“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”
This famous quote perfectly describes why it can be so hard to talk about perfume.
How do you describe a scent? Sure, there are base-notes and top-notes, and I can tell you about the different flowers or herbs used. But scent is such a personal thing—not only in that everyone has smells he or she prefers, but also that so much of a personal fragrance is how it reacts with your own body chemistry to make a smell that is uniquely your own.
Fragrances are controversial these days in the world of green or natural beauty. The Environmental Working Group does a great job of describing the risks and issues associated with “fragrance” but basically a lot of people who are worried about health risks are looking for natural fragrance alternatives more and more.
(The word “fragrance," itself, when listed as an ingredient, can mean so many different things, so the perfumes here are all made of essential oils and/or plant absolutes, and do not contain phthalates.) If you’ve ever gotten a headache or a bit nauseated from a strong perfume, you will especially love fragrances made from essential oils and plant extracts only.
These luxe perfumes are entirely plant-based, natural, and non-toxic.
Prim Botanicals, $42.00
Prim Botanicals makes two perfumes, and, of course, it all comes down to personal preference, but I have never met a soul who doesn’t absolutely love their Mademoiselle Swell. I wear it daily, and get tons of compliments. It lasts longer than any other natural perfume I’ve ever tried, and it just smells so good!
Leahlani Skincare, $78.00
Leahlani Skincare’s two organic perfumes will make you feel like you’re in Hawaii— Mahana on a beach with a coconut drink, and Pua Lei in a grove of exotic flowers. And if you can’t decide, you can layer them on together.
Josh Rosebrook, $145.00
Brand new, Josh Rosebrook just released this unisex scent that is beloved by beauty bloggers and customers alike. Impossible to describe, it can be summed up in one word: perfection.
Tata Harper, $42- $175
Tata Harper technically makes aromatherapies, not perfumes, but they’re so delicious-smelling, you’ll be using it for both purposes. The 5 varieties offer different effects— Energy, Bedtime, Stress, Irritability, and Love Potion— but each one of them is a pleasure to smell, whether you need the aromatherapy benefits or not.
Laurel Whole Plants Organics, $80.00
Laurel Whole Plants Organics describes their Spiritual Warrior better than I ever could: “The gentle scent of this product is really meant to be a reminder that you are not alone.” Don’t you just adore it already?
One Love Organics, $39.00
One Love Organics is a line full of lovely scents, but my personal favorite comes courtesy of their body serum, Gardenia+Tea. As the name suggests, it evokes summers in the south, like the islands off the coast of Georgia where this fantastic brand is made.
Maya Chia, Another non-perfume option for those who don’t want an extra step in their routine, Maya Chia offers a body oil and a waterless balm, each of which has a unique, incredible smell. Maya Chia's Waterless Wonder Balm is an orange blossom essential oil blend, and the Maya Chia body oil has a lovely neroli fragrance.
Erin's Faces, $25.00
Erin’s Faces. Known mostly for her skincare and makeup, Erin made this Monoi Tiare Oil that can be used as a skin treatment, but I roll it on like pure, delicious perfume. It smells like gardenias with a touch of coconut.
Lina Hanson, $90.00
Global traveler Lina Hanson created Satori from ingredients gathered all over Asia. The Yuzu oil, part of the citrus family, is known to boost confidence, while ginger is invigorating. Use this transportable roller-ball for on-the-go inspiration.
Lotus Wei, $30.00
Lotus Wei. Whether or not you believe in the power of Flower Alchemy, no one can deny the great smells contained in Lotus Wei’s anointing oils. My personal favorite is the Infinite Love variety, which you can also find infused into this gorgeous collection of lip glosses by Modern Mineral Makeup.
Argan Republic, $28.00
Argan Republic's “Rose Gold” perfume in Argan oil base, Rose, is the ultimate, classic scent. If you’re looking for something very pure and elegantly simple, you cannot go wrong with this lovely, all-natural rose oil.