Natural Perfumer's Guild: Outlaw Perfume Project

by Grant Osborne, 27th November, 2010

The Natural Perfumer's Guild are currently taking part in an Outlaw Perfume Project where guild members have sent a selection of bloggers new fragrances they have created which all contain natural oils from IFRA's "List of fragrance oils we won't let you use anymore because we think they will make you die a bit"*. Perfumers and Bloggers are encouraged to share their views on the bans.

Anya McCoy, head of the Natural Perfumer's Guild says:

The guidelines of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the laws of the European Union (EU) have created an era of vapid, soulless, synthetic perfumes due to the banning or severe usage level limits they have placed on historic perfume ingredients. Rose, jasmine, oakmoss and many other aromatics are now allowed in tiny amounts, and their scentual presence is dimmed.

Independent perfumers are not members of IFRA, but if they are in the EU, they have to abide by the rules. Independent perfumers are also aware of safety issue due to photosensitization, sensitization and irritation, et al. The Natural Perfumers Guild takes the stand that a warning label should be enough to allow us to use citrus, oakmoss, jasmine, rose and other cherished perfume materials in our creations. If a warning label is good enough for the potentially-deadly peanut, it should be good enough for a perfume that may give you a rash. We will practice full disclosure on our perfumes submitted for the Outlaw Perfume project and we will celebrate the lush, beautiful luxury of natural aromatics.

It's also about educating the public to perform a patch test, or perhaps wear the perfume in their hair, on their clothing, or on a cotton or wool pad inside a piece of jewelry to diffuse the scent. In fact, the oldest way of wearing perfume is in the hair or on clothing or fabric - and you'll be amazed how long the scent lasts!

The perfumers taking part in this exercise are: Lord's Jester, Bioscent Dupetit, Anya's Garden, Providence Perfume Co., Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Bellyflowers, Wing and a Prayer Perfume, JoAnne Bassett and Artemisa

Blogger taking part include Perfume Shrine, Perfume Smellin' Things and The Non Blonde. A full list can be found here, as well as more information about the project.

For those interested in joining the Natural Perfumers Guild, they currently have a promotion on joining fees. Find out more here.

* Disclaimer: Not the actual name of IFRA's List of Prohibited and Restricted Ingredients.

  • Share this

Advertisement — comments are below


    • Kal | 28th November 2010 04:40

      This just all makes me so sad - that the situation demands a guild like this.

      And I'm too cynical to believe that all this is about is the odd person's allergy to perfume ingredients and am much more inclined to believe it's about making perfumes cheaper without reducing the cost to us. I'm sure many believe as I do and I'm sure many believe that for some reason there's no way we can simply add a "BEWARE" sticker on perfume bottles. I've found it a bit of an asthetic tragedy that they even list ingredients other than alcohol, parfum, aqua but I tolerate it because I hide the boxes in a drawer so would also tolerate a "CONTAINS PEANUTS" emblem. >.>

      All that said I'm so glad to hear that someone, somewhere is making a stand and am inclined to investigate and perhaps join the NPG. Thanks for the heads up, Grant. :)

    • Mimi Gardenia | 28th November 2010 11:17

      Thank goodness for The Natural Perfumers' Guild - at least someone is making a stand.

    • deleted | 28th November 2010 18:05


    • Francop | 28th November 2010 21:12

      I would play them at their own game...

      Perfume boxes could be issued with a safety warning label in the inner side of the upper lid reminding users that ingredients may cause skin irritation due to sheer chemical purity so please use in moderation on intial applications.

      Under health & safety regulations that statement should provide enough legal cover...:rolleyesold:

    • ysatis | 28th November 2010 23:43

      Nowadays we are moving to conditions well described in "Equilibrium" movie when all good emotions became forbidden. It's a pity that to smell well I have to violate the laws. But to feel this gammas of natural aromas I agree break all the rules!!!

    • Flaconneur | 29th November 2010 00:12

      Can't we just supply the consumer with necessary information, allowing them to make the good decision to whether a product is right for them?

    • Ratfink | 29th November 2010 10:07

      I'm heartily sick of the Powers That Be making new laws about anything and everything and increasingly restricting people's behaviour; if it's not perfume, then it's something else (don't get me started on light bulbs). Sometimes I think that 'they' just want a populace consisting of folk who've lost the ability to think independantly and to make valid, adult choices about what they do and don't want. Eventually, we'll end up with a small number of state-sanctioned plastic perfumes, but we will all have learned to love Big Brother.

    • the_good_life | 29th November 2010 10:23

      You know that the EU has outlawed regular lightulbs, as they emit more warmth than heat, enforcing replacement with as yet technically imperfect, very expensive, unaesthetic and quicksilver-containing energy-saving lightbulbs (never mind you now have to heat more in winter to compensate loss of lightbulb-warmth). Well, an artist-activist has begun selling "miniature heating units" made in China which can be screwed into lamp sockets and which, as an undesirable side-effect to emitting warmth, also happen to glow :-). Point is: Cannot natural perfume be marketed as disinfectant, bug spray, religious object or whatever to circumvent these perverse regulations? I shall be happy to establish a new religion which requires thousands of different liquid pro fumums in order to celebrate its holy rites (heck, we have that here at basenotes already, don't we)?

    • Persolaise | 29th November 2010 14:53

      It's very interesting reading everyone's comments on this.

