The following message may be a day-dampener. However, it's an important one: Your favorite perfume might be housing some less-than-lovely ingredients. In fact, many of these ingredients have no business being spritzed on your wrists, your pillow, or behind the nape of your neck. Why, you ask? Well, as we've discussed before and as Scientific American states, there are plenty of popular perfumes on the market containing petroleum-derived ingredients and dozens more potentially dangerous chemicals and synthetics like phthalates, which are used to make plastics more flexible and are known hormone disruptors. To make matters worse, the publication reports that in order to protect industry "trade secrets," fragrance companies aren't actually forced to disclose their entire formulation. Ever wonder what "fragrance" even means on your cosmetics ingredients list? Therein lies the "secrets". Eek.
On the bright side, there has been an influx of natural perfumes recently that are not only non-toxic and non-secretive in formulation but that are actually delectably scented too. Some natural fragrances even get the organic stamp of approval, meaning they are certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be free of harmful petrochemicals, solvents, dyes, alcohol, and pesticides, and are certified vegan by PETA. And while some natural perfumes can admittedly veer a bit earthy and pungent, there are plenty that we would (and do!) spritz all day long. Keep reading for seven of the best natural perfumes that get the Byrdie stamp of approval.
Lake and Skye 11 11 Eau de Parfum
When it comes to fragrance, sometimes the simplest ingredients make for the sweetest scents. Take Lake and Skye's best-selling scent, "11 11," which is a bold, unisex number that expertly melds musky white ambers to create a straightforward yet ethereal and uplifting result.
When PHLUR first landed on the desk of our beauty editor, it was made abundantly clear that we'd never look at perfume the same way again. Not only are the scents luxurious and expensive-smelling (while being surprisingly affordable), the brand is reimagining the perfume industry by proving toxic and hidden ingredients have no place in fine fragrances. Created by world-class perfumers, the brand touts radical transparency and thoughtfully combines skin- and planet-friendly botanical and safe synthetic ingredients with sustainable packaging. The brand's best-seller you ask? A gorgeous concoction of fig, white florals, and sandalwood, called Hanami.
Heretic Midnight Toker
Heretic kicks it old-school and uses the processes of perfumers past—aka, before synthetics hit the scene—and they keep it natural with essential oils and absolutes blended in organic grape and sugarcane alcohols. As one of their best-sellers, Midnight Toker deserves the hype. Infused with 150mg of full-spectrum CBD oil, warm nutmeg, pepper, amber, and vanilla, this calming scent is as soothing as it is sensual—a sexy '60s hippie, if you will.
Pour le Monde Together
Natural is an understatement for Pour le Monde. As one of the few fragrance companies bestowed with a B Corp certification, the brand has met the B Lab's strict standards regarding social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. All Pour le Monde fragrances are 100% natural and made with sustainably harvested ingredients. One whiff of their Together scent will stir up light and happy feelings with uplifting lemon and bergamot, and romantic jasmine and violet.
DedCool Fragrance 03 "Blonde" Eau de Parfum
We'll put it this way: DedCool isn't your run-of-the-mill perfume. Instead, it's unisex, vegan, cruelty-free, and nontoxic—and virtually every scent by the brand smells divine. We've been having a moment with its Number 03 iteration in particular; an intriguing concoction of saffron, violet, crystal rose, and blonde woods.
Saffron is a flower plant-derived spice that is used as a seasoning as well as an ingredient in beauty products and perfume.
Kai Perfume Oil
A classic light floral aroma—minus the parabens, sulfate, phthalate, and phosphate. Founder Gaye Straza strived to capture childhood memories of Hawaiian vacations and did just that with a fresh blend of white gardenia and clean florals. The travel-sized vial can chill conveniently in your bag ready to provide an on-the-go refresher.
Skylar Eau de Toilette in Isle
We've already sung this natural perfume's praises, but that will never stop us from continuing to shout our love from the rooftop. Developed by Cat Chen, a former executive at The Honest Company, Skylar gifts the fragrance-obsessed with clean, luxe-smelling perfumes without any funny business like harmful chemicals. Isle is a team favorite perfume and delivers a whiff of vacation (aka citrus, bergamot, cardamom, and sandalwood) with each and every spritz.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit that is used in many perfumes and oils, and gives off a warm, zesty aroma.
