IFRA 51 - Don't panic!

Here's a summary of IFRA51, don't panic, it's not so nasty at all and apologies for it being wordy.. it needs to be so that you're informed!

IFRA51 - what’s occurring?
IFRA have carried out one of their regular assessments of the ingredients used within fragrance oils. They consider matters such as skin sensitivity, toxicity etc based on latest information on ingredients. As a result they then make changes to the maximum levels at which certain ingredients can be used within fragrance oils. These levels are also dependent upon the type of product that the fragrance oil is going into.

In addition to the above, occasionally IFRA can prohibit the use of ingredients completely and may also change the IFRA category that certain products find themselves within. This can sometimes lead to a change in the maximum allowable dosage of a fragrance oil within that product.
…but honestly, don’t panic!

IFRA51 in summary:-
One raw material is being prohibited for use within new Fragrance Oils (New Creations) and existing fragrance oils (Existing Creations) as a result of IFRA51. That material is 3-acetyl-2,5-dimethylfuran (Cas nr 10599-70-9).
The good news is that this is not a material widely used within fragrance oils. I’m happy to confirm that it is not used within any oils that Fragrance Liaison offer, but of course it would be best to check and confirm with your F.O. suppliers as to whether any F.O.’s that you purchase contain this material.
The timeline for the removal for 3-acetyl-2,5-dimethylfuran is as follows:-
- For new creations (i.e. newly created fragrance oils from fragrance houses): this material will not be present in any new creations as of end July 2023.
- For existing creations (i.e. existing fragrance oils containing this material that you are using in your products already, or are testing with a view to using within products): this material should not be present within fragrance oils (and therefore, your products) after end July 2024.
Generally Fragrance Houses will start to work on creating modified fragrance oils that have a replacement material. They will of course aim for the fragrance oil to ultimately smell exactly the same and for cost to be no different – though of course this cannot be assured!
I would recommend that you contact your fragrance oil suppliers to ascertain if this material is used within any of the fragrance oils you purchase and use, especially if it is a key product for you. If it is within your fragrance oils currently then as mentioned you can continue to use them until end July next year. However going forward you will need to understand from your fragrance oil supplier if they intend to request modified oils from their fragrance houses.
…but honestly, don’t panic!

…Anything else to worry about?
Firstly – the good news, don’t panic – worst case scenario gives 2 years grace!!
Ok, IFRA’s ongoing assessment of raw materials / ingredients that are used within fragrance oils and their perceived safety within various product formats – which ultimately affects the level they can be used at within fragrance oils and products is the other important aspect.
IFRA carry out these assessments on an ongoing basis and the levels at which you can use existing fragrance oils within your products may change as a result.
In a nutshell, if you’re making and selling wax melts, candles etc there is little to no change because these products are classed as non-cosmetic, non/minimal skin contact and generally usage is unlimited and even if there has been a change it is almost certainly well above the 10% standard that most people consider as a target dosage.
If you’re making other formats (including reed diffusers) there could be changes depending upon the raw materials used within your existing fragrance oil. Why? …because these formats can be considered as requiring some element of skin contact (for example with diffusers when the end user may be asked to grasp the reeds periodically, or with pillow sprays where IFRA have woken up to the notion that people may well lay their heads upon a pillow that they have just sprayed with a fragranced formulation, or with skin care products where the product is left on the skin for a period of time).
A small number of raw materials have had their classification, specification, limit etc changed as a result of IFRA51… ultimately meaning that they can only be used at lower levels within fragrance oils… this in turn means that those fragrance oils can only be used at lower levels within products – and again, it’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t have a real bearing on candles, melts etc, but could have a bearing on reed diffusers etc.
The timeline for new specifications/limits of raw materials within fragrance oils is as follows:-
For new creations/new fragrance oils (i.e. newly created)… fragrance houses should create new fragrance oils to the new specifications as of end March 2024. This basically means that as of end March 2024 perfumers will be using ingredients to the new specifications/limits and ensuring that they create fragrances that perform well at (for example) 10% for wax and 20-25% for reed diffusers etc, making sure that you still get the fragrance oils that you need.
In reality, many fragrance houses are already creating to IFRA51 specifications and won’t be waiting until March of 2024 to do so - I know mine are!
For existing creations/existing fragrance oils that you may be using in your products or are already testing with a view to using within products, you can continue to use these fragrance oils at dosage levels specified under IFRA50 until October 30th 2025. So you have fully 2 years to market and sell your products before needing to make any changes!
So, if your chosen fragrance oil is unaffected by the changes from IFRA50 to IFRA51… (for example under IFRA51 cat12 for wax remains unlimited or well above the 10% level that you might aim for) then you don’t need to be concerned. Similarly, if your oil remains unaffected by IFRA51 under cat10A and still allows you to use that oil at above 20-25% then that is good too! Carry on, as you were, nothing to see here etc.
However, if the new specification/limits of IFRA51 means that you cannot use your existing oil at 20-25% within your reed diffuser after October 30th 2025, then you should adhere to the new levels allowed under IFRA51 after that date. …and of course the new maximum dosage allowed after October 2025 may mean that you won’t get the performance your customers want, which is where the next bit of this verbose, over-the-top, very wordy, but ultimately very important post comes in!
…but honestly, don’t panic!
So what are Fragrance Liaison doing about it?
We’ve already started working with our partner houses and will be making new IFRA51 compliant technical documentation available through the FL website alongside the IFRA50 documentation for comparison purposes. We’ll provide links to the new documentation on each product page in order that you can compare IFRA50 docs with IFRA51. This will be an ongoing process and we’ll start with our most popular oils. Please bear with us as we can only work as fast as our fragrance partners can provide the new documents. Rest assured, we will post updates on social media relating to when new IFRA51 documentation is available. …remember, don’t panic, you have 2 years!
We’ve identified just 11 fragrance oils from our core range that will be affected by the change from IFRA50 to IFRA51 in October of 2025. These 11 fragrance oils are not affected in terms of Category 12, so if you’re a wax melt of candle maker don’t panic! Wax product makers can keep using our existing oils until Oct 2025 and well beyond! However, given that these 11 oils are amongst our most popular we want them to remain available long term to makers of diffusers etc too. So to this end we’ve asked our fragrance house partners to create IFRA51 modifications of these 11 oils that will mean that diffuser and other format makers can a) continue to use the existing oils until Oct 2025 and b) phase in the IFRA51 compliant modifications in advance of Oct 2025. Again, once all development, testing and approval work has taken place we will give updates via social media. …remember, don’t panic, you have 2 years!
Finally, and honestly – Don’t panic! In summary if you’re a wax product maker, there is nothing to worry about as wax products are in the happy place of Cat 12. If you make diffusers, pillow sprays etc then there are a very small number (just 11) of current Fragrance Liaison oils that will be affected by IFRA51 depending upon the materials they contain within their formulations.
We have asked our perfumers to make modifications to those 11 existing fragrance oils that need it in order that they a) continue to smell great and b) are able to be used at dosages that allow them to perform well within formats such as reed diffusers. As soon as these are approved and available we’ll let you know so that you can test well in advance of the Oct 2025 deadline in order to make the best decisions for your own brand/product strategies.
That said, please remember that any existing fragrance oils that will be affected by IFRA51 can continue to be used until October 2025 without any problems, allowing you fully 2 years to consider your brand/product strategies. …don’t panic, you have 2 years!
Added to that, I’m confident that our fragrance house partners will be providing top notch modifications to the small number of FL oils well in advance of the October 2025 deadline. We’ll make them available alongside the existing oils for your interest and consideration.
Our Fragrance House partners are already creating new oils to the IFRA51 requirements so we are confident that ALL new oils that we launch as of now will be IFRA51 compliant.
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Fragrance Liaison LimitedEditor