Thursday, 14 September 2017

Why Perfume?

Fragrance free is a fashion statement that arose in the heyday of the Women’s movement! This revolution against perfume was at the moment when Charlie hit the stores – well everywhere really from the dog to the movies. Charlie was everywhere.
Why fragrance free? Well some feel that fragrance is full of bad chemicals. ‘Fragrance gives me headaches’ says one person and another ‘perfume irritates my skin.’ Fair comments and this may happen to some small part of the population but such does not make perfume a bad thing. Fragrance is everywhere. In your soap, your toothpaste, your shampoo, your conditioner, your hairdressing, your deodorant, your polish, your washing-up liquid, your washing powder, your make-up, your hand cream, your lip salve, your fabric conditioner, your fly spray, your toilet cleaner, your socks, your everything. Even fragrance-free things have "odour neutralisers" in them to take away their intrinsically nasty or unpleasant smells.
Perfume and perfuming has been part of culture and human life since its beginning. The oldest found perfumery discovered so far by archaeology is in Cyprus dating back some 4000 years. All classical cultures from Egypt to Rome were big on perfume. In Europe it was only in the Dark ages that perfume use declined re-emerging with alcohol and the Crusades. Products that enhance the feel of skin and the smell of the body have been highly valued in every culture.

At various time religion has tried to curtail the use of perfumes with no lasting success. Likewise, today some very ‘Green’ people seem to think perfume is a luxury we should not afford being a decadence not needed.
However, we must remember that smell is all around us. There is really no such thing as fragrance free. All nuance of taste, for example, beyond sour, salt, sweet comes from retro smell. Some people are smell blind to certain odours and so choice and perception of good and bad is highly individual. Culture takes a great part of our likes and dislikes. What we are used to sells best till we get the message! When you apply perfumes apply them to pulse points such as the folds in the crook of your elbow and back of knees, wrist, neck and cleavage. Gently rub your wrists to warm them to volatise the top notes.  This helps to diffuse it over your body and clothing.  Apply to the back of knees to allow the perfume to rise.
Consider layering perfumes. Use all the same perfume in various products.  Begin with shower or bath gel and then rub in body lotion or spray with a matching after bath spray.  Finally apply the scent preferably as perfume or EDP.
Keep bottles tightly stopped, away from direct heat and out of sunlight. 
Try to choose perfumes that suit you, not your friends or family.  Test a perfume in a store and then walk around for a few minutes.  Some perfumes take more like half an hour or an hour to truly develop.  Do not go by the first sniff.
There is a trick being played by some companies working in the natural or organic field. Regulation requires that the pack is labelled with Parfum if it contains anything to improve, enhance or fragrance smell. Tis does not suit consumers who think f perfume only in a bad chemical context. So these manufacturers often claim they have essential oils (as though they are something special despite containing many allergens) and perhaps list them claiming they are calming or antiaging etc.

The problem with this approach is that if they are here as an active 1. A medicinal claim such as calming is illegal and makes the product liable to be banned or 2. A Cosmetic product whereby a specific claim such antiaging from sandalwood has by law to have been tested independently by a laboratory. Ignorance of the law and a shortage of enforcement officers allows this malpractice to go on.
A lot of fragrances can be made using entirely natural materials. At Fragrant Earth, we have our fair share and sell quantities to good cosmetic companies like Liz Earle or Elemis. Then we have our own products such as our diffusers and of course our famous Aromatherapy Synergies using real essential oils (most in the market are a mixture). Aromatherapy to us is a clinical therapy. However, many psycho or neurological effects can come from synthetic materials as well as natural.
Natural or synthetic is a consumer choice but even synthetics generally try to mimic the joys of our natural surroundings. Perfume is a pleasure and after the other seven arts is itself the 8th Art. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Organic - The Real Meaning

Organic – The Real Meaning

Buying Organic is fashionable. Organic products are increasingly sold. Organic products are more expensive than other products whether essential oils, cotton clothing or food. But what is so good about Organic and why is it real?

The most often quoted reason is that Organic material is not produced by spraying it with pesticides and herbicides which although regulated still pose threats to human and other wildlife. This is true. Organic products are not grown or processed using harmful chemicals. Whilst Agribusiness argues that all the chemicals they use are safe, year after year, new evidence emerges that this is questionable if not untrue. So new replacement chemicals are found and the round begins again.

An example is glycophosphate (Roundup) weed killer ‘safe’ but now strongly implicated in the decline of honey bees through the chemicals passing through the food chain. The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed "safe."

So, a good reason for buying organics is to safeguard health not only of humans but also wildlife and plant diversity especially in the wild.  Organic food is produced using more environmentally friendly and animal friendly farming methods meaning it’s better for people, animals and the planet.

