What is a cosmetic fragrance?

A cosmetic fragrance is a functional ingredient that helps boost the aesthetic function of a product.

A cosmetic product may look pretty to the eye but if it smells awful, your customer will not buy it.

That is why the perfume industry is doing so well!

What cosmetic fragrance can I use?

There are plenty to choose from!

  • plant leaf, petals, fruits
  • herbs, spices
  • fruits, vegetables
  • blend of botanicals
  • hydrosols
  • essential oils
  • synthetic oils
  • water-based infused extracts
  • oil-based infused extracts

Hydrosols, essential oils and synthetic oils are the most commonly used fragrances in cosmetics. This is because they not only add a nice aroma but can also be a functional ingredient.

Whichever fragrance you have chosen, do take note that not all fragrance are everlasting.

Just like an apple, natural fragrances like essential oils when exposed to air, they oxidize. Then they lose their aroma and become less potent.

  • Store essential oils and all other heat- and light- sensitive oils away from direct sunlight. 
  • Ensure the cap or the lid is closed tightly to prevent air from coming in

How do I add fragrance to my products?

Depending on what you are making, sometimes you need either an emulsifier or a solubilizer in your formula. Or non at all!

Absolutes, CO2 extracts and essential oils are oil soluble. They do not dissolve in water!

If you are making an emulsion, use an emulsifier straightaway.

However, if you are making a toner or facial mist where a fragrance oil is added in very small amounts, use a solubilizer instead.

  • Oils less than 3% = Solubilizer
  • Oils more than 3% = Emulsifier

If you are using water soluble fragrances such as Hydrosol, herbal extracts or infusion, they are considered as the water phase.

You do not need any emulsifier or solubilizer. You do need an emulsifier though if your formula calls for cosmetic oils!

How much cosmetic fragrance do I use?

Cosmetic fragrance plays an important role in a product but using too much can bring about instability.

Always refer to your supplier's recommended amount - usually between 0.5% to 3% is the ideal amount.

However, if it is a 100% pure and undiluted such as:

  • absolute
  • CO2 extract
  • essential oil,

you have to follow a strict rule. This is to prevent negative side effects such as causing redness, itch and burn on the skin.

Absolute, CO2 Extract + Essential Oil Guideline

Facial leave-on products: not more than 1%

Lip balms: not more than 0.5%

Around the eyes area: not more than 0.1%

Other parts of the body: not more than 5%

Why do I have to be careful when using absolutes, CO2 extracts and essential oils?

Because these oils are extracted from a raw plant material, they can be very potent and cause severe:

  • irritation
  • sensitization
  • phototoxicity

If you experience reactions from using fragrance oils while formulating, stop and wash the area with soap and water immediately.

If it does not help, seek medical help immediately and mention to the doctor which oils or chemical that you have applied.

Where to buy cosmetic fragrance?

You can purchase from suppliers at my Resources page.

Making Cosmetics has 20+ Fragrance oils!