The Power Of Plant-Based Perfume
In celebration of Veganuary, our perfume-creator and co-founder Beckielou shares what is (and isn’t) in our scents and why.
More than ever people are paying attention to what they put in and on their bodies, making more natural and ethical choices for their diets and personal care – and perfume is no exception. Unlike food, what’s actually in your perfume can be a bit of a mystery, your favorite scent may be composed solely of synthetic ingredients, or contain a combination of synthetic and natural notes, some of which may not be vegan.
For centuries animal notes have been used in perfumery, prized for their fixative and exalting effects. These ingredients include beeswax, deer musk, hyrax stone (from Cape hyrax), civet (from civet cats), ambergris (from sperm whales) and castoreum (from beavers). Although animal notes are still popular in perfumery (think muskor leather notes), these days most perfumers opt for synthetic versions, but some animal compounds are still used including milk derivatives or even a musk note from shellac beetles.
At Altra, all our scents are 100% natural, cruelty free and vegan which means no animal compounds or by-products are ever used and it goes without saying that we never test on animals.
Our love and reverence for the planet and the exquisite scents found in nature, forms both the inspiration and sole source of ingredients we use in our scents. The raw materials we use are distilled from plant matter including woods, seeds, flowers, peel, fruits, spices and leaves.
As a perfume-creator, one of the biggest pleasures of composing with natural raw materials is the creative challenge it presents, where I want to conjure a feeling of leather, I blend in Saffron Absolute which has a beautiful complex scent profile that lends itself to leathery blends such as our scent Ghost Flower. For our soft musk skin accord used in Altra Skin, I worked with a musky extract of Ambrette seed, along with trace amounts of other botanical extracts that give the impression of the most sensual aspects of the skin: from a suede-like note to a touch of spice, rounded off with an almost lactonic (milky) note from blonde woods, combining to create a hard to define yet addictive skin-scent, the first of its kind to be created without any synthetic chemicals or animal ingredients.
In each of our scents, you can expect to experience the power of natural materials; each imprinted with the DNA of where they are grown, the mastery of the growers and the process in which they are distilled. Such beautiful and volatile materials react to their surroundings and when in contact with your skin, create a truly personal experience.
If you want to discover the magic of plant-based perfumes this January, our Preview Set is sure to take you on an olfactive journey showcasing the power of plants in perfume.