The best all-natural fragrances that you’ve (probably) never heard of

Just like everybody goes through phases of indulgent eating (i.e. when you mentally calculate what you consumed for the day and realize it was all beige… oops!), then followed by weeks of being healthy again, I do the same thing with beauty.

WUT? Lemme explain. Even though I’ll never be able to give up my favourite non-natural prodz—YSL lip gloss, Make Up For Ever blush, Bobbi Brown Beach fragrance, for starters—periodically, I feel compelled to put them away for a while and rotate through my natural and organic alternatives. (This revelation probabaly won’t be a surprise to you if you read this recent post.)

What triggered it this time around was reading a article on Toronto-based holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy’s blog about why you should avoid “toxic” perfume and cologne. I’ve interviewed Joy in the past and I’m kind of obsessed with her approach to nutrition. (Is she an advertisement for what she eats or what?! Girl is gorrrrgeous.) Anyway, when I happened upon a beauty-related post as I made my way through her archives, OF COURSE I had to read it. I kinda already knew everything she’s saying—and yes, it IS quite worrisome that fragrance companies don’t have to list their ingredients because they’re considered trade secrets. Clearly, what they put in there isn’t always benign, because loads of scents immediately make me sneeze and/or give me terrible headaches.

That’s why I’m taking a bit of a break (for now) and dabbling in my somewhat extensive natural collection. These are all so good, you MUST acquaint yourself. And they’re niche! Which—because few other women will be wearing them—makes them even better.

Honoré des Prés Natural & Organic Perfumes

Honore des Pres fragrances The best all natural fragrances that youve (probably) never heard of

I haven’t tried all of these, but the one I have (Honoré’s Trip) was sitting on my shelf for I don’t know… six months?… before I realized Honoré des Prés was a natural fragrance brand. (Um yes, my office has a fragrance shelf. Some people have binders or picture frames. Me? I have beauty products.)

Anyway, the entire range is not only Ecocert-certified and 100 percent natural, but it’s also French! So there’s an element of luxury and style at play here… these are not Whole Foods perfumes if you get what I’m saying. The cutest part is that they come packaged in jam jars. Jam jars! If you like citrusy scents, then Honoré’s Trip is worth a go—it’s a blend of tangerine, orange and lemon with some spicy pepper. A great daytime option.

Tsi-La Organics Certified Organic and 100% Natural Perfumes

Tsi La Organics Mini Perfume Oils The best all natural fragrances that youve (probably) never heard of

Tsi-La has been around for some time now, and the second scent from the left—Fiori d’Arancio—is an old, old favourite of mine. I swear it’s my natural dupe for Anna Sui Secret Wish. So, a little citrus-like but with orange blossom, neroli and vanilla. Delish! Are you salivating yet?

The other options are great too, of course, and they’re available as roll-on oils that are super-handy for your purse. (Fiori d’Arancio comes in both oil and spray format.) All are extremely feminine—a lot of natural scents aren’t, mind you!—and quietly lovely. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like ‘em.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Organic Fragrances

LArtisan Parfumeur Cote dAmour The best all natural fragrances that youve (probably) never heard of

L’Artisan Parfumeur is best known for their mainstream scents, but did you know they created two organic ones? The first was Jatamansi, which I own but don’t wear all that much because it’s slightly on the masculine side. The second was this one, Côte d’Amour, which I bought myself (I’m spoiled so that rarely happens!) based purely on the description alone. All I had to read was this line: “Reminiscent of building sandcastles, shell collecting along the beach…” and they had me at hello.

So yes, I’m a huge beach scent girl, and if you are too, definitely check this one out. The notes include green tangerine, pink grapefruit, rosemary, dune immortal flower, cypress, gorse blossom, rose, broom, heather and maritime pine. You get the hit of saltiness and marine air, but without the synthetic chemical sunscreen smell that so many beach scents have. (Not that they don’t have a time and a place too, of course.)

