Sharing the natural beauty box roundup March on the blog! Sharing all the best in natural beauty for this month when it comes to natural beauty boxes. If you're new each month I share all the details on the best natural beauty boxes in clean beauty. Some come out at the beginning of the month and others come out a little later. I update the post as things roll out!
First up is Beauty Heroes. This is a monthly natural beauty subscription box mainly focused on natural skincare.
Next up is Detox Market- be sure to check out the Detox Box here!
*Also, check out the bi-monthly boxes, Boxwalla, and The Clean Beauty Box! Full reviews on their bi-monthly boxes here.
So excited to dive into this month's Beauty Heroes!
I was beyond excited to see Ranavat in this months Beauty Heroe's box! I had been eyeing a few of their products and wanting to try them and one of them was the Imperial Glow Facial Polish- this month's Hero product! If you're not familiar with RANAVAT allow me to introduce you. RANAVAT was founded my Michelle Ranavat. Prior to creating the brand she had no experience in clean beauty. However, that all changed when she was on a trip to Jaipur in 2010. She connected back to her roots and how traditional Indian botanicals made her skin feel. She then created RANAVAT which is a modern Ayurvedic line of ritual- inspired skincare. It focuses on the healing properties of India's most sacred ingredients. I love how each of her ingredients are picked based on skin benefit. This is a truly unique skincare line!
This month we are seeing the Imperial Glow Facial Polish, The Mighty Majesty Fortifying Hair Serum, Sacred Rose Hand Cream and the Renewing Bakuchi Creme.
Imperial Glow Facial Polish- This exfoliant is everything. But really. It is exfoliating and smoothing at the same time. Your skin doesn't feel stripped like some exfoliants can do. It feels balanced and hydrated and just like the name suggests- glowing! The exfoliant is made with fine rice powder and nourishing almond oil. You can use this exfoliant even as a cleanser daily. It's not too harsh, but mild and gentle overall. Your skin looks glowing and fresh! Great for even sensitive skin as it's not too harsh of an exfoliant.
Mighty Majesty Fortifying Hair Serum- This hair serum completely hydrates the hair with cold-pressed, organic sunflower oil, jasmine oil and amla. It's a very soothing and nourishing treatment for the scalp as well. I apply it on dry hair at night and as a scalp treatment. It helps to moisturize your entire hair strand from root to ends. In the morning shampoo and condition as usual. Hair feels shiny and nourished the next day!
Sacred Rose Hand Cream- This hand cream feels so luxurious on the skin. In this formula is the beloved Damask rose. This rose has long been loved by royals as one of the most precious earthly gifts. Rose is known for softening and brightening the skin, as well as hydrating it. During these winter months and over washing my hands have needed some extra love- this rose hand cream is just the ticket. It moisturizes but without the greasy residue. Skin feels nourished. Along with rose, it also has sesame, sunflower, manjistha and sweet almond oils.
This Beauty Heroes Discovery is valued at $144, but you can get it for $58.95! Get it here before they sell out.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts below:
Sharing the natural beauty box roundup for March on the blog!
It's here, my natural fragrance favorites post! If you've been following along on the blog then you saw I posted my natural perfume and fragrance post yesterday. The post details out the fragrance industry and what it looks like in 2021. Fragrance is the last frontier in clean beauty. There has been much resistance to share ingredients in natural perfumes and fragrances but brands are starting to ease up and reveal what's lurking in their formulations.
The industry has been so tight lipped for so many years. Not wanting to share ingredients for fear that companies might try and copy their scent. However, after speaking to Jack Corley, Chief Sales Officer of Custom Essence Inc.- Natural Fragrance Division. I learned that any fragrance can easily be replicated today quite easily, even without knowing the specific ingredients. It's no longer about protecting the trade secret scent as much as not wanting to share specific ingredients with the consumer as I've found out.
By Rosie Jane is one of my favorite natural fragrance retailers!
Thankfully, we live in an age where brands are stepping up to the plate and actively sharing full transparency when it comes to their perfume or fragrance. These brands fall into the natural perfume and fragrance category. Most of them are smaller indie beauty brands that are really doing the work when it comes to open communication with the consumer.
One thing to keep in mind when shopping for natural perfume and fragrance is realizing how they differ from conventional fragrance. You might spritz a conventional fragrance on and it can last you the whole day, while a natural perfume or fragrance might only last you a couple hours or slowly fade throughout the day. Natural perfume and fragrance is definitely more subtle overall and less potent. Many of the common harmful ingredients found in conventional perfumes like phthalates are actually what contribute to a longer lasting fragrance and with those missing it can have a tendency to fade quicker.
