Q. I’d like your views on perfume, please. I use organic skincare but the natural perfumes I’ve tried are all HORRID! What do you think of chemicals in perfume? I know you like natural brands where possible, but do you use perfume?
A. Yes, we use perfume – but frankly, these days, just for special occasions rather than every single day. (Rather like our mums did, in fact – and it does actually make wearing scent it feel more special, which is surely the point of perfume.) We do have a real problem with the fact that perfume companies aren’t compelled to list ingredients, unlike on all other beauty products. Many fragrances contain synthetic musks, and phthalates, among other ingredients that have a health ‘question mark’ over them. The fragrance industry has long fought for the right to keep ingredients secret, as there are so many millions (billions, probably) at stake, but it’s not a situatiion we’re totally comfortable with, as we would like the right to know exactly what we’re putting on our bodies at all times. Our compromise is not to splash/spritz it on every day, but use sparingly. And in fact, there are some much nicer natural fragrances coming onto the market: Jo Wood Organics Amka Organic Eau de Toilette is tangerine-y and gorgeous. We also think the Acorelle fragrances are worth trying, especially the Citrus Verbena (very fresh and uplifting) and Tiaré (if you’re into white flowers); these are also Ecocert-certified. In winter months, meanwhile, Jo’s been dabbing on Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Pure Frankincense Essential Oil, which smells very incense-y and exotic. (And has helped her cough, to boot!)
• Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Pure Frankincense Essential Oil, £24.50 for 10 ml at www.victoriahealth.com; buy here (NB as a Beauty Bible ‘insider’, you’ll receive an exclusive 5% discount, deducted at the checkout)
Q. How long will a fragrance last – and how should I store it?
A. ‘Six months, if stored correctly; fragrance’s greatest enemies are heat and light,’ says Roja Dove, Professeur de Parfums for Guerlain. ‘But think of it like wine – once opened, consume and enjoy.’ Keeping a fragrance in a fridge may extend its life – but a steamy bathroom will have the opposite effect. ‘Ideally, keep it well-stoppered and in the dark…’