Red Flower Organic Perfumes

Red Flower Guaiac The best all natural fragrances that youve (probably) never heard of

Red Flower is a NYC-based brand that came out with a trio of USDA-certified organic scents a few years back, and if you’ve been reading for a while you already know that I’m about to drone on about Guaiac. Simply put, there’s nothing like it. Famed fragrance critic Chandler Burr of The New York Times concurs: “Guaiac fragrance is one of the most exquisitely lovely perfumes you have ever smelled.”

If that doesn’t sell you already, then let me talk a little bit about the notes. Guaiac itself is a tropical tree native to South America, so it’s what gives this the unusual, very fresh and almost lemony quality. (Seriously though, you’ve smelled nothing like it. Promise.) The others include pink grapefruit, rose absolute, tobacco and citrus. I sometimes wear the other two scents they sell as well, but not as much as Guaiac. Both are nice though: Champa is a floral jasmine blend, while Ambrette is more musky and spicy.

Rich Hippie Organic Perfumes

Rich Hippie fragrance The best all natural fragrances that youve (probably) never heard of

Rich Hippie could possibly be one of my all-time favourite beauty concepts. I mean COME ON. Is the name not genius? And also the packaging? I want to be a rich hippie! (Not a stinky, unwashed one.)

The deal with these guys (who also make the body care line Nature Girl) is that everything is 100 percent natural and made using the traditional methods employed by perfumers before World War II and the advent of the chemical industry. I love it! They sell both perfume and eau de parfum versions—and unfortunately the latter does put the “rich” in Rich Hippie, since they cost $265 a piece. I have three of them: Flower Child, Bliss and what I’m guessing was the original, called Rich Hippie. It’s my fave because it’s heavy on the ylang ylang.

One thing to note with these ones is that they do smell very woodsy and essential oil-like. So if that’s not your thing, you’ll want to stick with more mainstream-style naturals.

Yosh Perfumes

Yosh fragrances The best all natural fragrances that youve (probably) never heard of

Yosh doesn’t claim to be specifically organic or natural, but I’m slipping them into this category because the line is all based on essential oils—and I’ve never once reacted to the oil that I own. I’ve had it for so long now that I don’t even know which particular scent it is, since there’s no label on the bottle. I think it might be Stargazer, but I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s so unique, in the same way as Red Flower’s Guaiac, that I can only imagine what the rest of the line is like.

Plus, if you’re into chakras and all that jazz, then you’ll love that these scents are fashioned with “energetic frequencies” in mind. Neat!

Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance

Lavanila Vanilla Grapefruit The best all natural fragrances that youve (probably) never heard of

Okay, I had to slip this one in here even though it’s not so niche (you’re most likely already heard of Lavanila, and you can buy the entire range at Sephora). They make a whole collection of vanilla-based scents with pure essential oils and apparently, 30 vitamins and minerals that must seep into your skin upon application.

They’re all okay, but Vanilla Grapefruit is outstanding. Really. if you’re not into the woodsy, natural types of scents then try this, because it stands up to any mainstream one. Remember my love for Pink Sugar? Well, this is kinda sorta a natural version—fruity and feminine and lately what I wear if I’m going out at night.

Tell me:

Are you a synthetic or natural fragrance wearer? (And would you ever give up the former for the latter?)
Have you tried any of these picks?
Do you have any other natural or organic scent faves that I didn’t mention?

11 Comments

Stefanie
Thursday, November 1/2012 at 4:13 pm

Love this! I’ve been looking for woodsy-essential-oil-y scents for a long time but am not very fragrance-savvy. Can you suggest anything like that (Rich Hippie sounds amazing but it’s wayyyyy out of my price range)?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, November 2/2012 at 1:17 pm

If you like woodsy then you would love Rich Hippie! The perfumes I have are $265 each (obnoxious I know) but they also sell eau de parfum versions for $48 which is much more reasonable. Haven’t tested but def worth a shot.

