Due to the current global pandemic of the Covid-19 virus, many fragrance houses are turning their production of perfume to that of hand-santisers, which are much-needed and now often difficult to obtain for health workers and those at risk.
All medical advice still clearly states that washing your hands with soap and water for twenty seconds or more is still the best way to ensure your hands are properly clean – but in situations when soap and water are not easily used, and as an extra precaution, the supply and delivery of hand-santisers to those in need is now more important than ever.
Hand-santisers should ideally contain 70% professional grade alcohol base to be effective, and most over the counter hand sanitisers contain varying amounts and types, often between 60% and 95% and usually isopropyl alcohol.
Because alcohol is used as the base of the majority of fragrances, fragrance houses have to pre-order this in bulk, and so it makes perfect sense for them to be using their stocks of this material – once taken foregranted, and now a precious commodity – to turn it into hand-santisers.
It turns out that all Dior, Givenchy, and Guerlain liquid soaps and creams have a viscosity very similar to that of hand-sanitiser gel, which means LVMH is able to continue using their usual filling machines, plastic bottles, and pump dispensers to mass-produce hand-santiser, which they have been distributing free of charge to French health authorities and hospitals.
Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, said that ‘Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus.’ And they have been highlighting the work they’re doing on social media with the hashtag #LVMHJOINSFORCES.
Sarah Baker has made gorgeously scented hand-santisers available to the public, that conform to the WHO recommended hand-rub formulations. Named ‘Jazz Hands‘, a set of four long-lasting 50ml bottles, fragranced with her perfumes Greek Keys, Charade, Jungle Juice and Atlante, can be purchased for £40. The price includes a £5 donation to Médecins Sans Frontièrs (Doctors Without Borders), and Sarah will send all those who purchase a pack of Jazz Hands a special discount code, allowing you to take the full price of the hand-santisers off a 50ml bottle of perfume of your choice.
Ormonde Jayne started making batches of hand-santiser several weeks ago, gifting them to all their employees and families, and are now giving away a free spray bottle of hand-santiser with any purchase from their website. Founder Linda Pilkington commented that, ‘As a privately owned perfume house that manufactures its own perfume, we are in a unique position, having a denatured alcohol license, to be able to manufacture a hand sanitiser. Our formula contains 80% denatured alcohol, 20% aniseptic aloe vera and tea tree oil.’ And she continued, ‘On behalf of all the Ormonde Jayne team, we wish you all the most important things in life, good health and happiness.’
In America, other indie brands are stepping forward, including L.A-based perfumer Sarah Horowitz , who has introduced the Stay Safe Sanitizing Spray ($10 for a 1-ounce bottle or a free 0.34-ounce bottle with every online order over $75. The spray consists of an 80% concentrate of organic alcohol, which isl mixed with essential oils often used for their antibacterial properties, such as clove, lemongrass, lavender maillette and patchouli.
Last week we also reported that fragrance house Miller Harris were donating their entire stock of soap and hand wash to AGE UK and other vulnerable communities, and enouraging other brands to help if they are able.
How heartening, at times of crisis, that fragrance houses have stepped up so swiftly to help and do what what they can – we’re all in this together, after all.
By Suzy Nightingale