Personally, I love this about natural perfume and fragrance. I love that a scent isn't so powerful and feels more worn in, then bam in your face the minute you put it on. I always tell people to carry their perfume or fragrance with them if they want it to remain fairly strong and spritz it on again. You can also buy a travel size version and keep it in your purse.
Sharing all my natural fragrance favorites!
I'll be sharing these brands with you, along with my natural fragrance favorites below! There are so many stellar natural fragrances now.
The fragrances below can be worn by males or females. Although I found some to not be appealing to me at all, and some more appealing on my husband, however most of them are unisex. I share which scents I prefer for myself and which I prefer for my husband in each of the fragrances below.
Again, I want to reiterate that fragrance is a very personal thing. What might work for one person, might not work for another person. There are so many factors that can affect how a person responds to fragrance and if they can handle it. We all have different sensitivities. Sometimes I've found I like a scent when I smell it in a bottle, but then the minute I spray it on myself I don't love how it smells. Our own body chemistry can often change what a scent smells like once we apply it. I've also noticed I don't like a scent on myself but on someone else it may smell great. Strange but true! So keep an open mind, you never know what you might like.
I also wanted to share that these have all been natural fragrance favorites that have been vetted by me and tried by myself and my husband! All of the fragrances have a combination of essential oils, natural fragrance, or safe synthetics. If they are purely essential oils I share that in the description, otherwise they contain a blend of all three.
Let's dive in shall we to natural fragrance favorites?!
Natural Fragrance Favorites
Love this by\ Rosie Jane Discovery Set!
Perfume Type- These come in Eau De Parfum(spray versions), perfume oils(rollerball) and she even offers body oils. The scents are the same in the Eau De Parfum, but the application is different. In the Eau De Parfum there is organic sugar cane alcohol and the perfume oils use organic fractionated coconut oil. You can get travel size perfumes, larger sizes and even sample sizes. I love how easy she makes it to sample natural perfume and fragrance. You can literally try every scent she offers for under $20! Check it out here.
Packaging- You can get the larger 1.7 oz. size in large glass spray bottles, or the smaller travel sprays .25 size in long glass bottles. The packaging is 100% recyclable, using wind power, vegetable based inks and sustainable paper. No single use plastics.
How Does It Wear- It wears SO well! It's not overwhelming at all. It's stronger at first but not pungent or annoying. Then it slowly fades throughout the day. At night I can still smell it on me but very mild. It's the perfect worn in natural fragrance scent.
Scents- She offers 7 scents and they are all beautiful! I was struck by how many I truly loved. There were other natural perfumes and fragrances that I didn't love that much, but by Rosie Jane kept me coming back because all her scents are so lovely! If I had to choose a favorite I would say I can't get enough of Lake- a blend of vanilla sandalwood and neroli, described by Rosie Jane as sleeping under the stars. I also love Madie- a jasmine sea spray vanilla, described as a beach in a bottle. But I have to say Dylan-cedar frankincense white musk scent and Angie- a fig amber gardenia are close behind- they're all so good!
Review- I don't know what it is about by\ Rosie Jane scents but they are just so good! They had to be in my natural fragrance favorites blog post! I'm not a person that loves scents in general. Whether they are natural or not but by\ Rosie Jane has definitely changes my whole outlook. These aren't too strong and are more complex than just one fragrance note. I've already gifted her 7 Day Detox Fragrance Discovery Kit! It's the perfect gift for someone branching into natural perfume and trying to find their natural fragrance favorites. It's only $25 and you get all 7 of her scents in the cutest box! Then once you've tried them you can purchase the larger size. I can't recommend her fragrances enough. Don't forget to enter to win the discovery set by\ Rosie Jane below as well as a full size fragrance! Get the 7 Day Detox Fragrance Discovery Kit here. Check out all of by\Rosie Jane fragrances here!
*Don't forget to enter to win the discovery set by\ Rosie Jane below as well as a full size fragrance!
Raw Spirit- (Cruelty Free, All fragrances are vegan except for Mystic Pearl and Midnight Pearl, pearl can't be classified as vegan)
Perfume Type- These come in Eau De Parfum and rollerballs as well. They also offer a sample set that includes 5 different fragrances for $15.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1 oz. spray or in a .25 oz rollerball. They also carry luxury sizes that are 3.4 oz.
How Does It Wear- It wears well. It is stronger at first but then as you wear it the scent dissipates and it gets more subtle.
Scents- There collection comes in 10 different scents categorized by floral, fresh and warm. I tried the Mystic Pearl scent. It has notes of jasmine, pearl, Frangipani, cinnamon, coconut and clove. I love how it felt very similar to a conventional fragrance. You don't feel like your sacrificing. The Mystic Pearl smells florally but very rich at the same time. They also offer a fragrance guide to find your perfect scent. Check it out here.
