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What color is perfume, really?

dunga

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Are the colors of perfumes in the bottles the natural color of the smelly stuff or is it artificially colored? For example, Angel is purpleish and Eau Savage is straw colored. Are those the real colors or are they dyed?
 

herzzreh

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anyone?
 

dunga

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Bump because maybe someone will know.
 

OakCreekHitter

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Perfumes are all alcohol based so my guess is that the colors are all dyes of some sort
 

Listi

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I do not know. I will try to look into this if I have time.

Many aromatic compounds absorb light in the visible spectrum, and only tiny concentrations of strong absorbance compounds are required to give a colour. I would imagine that some of the more exotically coloured ones have the colour stemming from dyes unrelated to fragrance, but some, especially straw/yellow/golden coloured perfumes are probably related to compounds that you are smelling. Oily compounds are often yellowish and could be the culprit.

I realize it's not much of an answer, but I think that it goes both ways. Some artificially pigmented, others naturally.
 

Thomas

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Hmmm, I've never thought about this.

Some natural compounds - particularly extracts - have a color. Civet paste, for instance, is noted as having a brown color - so when you dilute it you're typically going to get a variation on yellow/straw as the remaining color. Likewise with lemon zest and vanilla beans when you soak them in alcohol. Essential oils - at least the ones I've used (lavender, rosemary) - tend to be clear and uncolored.

Synthetic compounds, though - I don't think they tend to have color, but I think I know who I can ask about this.

That said, it ought to only cover the range of yellow/straw. Anything blue, green, or pink is probably the result of dyes. SL Sarassins, though (inky-colored) mystifies me.
 

rk9

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Originally Posted by dunga
Are the colors of perfumes in the bottles the natural color of the smelly stuff or is it artificially colored? For example, Angel is purpleish and Eau Savage is straw colored. Are those the real colors or are they dyed?

I used to work for a large perfume house and the colors of 100% pure fragrance is roughly the color of olive oil. Most fragrances are oils themselves. In order to dissolve the solid perfume oil into alchohol, a surfactant must be used. So most perfumes/colognes are made up of alcohol, surfactant and fragrance. The fragrance has the strongest color (the straw color you note). So the color of the diluted finished product is also a similar, but lighter, color. Any purple color is
 

dunga

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Originally Posted by rk9
I used to work for a large perfume house and the colors of 100% pure fragrance is roughly the color of olive oil. Most fragrances are oils themselves. In order to dissolve the solid perfume oil into alchohol, a surfactant must be used. So most perfumes/colognes are made up of alcohol, surfactant and fragrance. The fragrance has the strongest color (the straw color you note). So the color of the diluted finished product is also a similar, but lighter, color. Any purple color is

Thank you. Even though you didn't finish your post, I got the point and it was very helpful.
 

rk9

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Originally Posted by dunga
Thank you. Even though you didn't finish your post, I got the point and it was very helpful.

Oops haha. Yea you get what I am getting at. They add dye for effect. The most expensive part of any perfume you buy is the bottle and the box. The company I worked at makes some of the biggest name fragrances out there. The raw fragrance is expensive but so little is used in each bottle that the overall cost of the raw ingredients in each bottle can be as low as $1-$2
 

Dane

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Originally Posted by Thomas
That said, it ought to only cover the range of yellow/straw. Anything blue, green, or pink is probably the result of dyes.

This is correct. I've never seen a synthetic any colour other than clear-golden. There are a few naturals with strange colours (Champaca is a rich red, for instance), but generally they're also neutral colours.

So, as stated, any other colour (pink, blue, etc.) are dyes. Some clear liquids are even treated (bleached, if you will) to remove the colour.
 

cazzzidy

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Can you share more about what is in cologne?

I don't wear any because I've read most of the aromatics are synthetic and often toxic. Apparently most bottles have hundreds of compounds in them, including toluene and other crazy carcinogens. The industry is not regulated, correct? Are there any "natural" cologne companies?
 

Thomas

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^^^ well, I've never heard of perfume having solvents like toluene which (iirc) requires a warning on the bottle if you're selling it in CA - but the only reason I know this is because I use a paste furniture wax with the stuff.

As I understand it, perfumes are more or less a lot of alcohol (think Everclear), plus the fragrance oils and a few carrier oils. The fragrance oils may or may not be natural - mostly, they're not these days. Since they're already oils dissolved in alcohol, I don't see the need for a solvent in the mix.

There are naturals out there, plenty of natural perfumers out there - some are quite good, particularly when they have good raw materials to run with. La Via del Profumo (perfumo.it) comes to mind, I think Liz Zorn and Ayala Sender also do all-natural scents and are well-regarded.

But here's the kicker about naturals: the IFRA has been on a regulatory kick to limit the amounts of natural compounds in perfumery, due to reported reactions and sensitivity. For instance: oakmoss extract is sharply limited because of reported allergies. Damascones (from roses) were found to be photoreactive. So even the all-natural brigade isn't perfect, if you believe what the IFRA puts out. What you think of the IFRA and their efforts is a topic for another time.
 

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