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Violet

Ingrédient

Violet

Propriétés

Natural

When the cold winter days start to seem endless, the elegant violet emerges from the ground with a sweet fragrance full of hope.

What is violet?

Violets grow all over the world, but only the Viola odorata, or sweet violet, gives off an unforgettable sweet, powdery scent. The fragrant flowers appear in February and finish blooming in April. Interestingly, the plant blooms again in autumn but usually produces uninteresting flowers, as the primary goal of this revival is to produce self-generated seeds. Look who doesn’t need pollinators to thrive!

When not sold as ornamental plants, violets are cultivated for culinary purposes (the plant is entirely edible) or for their leaves from which a fragrant absolute can be extracted.

An olfactory game of hide-and-seek

From the very first lines of William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, Orsino evokes the transient nature of the violet scent:  "Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more: 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before." Indeed, if the flower has had a rather joyful and innocent reputation over the centuries, it also carries a mysterious and somewhat melancholic aura. This is certainly due to the fact that its scent vanishes after a few minutes of enjoyment. The reason? Ionone, the main scented component of the flower, inhibits our olfactory systems after a few sniffs. The flower continues to smell, but we no longer feel anything (well, temporarily).

It is precisely ionone that was synthesised in 1983 into a perfume material called alpha-isomethyl ionone. With a very beautiful violet scent (that doesn't fade!) accompanied by woody and powdery orris notes, the compound enjoyed immediate success and took a prominent place in perfumery. It has wholly eclipsed the natural extracts of the flower, obtained after very expensive processes with uneven results which require a considerable amount of flowers.

What are the benefits of violets in cosmetics?

At Lush, we use an absolute extracted from the leaves of Viola odorata to perfume our products with a fresh herbaceous scent, believed to calm the mind. The absolute also has excellent properties for the skin and scalp, being very soothing, antibacterial and antifungal. Fresh or dried leaves can also be infused for a while in boiled water to obtain mucilage, an anti-inflammatory and formula-thickening substance.

Where do we purchase violet leaf absolute?

Lush purchases this absolute from an Egyptian supplier. Violet leaf absolute has been produced in northern Egypt for over 100 years. The little flowering plants live for about three years and their leaves can be harvested four times a year. They go through a complex solvent extraction process to obtain the absolute; a method that gets the most from delicate plants.

Get irresistibly perfumed hair with the sweet violet candy scent of our iconic shampoo Daddy-O, and its best partner in crime, Violet Cream conditioner.