Important Safety Information (IFRA, MSDS, INCI and Allergen)

IFRA Standards

The IFRA rate is the safety rate. The percentage is a maximum. This is how much can come in contact with your skin when making this particular product without causing irritation. Even if a percentage is high, it doesn’t mean you have to use the maximum.

The IFRA Standards are a set of guidelines developed by IFRA to ensure the safe use of fragrances. The IFRA Standards are based on scientific research and risk assessments conducted by independent experts. The standards define the maximum safe use levels for individual fragrances in different product types. The IFRA standards apply to all types of fragrances, including fine fragrances, personal care products, household products and air care products.

The IFRA Amendments are updates to the IFRA Standards to ensure they remain up-to-date with the latest scientific knowledge and regulatory requirements. IFRA regularly reviews its standards and adjusts them as needed. The amendments are based on the results of scientific research, testing and evaluation.

Understanding the IFRA standards is crucial for anyone involved in the perfume industry. Whether you are a perfumer, fragrance formulator or consumer, knowledge of IFRA’s limits and regulations can help ensure fragrance safety and quality. It is important to note that IFRA standards are not just arbitrary rules. They are based on extensive research and testing to determine the safe levels of fragrance ingredients.

IFRA categories

The IFRA is divided into 11 product categories. The categories most commonly used in the handmade industry are (9) Soap and bath bombs or rinse-off products, (4) Lotions and body butters or maintenance products, and (11) candles. Using the IFRA documentation as a guide, you can now determine how much of a particular fragrance can be used in the product you are making.

Each fragrance oil contains an overview at the bottom of the page with the maximum percentage for each category and a listing of the categories.

Computing with IFRA

The percentage of fragrance oil is a calculation of the total. If you make a 1 kg soap or candle and the maximum percentage is 5%, the maximum you can use is the following:
1000 grams x 0.05 = 50 milliliters of fragrance oil.


A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information about the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the product. In addition, the document also contains information on use, storage, handling and emergency procedures, all related to the hazards of the product. MSDSs are prepared by the supplier or manufacturer of the material.

Always be aware of the dangers of a product BEFORE using it. It is advisable to review an MSDS, compare the name of the chemical on your package with the name on the MSDS, know the hazards, understand the instructions for safe handling and storage, and know what to do in an emergency.

What information is on the MSDS?

There are nine categories on an MSDS. These categories are specified in the Controlled Products Regulations and include:

  1. Product information: product identification (name), names, addresses and telephone numbers of manufacturers and suppliers for emergency use.
  2. Dangerous ingredients
  3. Physical data
  4. Fire or explosion hazard data
  5. Reactivity data: information about a product’s chemical instability and the substances with which it may react.
  6. Toxicological properties: health effects
  7. Preventive measures
  8. First aid measures
  9. Preparation information: who is responsible for the preparation and date of preparation of the MSDS


Some people may be allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients in fragrance or essential oils, even if these ingredients are safe for most people. Some ingredients in these fragrance formulations may cause allergic reactions or sensitivities in some people.

Virtually all fragrance and essential oils naturally contain allergens: Chemical compounds that can cause an allergic reaction on the skin, examples include limonene, linalool and many others. An allergic reaction does not occur in everyone and can sometimes occur only after years of use.
An allergic reaction usually manifests as a transient (skin) irritation, sometimes even at low doses.

Each fragrance and essential oil has an allergen list, where the allergens present are named with the amount present. This list can be used as a guide for sensitive skin types or those with allergies.


INCI stands for: International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient, or International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients. INCI was developed by the European and American cosmetics industries. INCI names are internationally standardized names for substances, which are used in cosmetics.

You can get the INCI name from the allergen documentation. The INCI consists of the following

  • Leaching limit in finished products: if > 0.01 %, this should be indicated on the ingredient list Leaching products are e.g. soap, shampoo, etc. Products you wash off your skin
  • Limit for abandonment in finished products: If > 0.001 % must be indicated on the ingredient list. Leave would be loation etc.
  • The name Perfume or Aroma

Flushable or not?

  • INCI rinse off product.

A rinse-off product is a product intended to be applied diluted or undiluted to the hair or body for a short period of time (usually less than an hour), after which it is thoroughly rinsed off. Examples include shampoos, cleansers, conditioners and depilatories.

INCI rinse off product (rinse off): Perfume, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, D-Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate

  • INCI non rinse-off product (leave on)

A leave-on product is meant to be applied to the skin and left on long enough to achieve the desired effect. Examples include hand and body lotions, sunscreen and antiperspirants.

INCI non rinse-off product (leave on): Perfume, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, D-Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate