When you think of natural fragrances, we guarantee you think of niche, small-batch products that aren’t available in your usual department stores.
Well, that’s no longer the case. Times are changing and natural fragrances have come a long way in terms of formulations and packaging; committing to them doesn’t feel like a chore. The natural perfume category (and natural beauty products as a whole) has exploded in recent years, and they’re no longer considered a niche product for only the extremely devoted.
So why have they become so popular? Well, more and more people are looking for better-for-you beauty options, choosing organic ingredients over synthetic chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, allergens and synthetic alcohols.
Whether you’re a self-confessed natural fragrance addict, or are thinking about making the switch to a natural alternative, we’ve got all the info you need. We spoke to Nedahl Stelio from Sydney-based fragrance house Recreation Bondi Beach (they’re 100 per cent natural, vegan and cruelty-free) to get her rundown on natural fragrances, plus, we’ve found some natural spritzes that might just become your new signature scent.
What are natural fragrances?
Stelio says natural fragrances are toxin-free and made from natural ingredients such as pure essential oils and plant extracts; whereas synthetic fragrances are made in a lab and consist of different chemicals. “Synthetic fragrances are synthetic compounds that mimic nature and come from natural and chemical sources,” says Stelio. “There are also up to 3000 chemicals that can be used in a non-natural fragrance, some of which are toxic and shouldn't be used on the skin.”
She explains that natural fragrances are actually harder to produce than synthetic fragrances because they’re more susceptible to variability. “Natural fragrances are up to three times more expensive to make than synthetics because the process is more difficult.”
Because natural fragrances aren’t an easy product to mass-produce, this means that in the past, large companies have steered clear of the complex production process. However, as the demand for clean beauty grows, big brands and retail conglomerates are now being forced to consider alternative practices, meaning natural products are getting better and better (and we get more options!). Mecca recently launched its Mindful Beauty category, and Sephora has a CLEAN category, making natural fragrances (as well as clean makeup and skin care) even more accessible than ever before.
Do natural fragrances last?
While we know that synthetic fragrances tend to last longer on the skin than natural fragrances, Stelio says it’s what’s in synthetic fragrances to make them long-lasting that might be causing you harm. “Synthetic fragrances adhere to the skin. Natural fragrances don't last as long because they don't have chemicals that make the fragrance adhere to the skin. You actually don't want those chemicals - they're some of the worst for you.” Her top tips for making natural fragrances linger for longer? “You can make a fragrance last longer by layering with body oil first in the same fragrance, and also, moisturised skin will make fragrance adhere naturally to your skin.”
What are the benefits of choosing a natural fragrance?
According to Stelio, there are many benefits to choosing a natural fragrance over a synthetic fragrance. “You'll get actual uplifting benefits because of the real essential oils and flower extracts,” she says, adding that when you spray her Recreation fragrances, they actually makes you feel good as well as smell good. “There are also no chemicals, so you are less likely to have an allergic reaction. People are usually reacting to certain compounds in the fragrance but we have tested our perfumes on a number of people with allergies and have a 100 per cent success rate so far, with no reactions.”
Tips for choosing a natural perfume
When choosing your perfume, Stelio says you should consider all aspects of what you smell and how it makes you feel. “The scent! The bottle! How it makes you feel when you apply it! I think a huge part of applying fragrance is how it makes you feel, and we have created a luxurious ritual so you can enjoy every second. It's about treating yourself in the smallest but most indulgent way every single day. It really is a lovely start to the day.”
Whether you're looking for a perfume oil, a roll-on, or just a classic spray, there’s now a whole heap of next-generation natural scents getting around (some you might not even realise are natural), so get amongst it! We love Recreation Bondi Beach Call Me Venus Stardust Eau de Parfum, Vanessa Megan Monarch Natural Perfume and The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods Eau de Parfum.
Looking for more fragrance goodies? Check out the best organic perfumes and natural formulas that have stolen our hearts (and noses), plus here are six reasons why we love roller-ball perfumes.
What’s your favourite natural perfume? Let us know in the comment section below.
Main image credit: @georgiafowler
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.