I’m always asked; what brands of natural perfumes are safe to use? I’ve been wanting to cover this topic for a long time. But before I share safe perfume options, I must explain why fragrance as a whole is hazardous to health. Here’s why you should be extremely careful with products that contain “fragrance” or "parfum" in the ingredients.
The United States hasn't updated cosmetics laws since 1938!
This means safety laws for skin, hair, and body products hasn't changed in over 80 years. The EU has banned about 1,328 hazardous ingredients found in cosmetics. The U.S has only banned 30. Insane, I know.
Skin is our largest organ and the gateway to the rest of our body. That's no secret. So, we can't wait for our government to demand better safety regulations and more transparency from cosmetic brands. Ingredient awareness is rising more than ever these days, and consumers are demanding change by casting their votes with their money. What more people are realizing is; just because a product is on the market, it doesn't mean it's safe and just because a product label say's NATURAL, it doesn't mean it is. The FDA has not defined or placed regulation laws towards the word natural yet. So legally brands can use the word natural and even place it in their brand name, but officially... NATURAL MEANS NOTHING. The word is more often used as a marketing strategy which makes "natural" a sign of dishonesty.
WHAT IS FRAGRANCE ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Fragrance: is the trickiest ingredient listed in all types of personal care products (even the “natural” ones). Yes, fragrance makes your soaps, lotions, candles, hair products, skincare, cleaning products, and even baby products, smell so good! But what fragrance really means is; There are undisclosed chemicals in your product, and your natural products may not be so "natural" after all (unless it specifies their fragrance is a botanical blend, plant-derived, or organically sourced). If you’re a newbie trying to make cleaner swaps with your products, you might count fragrance as one ingredient because it’s listed as one word. Most people make that assumption but the truth is fragrance typically contains about 20-30 synthetic ingredients hiding under one harmless-looking word; FRAGRANCE. The worse part is, manufacturers are not required to disclose their fragrance ingredients to us. You’re probably thinking... What? How is this allowed? Let me explain.
By law, companies that manufacture personal care products are required to provide a list of ingredients on packaging, but fragrances are exempt from this law because it’s considered a secret formula blend and this exemption protects brands from having their unique formulas duplicated by competitors. This loophole in FDA’s law allows manufacturers to use hazardous ingredients in their fragrance blends without being required to disclose the chemicals used.
• From a business perspective; brands should be allowed to have some type of protection that prevents others from copying and distributing their unique formula and scent. If brands openly disclose every single ingredient used, it opens the door for competitors and consumers to figure out their exact blend and create it themselves.
• As consumers; we can all agree it’s a common habit to select products based on their scent but we also assume it’s perfectly safe and we don’t expect these fragrances to be chemicals disguised as flowers. Thankfully, consumer awareness is rising and we are demanding better safety regulations and more transparency from brands. We want to make informed decisions towards our health, but we can’t trust certain companies who aren’t transparent.
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) published a shocking list of 3,163 chemicals that companies often use in their products. EWG reported: 1 in 20 of those chemicals is rated high hazard. Since skin is our largest organ and the gateway to the rest of our body, what we chose to put on our skin is crucial to living a healthy life.
That harmless-looking word “fragrance” typically contains chemicals linked to negative health effects, like Phthalates (which are potent hormone disrupters liked to reproductive birth defects in baby boys). Along with damaging a male's reproductive system, it can also accumulate in women’s breast milk. If you have conditions like allergies, asthma, eczema, or psoriasis, you have to be extra careful because fragrance is one of the top 5 allergens that can trigger skin flare-ups and asthma attacks. That’s why healing creams made for eczema and skin rashes are typically made fragrance-free and unscented. Phthalates and other unwanted chemicals are used in fragrances to make the scent linger for longer. Nice scents are pleasant to smell so we often assume, nice smells = good, and undesirable smells = bad. But because something smells good it doesn’t mean it is good. We constantly exposed ourselves to these fragrant chemicals as we bathe, use lotions, spray on our perfumes, and clean our home but these same chemicals disguised as fragrance are also in baby products loaded with artificial ingredients and synthetic fragrances. You might now be thinking; this shouldn’t be allowed though... but it is, and it’s not illegal.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
• Change the way you shop and where you shop. Choose products with a clean ingredients list (NO Toxins). But also be sure that they’re fragrance-free or specifying the source of their fragrance being plant-derived, botanical or organically derived.
