The end of our perfumer’s world?


If the Mayan calendar planned the end of the world on 21 December, there is one end of the world which is definitely going to happen unless a movement starts to protect its heritage: the world of the Art of perfumery. At a time when the consumer is demanding natural cosmetics and perfumes, the madness of the EU and IFRA has marked yet another step towards the end of naturals.

Reuters article reports on a worrying news that a new measure will be debated in the anti-democratic institution of the EU in Brussels at the beginning of 2013. The report highlights the extent of the madness of those people from another planet who go as far as advocating the use of ‘safe’ synthetics (?) and the potential ban of 100 more natural ingredients as well as an entire ban of moss and oak moss as a response to 1% of the entire EU population (a mere 3.5 million people) who seems to suffer all types of allergies to all types of things.

Despite attempts to get answers in order to explain how come a supposedly ‘self-regulatory’ association such as IFRA seems to have become the voice of the aroma chemical industry and whether the aim is to ban perfumes all together, I am left frustrated by the absence of fighting mood from some of the big names mentioned in the article.

So the EU is about to ask us perfumers, and in particular, natural perfumers to forego their passion in the name of the pretence of safety. The worst is that a murky underdog association called the Bureau of European Consumers (which is only a sideline and lobby association not belonging to the EU but receiving finance from them) is claiming victory because they say, there is a “thorough and evidence-based study”! The question is ‘who mandated the study and where is the evidence’ that synthetics are safer than naturals. Besides, would they ask a painter to only use a palette composed of a couple of colours because too many colours might harm your sight? Or a pianist to play with only a couple of key notes because the noise might harm your hearing?

Beware perfume lovers!. Do not visit the European Parliament or the IFRA because I have a strong feeling it stinks there! Meanwhile, as an artisan perfumer defending the Art of perfumery, I have decided to take a stand… Here is what I have to say to the IFRA: I will carry on making perfumes using naturals, for the pleasure of the senses and in order to protect the ancestry heritage that you are busy assassinating for some blurry reason!



  1. Dear Isabelle…may I join you in your resolution?! Stuff you IFRA!

    We must do something! I know we are a small number of natural perfumers here in the UK but surely we can rally together and do something about this outrage which gets worse everyday.


    1. Hello Marina,

      Gilles Thevenin, the Director of the 200 years old perfume house Lubin said that the problem of the perfumers is that they don’t have a voice unlike the chemical and petroleum companies so we basically get ‘stuffed’ every time the lobby of the chemicals manufacturers try to impose THEIR diktat. This is why I decided to take a stance and created the label ‘Make perfume and stuff IFRA’. Although it sounds quite arrogant and harsh, what I mean is that as an artist, I do not want to have to think about ppm, allergens, too much of this or that (most of the ingredients have been used for centuries and it worked fine!). I just want to let my creativity be free to unleash.

      This does not mean that I am not concerned about the consumer and I am cautious when I use certain ingredients such as oakmoss or grapefruit. But as Gilles Thevenin says, ‘they are taking our tools off us and it is like asking a painting artist to stop using the red colour’. Besides, how is it possible to use phenol-based oils in aromatherapy but not in perfumery? In the end of the day, there is a strong movement from consumers to return to naturals while the EU/IFRA are busy trying (as usual) to go against the flow.

      The more we spread the word about the dark forces that are pushing legislation in the name of safety, the more we will be allowed to use OUR natural ingredients for our work of art.


      1. Completely agree Isabelle, I am concerned too and I am very careful with many of our ingredients, but we need a voice.
        I love the label you created; I am spreading the word and I know of many outraged natural perfume lovers who can’t believe this is happening and are going to make a lot of noise, so here is hope!

        Do you think there is a chance of anything being done at an organised level here in the UK or the EU? Or perhaps it has already been done?

        Let me know if you ever want to discuss this further off-line, and start a revolution 🙂


  2. This is terrible! I have no words. 😦
    And I love chypre perfumes!
    It’s really ridiculous, there are so many harmful things out there and no one is concerned. But hey, why not to ban some natural ingredients, even though there are other ways of dealing with it? Why not to destroy something so wonderful like artisan perfumery, something that has soul and is beautiful? Something that is our heritage.
    And safe synthetics? Really?!
    I’m sorry about that rant, but things like that really drive me crazy.

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