Review- I love how they categorize their scents from floral, fresh and warm. It helps you to pick a scent based off the categories and really find something you love. It seems like a very full bodied perfume versus others natural fragrance favorites I've tried. A good crossover for someone just switching from conventional perfume. They also have a sampler collection for $15 as well. Check out all their scents here!
Ellis Brooklyn is one of my favorite natural fragrance picks!
Perfume Type- They come in Eau De Parfum and in smaller sprays, as well as rollerballs.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1.7 oz. spray or in a .33 oz spray and 6ml rollerballs. They also offer recyclable packaging.
How Does It Wear- I love this natural fragrance! I want to try more from Ellis Brooklyn. It isn't overpowering but more complex. I could still faintly smell it at the end of the day but not overwhelming.
Scents- Ellis Brooklyn has 11 scents. I sampled SALT and I love it! It's a salty sensual fragrance as the name suggests, with hints of sandalwood, vegan ambergris, Tahitian tiare and musk. I'm a fan and want to try all of their scents!
Review- I was so impressed with Ellis Brooklyn. I knew I had to add them in to my natural fragrance favorites post. They really have gone the extra mile from formula to packaging and ethos. I love how thoughtful they are in their process. They feel very modern and current. I love their packaging and overall vibe. They offer so many discovery sets where you can easily sample the perfumes. This is one brand that is making waves! Check out their scents here.
Perfume Type- They come in Eau De Parfum and in smaller sprays.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1.7 oz. spray or in a .27 oz spray. They also offer recyclable packaging. No single use packaging.
How Does It Wear- Wears so well. Not an overwhelming scent. It slowly evaporates the more you wear it.
Scents- They offer 8 scents. All inspired by nature. I found myself being drawn to them, they were enticing and sensual. These are hands down my favorite scents that my husband wears. He tried all their scents and his favorites are Mojave and Big Sky. Big Sky reminds us both of Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio…that was my hub's fave back in the day.
Review- Although these are unisex perfumes I didn't love any for me personally. But that's me! I'm drawn more to sweet, musky and hints of floral. But my hub's loved them and I love them on him. They offer an exploration set of all 8 of their scents. Such a great deal and way to try them all. That's what we did and I highly recommend. It's an easy way to really get to know the whole fragrance line without committing to just one scent at the beginning. Check out the discovery set here and their full size here!
Perfume Type- They come in Eau De Parfum and in smaller sprays, as well as perfume sprays and balms.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1 oz. spray or in a 10ml oz spray. They also offer smaller sample sets as well.
How Does It Wear- These do fade after a couple of hours. You can still have a subtle hint of the scent at the end of the day but it's very mild overall.
Scents- They offer 5 scents. They're all made from essential oils, no synthetics at all. The scents are reminiscent of California. My favorite scents are Huntington and Yucca Valley. They both offer a more complex scent even though they contain just essential oils. I feel like I'm not just wearing straight essential oils which is refreshing!
Review- These are a great option for anyone who wants the most natural approach to fragrance and still wants something that offers a bit more complexity. Check them out here!
One of the best in natural fragrances!
Perfume Type- They come in Eau De Parfum and in smaller sprays, as well as perfume oils.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1.7 oz. spray or in a 6ml oz spray. They also offer smaller perfume oils in 15 ml or a discovery set of 4 bottles in 3ml bottles. They use 100% recycled fiberboard and FSC certified paper in all of their gift boxes. They don't use any toxic coating on their papers and utilize soy ink. Their boxes are completely recyclable. They also are very aware of plastic consumption and limit it wherever possible.
How Does It Wear- It's a good wear. It's stronger at first, a little too much for me but my hubs loves it, then it slowly fades as you wear it and evens out. I prefer lighter scents overall.
Scents- They offer 5 Eau De Parfum scents and then 5 perfume oils. My husband's favorite scent is the Antidris Cassis Perfume Oil. It has a blend of black pepper, bergamot, and cassis. It also has notes of white rose, oakmoss, tonka and musk. He also likes the Vallee de Farney scent. This has notes of grapefruit, black pepper, orange, cedarwood, patchouli, and geranium. It also have base notes of amber, musk and vetiver. I preferred the bois de balincourt perfume oil and the kandilli perfume oil. They seemed more feminine in my opinion and a little softer overall.
Review- These are more earthy scents in my opinion. A little stronger at first but then fade. It you like earthy raw scents these would be perfect. I love that these come in sample sets as well. Makes it so easy to try the products and really see what you will love. Check them out here!
Perfume Type- They come in Eau De Parfum and in smaller sprays, as well as roll on perfume, hair and body mist, solid perfume, and travel size perfume.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1 oz. spray. Their hair and body mist comes in a 6.5 oz bottle and their roll on perfume comes in .33 fl oz. Their solid perfume comes in .25 oz.