• Choose brands who’s values and standards are towards show transparency about their ingredients. Make it a habit to read about the brand, read their labels, and become familiar with chemicals you should avoid in your products. Never stop learning and always search for cleaner/safer products.
• Shop for your personal care products at exclusively clean retailers like Credo Beauty and Follain. These are two of my favorite places to shop. They only sell clean ingredient brands and screen for hazardous ingredients associated with negative health. So you can confidently shop knowing everything sold at follain and credo meets clean standards and excludes ingredients shown in their Never List.
↑THIS IS MY FAVORITE VIDEO ON THE INTERNET↑
Even though brands are exempt from disclosing their fragrance ingredients, they are still being analyzed and tested by great resources like EWG, who actively reveals the level of hazard and toxicity found in our personal care products and food. Download the EWG Healthy Living app and read their website for updated health information and products with safe ingredients. Think Dirty is another app I recommend for an easy way to understand why certain ingredients rate dirty or clean.
MY PERFUME SWAP: Perfumes were one of the sacrifices I had to make as I found out, it mostly contains synthetic chemicals linked to negative health issues. In 2009 I was a new mom, so it was easy to stop wearing perfume for the sake of my new baby, with little lungs and sensitive skin. It’s also important that my baby connects with my true natural scent, not altered by artificial fragrances, so I quit perfumes. But as my baby got older I went back to wearing perfumes until 2013 when I realized how harmful it is to me and my son whom I still carry, hug and kiss daily. Long story short; wearing chemicals disguised as beauty was no longer an option. I eventually tossed them all in the trash. But I always missed the feminine, sensual, uplifting feeling I got from spraying myself with my favorite perfume. Over the past 6 years, I’ve occasionally tried many natural perfume samples and slowly began allowing myself to enjoy wearing perfume again. I don’t wear perfume daily, but I can’t deny it’s the perfect final touch before a date night, attending an event, or any special occasion. I want my scent to represent me, and be memorable without overpowering those I encounter, but most importantly it should be safe and natural or else I can’t enjoy it.
18 SAFE & NATURAL PERFUME BRANDS
- Listed from personal experience first to researched suggestions last -
Henry Rose is a new perfume brand that just launched a few months ago. It was created by actress Michelle Phiffer with the help of EWG (Environmental Working Group). This fragrance line is EWG verified, created with 100% ingredient transparency. This means the brand has gone through proper testing with health and safety standards confirmed. That's what makes it so special and the fact EWG involved themselves with the making of Henry Rose fragrances is reassuring and amazing! Read their story on their website, I'm sure you'll immediately understand what full transparency looks like.
• Full size: $120 each
Your $20 will be credited towards your full size choice
Honestly, all 5 scents smell amazing and I'd love to own at least 3 of them in full size. The scents are elegant, attracting, long-lasting and so pleasing to smell. It amazes me that none of their fragrances smell bad, but my top 3 are: Last Night, Fog, and Dark is Night. These scents remind me of the perfumes I use to wear back in the day (before switching to a clean lifestyle). Don’t worry, before committing to your full size choice, you can purchase the discovery kit for $20 which includes all 5 samples. The $20 you spent on the discovery kit will be credited towards your full size choice.
Heretic is a one of a kind non-toxic fragrance brand, hand-crafted, 100% naturally with organic ingredients from plants and absolutely NO synthetics. Their name; Heretic really matches what they represent and I highly respect this brand. They’re very transparent about their ingredients and they also go into great detail towards what makes mainstream perfumes so hazardous. On their website they provide a list of all the ingredients to avoid in your perfumes and what ingredients they strive to never use.
