Sustainable Perfumery: Reconnecting With Nature
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." This quote by Albert Einstein is probably more relevant today than any other time. Creezy Courtoy, Perfume Historian and Anthropologist, shares her insights on why it’s time to re-awaken natural perfumery and embrace sustainable perfumery.
Covid19 is probably making people more aware of the importance of healthy living, wellbeing and sustainability. And the consumers are definitely going to change from here on. If some of them were already asking for natural products like food, perfumes and hygiene products before the pandemic, this number will definitely increase after lockdown. I am sure, consumers will completely change their lifestyle to stay healthy. They will be more and more concerned about the environment, worried about their health and conscious about the importance to reconnect with nature.
Why is it so important to ‘Reconnect With Nature’?
Nature is important to our lives. It not only adds beauty to what we see or adds scents to what we smell, it is also adds life to our cells and keeps us healthy. We have been created by nature and instead of being grateful for this we seem to have forgotten it.
Born on earth, a planet that Nature has enriched with air, water, fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants for animals, including us to co-exist and survive. Nature feeds and provided for each one of us and help us regenerate ourselves. Without nature’s products we would not survive. Our DNA depends on nature’s DNA. Nature’s DNA is perfect and we need to reconnect with it for our cells to return to perfection.
Natural Perfumes : The Next Big Thing
Natural perfumes are more than just a good smell. They reconnect us with nature, are part of our culture, and are linked to healing in many different cultures worldwide. Since ancient times, in every region of the world, we have been using plants for therapy. We’ve added plants to our food and drinks, we’ve used them to make perfumes and cosmetics knowing the beneficial power of each of them.
This precious and ancestral knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation until the mid 20th Century. We can find it way back in cuneiform writings on Sumerian tablets around 1700BC.
Prescriptions were found in the “Ebers Papyrus” dated 1552 BC, in Dioscoride’s “Materia Medica” dated 78 AD, in the ”Codex Aniciae Julianae” dated 512 AD, and later in Paracelse and Leonard Fuchs works (16th century).
Perfumes were used for healing by all civilizations. In ancient Egypt, it was said “who breathe the scent of flowers breathe the soul of flowers” In South America, Native American doctors were called ”Perfumeros”. In China the sign used to name perfume is similar to the one meaning “remedy” and a proverb mentions that ”a perfume is always a medicine”. In Russia, perfumes were sold essentially in pharmacies. They owned their own laboratories, flower fields and perfume bottles factories.
Sustainable Perfumery : A Natural Perfumery Education
Sustainable perfumery is the return to natural perfumery and in fact is the revival of the Art of Perfumery. It’s all about learning the beneficial power of plants and flowers, nature’s cycles and the physiology of olfaction. When we breathe, the perfume reaches not just our lungs but also enters into our blood and our organs faster than any medicine. This makes it critical for a perfumer to have a deeper knowledge of the quality of the product used in perfumery.
If nature encourages our bodies to regenerate damaged cells, build a higher immune defense to viruses as well as sustain energy vitality, don’t you think perfume could be the perfect transmitter?
Sustainable Perfumery is a complete new education for perfumers including the beneficial power of flowers and plants, the physiology of olfaction, the selection of certified essential oils, the choice of sustainable packaging and the respect of the New Luxury Code. This consists of the following
Providing a face and voice to Natural Perfumery
Post Covid, customers are probably going to ask for more natural products and they’d need to really trust who they are going to buy from and what’s in the products they purchase. Certification would become more and more important at this stage. And this is where International Perfume Foundation (IPF) comes in with the certification of natural perfumers.
Yes, Certified Natural Perfumers do exist and they are real people, not hidden behind a brand, and they answer consumers' questions. Certified Natural Perfumers have a whole new world to share with consumers. They are passionate about their work and creations and each one of them have their own unique life experiences to share.
They are unique… different from each other and their perfumes also, like them, are unique. They don’t try to follow the same path or the same trend like most of the big brands. It is this diversity that consumers are looking for. Natural Perfumers are one of the reasons, the natural perfume industry would grow and prosper. Natural Perfumers meet the needs of a growing desire amongst consumers for healthier and more sustainable products for themselves, their families, and their friends.
Today most of Certified Natural Perfumers are from USA where you have the freedom to work with natural or synthetic perfumes. The EU regulation, on the other hand, does not encourage the use of naturals as the rules are made by the chemical industry lobbies. Instead of arguing with this powerful lobby to modify this directive, it would be easier to create a new directive in a region that’s more welcoming to the idea of naturals and sustainability and then promote it worldwide.
And the Middle East region would be the perfect launchpad for such an initiative, as natural perfumery was really born in this region. The response by ESMA (Emirates Authority For Standardization & Metrology) to a preliminary discussion on this has been encouraging and I hope that we are able to bring natural perfumery back to where it belongs - the Middle East.
image courtesy | Patrice Van Malder