How Does It Wear- It's a good wear. It definitely is stronger at first but then fades quicker than other natural fragrances I've tried. It's not as long lasting like some of the others.
Scents- They offer so many scents! The largest selection. Their newest scents are more complex and feel more like a sophisticated fragrance compared to their older more simple scents. Their Island Vanilla is a true vanilla perfume- if you love vanilla you will love this scent. If you're wanting something more complex I would opt for one of their new fragrances like Blue Moon, or Dream Moon.
Review- The beauty of Pacifica is that you can find their fragrances almost anywhere! From Target, to Whole Foods and other healthy retailers. They're also less expensive. While they do have a more teenage vibe to them, I think they can also work as a budget friendly option when swapping out your beauty products. I love that they are accessible and affordable! Two huge wins for natural fragrance. I also love how quick they were to respond to my enquiries and transparent. Check out all their scents here!
Perfume Type- These come in Eau De Parfum sprays.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1 oz. spray. You can also get a sample fragrance flight and try all four of their scents.
How Does It Wear- It's definitely a long wear. This stays on you forever. A little robust at first and then stays very steady throughout.
Scents- They offer 4 scents. I wasn't drawn to any of the fragrances for myself personally but my hub's liked them. He said he thought they were average. Not his absolute favorite. They smelled more woodsy to him and not as complex. His favorite scent is Amor Fati. I agree. They seem less full bodied. However, I wanted to include them because I know some people really love scents like that. Scent is so personal!
Review- These aren't my favorite but I wanted to include them because I think they do a great job of really being transparent with ingredients and while their scents didn't speak to us, they may speak to you. They are a more sophisticated fragrance overall and a little on the pricier side. Check out all their fragrances here!
PHLUR is changing the clean beauty scene with it's natural fragrances.
Perfume Type- These come in Eau De Parfum sprays.
Packaging- You can get the Eau De Parfum in a 1.7 oz. spray. You can also get a sample fragrance in 2 ml. They even have a travel size called the wanderer that is 5 ml. They also use vegetable based paint, FSC-certified boxes that are made from 100% post consumer cardboard and an opaque glass jar that helps protect their fragrances that is made from 20% recyclable glass.
How Does It Wear- These wear longer for sure- almost too long for my hubs and I. The scent was really strong for us both. So much so that my hubs ended up changing his shirt because it was too much. He said it's one of those perfumes you spray in front of you and then walk through!
Scents- They offer 10 scents. Everything from a minimalistic scent to a more bright and poppy scent. I love that they offer a large selection. They also offer fragrance discovery sets as well. We did the fragrance discovery. I didn't love any of the scents for myself but for my hubs I loved Ameline and Hanami. But even then he didn't love them. We need to try more scents to see what we think.
Review- These are a great swap from conventional fragrance to a natural fragrance. They have the same feel as a traditional fragrance but without the added harmful ingredients. I like that they offer a travel size as well so it makes taking your fragrance with you wherever you go so easy. Check out all of PHLUR here!
Perfume Type- These come in glass spray bottles or rollerball.
Packaging- You can get the spray in a 15 ml spray. You can get the rollerball in 5 ml.
How Does It Wear- These don't last as long since they are compromised of only essential oils and no natural fragrance or synthetic components. However, the bottles are small enough to take with you wherever you go to quickly re-apply.
Scents- They offer 3 scents. My favorite is Sundays. It's a blend of Jasmine Grandiflorum, Jasmine Sambac, Ginger Lily, Sandalwood, Frankincense. I'm a sucker for frankincense and sandalwood always! This scent is light but soothing.
Review- I have been a fan of these scents for 5 years. They are simple and clean. With the ingredients being only organic grape alcohol, organic and wildcrafted essential oils, absolutes and C02 extracts, this blend is as basic and minimal as you get in clean beauty. If you like to stick with essential oils, this is a great option. Check them out here!
*I love Josh Rosebrook products but his Enfleuria perfume(he only has one perfume) wasn't something I jived with. It was too strong for me overall. It's made entirely of essential oils, so no synthetics in it all but it still was too much overall and not something I loved wearing. But you may love it and I know some people who do! Check it out here.
*I love Leahlani products but the Leahlani Bless fragrance oil is too strong for me and too floral. The scent is very much reminiscent of being in Hawaii with notes of citrus blossoms and sweet tansy. I like florals but this is an overwhelming floral scent. I prefer something a little lighter when it comes to floral scents. But again, you may love it! I know people who do. She just uses essential oils- no synthetics. Check it out here!
