Cosmetics and Perfumes are made from natural or artificial materials by extracting the aromatic molecules using different chemical processes, like distillation.
Ancient Indian text Brihatsamhita (500AD) of Varahamihira, describes thirty seven verses dealing with the term gandhayukti, meaning blending of perfumes. The word sugandhi, meaning well perfumed, is also mentioned in RigVeda. Expressions involving the term gandha are found in Taitriya Samhita, Maitrayani Samhita, Satapata Brahman and Taitriya Aranyaka.
Ancient Indian perfume technologists have prescribed six chemical processes for the production of cosmetic substance namely: bhavanam, pachanam or paka, bodhah, vedhah, dhupanam, and vasanam.
Cosmetic substances made from alchemical processes were also used in medicine. Sushruta Samhita mentions the use of oil bath, scented oil, anjanam (for eyes), sandal paste, smearing face with scented powder etc. for maintaining proper health.
The city of Kannauj is now on the international map for its unique attars/perfumes. The attars of Kannauj are produced on industrial scale using the traditional process of hydro-distillation.