Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you ever wanted to know about natural perfumes…

What does ‘100% Botanical’ mean?

It means all our ingredients come directly from plants. We don’t use chemicals, we don’t use synthetics, we don’t use preservatives. Even our alcohol (Ethanol) is made from organically certified grain. And since everything is from plants, our perfumes are totally vegan. 

Aren’t all perfumes vegan?

No. Some widely used ingredients like Castoreum and Civet (still used in luxury parfum formulations) require harming or killing the animal to extract; Ambergris (so expensive that it’s rarely used nowadays) and Hyraceum (which is still used) are passive animal waste products; Sheep Lanolin and Bee Honey can be collected without much harm to the animal, but are not vegan. Tallow from rendered cow fat is used in the Enfleurage extract process – although we use vegetable fat for our Tuberose Enfleurage. Ambrettolide (a very commonly used fixative) is normally extracted from cochineal beetles – the same beetles are crushed to form Carmine, a dye often used to colour perfumes orange. And at another level, about 98% of all synthetics are derived from crude oil – crude oil comes from dead dinosaurs, is it vegan? Is your perfume vegan? Since brands are not required to tell you what is in their perfume, you’ll probably never know. Anyhow, Raer perfumes are 100% vegan. We list our full ingredients on our boxes, so you can see for yourself.

Do you tested on animals?

No. These days, perfumes are not tested on animals. In fact, since 2009 it is illegal to sell beauty products in the EU that have been tested on animals. Raer, of course, is firmly against animal testing. 

Are Raer perfumes organic?

Well… kinda, but no. About 85%-95% of the content of our perfume is organic. Some of our ingredients are wild-harvested from wild-growing sources; a couple are traditionally farmed. We’re committed to working with our suppliers to provide sustainable, fairly traded ingredients of the highest quality, with a minimal environmental footprint, but our perfume is not "certified organic”.

Are your ingredients sustainable?

We only use sustainable ingredients. The perfuming industry has a rightfully-deserved bad reputation when it comes to sustainability; we are hoping to show another way. Sustainability (along with scent quality, of course) is one of our key deciding factors when it comes to choosing suppliers. We work with small farmers who grow and harvest sustainably, and who treat their workers ethically. We won’t use unsustainable ingredients like Oud or Hinoki. Our Indian Sandalwood, Paraguay Guaiac Wood (both listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and Moroccan Atlas Cedar (listed as endangered), come from managed CITES-approved orchards that are planted just for perfuming. Our Frankincense is wild-harvested in a way that these plants are lovingly cultivated for future generations’ use. Some of our ingredients are even upcycled – we use a really amazing Vetyver that is extracted from the post-extraction spent biomass that would normally be waste. We’re committed to ensuring the future survival of these species. As a sidenote, 98% of all synthetics used in perfume are derived from petroleum fossil fuels; we do not consider this sustainable.

Is your extraction process sustainable?

We only use plant extracts that have been extracted using a physical process so no chemical processes were involved: steam extraction, CO2 extraction, cold-press, etc. Sometimes our ingredients have been “rectified” which means they have been extracted a second time (again with a physical extraction) to remove an undesirable natural molecule. Our Oak Moss, for example, has been rectified to remove naturally occurring Atranol, which can cause allergic reactions.

What about hexane?

The Absolute method of extraction involves soaking the plant in a solvent —often Hexane – to dissolve the scent oils and separate them from the plant mass. Our Rose Absolute, for example, is extracted using Hexane as the solvent. The Hexane is then evaporated from the solution, leaving just the Rose Oils. This is also a physical extraction method, and we think it’s sustainable because the removed Hexane is recovered and used over and over again. Hexane is used in extraction because it has a low boiling point and a high evaporator rate, ensuring that no hexane remains in the final oils mix. We made the decision to use Absolutes because they produce wonderful scent ingredients, and we consider the process safe and sustainable.

And your ethanol?

All perfumes contains Ethanol. Oils, resins and plant waxes are all soluable in Ethanol so it has been used for thousands of years as the base for perfumes. We use alcohol distilled from organic grain, a pure, 100% natural ingredient. In fact, it’s the same alcohol that a well-known drinks company uses for their vodka (but please don’t drink our perfumes!).

How sustainable is your packaging?

Our packing is minimal and recyclable by design, and we are constantly working to make it more sustainable. We reuse shipping packaging. We switched from non-recyclable metal caps (the industry standard) to a handmade black porcelain cap. We produce all our packaging in Europe. Our paper & cardboard is FSC approved and contains recycled material. We use soy-based inks. Glass, of course, is infinitely recyclable. Our spray caps contain a plastic tube, but we cannot find a viable alternative. The industry hasn’t provided one yet, but we will continue to push for more sustainable materials here.

What is Limonene, Farnesal, etc? Why do you add these to your perfumes?

Actually, we don’t add them. Linalool, limonene, geraniol, eugenol, farnesal, coumarin... these are all naturally-occurring components of our botanical oils. They are classified as allergens according to EU law, and we list them so that people with sensitivities to these molecules can avoid them. But they’re a natural part of the plant (and often the part that is responsible for the beautiful smell).

What’s the best way to apply perfume?

There’s no “best way”; some people spray it on their wrists, on their hair, on their bare chest, on the back of the knee… it’s down to personal preference. Scent rises, so spraying on your temples seems a waste. Perfume will last longer when misted on clothing (but beware of stains on very light clothes) and hair. We’re fans of spray delay and walk away.

Should I rub my wrists together?

No, no, no! It’s said that the friction harms the scent. But at the very least, you want a concentration of scent on the pulse points for optimum diffusion, so it makes sense not to spread it out.

How long will the scents last on me?

Our perfumes are made with 100% natural botanical ingredients, so Raer Scents will not last as long as commercial synthetic perfumes. How long they last is dependent on your skin, and how much you spray. You can probably count on at least six hours; but feel free carry the bottle and respray throughout the day. If you want the scent to last a little longer, also spray your hair or clothing. 

How strong and loud are Raer perfumes? 

Raer perfumes are designed to have a smaller sillage (how far the scent carries) than a commercial perfume. The scent will fill your personal space, but not be a room bomb. If you want a larger sillage, use a few more sprays.

Does perfume go bad?

Not really. It can darken with UV exposure or temporarily go cloudy in the cold, but this won’t affect the scent quality. Our perfumes are guaranteed stable for 30 months from opening, but in practise should last much longer than that, if stored with care. Keep your perfumes in the fridge if you really want to be anal about it. 

Can I layer Raer perfumes together?

Absolutely. Raer Scents perfumes are designed to work on their own, or to be layered together. Mix and match and experiment for yourself!

Who makes your perfumes?

We do! All of our scents are made by hand at Raer’s Atelier in Berlin. We first compound (ie. mix) the oils mixture (aka “the juice”), then we let the juice macerate at 14°C in the dark for at least six weeks. When it’s ready, we blend the juice with ethanol to make perfume, cold-filter it and finally, we bottle the perfume – also by hand, of course. If you’re in Berlin, get in touch and come by to see us!