11 unisex scents / 2 sizes (50ML + 15ML) • 50ML full size: $165 • 15ML size: $65
I love that they have a wide range of scents to choose from. I personally own their Dirty Mango perfume and I selected this scent without ever even smelling a sample of it because I was so sure I’d like it just from reading the description on their website. Now I’m dying to smell Dirty Fig and Dirty Ginger next! They even have a special fragrance called Dirty Grass which contains CBD oil (no THC) and you must be 21+over for purchase. I probably won’t like that one... but it’d be so interesting to see what it smells like. Dita Von Teese (the world famous burlesque performer) created a fragrance called Scandal Wood in collaboration with Heretic. Dying to smell that one!
SKYLAR Skylar creates clean toxin-free fragrances with conscious ingredients. They have 6 perfumes with enticing/addictive scents that honestly makes me want to own them all but I currently own Coral and Arrow. My favorite of the two is Coral. Omg it’s extremely hard to not sniff myself every 2 seconds when I’m wearing coral! I even love how coral and arrow smell combined together. Each bottle retails for $78 each, but they also have a $20 sample set so you can try all 6 scents before committing to your choice. Your $20 will be credited towards your full size choice later.
• Full size: $78
(Your $20 is credited towards your full size choice)
Phlur is a high quality clean perfume brand showing transparency. Their collections include body care, candles and perfumes. They have 9 perfumes retailing at $96 per bottle + 1 refillable TSA approved fragrance size for $28. They have the strength we all love from mainstream perfumes minus the secret harmful synthetics. I haven’t smelled all 9 of their fragrances yet but my favorite out of the 3 I've tried is Hanami and I actually own the Hanami body wash!
• Full size: $96 per bottle
(Your $18 will be credited towards your full size choice if purchased within 30 days)
One seed is an Australian brand that makes natural perfumes with organic ingredients. They show great values with a nothing to hide policy. Their transparency is clear and they even provide a scent bar for those who want a personalized fragrance or companies who’d like to use natural extracts from One seed’s fragrance library to use towards their own brand. How cool is that?! The owner, Liz Cook lives a well rounded natural lifestyle (food, home, products etc...) just like myself. The fact her personal life shows high standards towards health, I trust she applies these same standards with her company. I really respect this brands approach.
One seed’s collection has 2 sets of perfumes for women (7 eau de parfum + 7 roll-on perfume oils) and 3 colognes for men.
($20 credit with discount code will be emailed to you after purchasing samples)
• Available at: OneSeedPerfumes.com
Ecco Bella makes 4 organic/botanical perfumes made with organic ingredients from essential oils, fruits, herbs and spices. Their four scents look extremely enticing. I own the bourbon vanilla scent which is made with real vanilla from Madagascar (the finest vanilla quality in the world). The vanilla scent lingers in a wearable way, enough for you to fall in love with the way you smell. This is the type of scent you could wear to bed, or date night without smelling overpowering, just delicious. I love this perfume and my husband loves it on me.
4 Perfumes • $34.95 per bottle • No samples available
Available at: EccoBella.com
Rosie Jane is a natural perfume brand made in California with toxin-free ingredients. This brand also has a nothing to hide policy. If you take a look at the 'about us' section on their website, you’ll see they’re super transparent about their ingredients. They share a clear list of every ingredient along with the EWG score for each ingredient. Even their packaging is as sustainable as can be.
Rosie Jane has 5 eau de parfums in 2 sizes and 5 perfume oils. They provide sample sets for just $15 for both eau de Parfums and perfume oils so you can try the scents before committing to a full size. If you buy a sample set, you’ll get 15% off on your next order and you can use it towards a full size perfume if you like. 5 perfumes + 5 perfume oils • Full size perfume: $65 • Roll-on size: $25
DedCool is an impressive non-toxic and unisex fragrance brand created by Carina Chaz at just 21 years old! Apparently, she grew up in a family that taught her about clean beauty. She was fascinated with perfumes at a young age and began mixing concoctions of fragrances as a child in her family’s laboratory. The name; DedCool reminds me of DeadPool (the marvel character). I wonder if that’s where the name dedcool came from?... I’m a huge marvel fan btw.
