Fragrance Oils and IFRA 49 Question

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Jan 20, 2021
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Most of the fragrances I've chosen to use in my soaps are honey type fragrances. Specifically, I like Brambleberry's Pure Honey and Wildflower Honey. I'm planning to eventually sell soap alongside my honey, beeswax, and lotion bars and would like to set my soap apart by being honeybee "themed". I'm really disappointed because now that they have posted new Maximum Usage Rates, the amounts on these are so low that I doubt they will work. The MUR for Wildflower Honey is now 0.4%! I've tried honey fragrance oils from other suppliers and none of the "plain" honey types compare, in my opinion. I was curious to know if in the past, fragrance oil producers have reformulated their oils to meet the new IFRA standards? Maybe it's not possible for all fragrances, but surely it is with some. And another thing...
I've noticed some fragrance oil suppliers IFRA certificates are from the 47th and even 46th amendments of IFRA. I know they don't have to do the testing, but it seems like many people wouldn't buy them if they can't know for sure how much is safe. (But really, if the purpose of IFRA is to represent the interests of the fragrance industry worldwide, I don't know just how much I trust them anyways.) It's not going to kill me if I can't use BB's Wildflower Honey. I have quite a few other FO's that work like French Lavender and Honey, Spiced Tonka and Honey, Oatmeal and Honey, etc. I just was really invested in those two. The Pure Honey smells like typical grocery store honey and the Wildflower smells like honey produced in my area.


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Feb 20, 2013
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I"m sure fragrance formulators do reformulate to meet IFRA and other environmental and safety standards, to follow changes in consumer expectations, and to control costs. The shift some years ago away from formulating with phthalates is one example, and that definitely changed how many fragrances performed.

I guess I'm not so strongly fixed on using only a particular fragrance that it bothers me to know it might change over time. If they change it, they change it. If I don't like the changed version, I look for another. The consumers I deal with seem to be pretty tolerant of what scents I use in my soap, so I don't feel a lot of pressure to keep fragrances the same in order to keep them happy.

My understanding is compliance with IFRA is voluntary, at least in the US. I think there is a lot of consumer pressure to meet health, safety, and environmental standards, so that's why fragrance suppliers more and more are complying with IFRA and providing the IFRA guidelines to consumers.

I have no idea why some companies comply with the older versions of the standards and some comply with the latest version, however. It might be because they formulated a 55 gallon drum of a fragrance per an older standard and have yet to sell all of it. But that's just a guess -- I don't really know. You'd have to ask them.