I'd love to know your thoughts about the safety of using vintage fragrances. I know that a lot of the newer regs can be rather ridiculous, but what of ingredients like nitro musks and other ingredients that were used in some of these vintage perfumes? I love the way many of them smell but I'd rather not be huffing a carcinogen. Any tips on what to look for or what if anything you avoid?
Great question! I have never thought of that.
I just don't worry about it. Compared with the additives in our food these days and the contamination of the water we drink in some places I figure the short time I wear perfume, which evaporates, isn't going to hurt me.
I am of a mind that life is short and unpredictable, and the joys afforded by these beauties is too great if we are lucky enough to have access to them. If you have no reproductive aims, there is less to concern you. If you do, perhaps you could leave the enjoyment of these scents until you are a slightly older woman ;-)
From my knowledge of working with sometimes hazardous art materials I will advance a few occupational health and safety suggestions.
If you are very worried, wear only on fabric. Spritzing cuffs, lapels, skirt hems and scarves (before donning the item) can be very effective. Use a hankie or swatch of fabric tucked in your clothing if you're concerned about the scent staining fabric.
Be cautious of inhaling any vapors whilst using spray scents.
Also consider how and where your scents are stored. Evaporated contents are affecting your ambient air quality. Sez me, who spilled a couple mls vintage Joy extrait on her bedding today... ooopsie!
Wash your hands if necessary after applying the scent. As many of us on occasion use tiny tiny sample vials with tricky little caps, there is inevitably scent transferred to the fingertips during the application process. You will most likely end up this in your eyes and mouth unless you wash it off right away.
For splash and dab scents, I have discovered that the material alcohol swabs are made of both holds and projects scent amazingly. (The swabs are the kind a doctor would use on your skin before injection). Jusy use the swab to wipe neck and stopper of the bottle, thus no skin contact is made with the scent. Then place the scented swab strategically. I just went looking for one that I used for Parure worn to a party in December, and it still smells divine months later! So does the drawer where it has been tucked away all this time.
Ah, the pleasure!
All's I'm saying is, if you're concerned there are many resources for more information (Material Safety Data Sheets!) that will help you take rational protective steps in balance with your level of concern. Obviously I err on the side of devil-may-care hedonism, I mean to say calculated risks.
I can tell when there is real oak moss in a classic scent. There is a slight burning sensation when applied. Is this the big scary bugaboo? The tingle goes away quickly and all is well. Am I in danger of a cancerous attack? What a way to go!
I have lots of vintage and older perfumes and I have never had a problem. Maybe you have a sensitivity to oak moss and I don't. Who knows?