*I wanted to include Skylar in my review because I get asked about them so often. While they are clean, I didn't love any of the scents I tried and neither did my hubs and we tried them all. They didn't seem very complex and more flat. I wasn't impressed. However, as I've mentioned over and over again in this post fragrance is such a personal preference and what one person may not like, you may love and vice versa. Check them out here!
What is your favorite natural fragrance?
If you liked this post on natural fragrance favorites, check out past posts below:
Sharing all my natural fragrance favorites on the blog.
Sit back, grab yourself a beverage as I share with you my natural perfume and fragrance post I've been working on for what seems like forever…no joke. This is a meaty one and a hard egg to crack. I get asked the question all the time. What is a good natural perfume and fragrance? If only it were so easy to just give an answer. I wish it was as simple as natural fragrance and conventional fragrance. That it was black and white. But it's not- not in the fragrance world. This is the final frontier in the natural beauty space and there is still much work to be done.
I wrote my first natural perfume and fragrance post 5 years ago. Back then it seemed very black and white to me. Don't use anything with the word fragrance on the label I thought. Just look for essential oils. Anything with the word fragrance on a label is bad and can harm you…or so I thought. Fast forward 5 years and things look different in the natural perfume and fragrance world. It's actually a good different. A subtle change has been sweeping over the fragrance industry. One might think it slow and minimal but if you peel back the layers of the fragrance industry then you'll realize how monumental any change is at all.
The final frontier in clean beauty- fragrance!
Fragrance In Products
Have you ever looked on the back of a label for any product? If you have then you've probably seen the word fragrance listed on the back. These days it's in everything from shampoos, body wash, body lotion, makeup, facial oils, baby products, candles, even trash bags are now scented! It's safe to say we live in a world obsessed with scent. The crazy part about it all is some products even claim to be unscented, yet still have fragrance in them…I'm looking at you Neutrogena. They basically mask the product to make it smell like nothing, yet it still smells like something…yeah sketchy huh? I've found you need to look for fragrance free to truly get a scent that is free of any fragrance or perfume and even then always check the label.
According to the FDA,
Even some products labeled “unscented” may contain fragrance ingredients. This is because the manufacturer may add just enough fragrance to mask the unpleasant smell of other ingredients, without giving the product a noticeable scent. (1)
Fragrance in Cosmetics versus fragrance in other products. Often you hear the word fragrance tossed around and it seems like the same thing but applied to many different products.
Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs stated that fragrance in cosmetics and fragrance in cleaners are often very much the same. (2)
Technically there is a difference in regulations when it comes to fragrance in cosmetics versus fragrance in your laundry soap, candle, etc. However, it is very much the same overall, just different regulating bodies. Fragrance in cosmetics are regulated by the FDA- these products include anything you would apply to your body, from foundation, body wash, after shave, etc. Fragrance found in laundry soap is regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This would include products like, room spray, dryer sheets, carpet cleaners, etc. (3)
And when I say regulated, I use that word very loosely…
To first understand natural perfume and fragrance one must understand the fragrance industry in general. This is an industry that isn't regulated by the government like one might think. Here is a direct quote from the FDA's website:
“If a cosmetic is marketed on a retail basis to consumers, such as in stores, on the Internet, or person-to-person, it must have a list of ingredients. In most cases, each ingredient must be listed individually. But under U.S. regulations, fragrance and flavor ingredients can be listed simply as “Fragrance” or “Flavor.” (3)
So in essence when you see the word “fragrance” on a label of a product there could be dozens and dozens of other ingredients in it as well- and more like hundreds to be exact. A company does not have to disclose their exact ingredients in their fragrance since it is looked at as “trade secret” by the Food and Drug Administration.
Sharing all you need to know about the fragrance industry.
What's Wrong With Fragrance?
You might think what's all the fuss about? Fragrance is fragrance- it makes things smell good. Well, it's actually a pretty big deal. As more and more people are being diagnosed with allergies, sensitivities, respiratory issues, nervous system damage, kidney damage, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and inflammation in the intestine- just to name a few…it starts to be a big deal. There's a lot lurking in that word fragrance that may be affecting our entire bodies. I think it's time we peel back the layers that have been so cautiously protected all these years and see fragrance for what it truly is. (9)
So how did the fragrance industry get away with not having to disclose their fragrance ingredients? They've been protected from sharing through the Fair Packaging Labeling Act law of 1966. This law protects companies beloved fragrance blends. They didn't want someone being able to copy their scent back in the day so this law was made. Unfortunately, it's been a big loop hole that companies are able to use to cram a ton of ingredients into and not disclose what's actually in the product other than simply listing the word fragrance. That's a lot of extra ingredients that aren't being clearly labeled and open for the consumer to see. Have you heard of Chanel No. 5? I'm sure you have. Well have you ever thought to ask what makes up Chanel No. 5? What are they putting in the formula to get it to smell like Chanel No. 5? Wouldn't it be nice to look at a label and know everything the product had in it when it comes to the word fragrance? Some companies have stepped up to the plate and are actively disclosing that information now- others are still holding on to their beloved scents. (4)
No one is regulating fragrance- but you!
