What is Oakmoss
Oakmoss is a cherished ingredient in perfumery, for its ability to anchor volatile notes. It is a crucial component of many perfumes, with a higher concentration in chypre scents – a family of fragrances with a citrus top note and a mossy blend. It’s often used in combination with bergamot.
WHAT IS OAKMOSS?
Oakmoss is a green-black fungal lichen, that grows on trees, most especially oak trees. Although it also grows on the bark of deciduous trees, it is most commonly found on the branches and trunks of oak trees, hence its name, Oakmoss. It's scientific name is Evernia prunastri while it's French name is mousse de chêne. Depending on how dry or damp it is, it ranges from light green to black in color. Oakmoss flourishes more in clean and unpolluted air. It is used in making perfumes and smells more beautiful than it looks.
WHERE IS OAKMOSS FOUND?
It is found on oak trees throughout Central Europe and the Northern hemisphere (France, Portugal, Spain, and North America).
WHAT IS OAKMOSS USED FOR?
Research has shown that the essential oils found in oakmoss can be a powerful expectorant. An expectorant is a drug that promotes the coughing up of phlegm from the bronchi and lungs, usually to relieve a blockage. Oakmoss is also used for disorders of the stomach and intestines. However, the effectiveness of this treatment is not supported by clinical trials.
Oakmoss is a commonly used fragrance note in perfumes. The smell of oakmoss may be familiar to you because it is used in the production of soaps, cleaning solutions and hair products – in lower concentrations as oakmoss has a very strong scent.
IS OAKMOSS DANGEROUS?
Even though oakmoss is a very popular ingredient in the perfume world, perfumers only use about 0.1% of its extract in perfumes. Many years ago, it was proven that oakmoss causes severe skin reactions. The IFRA (International Fragrance Association), the body responsible for the regulation of the perfume industry in 2001 restricted the use of oakmoss because of toxicity concerns.
This meant that many perfume houses had to reformulate their fragrances. Guerlain is one of these perfume houses as some of their most famous scents used oakmoss as a base. They did find a way around it. Guerlain still has Mitsouko, one of their early popular fragrances with oakmoss, however they have substituted the molecule.
WHAT IS OAKMOSS’ SCENT LIKE?
Since it is gotten from lichen, oakmoss has a strong woody, earthy, and sensual smell. It also has a hint of musk and amber. It is a unique instrument in the palette of a perfumer. It is also considered a good fixative as it gives scents a long-lasting effect on the skin. Oakmoss is a hybrid between animalistic and woody scents. The smell is similar to walking through a wet forest during springtime, with damp mossy trunks and stones and lichen-covered root branches along the ground. The smell of oakmoss is used to balance out many other scents.
WHAT COLOUR IS OAKMOSS?
Oakmoss ranges from light green to black in color.
WHAT IS OAKMOSS ABSOLUTE?
Oakmoss Absolute is a natural fragrance extracted from the lichen-like fungus known as oakmoss. If you like the fresh scent of rain-soaked pine, then you will love this fragrance. This is a base note with a very earthy and woody smell. It is primarily used in the perfume industry as a natural fixative to make perfumes last longer. Oakmoss absolute is used only for perfumes and not for any other therapeutic purposes. It has been proven to an extent that the smell of oakmoss absolutely reduces stress and clears the mind.
WHAT IS OAKMOSS SAGE?
Oakmoss Sage is a combination of the earthiness of oakmoss and the freshness of sage to create a pleasing scent profile. Other notes may be added to increase the richness of the scent such as jasmine, amber, sandalwood, cedarwood etc.
IS OAKMOSS AN ESSENTIAL OIL?
Yes, oakmoss is an essential oil. It should not be used directly on skin but blended with other oils before use, as it causes severe skin reactions.
FAMILY OF PERFUMES DEFINED BY THE SCENT OF OAKMOSS
Chypre (derived from the Greek word for “Cyprus”) perfumes are characterized by an accord of citrus top notes that is centred on cistus labdanum, and a mossy-animalistic set of base notes derived from oakmoss.
BENEFITS OF OAKMOSS
Aside from the fact that oakmoss oil is an essential ingredient in the palette of many perfumers, this greenish, wet fungi has other benefits.
- It has been known to have a rejuvenating effect on the body.
- It may help to heal the damage caused by ageing and other types of wear and tear in the body.
- It may also help repair damaged tissue and restore the body to its optimal state.
- It is known to have soothing effects on the skin, helping maintain the balance between oil and moisture in the skin.
- It relieves inflammation or irritation.
- It may also have soothing effects on the digestive system by relieving scratches on the oesophagus, intestines, and abdominal walls due to acidity or the ingestion of highly spicy food or toxic and poisonous substances.
- It is also used in cosmetic products due to its antiseptic and demulcent qualities. However, it may cause irritation in the skin. It should be avoided by pregnant women, people with very sensitive skin, people with nervous and neurotic diseases.
In conclusion, Oakmoss is very versatile. Along with its restorative, demulcent, and antiseptic qualities, it is also considered an essential ingredient in the production of perfumes.
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