14 Best Organic & Natural Perfumes, Rated by Beauty Experts
LAST UPDATED: 05/11/2019
Did you know that a spritz of perfume is all you need to relieve stress, elevate your mood, and reduce muscle tension? In fact, it has been proven that the fragrances we surround ourselves with on a daily basis have a tremendous impact on our psychological state (1). Want to feel sexy and confident? Relaxed and serene? Energized and happy? Want to be reminded of your favorite hike while you are at the office? Simply apply the right fragrance and take a big deep breath in whenever you need a pick-me-up.
If you want to elevate your perfume collection, try adding a natural perfume to the mix. Natural perfumes harness the power of real plant essences to create attractive, sensual, authentic scents. In this quick guide to natural perfumes, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about natural perfumes including how they are made, types of natural perfumes, and our top list of the best organic perfumes tested by our beauty experts.
How is Natural Perfume Made?
Natural perfume is made by extracting the essences, waxes, and essential oils from plant-based ingredients via two popular methods: the CO2 method (pressurized carbon dioxide is used to extract phytochemicals from plant parts) and the absolute method (a natural solvent is used to extract oil from the plant). Both of these methods are able to extract maximum fragrance in a safe manner.
The best organic perfumes will expertly combine unique, rare, and interesting plant oils and extracts within their formulas. Some of the most captivating scents include jasmine flowers, rose otto, orange blossom, cedarwood, tobacco, vetiver, vanilla, and neroli.
Once the essences are extracted, the scents are then combined with natural alcohols, waxes, or oil bases depending on the type of perfume being created.
Types of Natural Perfumes
- Spray Perfumes: Traditional spray or mist perfumes are typically made with organic alcohol as the base. Organic alcohol makes a great solvent for spray perfumes.
- Oil Perfumes & Roll Ons: Essential oils are often combined with unscented carrier oils (such as sunflower oil) to create a concentrated natural oil perfume. These perfumes can be dabbed onto the skin directly or applied via a roll-on ball.
- Perfume Balms & Solid Perfumes: Some natural perfumes are made by combining essential oils and plant extracts with a wax to form a solid perfume. Simply apply these perfume balms using your fingers like you would a lip balm.
Is Alcohol Safe?
When it comes to alcohol, you may be surprised to know that alcohol in perfumes does not have to be a bad thing. Organic alcohols are a byproduct of the essential oil process, and many natural perfumeries use organic alcohol as a safe foundation for their perfume. Alcohol is used in perfumes to help bond and mix the ingredients together while evaporating immediately when in contact with the skin, leaving only the fragrant ingredients.
How to Shop for Natural Perfumes?
The best way to find out if a perfume is truly all natural is to read the ingredient label. Unlike other kinds of beauty labels, a real natural perfume should be super easy to identify. Basically, you’ll want to look for simple, natural, and organic ingredients such as absolutes and CO2 extracts, essential oils, alcohol (such as grape alcohol), beeswax, and plant extracts (balsam, resin, etc.).
When it comes to ingredients to avoid be very careful to avoid phthalates (usually just called “parfum” or “fragrance” on the ingredient label). Phthalates shown to negatively disrupt the endocrine and reproductive system (2). Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is an especially common phthalate disguised under the word “fragrance” in conventional perfumes (3).
Lucky for you, our beauty experts searched high and low for the best all-natural perfumes on the market. We researched, sniffed, and sorted through hundreds of perfumes to create this list of the best of the best. These perfumes are all crafted from luscious organic ingredients and have scents that are unmistakable. As with all of our top lists, you don’t have to worry about any of these perfumes containing parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals + mineral oils, synthetic fragrances + dyes, PEG compounds, or anything else from out list of prohibitive ingredients. Enjoy!
Q: What is an organic perfume?
A: An organic perfume is a scent made for personal use created from organic, natural, plant-derived ingredients such as waxes, butters and essential oils. Organic perfumes do not use synthetic chemicals, harsh alcohols or fragrance oils. They use natural alcohols as their base and only use plant-derived scents as opposed to synthetic chemical scents (fragrance oils).
Q: What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils?
A: Essential oils are oils which have been extracted from plants. They can be used for a variety of cosmetic and therapeutic purposes due to their scents and healing properties. Fragrance oils are synthetic compounds made for the specific purpose of creating a particular scent for perfumes and cosmetic products.
- (2005) Effects of Fragrance on Emotions: Moods and Physiology https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/30/suppl_1/i248/270387
- (2016) Phthalate metabolite levels and menopausal hot flashes in midlife women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26867866
- (2010) Not So Sexy: Environmental Working Group https://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy
- (2010) The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and The Environmental Working Group https://www.ewg.org/sites/default/files/report/SafeCosmetics_FragranceRpt.pdf
- (2016) Steinemann A. Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissions. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health.