Talking about farming, organic farming methods are less dependent on non-renewable, fossil fuel-based fertilisers and pesticides. Organic farming also stores higher levels of carbon in the soil. The farming methods of production restore the quality of soil by using natural methods, in particular the support of microbes, bacteria and fungi from compost to return nutrients to the soil. Organic farming supports eco-sustenance, or farming in harmony with nature. Preservation of the soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, and chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem. Wildlife, insects, frogs, birds, and soil organisms can play their roles in the full tapestry of ecology.

Organic beauty ingredients are produced without the use of as many artificial fertilisers, pesticides, or other synthetic chemicals as conventional beauty ingredients. By using organic skincare, you make sure that the ingredients have not been treated with the same number of synthetic pesticides or fertilisers. Organic materials are not available for every aspect of formulation so many good Natural brands use organic ingredients where possible plus other quality non-organic materials.

The same principles apply to Organic Beauty finished products which are also produced without the use of many artificial fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Organic Skincare and Makeup have less or none at all doubtful synthetic chemicals as do conventional beauty products.  At FEI we favour organic beauty products and ingredients. One of the best sources of Organic agriculture in Europe is Poland and many of our brands come from there. Organic standards are sets of requirements that describe what practices can be considered organic. Typically, organic standards address various aspects of organic production, general farm production requirements, crop production requirements and requirements for the collection of wild products, animal welfare requirements and so on. There are strict requirements to obtain a certificate of meeting organic standards. Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances.

Fragrant Earth have always offered many organic Essential Oils and Vegetable or Carrier Oils but increasingly their range of Organic Colour Cosmetics or makeup from Lavera are proving popular. 

Type in Organic at the Fragrant Earth website to see a vast array on offer from Tampons to dental care, Skin care to Deodorants.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Oh honey!

A few years ago, I was with an old timer down in Provence admiring the vast swathes of the purple Lavendin fields. The sun blazed and the intensive hum of bees.
“The trouble is” he said, “They are starving, there is nowhere up here on the Vaucluse for them to go. It’s all Lavendin which is much poorer in nectar than Lavender, they have to work harder up here than when amongst true Lavender.”
I always had a fondness for bees after that conversation. Never had I thought about the different value of plants producing nectar. Since then of course I discovered that many a garden full of flowers may not be nectar rich at all.
Certain flowers will attract and feed bees more than others and bees needs span over different times of year. There are two main types of bee; the Bumblebee and the Honeybee. Populations of both have suffered huge declines in recent years for several different reasons. In the garden aim for a good variety of pollen rich flowers that have different flower shapes and a range of flowering periods from early spring to late summer. Bumblebee species have different length tongues that are adapted to feed from different shaped flowers such as foxgloves and honeysuckle. Honeybees have short tongues which are best suited to feeding from open flower shapes. Some trees and shrubs are also great for bees as they provide masses of flowers in one place.  Choose winter and early spring flowering trees such as apple, wild cherry, willow and hazel.
Commercially bees play a key role in pollinating many crops and are estimated to be worth millions of pounds to the UK economy. Some 35% of our diet depends on pollination of crops by bees. Albert Einstein the nuclear physicist said that if bees died out, humans would follow just four years later!
The end product for you and I is Honey! How many flowers are needed to make honey? A lot. More than most of us can easily comprehend. To survive a year, a single colony brings in about 120kg of nectar- an astounding weight for a small insect. It's not as though individual flowers are generous with nectar, either. Most yield just the smallest of droplets. A standard jar of honey from the supermarket requires bees to make a million flower visits. A colony might produce 50 to 100 such jars per year.
So, it is with pride that all Fragrant Earth honey products use the real stuff and not just honey aroma in a chemical soup. One of our favourite products is: -
Bee & Honey Nourishing Bath Lotion with its piece of real beeswax! This is the product for you if you like bubbles so add under running water.  Unfortunately, this contains SLS; a big no from many people and not our choice but if you want bubbles........  We mitigate the drying effects of SLS by clever formulation and Honey Nourishing Bath Lotion with its abundance of herbs and moisturising factors ends up gently cleansing and not irritating! Clever stuff if you like bubbles!
And the Honey Babe range has a great Barrier Cream for baby’s bottom! Contains pure natural manuka honey renowned for its healing and antibacterial properties enriched with chamomile to soothe and protect baby’s tender bottom. Provides a protective moisture barrier to prevent soreness and irritation.
Last but not least amongst our many honey favourites is Honey and Jasmine Shower Oil a luxury product to die for. Full of essentialoils and natural wash active substances that'll look after your skin and not strip it. You will just love the aroma on your skin.