From ingredient suppliers to beauty behemoths to small niche fragrance brands, sustainability is increasingly on the mind of the fragrance industry. In the past year alone, IFF merged with Frutarom in a massive $7.1 billion deal, fragrance house Firmenich invested in Guatemalan producer of natural essential oils Nelixia and Givaudan bought Expressions Parfumées in June to strengthen its natural products business.
Sustainability concerns extend beyond ingredients supplied by French perfume houses – issues to note range from using creation methods that don’t harm the environment, to recyclability and reuse of packaging to reduce the carbon footprint.
The demand for sustainability in fragrances can only grow, said Linda G. Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation. “The consumer is the driving force,” Levy said. “I think we all know that with every product a consumer wants to buy these days, the theme of life is transparency – they want to know what something is, how it’s made, and how it affects the Earth.”
Here, in time for Earth Day, a selection of fragrance brands addressing sustainability in meaningful ways.
Sigil Scent is a newly relaunched brand of genderless natural fine fragrance from self-taught perfumer Patrick Kelly. A collection of four scents — Solutio, Amor Fati, Anima Mundi and Prima Materia, $120 each — is said to be 100% natural, meaning the ingredients are all organic, wild-crafted plant oils, absolutes, and homemade tinctures. The brand’s packaging is made without the use of the usual foams and vacuum trays often used in fine perfumery, with the aim of minimizing long-term waste. Sigil, originally launched in 2015, relaunched on April 15 on sigilscent.com.
California-based vegan fragrance brand Skylar launched its monthly Scent Club subscription service on April 1. For $20, subscribers receive one new scent per month. The club’s first fragrance, “Magic Bloom”, has notes of pear, yuzu and magnolia. Cat Chen, former COO of Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co., founded the brand two years ago with the goal of producing natural and sustainable luxury fragrances. Skylar’s packaging is recyclable and shipments are wrapped in packing peanuts made from 100% organic vegetable starch. Ingredients are sourced from sustainable suppliers – for example, Skylar’s sandalwood comes from a Pacific Island farm that does not overharvest.
Now owned by L’Oréal, niche brand Atelier Cologne plays on the naturalness of its fragrances that has existed since Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel founded the fragrance company 10 years ago. New marketing emphasizes ingredient transparency – Atelier Cologne fragrances now contain a seal of naturalness delineating the percentage of notes of renewable natural origin that make up each formula, from 89% to 95%. The mark designates an ingredient as being of natural origin if it is unchanged from its natural state, or if it has undergone processing while retaining 50% of its molecular structure from a mineral or vegetable source. No synthetic stabilizers are used and all alcohol in the fragrances is derived from beets. The brand also has a tree planting initiative, ensuring that 50% more trees are planted than the amount used to create its fragrances. The latest, Pacific Lime, $135 for 3.4 oz, is a blend of lime and coconut notes.
Sustainability drives packaging decisions for Ellis Brooklyn, beauty journalist Bee Shapiro’s natural fragrance and body care line. Eau de parfum, like the new West fragrance, $105 for 1.7 oz, is bottled in Ecocert glass, and all products are housed in glass as the primary component. Shapiro said, “We haven’t made a shower gel yet because we haven’t found a shower-safe packaging option that isn’t plastic.” Ellis Brooklyn is sold at ellisbrooklyn.com, Sephora, Credo Beauty and revolve.com.
Perfumer Douglas Little is responsible for Goop’s scented candles, but he also has his own line of natural fragrances, Heretic, which was a hit in retail stores at last month’s In Goop Health Summit in New York. Little handcrafts the fragrances entirely with naturally-derived materials, and is known for using ingredients not commonly found in fragrances, deriving materials from homeopathy, ayurveda, and herbalism. Presales for Heretic’s latest fragrance, Dirty Grass, formulated with hemp-derived CBD oil, launched April 20, $185 for 50ml.
Lafco founder Jon Bresler is a believer in sustainability — so much so that he removed palm oil from the formula of his brand’s scented luxury soaps, at $17 each. Palm oil, a commonly used ingredient in many beauty products, has a direct effect on climate change, according to climate experts. Palm oil was removed from Lafco’s soaps, Bresler said, because he “couldn’t trust the Sustainable Palm Oil Roundtable.” [a nonprofit industry organization that implements global standards for palm oil] to guarantee the sustainability of its palm oil. The new formulation, released this month in all six Lafco soap flavors, is made from 75% olive oil and 25% coconut oil.
The new perfume brand Kierin NYC, launched in November, brings sustainable fragrances to the masses with a store on Amazon Luxury Beauty. He considers his scents, like gardenia and fig-infused 10 am Flirt, $78 for 1.7 oz, to be “clean, conscious and cruelty-free.” The formulations are made without synthetic stabilizers and the brand works with supplier Robertet, said founder Mona Maine de Biran, because of its commitment to using sustainable raw materials. The juice is housed in recyclable bottles using only natural paints. Says de Biran, “Glass bottles decorated or coated with paints that are not natural often cannot simply be rinsed, separating the glass from the metal or plastic, and put in a recycling bin. Responsible recycling may require dismantling, which might be too difficult a task for the consumer to do on their own. »