As more and more organic perfume companies pop up, we’re left wondering if we should abandon our designer perfumes for something more natural. We spoke to natural perfume experts to learn about the differences.
“Many people ask us about essential oils vs. traditional fragrance oils and the difference between the two. So, here are the main differences: Natural or essential oils are extracted from plants and are a natural source of fragrance, ” says Nicole Winnaman, perfumer and founder of Original Scent.
Alexandra Balahoutis, founder and perfumer at Strange Invisible Perfumes, also states that ingredients are the biggest difference between synthetic fragrance and natural perfume. “It is a question of authenticity and craftsmanship. Raw materials are important to some and not others. If I wear a rose perfume, I would like an actual rose to have been involved at some stage, but that’s just me.”
“Many people prefer to use products containing essential oils, because they are better for the environment and for people’s health,” says Winnaman. “Using natural oils rather than synthetics to create a fragrance brings emotional and physical healing properties, such as calming, energy-enhancing, relaxing and mood-lifting. Synthetic fragrances that are overloaded with too many ingredients and derived from petrochemicals can cause headaches and nausea.”
It’s important to note that if you’re someone with fragrance sensitivity, natural perfume isn’t always the answer. “One can be allergic to a natural essential oil just as they might be allergic to a certain flower or food,” says Balahoutis. “Many people who think they dislike perfume, however, often realize that it is artificial perfume that they cannot tolerate. They warm up to wearing perfume again once they discover naturals, because they realize that these organic fragrances are not overpowering or displeasing to the senses.”
“Scent sensitivity is not a true allergic reaction, it’s simple sensory overload,” says Winnaman. “So even all-natural scents can trigger these symptoms. However the good news is that certain all-natural scents have been known to help with symptoms: lavender, peppermint, sandalwood, eucalyptus, and rosemary. I love to mix peppermint and eucalyptus and rub it on my temples if I feel a headache coming on. It really does help!”
Winnaman says, “Traditional fragrances smell almost exactly the same on your skin as they do on a tester strip. This is not true of all-natural perfumes. Natural perfumes are complex and multifaceted and evolve with wear as they burn off from the top, middle and base notes. They have life and character and often times this vibrancy is lost on a paper blotter. All-natural perfume does not have traditional top, middle and base notes and is described as “linear.” Natural perfumes need a few moments to settle in. Once you’ve spritzed a natural scent, wait a full minute to begin evaluating.”
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