The Truth Behind "Fragrance"

The Truth Behind

Chances are, if you flip over a bottle of deodorant, lotion, or shampoo, you’ll see the word “fragrance” listed on the ingredient list. 

This is because U.S. regulations allow fragrance and flavor ingredients to be listed simply as “fragrance” or “flavor” rather than listing out each ingredient used. There are a few reasons for this: 

First, fragrance and flavor formulas are often complex mixtures of many ingredients, so in some cases, it’s impossible to fit all the ingredients on a small label. 

Second, regulations allow the terms “fragrance” or “flavor” to be used so that brands can protect their “trade secrets”. A brand famous for their unique fragrances, like Le Labo, has good reason not wanting to share their ingredient list. It would be extremely easy for a competitor to copy their fragrances if they had the entire ingredient list! 

Unfortunately, some brands started to take advantage of this regulation, to the point where it is now known by many as the “FDA fragrance loophole”. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to hide sketchy ingredients under the term “fragrance”, such as parabens, phthalates and other neurotoxins or endocrine disruptors. A regulation that was created in earnest to protect a brand’s trade secrets slowly turned into a way for brands to hide important information from customers.

As a result, the word “fragrance” has become a heated topic recently on social media, and for good reason. In the past year, we have been inundated with questions about the ingredients that go into Curie’s signature scents, and we completely understand why. We have always listed our Curie Clean Standards on our website, including what we do and do not include in our products and scents, and what “safe synthetics” mean, but we came to realize that is not enough. 

While we care about protecting Curie’s signature scents from copycats, we care more about staying true to our values and being transparent with our customers. As a result, we are pleased to announce a website update:

  • The entire ingredient list for each of Curie’s signature scents is now available on our website. We included a table with the name of the ingredient, purpose of the ingredient, and where the ingredient is sourced from. 

View full fragrance ingredient list here.

    We are a team of women, mothers, and expecting mothers. We care about avoiding neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors in fragrance as much as our customers do. Using the safest, cleanest, nontoxic ingredients is something we take very seriously. We realize it is important for us to be transparent about each and every ingredient in our products so that we can empower our customers to make informed decisions about their health.

    Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about our signature scents:

    What are Curie’s fragrances made of?

    Our signature scents are a blend of essential oils, plant isolates, and safe synthetic ingredients. Learn more about the exact components that go into our fragrances on the product pages.

    Why do you use safe synthetics

    Most of our fragrances include safe synthetic ingredients because they are often safer, and more environmentally sustainable than natural ingredients - especially in the case of exotic floral notes. 

    Why don’t you just use essential oils?

    There are several reasons we use a mixture of essential oils, plant isolates, and safe synthetic ingredients in our fragrances:

    First, while we love essential oils and use them whenever possible in our fragrances, certain oils can cause allergic reactions (tea tree, jasmine), contact dermatitis (peppermint, lavender), and phototoxicity (lime, bergamot). These reactions are magnified when applied to sensitive underarm skin. 

    Second, essential oils often don’t have staying power. There is a reason your perfume lingers all day, but if you dab eucalyptus essential oil on your skin, you won’t smell it after an hour or two. We want our customers to smell and feel their best all day long, and that requires us to use complex fragrances with staying power.

    Third, essential oils are not always the most environmentally sustainable option. For example, it takes 252,000 rose petals to produce 5mL of rose oil. If a brand as big as Dove used pure rose essential oil, we wouldn’t have enough roses in the world. Another example is Frankincense which is derived from tree sap. Due to a surge in popularity, frankincense forests are now disappearing and on the verge of extinction. If a fragrance note we’d like to use is unsustainably sourced, we prefer to use a synthetic version that still meets our safety standards without harming the environment.

    When we develop a scent, we work with expert fragrance formulators to decide what ingredients are best for both you and the environment.

    What are Curie’s ingredient standards?

    We developed our Curie Clean™ Standards based on what matters most to us and our customers, which is using ingredients that are safe for our bodies and the environment. Our fragrances are all custom-created specifically for Curie and are free of phthalates, parabens and other endocrine disruptors that are commonly found in mainstream fragrances. 

    Our fragrance formulator strictly follows Credo’s Clean Standard guidelines for all of their clean beauty and personal care clients - their standards are the highest in the business! They have a Dirty List® which includes specific ingredients and types of ingredients that they prohibit due to safety and/or sustainability reasons, none of which are present in our formulas. 

    We also follow the International Fragrance Associate Standards (IFRA) regulatory and quality assurance process, and we work with our fragrance house to track research and guidance on a quarterly basis, to ensure all existing and future scents are safe for everyday use.

    It is true that many companies hide all sorts of questionable ingredients behind the word fragrance. However, declaring all fragrance as “toxic” disregards the increased innovation in the clean fragrance space over the last several years, that makes it possible for clean beauty to smell amazing without compromising our health! 🤍

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