Thursday, February 20, 2014

An Insidious Thought on IFRA Restrictions

Much discussion is being conducted again in perfume loving circles over IFRA restrictions which will surely change things as we know them, should they pass through and become EU directive (Currently they're not one and the same, please note). The alert bell chimed on February 13th, as published in several French papers (You can see one of them here).

There are lots of ingredients on the chopping block, some already rationed heavily, some introduced recently. The list contains many naturals, but (here's the catch) it also includes many synthetics, i.e. man produced aromachemicals. This seems to blow a bit the argument that it's all a ploy to make naturals die and only champion aromachemicals. {IFRA lists the bulk of perfumery ingredients on this link].
It is however dire for many perfumes as we know them and indeed I had written so a year ago myself.

The reigning reception so far is that an expanded labeling system will be put into action anyway. The United Nations have proposed as counter argument that lots of of regional producers will be thus left out of business and out of work, cutting down on significant national revenue in some cases, a good argument that seems convincing to Brussels, certainly more convincing that perfume is a product of the intellect (especially since High Court decided against intellectual properties of the perfumes' formulae in the all too recent past in cases of "dupes").

So here's an insidious thought for you: could the mad panicking and hoarding of recent stock might eventually only benefit the grey market and the companies who will unload all their leftover stock that was sitting unclaimed? ;)

As always this page advises the use of caution and common sense.


  1. Anonymous17:16

    Hello Elena,
    Have you seen Denyse's post today about this topic?

    Also, advising "the use of caution and common sense" seems to be a very risky proposition these days. ;-)
    Keep up the good work.

    -- Lindaloo

  2. I don't care Helg - I am still storing all the Mitsouko I can get in my dungeon with the crocodiles swimming around so they can't take them away!!!!

  3. Which ingredients will be axed, specifically? That will determine who will hoard what! I guess I need at least one more bottle of Mitsouko, but what else?

  4. L,

    no, haven't but I believe we're both in correspondence with the same person? There is a European initiative that should it come through the solution would be more extensive labeling. I'm awaiting from the lady in question to fill me up with more info and to allow me to say more and I will write about it soon. Promise!

    Ha, good point on caution! (But still, don't wreck your mortgage to buy more perfume because of the panic, that's a sane advice)

  5. M,

    no, no, no, Mitsouko specifically is more than safe! The current one (best in memory going back at least 20 years) doesn't have one iota of oakmoss and smells amazing! Don't hoard it, USE IT!!

  6. Annina,

    please see above.

    Guerlain and Wasser have worked very studiously to reconstruct a Mitsouko without a drop of oakmoss, which manages to smell very oakmossy nevertheless. It's a new base they developed for this and it's the best Mitsouko in recent memory, swear. It'd be silly to hoard that since it will be around for a long time, it was specifically developed since end of 2012 announcement of those new potential restrictions to withstand the restrictions proposed.

    So, PSA: no hoarding of Mitsouko, it's not necessary!

    As to the ingredients, they are listed on the IFRA directive page.
    You can find the Prohibited List here:
    prohibited perfumery ingredients per IFRA 2014
    and the Restricted ones here:
    Restricted perfumery ingredients per IFRA 2014/

    You can also watch the RIFM (Research institute for Fragrance Materials) bulletins for news.

    But like I said in the article, a more detailed labeling is looking like the opted solution after all. There are whole villages and national economies within the EU who rely on production of some aroma materials and this is a convincing argument for Brussels.

    There are even some good news, you know. Musk ketone is back for instance; it's in a new perfume, will reveal soon ;-).

  7. OK Helg ----- I am letting the crocodiles out! :)

  8. I just cannot hoard perfumes over this. I hate oakmoss anyway.

    BUT, these restrictions do upset me because of the effect on local farmers and producers. That is important to me. Smaller farmers and growers/producers need to be supported, not squashed.

  9. leathermountain20:33

    I find this very interesting, but I don't completely understand. I get that some people may be buying more recent stock because of impending IFRA restrictions. But how would that result in companies unloading more perfume to the grey market? (It seems like having people buy up a bunch of contemporary perfume would reduce the amount that goes into the grey market...?) And what are the consequences of that unloading? I think I lack some background information. If you have a moment to fill me in, it would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  10. M,


    Now get them to chew on some recently discontinued Midnight Poison. (not that I like it enough).

  11. K,

    Closing down the small producers harms everyone in the long run, even the indies who won't be able to get hold of the rare, natural or super costly materials anymore. THIS is what's important.

    It's a political issue at heart.

  12. A,

    I think unloading any remaining stock in whatever way is good for a business from a purely practical point of view. If the IFRA panic makes people buy almost unthinkingly (the mere word "discontinued" or "reformulation" is enough these days if posted on social media or boards) then so be it.

    The gray market specifically works like this (if it wasn't clear to you; I admit it wasn't clear to me up till some years ago when I purposefully searched for it):


    In what relates to perfume specifically, it works like this:


    Now, the companies might have loads of stock of less than stellar or less than popular fragrances stocked up someplace in original market inventory. Let's assume they have to reformulate. Let's also assume they need to eradicate the old stuff before bringing on the new stuff on the shelves of Sephora, Douglas, Macy's etc. The old stuff would automatically go on to discounters. It might even get to markets that have an advantageous dollar-to-other-currency ratio at the time of "promoting" and therefore exploiting the difference knowing the products will end up being pitched by people who buy off other countries' stores and Ebay.
    It's one way to harness Ebay without losing much and get rid of stock that they couldn't keep on rotation.

    At least this is my theory based on a few facts.

  13. leathermountain00:23


  14. Which is why I got a bottle of oakmoss CO2 extract and a few other things... after all, putting a basic cologne together is not that difficult.

    So what. Ifra can bite my arse.


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