The Status Quo
Alcohol has long been used in the skincare and perfume industries with variants like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, and methanol used to make creams feel lighter, help other ingredients to penetrate the skin, and to act as a preservative. Many products contain upwards of 80% alcohol; a volatile, neutral supporting substance used to solubilise and carry the essential oil. Once in contact with the skin, the alcohol evaporates to leave the essential oil concentrate.
What effect does alcohol have on the skin?
Alcohol's effects on the skin are well documented, however they’re not well known. Nor are they promoted due to the industry's reliance on it. But there’s no two ways about it - alcohol’s effect on the skin is harmful.
First and foremost, alcohol dehydrates the skin. When used in such high concentration it deteriorates the skin’s hydrolipidic film, a protective barrier, which weakens the skin's ability to lock in and retain moisture. The skin is stripped of its natural oils, leaving it dry and irritated, which can cause already inflamed skin to become even redder.
Alcohol has also been seen to stimulate the skin’s oil production, enlarging pores, leading to breakouts if the skin then produces an excess of oil. Aggravating for
especially oily and acne-prone skin. Finally, wearing fragrance when exposed to the sun can lead to hyper pigmentation of the skin, where darker patches form and present an uneven skin tone.
The Way Forward
Despite being widely used in skincare and perfume, alcohol does little to nurture the skin but rather disrupt its natural functions. At Brûmée we couldn’t turn a blind eye to this, and addressed the issue head on working with leading cosmetics and perfumery experts to create formulations that use zero alcohol, but only natural and pure ingredients.
To do this we worked with the AR2i laboratory in Paris who have developed a new procedure for the manufacture of aqueous emulsions, called The Water Plant Emulsion (WPE®). Emulsions are a homogeneous mix of two typically un-homogeneous liquids i.e. water and oil, with one substance dispersed with the other in the form of small droplets.
WPE® uses natural ingredients to create an emulsifying mixture, which preserves nature's most potent properties. Because of the fluidity of the emulsion, the active ingredients present are more evenly distributed throughout the product. Using the WPE® procedure, we've developed a range of alcohol-free perfume; with improved tenacity, shelf-life and penetration of the product through the upper epidermis layer. Together with the chemistry of the skin, this quick absorption creates a unique scent for the individual wearer.