The cosmetics industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products, in everything from lipstick and lotion to shampoo and shaving cream.
A perfume invariably consists of three ingredients: a vehicle, fixative and odor producing substance.
Vehicle : The vehicle is also called solvent. The role of the solvent is to keep the odor-producing substances in solution. Ethanol and water mixture is the most common vehicle used in perfumery.
Fixative : The function of the fixative is to equalize the rate of evaporation of various odoriferous components of the perfume by suitably adjusting their volatility. Sandalwood oil finds use as fixative. Other substances used as fixative are benzoin, glyceryl diacetate and esters of cinnamyl alcohol.
Odorous substances : Both natural and synthetic substances are used to impart odor to a perfume. For example, terpenoids like linalool which occur in essential oils are natural odor producing compounds, while anisaldelyde (p-methoxybenzaldehyde), is a synthetic odor producing compound.
Talcum powder : Talcum powder is used to reduce irritation of the skin. Talcum powders like face powders contain talc (Mg3(OH)2 Si4O10). Chalk, zinc oxide, zinc stearate and a suitable perfume act as the other main constituents of talcum powder. Often specific ingredients like antiseptic and cooling agents are added. The role of the talc is to act as a powder base and to make skin smooth.