Abbott NYC Crescent Beach Eau de Parfum
A unisex fragrance to be enjoyed by everyone, this scent recreates Long Island summers of flowers and ocean breeze. A masterful blend of peony, lily, amber, and oceanic notes will have the wearer smelling like wind on a beach—the kind of clean breeze that carries the scent of neighboring gardens and saltwater with it.
Strange Invisible Perfumes Aquarian Rose
Ever wanted to smell exactly like your favorite flower? Thanks to Strange Invisible Perfumes' hydro-distilling method, you totally can. Instead of trying to recreate botanical scents with synthetics, these perfumers extract the true aroma from real flowers. The certified organic fragrances are made with custom-distilled pesticide-free Napa Valley grape alcohol and all-natural botanical extracts. This particular number is fresh with bright rose and warm marjoram, sandalwood, and orange.
Honoré des Prés Love Coconut Eau de Parfum
Before we smelled this natural perfume, we easily lumped coconut into the category of scents that lived and died with all our other high school favorites (back then our MO was the more saccharine, the better.) However, this isn't your average coconut. Though coconut milk is one of the predominant notes, it's skillfully balanced with earthy fare like coriander leaf, tonic bean, vanilla bourbon, and white cedar to spark your nose's interest.
Scent-Organix I Am Bright
This tropical scent will envoke visions of island life with notes of pineapple, coconut, and tiare flower. Scent-Organix is committed to sustainable scents that are skin-safe, vegan, biodegradable, and made without phthalates, sulfates, or parabens. Bonus—the alcohol used in their formulas is 100% derived from sugar cane.
Good Chemistry Queen Bee Eau de Parfum
We know how pricey perfume can be, so if you're looking for a budget-friendly option, this Target-exclusive scent is your answer. Not only is this perfume just under $25, but it has the intoxicatingly divine notes of black currant, peony, and amber.
By Rosie Jane James
This top-rated perfume is a floral obsessive's dream: it contains the light notes of gardenia, plus hints of fig and amber to give this scent a more mature profile. Plus, it's one of Sephora's top-rated perfumes with a Clean at Sephora seal of approval.
Fresh Sugar Lychee
A refreshing citrus sweetness is all in a good mix of grapefruit, lemon, mango, and lychee. This tropical concoction is energizing and playful without being overbearing. If a childhood lemonade stand could be bottled, it would be Sugar Lychee.
Lavanila Pure Vanilla
Lavanila labels itself as "the healthy fragrance" and for good reason. Not only is this perfume free of skin-scary ingredients, but it's actually full of nourishing antioxidants to soothe and calm the skin while delivering a delicious aroma of Pure Madagascar Vanilla. Each scent is made from pure essential oils and organic sugar cane alcohol, which serves as a skin-softener and antiseptic.
Ellis Brooklyn SALT Eau de Parfum
Another Clean at Sephora select, this is a must-have scent for lovers of clean, creamy fragrances. Inspired by a memory of a day spent by the sea, SALT was created to embody the essence of salty skin under the sun with warm notes of tropical florals. The Ellis Brooklyn perfume is not only clean by Sephora's standards, but it's also vegan and certified cruelty-free by PETA.
Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt Perfume Oil
Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt is the woodsy musk of fresh forest rain in a bottle. A best-seller at Credo, also known as the largest clean beauty store on the planet (or so they claim), this vegan perfume oil is warm and earthy with a delectable blend of sandalwood, cedarwood, cinnamon nutmeg, and vetiver.
Unsurprisingly fresh, Fog balances vetiver wood and musk with light citrus top notes for a clean, everyday scent—just as the name might imply. Created by actress Michelle Pfeiffer, Henry Rose provides a full ingredient list for every product in the name of 100% transparency.
Non Gender Specific Flooid Fragrance
Flooid is as seductive as it is sustainable. The gender-neutral fragrance is sweet and earthy and comes in a glass jar with plantable, biodegradable tree-less paper packaging that's infused with non-invasive wildflower seeds. Bright top notes of citrus; mids of amber and patchouli; and cedarwood, pine bark, and moss base notes make for a seriously delicious and soothing signature scent that lasts all day.
The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods Eau de Parfum
If making a difference—and smelling amazing while you're at it—is a high priority, you're going to fall fast in love with The 7 Virtues. Each of their hypoallergenic perfumes' natural ingredients are sourced from different countries like Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, Madagascar, India, and Egypt to help farmers rebuild after war or conflict. Warm and spicy Vanilla Woods is rich with Madagascar vanilla, pear, rose, and amber, and will last all day thanks to a higher concentration of fragrance oils.