Scents are very powerful. They can evoke powerful memories and bring us back to a very specific moment in our lives. As a young girl, I can remember the smell of my mother and grandmother’s perfume and waiting for the day when I could choose my very own fragrances to wear. Sadly though, many of the conventional perfumes that you find in department stores and beauty stores are filled with potentially harmful chemicals. We are thrilled today to have blogger, Trish, of Scent Hive guest posting for us on her experiences with natural perfumes, why they are better for your health and which brands she loves. Please read on below for Trish’s full post.
Written by Trish of Scent Hive for The Greenly Guide
Trish started to blog about natural perfumes and green beauty in 2009 as she began her transition to green products in her home. Scent Hive was born out of her desire to share her discoveries, and as a place to wax poetic about her love of natural fragrances. She has since branched out and started a YouTube channel that focuses on green beauty, but perfume will always remain her first true passion.
Trish lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two boys. She is also a nurse midwife and an avid tennis player.
Like many people who are drawn to perfume, my first experiences with fragrance began when I was young. My mom wore amazing scents like Chanel No 19, Diorissimo, and Rive Gauche, and I would help my dad perfume shop for her at Christmas. We would go to the department store together and test perfumes, trying to decide on the perfect one to place under the tree. I of course had to have perfumes of my own, and since I was a child of the 80’s I’ve worn some pretty big ones like Lauren, Coco and even Giorgio for a spell. But it wasn’t until the early 2000’s when I went on a trip to Hawaii that I truly fell down the rabbit hole of perfume obsession. Upon returning home, I desperately wanted to find the perfect plumeria perfume and began frequenting perfume blogs, forums, and Makeupalley to aid in my quest. Once I was introduced to that world, I became intrigued with all kinds of essences and had to smell them in whatever perfume captured my attention.
Around that same time I was “greening up” my skincare and household products, and started to delve into the natural perfume world as well. As the realm of eco perfume opened up in my life, I became very passionate about it and wanted share my discoveries and started my blog Scent Hive in 2009.
Everyone’s journey regarding their “shade of green” is so personal, but for me I have come to prefer natural perfumes for two reasons, the beauty they offer and the risks they don’t. Perfumes made from botanical essences (flowers, leaves, barks, rinds, and roots) feel nuanced, sensual and alive on my skin. The radiance of natural perfumes meld into my skin and integrate with my body chemistry but in an intimate way, as the fragrances typically stay close and only those very near me can sense their presence. In Essence and Alchemy, Mandy Aftel puts it beautifully when she writes,
Natural essences are the atoms of perfumery, the building blocks with which complex and evocative scents are created. They are, in a sense, substances in their most concentrated but least material form, containing the whole nature and perfection of the substances themselves. They possess a compressed vitality, a bioactive power that cannot be measured by chemical analysis but which manifests itself in their potent effect on our emotions and states of consciousness.
Mandy’s words eloquently express why natural essences are so very powerful and potent and why I continue to have my ongoing love affair with natural perfumes.
It also bears mentioning that natural perfumes don’t contain endocrine disrupting chemicals like phthalates or synthetic aromachemicals that come from petroleum, ingredients I choose to avoid. Unfortunately, both phthalates and aromachemicals are common in conventional perfumes (phthalates are what make them last for so long) and what is even more confusing, is there are many perfume and body care companies who claim to be natural but sadly use synthetic fragrance. So be sure to read ingredient labels carefully. If you see the word “fragrance” in the ingredient list with no clear explanation of its origin, then be skeptical. Sometimes you have to read between the lines and if the language is not straightforward, or the perfume is really inexpensive, it’s probably not 100% natural.
Which leads me to my favorite perfume brands, and the fact that they are not cheap! But truly natural fragrances that are made with high quality, organic or wildcrafted botanical ingredients are costly so the following perfumers’ creations do come with at a high price tag, but in my opinion, they merit the cost. I mentioned the author Mandy Aftel, and she also makes some of the most stunning and interesting perfumes you will come across. I have reviewed many of her perfumes over the years, but Vanilla Smoke and Amber Tapestry are two of her perfumes that would resonate with a lot of perfume lovers. She also makes luxurious facial elixirs (the Organic Jasmine Face Elixir is divine) as well as body oils and chef’s essences.
Another perfumer whose work I have been following for many years is Ayala Moriel of Ayala Moriel Parfums. She has so many perfumes to choose from that it can feel a little overwhelming, but her website is easy to explore so give yourself some time to peruse it and see if anything strikes your fancy. If I had to pick a few, Hanami, White Potion, and Fête d’Hiver are among my top choices from Ayala’s line.
Another perfumer that has impeccably high standards and offers gorgeous botanical perfumes is Roxana Villa of Illuminated Perfume. She creates liquid and solid perfumes and even keeps her own bees. She has recently created the most incredible Jasmine Sambac Hydrosol that has the potent effect on my emotions and state of consciousness that I referenced above from Essence and Alchemy. My favorites from Roxana include Mellifera, Chaparral, and Lyra. (If you are curious about any of the perfumes that I have mentioned, they have all been reviewed on my blog).
In closing I would like to say that these are only three natural perfumers that I have chosen to highlight, but there are so many out there doing great work. Providence Perfume Co, Hiram Green, Strange Invisible Perfumes, and Los Feliz Botanicals are some other perfume brands that make exceptionally beautiful all natural perfumes. There are so many to explore, and yes, my blog is a good place to start, but consider your journey more than doing research on the computer. Order samples, smell raw materials and swap perfumes with friends. Dive into this world and it will repay you in luxurious multitudes as “perfumistas” are known to be generous and overly exuberant about their olfactory hobby.
I hope this leads you to find some new favorite natural perfumes. I still have not found that elusive “perfect plumeria” perfume but I have found other fragrances that provide me moments of bliss. As Mandy Aftels says, “(Scent) allows us to experience life afresh, sets the imagination flowing. But as with any art, we must seek it out and welcome the transformation it allows.”
*All photos in this post are courtesy of and belong to Trish of Scent Hive.