The fragrance houses really rule the roost when it comes to transparency. What is a fragrance house? Good question. A fragrance house is where the magic happens so to speak. A perfume designer mixes the scents together from raw materials and makes a scent blend. Then that scent is distributed to companies who purchase it and then sell it to you and I. Say you have a brand of perfume you love, well they probably purchased that from a fragrance house. The fragrance house doesn't have to disclose their ingredients or formulation to the brand. They share what notes or scents they use but they don't share specifics. This is to protect the scent. Therefore the brand can't disclose the exact ingredients to the consumer. There may be times where the fragrance house will disclose the full ingredient list to the brand but then the brand is not allowed to share the information with the consumer. As you can see, getting true transparency of a product can be complicated when it comes to fragrance. Since companies are not required by law to disclose- they don't. (5)
This makes it hard for a consumer who wants full transparency. If you're like me then you're also wanting to know if your fragrance has synthetics in it, natural fragrance, phthalates, petrochemicals, etc. Fortunately brands are starting to share more and more as consumers have started to ask questions and push back. This is truly the best way to create change! The more brands get feedback and demands from the consumer, the more they will push against the fragrance houses. The more the fragrance houses are pushed, the more they will hopefully be led to change and start to be more transparent. We are the change! If the market increasingly wants natural perfume and fragrance with full transparency that is what eventually will be available. Never think your voice doesn't count- it does! (5)
Many fragrance brands look to IFRA The International Fragrance Association. Their mission is to supply safe fragrance ingredients for people's use. They have a set of standards that brands can use as a guide. However, this is not a regulating body. As Nicole, a reproductive and environmental health scientist said,
They form the basis for the globally accepted and recognized risk management system for the safe use of fragrance ingredients and are part of the IFRA Code of Practice. This is the self-regulating system of the industry, based on risk assessments carried out by an independent Expert Panel. (9)
This is a voluntary association a brand can use to have a set of standards to follow when creating their natural fragrances.
I'm going to check you into natural perfume and fragrance school. Get cozy I'm compiling months and months worth of info. into one post to hopefully make it easy to understand for you.
There are a lot of ingredients you want to avoid in conventional fragrance.
Ingredients to avoid in fragrance(short list):
These are just a few of the heavy hitters when it comes to fragrance. I also want to point out that a lot of larger fragrance brands produce their perfumes on a mass scale and have been known to cut corners when it comes to fragrance to save on costs. While smaller indie brands are much more in tune with the overall process of their perfume. That's why I encourage you to support the smaller indie brands. Not only are they blazing the trail for thoughtful consumption but their products often are cleaner in general.
- Phthalates(DEP-Diethyl Phthalate)- These can be in perfume and fragrance to help make the scent last longer. They have been shown to have a negative impact on the human body. Phthalates have been linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive problems and asthma and allergies. (6)
- Styrene- This has been documented as a human carcinogen. (8)
- Benzaldehyde- A known narcotic, lung and eye irritant. Can cause nausea, kidney damage and abdominal pain.
- Camphor- Known to cause dizziness, nausea, muscle twitching and convulsions.
- Ethyl acetate- Known to cause eye and respiratory irritation.
- Benzyl acetate- Known carcinogen, causes lung and eye irritation and coughing.
- Musk Ketone- A skin irritant and hormone disruptor. (8)
To begin all fragrances aren't necessarily bad. If you see the word fragrance on a label that doesn't mean it's harmful. Not every fragrance that is synthetic is filled with carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins. Just because it's made in a lab and not a straight essential oil doesn't mean it's full of toxins. There are safe synthetics! Yes, I know crazy but it's true. So now you might be thinking, “How do I know if it's a safe synthetic or not?” This is where it can be tricky and not black or white. (5)
When you see fragrance on a label it's impossible to know what's in that word fragrance(remember as I stated above the word fragrance can contain hundreds of ingredients according to Federal Law) unless you actually know that brand, have asked them about their processes and can vouch for their safety. You have to dig a little deeper. If you're asking a large brand like Estee Lauder for example what's in their fragrance you're probably not going to get very far unfortunately. The larger companies are still pretty tight lipped about their formulations. However, smaller Indie brands for the most part are pretty transparent. Since they're smaller it's going to be easier to find someone to communicate with. They're also typically a newer brand that understands the importance of consumer transparency in the industry today. (5)
Breaking down what types of natural fragrance there are.