DedCool is made without water which allows the scents to deliver long wearing power so one spritz is enough to last all day. Now that’s how you make perfume! The brand claims the scents are not overpowering or unpleasant, just smooth and gentle with organic and non-toxic ingredients. I have not yet smelled any of their scents but I’m definitely doing so soon. 2 collections / 5 scents per collection • Full size: $80 (collection 1) • Roll-on perfume $45 (collection 1) • Full size: $130 (series 2) • Sample set of 5: $30 + 20% off credited towards your full size choice
The company Goop, is a clean beauty retailer + wellness website founded by Gwyneth Paltrow. I personally love shopping on their website for all things beauty and wellness. Goop only sells non-toxic products that are made without ingredients linked to harmful health effects. They screen for hazardous ingredients and educate on well-rounded wellness for everyone. They also formulated their own goop line of non-toxic skin care and natural fragrances (perfumes + candles) and they provide a transparent list of ingredients. I have always wanted to try their fragrances. Hope to do so soon!
Goop has 4 fragrances designed with all 4 seasons in mind, bottled in 2 sizes.
Edition 04 sounds like its right up my alley, so this is the scent I'm most interested in trying.
Edition 01. Chruch - (winter)
Edition 02. Shiso - (spring)
Edition 03. Insence - (Fall)
Edition 04. Orchard - (summer)
• Available at: Goop.com
CLEAN BEAUTY COLLECTIVE
Clean beauty collective has gender-neutral perfume collections, using natural ingredients and safe synthetics (Safe = not associated with hazards). They value transparency and high quality, long lasting perfumes without sacrificing health. Clean Beauty Collective has 3 collections (clean classic, clean reserve, and avant- garden) with a countless amount of fragrances in all three collection. Since these fragrances are gender-neutral you can experiment with layering fragrances you like, having notes of femininity and masculinity to formulate a scent that’s unique to you. I have not yet tried any of these fragrances but I love their approach and hope to smell some of their scents soon. 3 Collections: • Full size 3.4 oz / 100ML: $48 - $150 per bottle • Smaller 0.34 oz / 10ML: $28 - $44 per bottle • No samples
ELLIS BROOKLYN Ellis Brooklyn is a fragrance brand, impressively created by Bee Shapiro. First off, she’s a mom to a little girl named Ellis and lives in Williamsburg Brooklyn (hence the name Ellis Brooklyn). She’s been the beauty columnist for The New York Times for the past 11 years and due to becoming a new mom, she began understanding the issues with our toxin-filled cosmetics industry. While pregnant she set out to create a fragrance brand that made her feel safe, without harmful synthetics (unlike mainstream perfume brands). This brand contains natural ingredients and synthetics that haven’t been categorized as hazardous or harmful. They're also free of phthalates, parabens and petroleum.
The Ellis Brooklyn collection contains 8 perfumes in 2 sizes (50ML full size + 10ML). They also make fragrant body products candles. I recently purchased their sample set and I love the scents Myth and Sci-Fi the most. I would absolutely love to own these two in full size.
• 50ML Full Size: $100
• 10ML travel size: $30
• Sample Sets: $22 - $27
No credit or discount available with sample set
The 7 VIRTUES
The 7 virtues makes 7 scents in their contemporary line which seems to be different from their original line. The contemporary line is sustainably developed, and gives back to farmers and nations rebuilding after war or strife. Their motto is, make peace not war. It’s made with organic sugar-cane alcohol, essential oils, botanicals and safe synthetics.
I just recently purchased their sample set and I'm so in love with the Vanilla Woods scent! It contains real vanilla sourced organically and fair-trade from Madagascar. It has a smooth creamy scent that's just incredible. 7 scents: • Full size: $79 • Roll-on: $29 • Sample peace blend box: $29 (all 7 scents)
MAISON LOUIS MARIE
Maison Louis Marie is a high quality perfume brand with so much fragrance expertise and background dating back to 1792 in France. The brand uses both natural botanicals and synthetics not associated with harm. They have a long list of the many ingredients they do not use; such as phthalates, Parabens, Aluminium, formaldehyde, toluene and so much more. I appreciate the clarifications they provide on their approach to clean fragrances.
