Eco-friendly – DING! Non-toxic – DING! Sustainable DING! What business doesn’t have these buzzwords on their mind right now? The constant change and innovation from brands to stick to these values continues to astound us in the best possible way, and now sustainability has levelled up one better

The upcycling of perfume ingredients is emerging as the newest trend amongst niche fragrance brands, and we’re all over it. Taking the waste product of an ingredient and giving it a second life whiffs of fresh levels of responsible perfumery, and we’re diving right into it here, so settle in and keep scrolling…

You’ve heard of upcycling before, we know you have, but what does it mean when applied to perfume? The sourcing of fragrance ingredients throughout history is known to have taken its toll, nearly leading to the extinction of certain plants and animals. Synthetic ingredients were created to combat this, but they were found to harm the environment and aren’t guaranteed non-toxic. So, we’re returning to the natural once more, but with a more conscious hat on

Formulations of scents were very rarely, if at all, made public to the wearer, even in recent years, but people want to know what they’re putting on their skin now, morally and molecularly, and upcycling is the newest way for people feel they’re making a difference via their beauty choices. Upcycling makes use of the by-product of perfume manufacture. The main benefits? A reduction in the amount of production waste, and a lower number of new materials that need to be sourced

The waste doesn’t need to come from the fragrance industry alone, either. Niche scent brands like Ellis Brooklyn make use of by-products from spice (cardamom and jasmine), furniture (cedarwood) and even the food industry (bran absolute) to produce their scents. The creativity behind this process is exciting and in no way produces what some might think is a lesser fume

Unique nuances to scent are floating forth when materials are distilled or reused a second time. Now there’s room for more creativity and play for perfumers when it comes to creating a new scent. The discovery of facets of scents we thought we were familiar with, is opening doors to new combinations and formulations. In short, it’s a whole new world

With brands taking strides to insert these buzzwords into their product development and business model, we suspect we’ll be seeing ‘upcycled fragrance’ a lot more in the coming months and years. The consumer’s increased interest in planet welfare, awareness of their own footprint and their own health is already dictating the trends we’re seeing (thank you pandemic) not just in the fragrance industry, but across them all

That being said, you should take care not to fall into the trap of brands who aren’t willing to do the work. Just one upcycled ingredient in the bottle doesn’t mean it’s an upcycled perfume. Brands who are truly trying to maintain a level of sustainability are the ones who will stand out and are the ones who deserve your attention. So the next time you‘re about to make a purchase, make sure you’re not just sniffing a marketing ploy