Natural Perfume

A few years ago, I did a little research into some of purer, less synthetic perfumes out there, the ones that use essential oils rather than lab-created fragrances. And by “research,” I mean I went shopping and sampling.

I discovered three issues that made finding the good stuff easier:

  1. Solid or oil formulations often contain fewer ingredients than sprays, though not always.
  2. Even natural sprays often contain alcohol – fine for me, but not for someone who’s sensitive to it.
  3. “Fragrance” in the ingredients could mean anything. Stick with the scents that list every specific component.

A Few of My Favorites

Ecco Bella’s Lemon Verbena
Some people don’t like lemon in their perfumes because it reminds them of cleaning products, but I’m not one of those people. Lemon’s just about one of my favorite scents around, and this one smells pretty and fresh.

Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia Solid Perfume
Organic soy and coconut wax, a delicious scent, and an affordable, portable tin.

Etsy Fragrance
On Etsy, you can browse through the composition options – solid, oil, spray – or you can use the search box to find specific scents or sellers. Lots of Etsy shops specialize in natural perfumes only, and I like shopping here both because I can support independent businesses and because I can find stuff that’s a little more unique.

Other Options

Check the natural grocery stores. They usually feature a big selection of this type of perfume and individual essential oils, if you want to try mixing your own. Check online, too. Robust communities full of advice, bartering opportunities, and recommendations have grown up around buying and mixing unique scents.

Finally, remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean trigger and allergen-free. Pollen, after all, is about as natural as you can get.

This post is a reflection of personal taste and not sponsored by any company.

4 responses to “Natural Perfume”

  1. Sara C. says:

    I’m so glad that my girls don’t really react to scents. I react to aerosols, but I’m able to limit my exposure. (not like in the jr high school gym locker room, where all the girls were spraying the body sprays, and then I couldn’t breathe…not diagnosed then, though)

    I’m glad there IS an option for people who want to wear a scent, and who are sensitive, or have loved ones who are sensitive.

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks a lot for emphasizing that “natural” does not equal “allergy-friendly”. Far from it, in some cases. A good example is the time I had to leave the house for an hour because my mom had bought some “natural” lavender oil for one of those scented oil pans. I started hacking and coughing and broke out in hives. Another example is some smoked pine cones sold in decorating stores here around Christmas. That stuff is a guarantee that I’ll be sneezing and coughing all day and night as long as they’re in the house. It took us four years to figure out that those darn things were why I got “sick” every Christmas with “a nasty cold”… I’d been thinking that I just had bad luck. Then Mom threw them outside on a lark, and about four or five hours later, I was feeling much better. She brought them back in, I got sick again. A perfectly natural scent that made me spend Christmas stuffy and sneezing four years in a row.

    I’m a big fan of in-store sampling, when possible… I’ll put a little bit of whatever on my arm and cover it for 24 hours… If I react, no good. If not, probably safe.

  3. Elisheva says:

    Due to growing up asthmatic, I think I’m kind of pre-programmed to see aerosols or scented stuff and walk the other way. I’m not allergic to fragrances, but my parents never let me use spray deoderant or spray perfumes or have incense of any kind to keep the amount of unnecessary crap entering my lungs at a minimum, so I’ve kind of forgotten things like that exist, except for when other people use them. I don’t generally react all that badly when other people use them a safe distance away from me, unless I’m flaring anyway, at which point forget it. Maybe I should look into some of the things you said. I wonder if they’re available in my corner of the world?

  4. Amy says:

    Elisheva–I bet you could find essential oils somewhere if you didn’t want to worry about shipping, and if you test one scent at a time the way Sarah mentions, you could see what bothers you. The natural grocery stores here – both the big corporate one and the smaller local one – both carry premixed natural perfumes and the oils by themselves.

    Perfumes don’t seem to bother my daughter, actually. When she was little, though, and I started learning more about the ingredients in things like fragrance and lotion, I switched over to solids and oils like these b/c I wanted to be more careful about what I was wearing on my own skin.