I have no personal experience with this brand but it sure seems like a great option to test and discover which scent appeals to you.
• Full size Eau de parfum: $85
• 6ML Eau de parfum: $28
• Eau de parfum discovery set: $18 (4 perfumes)
• Full size perfume oil: $57
• Perfume oil discovery set: $48 (5 perfumes)
SEPHORA'S CLEAN FRAGRANCE SAMPLER
Sephora has this great sampler set with 7 of the top rated clean perfumes from 7 different brands. Inside this box, you’ll find seven samples of their most sought-after fragrances. You can choose your favorite, and then take the included scent certificate to a (participating) US Sephora store* to redeem your full-size choice at no extra cost. Keep in mind: this means not all sephora locations will accept the scent certificate included because not all sephora's are participating. So if you purchase this sample box make sure there is a sephora near you who will allow you to redeem your certificate. All of the fragrances in the box are actually featured here in this blog post.
1. Rosie Jane - Leila Lou
2. Clean Reserve - Skin
3. Ellis Brooklyn - Myth
4. Maison Louis Marie - No. 04 Bois de Balincourt
5. Phlur - Hanami
6. Skylar - Isle
7. The 7 Virtues - Vanilla Woods
Lurk is a unique perfume company, made with 100% organic essential oils, wildcrafted extracts infused in organic jojoba oil and pure organic alcohol. In their collection they have 12 perfume oils and 2 eau de parfums. I have no personal experience with this brand but as you can see from the details in my research it’s a great option to try. 12 perfume oils + 2 eau de parfum • Eau de parfums: $111. - $185. • Perfume Oils: $34.80 - $58. • Samples: No
• Available at: LurkMade.com
IME perfumes is an Australian botanical perfume brand, certified toxin free and 100% Natural by the Natural Perfumers Guild (NPG). This certification is given to perfumers with 100% transparency about their ingredients. IME meaning; I am (in Greek) has a beautiful collection of 9 perfumes for women and 2 colognes for men, all made toxin free and irritation free for sensitive people and sensitive noses. I love that they also have refill options available so you can reduce waste by re-useing your same perfume bottle instead of buying a full size bottle at full price again.
9 Perfumes / 2 sizes
• 30ML: $34.95 per bottle
• 2.5 ML: $12.50 per bottle
• Set of 9 (2.5ML): $63.00
• Available at: IME-Natural-Perfume.com/au
Abbott NYC creates clean + non-toxic fragrances for women and men, based on the idea of capturing the essence of nature in each bottle. Each of the 6 scent is a daily reminder of the natural beauty that exists in the around us. They're formulated conscious ingredients without sacrificing high quality performance.
• Full size: $75
You can test all 6 fragrances with their exploration kit (samples) which is a month's supply with an $18 credit (valid for 30 days) toward your purchase of a full size bottle.
PROVIDENCE PERFUME CO. Providence perfume is 100% natural, hand-crafted in small batches, without any synthetics and made with botanical ingredients from all over the world. They reside in Rhode Island (hence the name: Providence). They have 2 collections of perfumes. Light + Dark collection and one men’s cologne. I have no experience with this brand but based on my research, they’re worth a try. 2 collections of 8 perfumes • Full size: $45 • Set of 3 travel size: $100 • Sample set of 8: $68 - Light collection sample set - Dark collection sample set
• Available at: ProvidencePerfume.com
EO essentials is a brand I often use. They have sanitizing wipes, deodorants and many personal care products. But they also have a wearable fragrance collection that’s 100% natural, made with essential oils and free of synthetic fragrance ingredients. They have about 7 scents to choose from at an affordable price in a roller ball tube and 2 perfumes. I personally love their bohemian sandalwood scent which only cost $20, and can be worn daily even for the most sensitive people. 7 scents • Roll-on $20 each • Perfume: $45-$55
• Available at: Whole Foods Market and EOproducts.com
What about you? Is your favorite perfume on this list or do you prefer not wearing perfume?
Thanks for reading!