I want to break down some labels for you to understand the fragrance world a little better.
Essential Oils- Fragrance that uses just pure essential oils that have either been steam extracted or distilled and not altered in anyway. (8)
Natural Fragrance- Aromatic raw materials. These chemicals are physically isolated and derived from natural compounds. Then put together to create a scent. To put it simply, a natural fragrance is derived from a natural ingredient but then it's altered because the fragrance is assimilated in a lab. Natural fragrance can have a combination of essential oils, resins, distillates, fractions and isolates. (8)
Synthetic Fragrance- These are made in a laboratory and typically are made using petroleum byproducts, however many are made now not using petroleum byproducts and therefore are deemed safe synthetics. (8)
A natural perfume or fragrance can include isolates, waxes, essential oil blends, resins and absolutes. When you smell natural perfume or fragrance you often don't feel that initial “bam” in your face scent like you might get from a synthetic fragrance. Natural perfume and fragrance is more subtle overall. It also has a shorter wear time compared to conventional perfume because it doesn't have phthalates to help hold the scent longer. (8)
To create a natural fragrance they have to extract the natural component. Formulators do this through:
- Steam Distillation- This is where steam is passed through the plant and the remnants are collected after. This is used for essential oil fragrances. (5)
- Cold Pressing- Plants are placed in a spiked container and slowly pressed to extract their essential oil which is then collected. (5)
- Refining- This uses a solvent to break down the ingredient and release the scent. (5)
- RBD- Refining bleaching and deodorizing in order to release scent. (5)
- Expeller Pressing- This uses a mechanical heat process to extract the scent from the plant or seed. (5)
Once a fragrance is extracted from a compound it is put with either an oil, alcohol or wax to make a perfume. (5)
By Rosie Jane is one of my favorite natural fragrance retailers!
I wanted to to hear directly from a natural perfume formulator, someone who is on the front lines when it comes to natural fragrance and perfume. I was able to hear from Rosie Jane Johnston, founder of by\ Rosie Jane- a natural perfume brand based in Los Angeles. She epitomizes natural fragrance and is really paving the way for other brands to step up to the plate. Her products are free of phthalates, parabens, musk ketones, and endocrine disruptors. The brand also has 100% recyclable packaging, uses vegetable based inks and sustainable paper, no single-use plastics, and is vegan and cruelty-free. She really takes it to the next level with her ingredient transparency too. On her site she lists botanicals she uses in her formulations, as well as the safe synthetics and what they're rated on the EWG. I LOVE this! We need to support more businesses that are being fully open and transparent- this is the future. I asked her a series of questions, you can read her answers below. (8)
Q&A With by\ Rosie Jane Founder:
- How to tell what's in the word fragrance? Do consumers have to just call a brand now to find out? (I know the government doesn't regulate this term) This is a bit tricky, brands are not required to release the full ingredients of fragrance as its considered “trade secret”. My advice would be to only buy from brands that publish their full ingredients list, Like By Rosie Jane. Ha!
- Ingredients to avoid in fragrance? Is there an ingredient list that consumers should look for to know what to avoid? (I know there are some obvious ones like phthalates and petrochemicals but are there others that are more concrete) Some others ones to stay away from are Styrene and musks, specifically polycyclic and Nitromusk. Musks build up in your system and are one of the worst hormone disruptors. They are also a major environmental impactor. Polluting water supplies, fish and so much more. In other words they are VERY bad. You might see it listed as Musk Ketone.
- What is considered a safe synthetic? Is it because it doesn't contain phthalates or petrochemicals or other harmful ingredients? Yes that’s right. A safe synthetic typically means in everyday terms “made in a lab” with products not found or harvested from nature and completely non-toxic. Methyl Benzoate is a great example. We use this safe synthetic to give a beautiful fruity/sweet note in our Angie fragrance.
- How are natural fragrances made? I've read it's through steam distillation, cold pressing, RBD, Expeller pressing and isolates? These are all correct. It depends on what your are trying to extract an oil from. Some plants give more from steam while others are better cold pressed etc. Its not super complicated just time consuming. Ha!
Shop by\ Rosie Jane fragrances 7-Day Detox Fragrance Discovery Set here!
Fragrance differs from person to person.
Just Because It's Natural, Doesn't Make It Right For You
There's also just fragrance preference that varies from person to person.
As Nicole, a reproductive and environmental health scientist said, “Sometimes a fragrance can be completely fine and not harmful but it could just not jive with you.” Just because something isn't harmful doesn't mean it works for everyone. (9)
Fragrance is a very personal thing. For some people any fragrance at all can be assaulting and too much. Even essential oils can be offensive for some people and they are as “natural” as you get when it comes to fragrance. That's where personal preference comes in. Everyone has a different tolerance level when it comes to fragrance.
