Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Perfume Lab Notes

Wine barrels at Tenuta Valdipiatta
Montepulciano, Italy

My shipment of hand-selected naturals will arrive soon.

Oakwood absolute from France, a dry woody fragrance with nuances of plum and red wine. This material is produced from used wine barrels, using a hydrocarbon extraction method. I have several ideas about what I “think” it will pair nicely with and am looking forward to doing some testing. Should fit well into a couple of concepts I’ve been thinking about.

Ylang Ylang from Madagascar, VOP (Very Old Process). This was a rare find. It’s a complete
ylang rather than the modern standard process of reconstructing fractions. I recently learned that this is the nicest ylang yet encountered by one of my trusted “nose friends”. I am looking forward to comparing it with my current Ylang extra that is quite lovely itself.

Hydrocarbonresine from Spain. Another rare find, this material is a fraction of the Cistus absolute. It is almost clear, with incense and slightly smoky nuances over a warm cistus heart. (Cistus absolute is made from the top portion of the entire plant rather than from labdanum gum.) I will try this in a white flower/honey/labdanum blend that I haven’t released yet.

Rose Otto from Iran, organic, Iran-ecocert. Iranian rose is rarely available outside of Iran, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. One of our buyers has been waiting for eight years to this especially spectacular material.

A singularly gorgeous Agarwood from Laos, comparable to any oud we have
ever encountered.

Today I continued late-stage testing with the white flower, honey and labdanum perfume mentioned above that contains some special enfleuraged materials.

Image credits: http://impressive.net

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Out of Africa

Secret Beauty Traditions of the World, Part 2

Shea Butter
Western countries are now recognizing the considerable health and beauty benefits of shea butter, the all-natural vitamin A cream. Shea butter is made from the nuts of shea trees that grow in the savannah regions of West and Central Africa, and is sometimes referred to as “women’s gold” in Africa, because so many women are employed in the production of shea butter.

Vitamin A in Shea Butter is said to improve a number of skin conditions, including blemishes wrinkles, eczema, and dermatitis. Shea butter also contains a substance that helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

It has a beautiful, white consistency like cake frosting that melts at skin temperature.

Shea butter is a particularly effective moisturizer because contains so many fatty acids, which are needed to retain skin moisture and elasticity. Its soft, butter-like texture melts readily into the skin.

Shea butter, in combination with rice bran oil (see previous post), is smooth, protective, and nutritious for the skin. Carmel Perfume's new Skin Care Body Butter includes generous servings of both these ingredients.

Click here to order Skin Care Body Butter. Available in scented and non-scented editions. $19.95. Available exclusively from Carmel Perfumes.

Image Acknolwdgements to Treeaid.org and Nailsmag.org

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Secret Beauty Traditions of the World Part I: Japan

It is a Japanese beauty tradition for women to rub rice bran oil on their face to keep their skin smooth. These women are called “Nuka-Bijin” (“Bran Beauty” in English). Rice bran oil is full of anti-oxidants - the oryzanol it contains, for example, whitens the skin slightly, and can impede the progress of melanin pigmentation by intercepting the ultraviolet rays at the skin’s surface. Because of this, rice bran oil has long been used in sunscreen products and hair conditioners in Japan.

More recently, rice bran oil is now being used in US cosmetics and body products. This new market is growing remarkably as increasing numbers of consumers become aware of the benefits.

What is rice bran?
Rice bran is obtained in the milling process, and is the part of the rice that is richest in fat. The oil, which is expeller pressed from the bran, has the presence of natural antioxidants which makes it an excellent ingredient for products designed to treat mature skin.

What does it do?
Rice Bran oil is a nourishing skin protectant and is purported to reverse the effect of aging by slowing the formation of facial wrinkles. It also helps to reduce and soothe inflammation.

Benefits of Rice Bran Oil
• Provides moderate penetration with little greasiness
• Promotes of collagen formation
• Inhibits lipid peroxidation
• Treats dry, mature skin
• Provides smooth spreadability
• Provides skin protection from the sun

How is it used?
I use rice bran oil to cleanse my face at night, and include it in my body butters, soaps, and massage oils. As one of the richer carrier oils, it takes a moment to sink into the skin, and leaves a soft, velvety feel.

Photo credits to http://www.naturaljapanesebeauty.com