Mathilde and Essential Oils

Let Me Introduce Myself…

Photo de Mathilde, Responsable projet naturopathie et entretienMy name is Mathilde Hagège, and my specialty is aromatherapy science.  That involves using and combining all of the benefits essential oils have to offer.  I work in the R&D Department to create and imagine “aroma-cosmetic” products, as well as natural household products distributed under our Biovie brand.


My Life as a Researcher

My job is based on in depth knowledge of aromatic plants (their composition, properties, uses and restrictions), that need to be assembled correctly from an olfactive point of view.  In the end, you want a product that is efficient and smells good to the user.
I draw on my perfumery skills to associate performance and appealing scent.

Aside from the lab work, another significant part of my job is bibliographical research: determining what active ingredients work for each type of formulation (balms, oils, sprays, etc.).  Both aspects of the job are equally important to make a successful product.


What Is the Best Part of this Job?

Once I have determined which essences I plan to use, I start assembling them.
I love it when the olfactive results strikes the perfect balance…  most of the time, after testing quite a few aromatic combinations.
I also like meeting our plant suppliers, the pickers, seeing the distillation process, feeling the plant before it gets cut, discovering the trees behind the fragrances that I know so well.


From the Plant to the Essential Oil

L'aromathérapie et les huiles essentielles | LÉA NATUREDetermining when to harvest a plant depends on the moment at which its aromatic content is at its peak (a season, or at a specific schedule) as well as on which part of the plant should be collected.  What happens next is an ancient process:  pure and simple steam distillation.  The vegetal matter is placed above or in water.
The steam goes through the green matter and extracts all of the aromatic essences.
The essential oil and floral water is then collected by condensation thanks to a cold water pipe.
These two extracted products are then used for cosmetics.
When you see the distillation process you understand how potent essential oil really is!

For example, you need 1 ton of everlasting flowers to obtain 1 liter of essential oil.  You understand the high price of essential oils, and also why organic products are much more interesting!

Once the oil is extracted, we need to verify that it does contain the active ingredients that will actually be at work.
Regulations and standards applicable to essential oils are very stringent.
For each batch produced, the aromatic profile of the product must be updated to reflect actual values, which may vary in terms of a number of factors:  the weather, the region of origin, or the date it was harvested.


Development of Our Biovie Brand

I am in charge of Innovation and Development for Biovie.  It is a line of simple and natural household products that contain no colorants, no synthetic fragrances, and that are formulated free of any toxic or polluting substances, even though they are just as effective as conventional products.  This line is targeted to consumers who are aware of the high level of pollutants in homes in general.  The range includes about forty products that remain above standard on today’s market when it comes to natural ingredient content.  Our dishwashing liquid formulation is based on 99 to 100% natural ingredients.

Our challenge today is to succeed in attracting new customers who are hoping to avoid endocrine-disruptors and chemical cocktails that are devastating for their health.
Public awareness is slow in coming, however, because many consumers have a smell-triggered emotional bond to their cleaning products:  the synthetic fragrances used in these products potently suggest cleanliness and a cocoon-like atmosphere; these smells have nothing to do with performance.  In fact, the user has no idea that these products contain a number of toxic agents (musks, bluing agents, etc.).  My job is to develop alternative, plain, simple and efficient products.


What is my fondest memory?

It was developing Japanese incense.  For the Japanese, incense spreads a feeling of tranquillity and comfort, and also opens the mind to a superior temporal and spiritual conscience.  I will never forget the magical vision they have of these plumes of smoke… As I was working with them, I understood how refined they are, and what a sense of aesthetics they offer. It was a truly inspiring, magical and spiritual adventure!


Favorite Essential Oil Smell