You might also like Red Flower and Yosh! They really have a distinctly different smell from chemical mainstream scents.

And if you want something super affordable I would look into Demeter Naturals. http://www.demeterfragrance.com/60870/Demeter-Naturals.html
Actually the entire line is 95% naturally derived and phthalate-free.

Let me know what you end up getting!

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Stefanie
Friday, November 2/2012 at 1:50 pm

Thanks so much for the recommendations, Michelle! Looking into all of them :)

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QuiteLight
Friday, November 2/2012 at 12:51 pm

Oooohhhh… I have been missing perfume so much lately! I am actually not allergic myself, but the Mr. is, my office-mates are & my workplace is fragrance-free, so I just… tapered off.

But no one has reacted even once to my essential oils, and I have been wondering what else is available; you are a freaking mind-reader! Thank you!

Reply

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, November 2/2012 at 1:20 pm

You’re welcome! :)

Yes, I think all of these would work just fine in a “fragrance-free” workplace. They wear so close to the body, and most are oils which don’t disperse that much by nature.

Let me know if you try any of these… it’s possibly my favourite beauty category!

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Steph
Saturday, March 9/2013 at 4:39 am

Love this! could you please help me and tell me whats the best floral smelling one? something similar to Flowerbomb by Victor and Rolf.

Thanks

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CourtlyScent
Tuesday, February 11/2014 at 3:25 pm

Love your post on natural perfumes and it’s right on time for my new obsession which costs a bit (love the rich hippy name..), but helps in keeping up my image of “CourtlyScent”. I’ve completely dumped my synthetics and switched to natural fragrances.. What i found hardest to do was to give my synthetics away, as I read about the messy chemicals that are put in them. Who would i want to burden with that?

My latest discovery is Profumo, a niche “tailor” in Italy with a jazzy French owner. My family got me the Heart of the Rose in September and since then I’ve been on a roll with their Scents of the Soul series http://profumo.it/perfume/index_anima.asp.

They offer a sampling box and I carry mine around to share with colleagues, friends and family. It’s not the cheapest hobby… but definitely worth the benefit of flowing through life with a smile on my face. My main recommendation for men and women is Tawaf and for women it’s Gypsy Queen (inspired by the main Diva in the opera Carmen…). I must confess (mea culpa) – that I love the latter scent a lot even though it’s the only scent made for women..

Anyway, best wishes from Europe, and if you have recent tips on Natural Perfumes (intentionally capitalized), please keep us in the loop.

Warmest wishes,
C

p.s. Personally, I love to wear Tawaf in the evenings, to mellow down on the stronger woody scents that i’ve used in the morning and to slide into the mood of relaxation and eventually dream state. I don’t know whether the website’s story about Mekka influenced me (see: http://profumo.it/natural-perfume/Tawaf/pid/5388), however, one of the evenings when I was about to do my evening meditation, I put on Tawaf before going to sleep. I dreamt of being with some people from Mekka who looked so incredibly beautiful that I was hoping for an invitation to Mekka… Maybe I’ll end up in Mecca, Making Tawaf together with my Tawaf bottle.

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CourtlyScent
Tuesday, February 11/2014 at 3:39 pm

p.s. Sea Wood by profumo scents sooo much like Gucci Envy for men

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Jennifer
Tuesday, March 4/2014 at 3:20 pm

Great topic! One more to add to the list ~ mine :) Drift Perfume. Handcrafted solid perfumes in *wooden* cases. We offer vegan liquid perfumes too (no beeswax). NO synthetic ingredients & very eco-friendly. And, we sell samples :) http://www.driftperfume.com

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Andy
Thursday, August 14/2014 at 11:50 pm

Is VOLUSPA candles natural?
I mean I prefer 100% natural candles.
could u recommends some candles in French?
They could so close to the body.

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Andy
Thursday, August 14/2014 at 11:51 pm

And I love your post so much!

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