You can also check out larger clean beauty retailers like Credo Beauty who have done the leg work for you! I applaud them for taking a higher road when it comes to fragrance transparency. They have tackled the complex world of natural fragrance and have created a simple system to allow consumers the opportunity to shop natural fragrance and know exactly what's in their formulation. They do this by holding brands to a higher standard through having them categorize their fragrances into one of the categories: Fragrance Free, Essential Oils, Certified Organic, Natural, Naturally-Derived and Synthetic.
This makes it so easy for a consumer to know what type of fragrance their using from the start. Perhaps you can't even do fragrance at all? You will know what product is fragrance free right away because of Credo Beauty's Fragrance Transparency Policy. Credo didn't stop there. They asked each of the 120 brands they carry to disclose all of their fragrance ingredients. 71 of the 120 brands said yes and have actively disclosed what they put in their products. This is a huge win for natural beauty! Not only does it call brands higher but it creates transparency like we've never had in the natural beauty industry or the natural perfume and fragrance industry. Our voices are being heard!
This really means big things. Instead of companies secretly using harmful ingredients they will now think twice because they know they have to list each ingredient on the label. It raises the bar and creates a higher standard for fragrance and product formulation in general. I wanted to note that if you do still see the word fragrance on a clean label at Credo Beauty you can reference their website for the full list of ingredients in that word. (10)
This is just the beginning of ingredient transparency. The more we raise our voice and continue asking the important questions, the more change will take place.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Ok, if you made it to the bottom of this post then you are a rockstar! I wanted to keep this post as concise as possible but also give you all the information you need to make an informed decision when it comes to natural perfume and fragrance. It can seem like the wild, wild west but it doesn't have to be. Arming yourself with knowledge is the best way to know what you are buying as you purchase natural perfume and fragrance.
Here are some tips when shopping for natural perfume and fragrance:
- When you see fragrance or perfume on the label of any product, look for parentheses to see if there are ingredients listed after it. If there aren't, reach out to the company and ask them for their full ingredient list. If they choose not give it to you, then keep looking for other natural perfumes or fragrances. There are so many that are actively wanting to disclose their fragrance now, support them! If a company is not willing to disclose then that is a red flag. Use my ingredient cheatsheet above to ask companies about their ingredients when vetting natural perfumes/fragrances.
- If you want to shop with ease, then check out companies like Credo Beauty who have done the leg work for you when it comes to vetting natural perfumes and fragrances. They have made it so easy to shop with peace of mind knowing exactly what is in your perfume with their Fragrance Transparency Policy. Shop all of Credo Beauty here.
- Support transparency! The only way companies are going to keep evolving and being more transparent is if we the consumers ask for it. Call companies and ask for ingredient lists, buy from small indie brands that are being transparent, this will create change for more open conversations and dialogue that eventually leads to lasting change.
- Stay Tuned as I release my full natural perfume and fragrance faves blog post tomorrow! I'll be sharing all my top favorites that I've vetted and where to shop.
Did you learn something? What are your biggest takeaways when it comes to natural perfume and fragrance?
If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts below:
- U.S. Food And Drug Administration, 2020, August 24, FDA.gov, https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/fragrances-cosmetics
- Hickey, H., 2008, July 23, washington.edu, Toxic Chemicals Found In Common Scented Laundry Products, Air Fresheners, https://www.washington.edu/news/2008/07/23/toxic-chemicals-found-in-common-scented-laundry-products-air-fresheners/
- U.S. Food And Drug Administration, 2020, August 24, FDA.gov, https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/fragrances-cosmetics#labeling
- Scientific American, 2012, September 29, scientificamerican.com, Scent of Danger: Are There Toxic Ingredients In Perfumes and Colognes, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/toxic-perfumes-and-colognes/
- Corley, J., (2021, January 27). Personal Interview. Chief Sales Officer, Custom Essence Inc. President Natural Fragrance Division.
- Environmental Working Group. Cheatsheet: Phthalates. 2008, May 5. egg.org, https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2008/05/cheatsheet-phthalates
- Delaunay, M., (2020, October 5). Personal Interview. Founder/CEO Delaunay Aroma Solutions, LLC.
- Johnston, R., (2020, February 11). Personal Interview. Founder Natural Perfume by Rosie Jane.
- Acevedo, N., (2020, October 27). Personal Interview. Reproductive and Environmental Health Scientist.
- Davis, M., (2020, September 30). Personal Interview. Director Environmental and Social Responsibility at Credo Beauty.
Sharing all you need to know about natural perfume/fragrance on the blog.