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How are fragrances made?

Only a small proportion of most products are actually made of fragrance – usually less than 2%. And yet that small amount contains many tiny ingredient molecules that must be expertly combined. A typical oil-based fragrance could have as many as 50 different ingredients; a complex fragrance might mix 50 to 200.

Perfumers combine fragrance ingredients to create a scent. For us, they select from our approved palette of materials, which can include ingredients that are:

  • Naturally occurring, meaning extracted from plants and flowers
  • Nature-identical, meaning synthetic ingredients that chemically mirror naturally occurring scents but are made in a laboratory
  • Custom-made, meaning those made in a laboratory using different combinations of molecules for unique or complex new scents

For SC Johnson’s fragrance ingredient palette, we require that any fragrance materials our perfumers use meet International Fragrance Association standards and our own SC Johnson standards.

Our internal analysis may look at the same criteria as IFRA, such as carcinogenicity, mutagenicity or reproductive toxicity, but we may take a different view of an ingredient. In some instances, we may also consider additional factors such as consumer confidence with ingredients or other scientific viewpoints.