top of page

Natural Perfumery in 2023 and Beyond - By Karen Gilbert


In the realm of perfumery, the definition of "natural" has changed vastly in recent years. What was once a straightforward distinction between synthetic and botanical ingredients has evolved into a nuanced conversation encompassing a spectrum of interpretations. The fragrance industry now finds itself at a crossroads, navigating the complex interplay of regulations and consumer expectations.

Traditionally, natural materials refer to botanical essences and extracts sourced directly from nature. However, with technological advancements and a growing understanding of molecular compounds, a new category has emerged: naturally derived materials. These are substances that, while not directly extracted from a plant, are derived from natural sources through various processes.

This shift in perspective has given rise to discussions and debates within the fragrance community. Some purists argue that only unaltered botanical extracts should be considered truly natural, while others embrace the expanded definition, recognizing the potential for innovation and sustainability. This diversity of opinion has led to a dynamic and evolving landscape in natural perfumery.

One of the driving forces behind this evolution is the emergence of white biotechnology. This cutting-edge field focuses on harnessing biological processes to create valuable compounds. In the context of perfumery, white biotechnology enables the production of aroma molecules through fermentation and other bioprocesses. This approach reduces the environmental impact of traditional extraction methods and allows for the creation of consistent, high-quality ingredients.

Regulatory bodies, such as the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), play a crucial role in shaping the industry's understanding of natural materials. Their guidelines and standards influence how perfumers formulate their creations. As the definitions continue to evolve, it becomes essential for perfumers to stay informed and adapt their practices accordingly.

To learn more about Karen Gilbert and her work, visit her website at

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop. 

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop.

26 views0 comments


bottom of page