What it means for a perfume to be eco-friendly
I received a direct message (DM) on Instagram asking if my fragrances are eco-friendly. I want to tell you why my answer is “No.”
Disclaimer: My answer is steeped entirely in experience as a U.S. perfumer based in Seattle. So everyone outside the U.S. reading this can lower their pitchforks. Also, obligatory “not all perfumers” if it makes people happy. Now then.
My boxes & inserts are manufactured and printed by a family-owned company in China. I have a great relationship with them and they are incredibly easy to work with. U.S. manufacturers either ignored me or told me to accept their subpar output capabilities.
My glass bottles are made in France (though the company is in London). I don’t have the capital to produce custom glass bottles, so I zhuzh up my stock glass bottles with custom labels and a box.
I use a synthetic surfactant blend that enables distilled water to be used as a substitute for alcohol in perfume. It is produced from a company with global production facilities.
I use a combination of synthetic materials as well as natural materials that are extracted from botanical sources. (I don’t manufacture my own tinctures or distillations.) I label which fragrances are natural or natural and synthetic on my site.
When I create my perfumes, I wear disposable latex gloves to protect my skin and I use plastic pipettes to measure materials. I use paper towels to absorb any accidental spills.
I have only met one company that manufactures all its fragrances using materials they themselves harvested from invasive species. Cebastien and Robin of dryland wilds are just the loveliest people, truly. (This is an important distinction from other perfumers that “harvest” materials from “public lands” without compensation—which sounds an awful lot like colonizing, but that’s a subject for another day.)
I’d never presume to tout my fragrances as eco-friendly because clearly I cannot. But: I make sure my bottles & packaging can be recycled; I never use any animal products; I donate products where I can as well as a percentage of my annual sales to Seattle Animal Shelter; and I am working toward paying rent to the Duwamish People as I occupy their traditional land.
I’m not eco-friendly. I simply try to be good.