lights Out Asia
- The National
Some of his favorite authors are:
- Robin Hobb
- Kathe Koja
- Will Wight
- Cassandra Khaw
- N.K. Jemisin
- Daniel Polansky
- Jeff Somers
- Robert Jackson Bennett
- Django Wexler