The trend towards greater hygiene was confirmed in the XIX century with the appearance of essays on savoir-vivre and hygiene boasting the virtues of baths and their benefits for health and for the skin. In this society hygiene was strongly influenced by the middle classes as the symbol of purity of mind and virtue.
From the Renaissance to the first half of the XIX century, fragrances were used in their “dry” form for different uses: powders for sachets, for the face, for wigs, sold loose in huge, beautifully decorated, boxes.
The fragrance industry hit a low point following the French Revolution, as there was the desire to sweep away all that reminded of the Court of Luigi XVI.
But from the era of the Directory, a frenzy for luxury took possession of society. The Paris of the Muscatine’s, crazy for musk, civet and nutmeg and the Merveilleuses, with their luxury inspired by Greek customs, became the capital of fashion. With the liberation of commerce, the French Revolution made the XIX century an important and decisive moment in fragrance production.
In the days of the empire, Josephine used exotic aromas (vanilla, cloves, cinnamon), Napoleon preferred the Eau de Cologne.
At the beginning of the XIX century, another Jean-Marie Farina, heir of the founder of the famous maison and the formula, established himself in Paris and became accredited supplier to Emperor Napoleon I. In 1840, he sold his activity to Léonce Collas who resold it in 1862 to the gentlemen Roger and Gallet who continued commercializing the famous Eau de Cologne.
Guerlain entered the scene in 1828 when Pierre François Pascal Guerlain opened his first fragrance house in Paris. Eau de toilet was introduced, spa preparations, soaps, creams, ointments of every type. Very soon, the reputation of the boutique was such that elegant men and women were drawn to it. New names appeared in the fragrance universe: Edouard Pinaud, Bourjois, Molinard.
From the beginning of the XIX century, researchers started to isolate molecules in nature which were olfactory interesting, to invent and subsequently produce a chemical version equal to nature. The synthesis of urea by Woeler in 1828 marked the beginning of organic chemistry, which would prove to be of fundamental importance for the evolution of the fragrance industry. High quality products from synthesis appeared, fruit of research conducted in laboratories of chemical industries in Europe and in the United States.
Eventually the prices of these new products became approachable. They were united with natural products, creating completely new notes to be added to new compositions.
Among the first products to use synthetic melocules: Fougère Royale of Houbigant in 1882, which contains coumarin synthesised in 1868; Jicky de Guerlain in 1889 used lavender and vanillin.
At the end of the XIX century the voluptuous perfumes imposed their aromas of patchouli, musk and heliotrope often impregnating furs and shawls.
At the end of the XIX century the London perfumer Eugene Rimmel moved ahead by taking a new footstep in the art of fragrance by proposing to divide aromas into eighteen groups in order to facilitate odour classification.