Unveiling the Essence: The Role of Alcohols in Perfumery and What to Look Out For.

At Scent Journer, our commitment to mindfulness and quality extends to every ingredient we use in our fragrances. Alcohols play a crucial role in perfumery, serving as a vehicle for scent dispersion and preservation. Understanding the types of alcohols used and their impact can help you make informed choices about the fragrances you bring into your daily routine.


The Role of Alcohol in Perfumery


When you glance at the ingredient list of your favorite perfume, you might notice that the first entry is often some form of alcohol. Making up 70 to 90% of perfume, alcohol serves as the foundation for perfumes for several reasons. 

Its high volatility ensures swift evaporation and lasting sillage (a scent trail) throughout the day. It also leaves no residual stickiness or stains on your skin or clothes and imparts a cool, refreshing sensation upon application. Alcohol also acts as an effective carrier and solvent, ensuring an even and effective dispersion of fragrance molecules with every spritz. Additionally, alcohol helps stabilize the perfume’s formulation, thwarting microbial growth while preserving its volatile components, thus preventing the fragrance from changing too rapidly, giving your fragrance a longer, more stable shelf life! 

However, while perfume does not have a strict expiration date, once open, we recommend changing your bottle of perfume within 2 years, as headspace (air in the perfume bottle that enters as you use your perfume) contains oxygen that causes the perfume to oxidize at a faster rate, resulting in a loss of those important top notes and causing the overall fragrance to change. (read here to find out more!)


Types of Alcohol in Perfumery

It is important to note that the alcohols used in perfumery differ from those in beverages and liquors. Rather, perfumers employ a specific type of alcohol in their products known as perfumers alcohol, falling under the category of Specially Denatured Alcohols (SDAs). These SDAs, typically pure ethanol, are mixed with additive that render them unfit for consumption. While it is possible to use pure ethanol to make perfumes, these additives often make the alcohol taste bad or unsafe to consume, thus preventing consumption and misuse by consumers. SDAs are also not subject to the pure alcohol tax that liquor companies are subject to, hence circumventing alcohol taxes which makes SDAs cheaper to produce and use.


Danger of Methanol in Perfumery

SDAs are used in various industries and use different additives to suit different purposes such as pyridine and benzene. However not all SDAs in these industries need to be skin-safe, thus some additives used can be toxic to humans. Among these additive, methanol poses the greatest hazard. Readily absorbed into the skin, high levels of methanol exposure can also cause headaches, dizziness, and skin and eye irritation, and even lead to methanol poisoning and present life-threatening symptoms if ingested. Hence, methanol should never be used in any perfume or cosmetic products. 

Regrettably, some companies, driven by profit motives, incorporate methanol into their products as a cheaper alternative, disregarding health concerns and safety. Thus it is important to ensure that the main ingredient of alcohol used in any cosmetic or perfume products is ethanol or ethyl alcohol instead of methanol. 


Scent Journer’s Commitment to Safety: Organic Sugarcane Alcohol

At Scent Journer, we are committed to our product's quality, safety, and sustainability. Hence we take pride in using more sustainable organic sugarcane alcohol, free of methanol to make our perfumes. 

Typically, the ethanol used in SDAs is derived from corn or grains, which requires starch to be converted to sugar before producing alcohol. However, with sugarcane, the sugar can be fermented straight to alcohol, simplifying the process and thus making it more energy efficient and producing less CO2 emissions! Sugarcane is also a highly renewable energy source, making it a great replacement for gasoline. Certified free from harmful chemicals such as pesticides, our organic sugarcane alcohol ensures the purity and integrity of our fragrances.

We meticulously source our ethanol from renewable sources to minimize our carbon impact and ensure that it is untainted by methanol and other harmful compounds. This dedication ensures only the best ingredients go into our perfumes. We hold the safety of our ingredients to IFRA standards through the 50th Amendment and ASEAN Cosmetic Directive. Our formulas do not, and never will, contain ingredients such as methanol, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and or other harmful products. Each spritz of our perfumes embodies not just an olfactory experience that hopes to uplift your spirits, but also a commitment to environmental stewardship and quality.

Explore the ingredients behind our sustainable fragrances and embark on a sensory journey with us today!

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