Bio-Identical Fragrance in Skincare

European Union Cosmetic Directives, USFDA and the Beauty Industry


Slid into our DM’s this week: “Hello! I'm just wondering what "Bio-Identical Fragrance" consists skin is pretty sensitive to synthetic fragrances. Before ordering, I just need to make sure I won't have a reaction to this. Thanks!” -Brooke

Oh Ms. Brooke! Well, since you asked…

The formulations of our anti-aging body care has been in development for nearly 20 years. The original concept came to be after years chasing outdoor adventure throughout the world or in the esthetician room taking care of the most exquisite clients from every walk of life.

The recurring theme I wanted to change was the idea that “taking care of your skin” meant your face. So many of my clients stopped their skincare right around their neck or chest, which never made sense! What about all the other bits you want to strut!

I spent my twenties and thirties in far-fetched regions of the world, in remote canyons and complicated villages; in scorching heat, torrential storms or snow-covered peaks. Kayaker, snowboarder, flower-chaser, thrill-seeker, moonchild—-whatever the word is. I mostly lived in and out of a variety of planes, trains and automobiles, and always carried a collection of lotions, potions and vials.

I am an esthetician. I know skin. I have never cut my “skincare” off at my neck.

I do think we are the first truly anti-aging skincare line expertly developed for the entire body, head-to-toe, that encompasses decades of real-life experience, data-driven research and global knowledge into these formulas. Usually, we talk about our fancy stem cells, peptides, fair-trade oils. We talk about the 350% slow-down of skin’s biological aging. We totally forget to tell you about the pretty scent!

I like smelling nice. I want to come off a long river day and smell of earth and flowers instead of gortex and gorp; walk into a dance-club in the middle of some mountain village enveloped in sweetness instead of the rusty bus I may have just come off of. I want to walk into the Chateau Marmont with a layered scent-story that can’t quite be replicated; lay next to my lover with a graceful fragrant veil.

Many of us do.

So we buy huge bottles of crappy lotion that smell nice, labels with the fragrance name instead of the ingredients driving our purchasing decisions. In the meantime, our skin struggles with imbalance, and the sourcing for those products wreaks havoc on people, place + planet.

Here’s the real-deal: IT IS REALLY HARD TO HAVE A BEAUTY BRAND WHEN YOU KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ANGLE OF THE INDUSTRY. Over the next few weeks I hope to break down all the details from sourcing to label-printing to shipping. Today, we’re talking about our delicious scent.

Originally, I thought I would do the line un-scented. But, the actual experience needed a scent! My entire intuition exclaimed it! I tried unscented. It wasn’t right. Make me smell good!

Did you ever watch Harold and Maude? Remember the scent-machine? The experience that changes everything?

So I worked with an expert essential oil perfumer. Turns out, most of the scents I want to linger on skin come from sources which are shady, endangered, unethical or potentially toxic.

Sandalwood is not sustainable, though it’s scent is heavenly. Citrus oils are SO BAD for your skin. (STOP USING THEM!). Musk and other scents of this type have awful animal-sourcing issues. Palm-oil based is bad, period. The list goes on. (Don’t even get me started…)

It also didn’t feel right intuitively. During this process, I fully connected to the medicine essence of essential oils and now have a complicated relationship with using them for purely fragrant qualities, especially slathering daily without regards to seasonal exposure. They are this mysterious, stunning molecule of a plant and I believe there needs to be a lot more reverence for using essential oils.

So, the mission continued until I was introduced to nature-identical (bio-identical) fragrances.

“Nature-identical fragrances are a way to capture fragrances from nature in an environmentally sustainable way”. -Subha Patel

The scent molecules of a plant or natural component are thoroughly analyzed and re-created to provide an ethical sustainable fragrance. Yes, this means lab-created. Synthetic. (oooh, the bad word…)

I do not equate lab-created with toxic, the same that I don’t give “natural” a get-out-of-jail free card. It is so much more complicated.

The reason Skin and Sky uses the word “Intelligent” instead of “natural”, “green”, “eco”, etc., the reason we don’t have a gazillion seals on our labels is because we think the next level of beauty innovation can be revolutionary about effective skincare, the world and the people involved or continue to be about flashy marketing (which it has been since the 20’s).

It is going to take a way more comprehensive, intelligent, global thinking, community-driven holistic approach, and we need a commitment from customers to not be swayed by every scare-tactic marketing campaign.

It will depend on founders who seriously care, but we aren’t necessarily great at all the other bits. WE LOVE IT. And you. Intelligent Beauty Formulas. Intelligent, Badass Beauties. Intelligent.

Those of us at the forefront won’t always agree, but the only thing I judge on is whether or not each of us is really thinking it through, doing the best we can by you vs just going after a bottom line. And I am judgy in this regard.

Bath and Body works, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Love, Beauty + Planet? Dude, seriously? You hid your parent company well, but we know. Anita Roddick, we still salute you. Tata Harper, you rock. Please stay on your mission. You have so much influence right now and you are doing so f’n right by it. Indie beauty peeps, we love you to pieces. Used-to-be indie beauty now wrapped in silicone and single-use? Hope the profit is worth it…your karma sucks.

Skin and Sky follows European Union Cosmetic Directives. Super proud to be in the great US of A, (‘merica!) but also totally aware of the dirty hand-shakes keeping the food/beauty ingredients stagnant.