      I think something's going to have change sooner rather than later; the situation can't carry on in the same way for much longer.

      As has been suggested by others above, there's a fair amount of sly dishonesty at play. I forget who first made this point, but this whole situation probably centres around money. The aromachemicals manufacturers - who have ties with companies that produce detergents etc (which are also IFRA regulated, don't forget) - are quite happy for natural materials to be suppressed, because it means that they'll make more money from selling their aromachemicals.

      Everything comes back to cash.

      But the situation won't improve unless we start raising our voices.

    • J&B | 29th November 2010 15:18

      We no longer have the cold war so we don't have to worry about the russians.

      Saddam Hussein is no longer a problem so we don't have to worry about him.

      Nobody seems to know where Bin Laden is and if anyone knows doesn't speak so it is useless trying to find him.

      Afganistan is far far away so who cares?....

      True or false, global warming have two separate fields and nobody seems to worry with that unless those who need it for a living.

      Comunism is almost dead and is no longer a threat. Nobody is comunist anymore, so we don't have to worry about that either.

      What's left? What are we going to do?

      Let's be hysterical about perfumes and it's components no matter they are made for centuries and nobody ever died for wearing them. That will do.

      Let's rule the thing, let's create the IFRA, let's make people pay taxes to support all the stupid idea, let's put some bastards in there and call them specialists, let's pay them good salaries, let's make some noise, the whole thing will create jobs and we need jobs. Let's put the politicians making laws for it... what a great stupid idea.

      I want to congratulate all the perfumers from NPG. And I hope every other houses join them and finish all the hysteria and stupidity about all this.

      I use perfumes since I was a teenager and I never had problems with that. Ever.

      I know people who have problems with some specific type of food. The solution is do not eat. The same with perfumes, if you don't like it or can't wear them, back off and don't wear them.

      Just stop to impose rules to the others.

    • elizrj | 29th November 2010 18:07

      I'm so frustrated with controlling everything for the lowest common denominator. No peanuts on airlines, no peanut anything in schools, no shellfish, no transfats, no bottled water, no no no ban ban ban. Now of course some of these are good... but only if you agree, if you disagree then you are just wrong. Politically correct, don't offend anyone (unless they disagree with you, then see above) now rules the day. Warning labels on hairdryers that tell you not to use them in the shower, labels on silicate not to eat, laws and legislation to constantly "protect" us.

      I'm all for research to determine what DOES hurt us, then for publishing that information so that we can make informed choices. But ultimately, I want to be able to make my own choice. So I will put my money where my mouth ... or nose as the case may be ... is. I will not purchase these reformulated messes they put out under the same old name. I will support these outlaws by not just applauding them, but by purchasing their products. And I will, as God is my witness, eat lots and lots of peanuts. Course, I just like peanuts.

    • professor goggles | 2nd December 2010 14:36

      If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, should it sue the forest for damages arising from an unsafe forest environment?

    • Natural_Juice | 2nd December 2010 16:09

      Thanks for all your comments, everyone. Every revolution starts with the "little people" and works its way upwards. When I started blogging against IFRA and the EU regs almost four years ago, I was the only perfumer doing so. Even now, few take part in the resistance, especially any perfumer from a big house.

      Hopefully, the Outlaw Perfume project got wide readership and has provoked some into taking action. Nanny states, special interests and stultifying bureaucracy have no place in the world of art, and perfumery is an art.

    • Nile_Etland | 20th December 2010 11:05

      This is a great idea and I agree with every comment above, I've got just one small question - why stop there? Bring back the fabulous nitro-musks and all the other aromachemicals that made the classics so great.

      Let them put the fragrances into plain boxes and plaster them with warnings if they like - for all I care they can insist that all these dangerous substances must be put into identical plain aluminium atomisers marked with a skull & crossbones. They haven't stopped selling bleach have they? We know that some substances are dangerous so we keep them away from our children, we don't eat them and (when necessary) we don't put them on our skin - We Are Not Stupid.

      The Nanny State is making everybody's life too boring - let's give natural selection a chance to work!

    • Akahina | 14th February 2014 14:58

      This older project and their members should be commended and supported.

    • JDBIII | 14th February 2014 15:24

      Why can't perfumes carry a warning label like so many other products in our economy? It would be simple and protect the perfumer from liability suits. Something like: "This perfume contains possible allergens. If you are sensitive or allergic to fragrance or have a compromised respiratory system please do not purchase this product." Then, IFRA can go home to their families, natural ingredients can return to the market they have been a part of for thousands of years, our favorite scents can return unharmed, and people can, again, take responsibility for their own choices of products.

    • DuNezDeBuzier | 14th February 2014 21:29

      In all sincerity... what has this project accomplished in terms of softening IFRA restrictions / EU regs? Anything tangible, factual, quantitative? I'd guess, at the very least, those that have participated would say that it raised community awareness, and so forth, which is a good thing. Yet, that's tantamount to preachin' to the choir, no? Just trying to understand the actions / reactions with this issue.

      edit: Sorry... I re-read. I'd say the objective was defiance and that was met.

    • Deedee42 | 2nd October 2017 00:48

      There's one big difference between a peanut allergy and a perfume allergy and that is that most people don't rub peanut butter on themselves and wear it all day. A bit more difficult to avoid perfume than peanut butter.