By Arwa Lodhi
From the candle you light when entertaining to the Bubble Bath you soak in after a long, hard day, most scented products are packed with harmful chemicals–and the scary thing is, manufacturers don’t even need to label what their ‘secret’ scented ingredients are: all the have to put is ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’. But often these contain cancer-causing phthalates, aldehydes and other chemicals, and vegans may be appalled to learn there could be animal musk in their favourite scented producs too.
Luckily, more products are being scented with natural oils today more than ever before–and that includes perfume itself, of course. Here, we’ve selected what we think are the top 10 natural perfumes to help your days more beautiful.
Our selection from the Goddess Line is their Lakshmi perfume, with its notes of sandalwood, frankincense and amber, mixed with sweet almond oil and patchouli. This all amounts to a somewhat musky scent, which lasts all day. The brand claims that by using certain scents, they can change moods. For example, they say amber can draw away negative energy; sandalwood is a memory-booster, health and immunity booster, and relieves high blood pressure, and that patchouli fights depression and is an aphrodisiac. Think about what your recipient would like to improve in his or her life, then purchase the most promising scent. It’s worth a try, and in any case, they’ll smell wonderful.
Warm, sensual and soothing, this scent celebrates the healing, warming properties of frankincense. The blend of natural oils in this unisex fragrance boosts spirits and scents skin gently. Top notes include lime, neroli, bergamot and pink pepper, moving into middle notes of frankincense, lavender and marjoram, all anchored by patchouli, myrrh and vetiver. Based heavily on concentrated oils, this perfum lasts all day and smells far more expensive than it is.
3. Sacred Self Roll Ons
These sweet, cheerful roll-ons are perfect for popping in your purse to lift your spirits whenever you need a boost. With heavily concentrated natural oils, these will last all day, but the scents are gentle and far from overwhelming. Using aromatherapy principles as well as “colour rays, sacred symbols, mantras and sound,” these are perfect for the flower child in your life.
The various perfumes are said to transform moods–there’s a minty-citrus blend for Mind; a camellia-bergamot blend for Spirit; and a cardamom-juniper blend for Body. Or, you can buy a gift bag of all three!
American Perfumer Amanda Walker‘s small batch, botanical blends are always super desirable, and “Mejica,” might be the sexiest of her five USDA certified-organic scents. It’s a delicious, warming blend of three vanillas, rare resins, and spices. The petite bottle looks wonderful on any bathroom shelf, and best of all, the flower seed-embedded box can be planted to create a fragrant surprise in the spring!
Olivia Giacobetti is a legendary perfumer who designed fragrances for prestigious houses like Diptyque and Guerlain, before creating Honoré Des Prés, the first luxury certified-organic French fragrance brand. This particular, fresh scent works for both men and women. Nu Green conjures up the feel of a fresh spring morning with green mint leaves, dewy grass, Indian botanical musk, tarragon and cedar wood.
These complex, mature perfumes are based in aromatherapy principles, but are so rich and sophisticated, they remind us of something Guerlain would produce. Their Rose Perfume is the closest to pure Ottoman roses we’ve ever smelt from a bottle, and for men, the Achilles Parfum, based on sandalwood, anchored in lemongrass, oak moss and wood essences–can make any man feel sensual, strong and full of vitality, just like the Greek God himself. Bonus: the posh packaging is perfect for gift giving.
Lurk is the brainchild of New Yorker Anne Sanford, who created packaging and beauty products for Anthropologie and other top brands before creating this unique fragrance collection, so no surprise that everything about Lurk–from its minimalist bottle design to Arabian themed scents–simply oozes ‘cool’. We’re especially smitten with RSW005, an androgynous essential-oil-based scent with warm sandalwood, earthy rose, and a sharp, citrusy finish.
8. Tsi La
This small American brand prides itself on creating artisan-size batches of long lasting perfumes by using essential oils, active plant botanicals, and rich exotic butters. Our fave is by far Fiori d’Arancio, a light, organic mist whose notes of orange, tangerine, and neroli flowers mixed with vanilla orchids evokes a holiday in Capri. No wonder this one claims to ‘bring happiness’ to the wearer!
Only 2000 bottles of this beautiful earthy, peppery scent–which the manufacturers claim is the world’s first 100%, fully organic perfume–will ever be made. Clove, bergamot and black pepper in the top notes make this a bit masculine, but on a woman, the ginger and vanilla middle notes are more prominent. Contained in a recycled wood box, this is about as eco-friendly and natural as perfumes can get.
Sometimes, only a strong, feminine floral scent will do, and this one is purely for femmes fatales. Moon Bloom is a powerful blend of pure oils, including tuberose absolute, jasmine absolute and ylang ylang, along with further hints of coconut, leafy greens and tropical spices, adding up to an intoxicating scent that Eve would have worn in the Garden of Eden, if Moon Bloom was invented then.