Natural Perfumes Make Better Scents
The days when a woman walks into a room, accompanied by a cloud of perfume, and leaving an indelible fragrance footprint in her wake are so over. As more and more woman are learning about the danger of phthalates—a fragrance stabilizer used in most synthetic perfumes that can wreak havoc on hormones—perfume as olfactory assault is losing street cred. Natural perfume, besides being a healthier choice, is a subtler one, uplifting the mood of the wearer and making only her most intimate circle privy to the richly textured scent hovering on her skin.
Mandy Aftel, founder of Aftelier perfumes and a passionate advocate for artisan natural fragrances, chose to make natural perfumes as much for aesthetic reasons as for health ones. With natural perfumes, she says, “I use the finest ingredients in the world, albeit the most expensive. Much like food, a perfume is only as good as its ingredients.” Making natural perfumes allows her to source the most luxurious and exotic botanicals, something that conventional perfumes cannot afford. “Whereas conventional perfume may have a price point of about $80 a pound for essences, if that, I spend well over $3,000 a pound,” Aftel says.
And while natural perfume may not last as long, the way it evolves on your skin and mixes with your body’s chemistry make it a singular experience. Plus, with a little less than the third of the population prone to chemical sensitivities, you will be doing everyone a favor by keeping your choice in scents a discreet pleasure. We’ve rounded up our seven favorite naturally derived fragrances, all guaranteed to lift your spirits without any toxic hangover.
Caudalie Fleur de Vigne pays homage to the eagerly anticipated grape blossom, which blooms in vineyards every June. Light, energizing, and crisp, with top notes of grapefruit, mandarin, and grape, balanced by a woody base of sandalwood and cedar, this scent is a great pick-me-up when you’re dragging (3.4 oz; $56).
Aveda Ancient Attar plunges you deep into its heady mix of Bulgarian rose, neroli, and sandalwood, recalling the souks (markets) of Arabia. Soothing, spicy, and sensual, Ancient Attar writes romance all over your skin (1 oz; $70).
Florascent Jasmine recalls a European garden in full bloom, replete with jasmine, green tangerine and vanilla-like Benzoin. Combining pure flower essences with 17th century perfume-making techniques, jasmine is the perfect reminder of our inherent femininity (2 oz; $99).
Red Flower Champa evokes the spirit of an Indian monsoon raga, a delicious flood of delicate notes of magnolia, tropical rain water, citrus, ylang ylang, and mimosa. Hand and wild crafted with certified organic oils, Champa offers a complex blend of contemplation and ardor (10 ml: $48).
Ajne Divin conjures the tropical beaches of Hawaii–the soft breezes that lull one into a seductive reverie. Jasmine, Hawaiian Kewda, and Madagascan ylang-ylang form a deluxe, intoxicating blend, said by founder Jane Hendler to strengthen the Crown chakra (.125 oz; $120).
Aftelier Lumiere, resoundingly unique, strikes notes of pure clarity (frankincense) and ethereal freshness (blue lotus) exquisitely balanced by green tea absolute. Sacred, cerebral, yet eminently voluptuous, this perfume bestows a rare elegance (.25 oz; $195).
E.O. Amma’s Rose, inspired By Ammaji’s—the hugging saint– own signature scent, is a simple, powerful blend of sandalwood and rose essences. Sandalwood, long revered as an aid to meditation, and rose, believed to awaken our internal sense of devotion, combine to make an addictively soothing fragrance (.4 oz; $35). Caudalie: Butera, Jessica
Aveda: Herold, Laurel (Aveda)
Florascent Aqua Floralis Jasmine: Karen Pellar
Red Flower: Kimberly Reynolds
Ajne: Kathy Pape
Aftelier: Aftelier Perfumes
Amma’s rose: Dolores Gilchrist