We Cherry-Pick Three Neo-Natural Perfumes for Eco-Conscious Fragrance Lovers
As a perfume blogger, I have a strong bent towards natural beauty products, and to a lesser extent, but still noticeable, one for natural perfumery. I love reading about natural ingredients, be it for cooking, beauty, or perfumery - and I cannot be without a library of essential oils, which I view as the unofficial wellness extension to the prescription-laden pharmacy cabinet...
We are in luck because the 21st century fragrance industry has made a definite effort to cater to a new generation of patrons, who are both nature- and health-conscious, going back to a dictum of 20th century modern perfumery, which states that perfumery will be quite strongly synthetic - or perish. In this mental framework, naturals are seen as the carnal side of perfume - its unruly flesh - while synthetics are its structural side - its more permanent bones. Or again, if you would compare a perfume to, say, a Cadolle corset, natural ingredients are the delicate, nuanced lace, and synthetics are the constraining armature - except they have been liberating for perfumery. But not anymore.
From time to time, I pick a new green scent, spritzint it and waiting to see how it will feel different from a modern perfume; these scents are to some extent pre-modern in spirit, although they actually are the result of new, sophisticated technology applied to naturals.
Because of the high dosage of naturals - sometimes even reaching the 100% mark - you expect all sorts of benefits, including prophylactic ones, but also wonder if they will last or just smell like the same pot-pourri or Provençal bouquet of aromatic herbs they are bound to resolve into.
In this edition, we invite you to smell more closely three natural perfumes. They smell particularly good as we cherry-picked them. Each has a set of qualities and possibly minor drawbacks, depending on what you expect from a fragrance.
Neo-Natural perfumes actually push us to revisit some of our common expectations.
This is a best-seller by the brand. We revisited it recently thanks to a reader who called our attention to it in a Facebook conversation about the best jasmine perfumes out there. I had smelled it before but had remained stuck on a slightly plasticky nuance. To me, there is a nuance of ethyl maltol, which I am now able to abstract from as a by-product of the vanilla-absolute goodness that goes into the scent. Lush lists the ingredients as Vegan but does not disclose - as is customary for the perfume industry - what goes into the « perfume » part of the list. They however guarantee that they're « safe synthetics ».
You can see and smell that the proportion of naturals is high. There is a typical rush of explosive naturals. It feels rich. It is a slightly hippie-feeling jasmine fragrance with a lot of pure-jasmine power on the raw, animalic side without going as far as into zoo territory like Jasmin by Molinard. A dirty-musk undertone runs in the base, discreetly. It offers ultimately a relaxing fragrance going beyond even the sexy sale.
Notes : jasmine absolute, Ylang eo, rose absolute, vanilla absolute, sandalwood eo. The molecules listed are components of the natural ingredients.
Weleda Onagre Eau Parfumée Naturelle (2016)
The cosmetics brand released this new perfume inspired by the scent of the Onagre skincare range. The result is a delicious-smelling scent with an ancient-castle charm. Fans of the 18th century might find in it a substitute for the rarefied Château de Versailles Sillage de la Reine based on a formula for a fragrance Marie-Antoinette once wore. It evokes a similar pre-modern feel, while feeling more complete than the previous entries in the Jardin de Vie collection, all inspired by Weleda beauty products. It is however not very lasting. This is one you'll need to carry with you and reapply.
Notes: cardamom, cassis / magnolia / sandalwood.
Bo. Ho Corsica Eau de Parfum (2016)
Corsica is one of three new perfumes launched by the « green revolution » makeup brand Bo. Ho. It is our favorite in this edition (levels in testers however indicate the much more consensual Monoï-inspired Eoliennes is the favorite by customers.)
Corsica smells like a « niche perfume » which aims at conveying character thanks to smoky, slightly abrupt notes of incense, resins and dry fruits. It is a pean to the natural scents of the environment Corsica is renowned for. It also smells a bit church-y. The blend is unisex, but skews masculine. The eau de parfum is 100% natural, amazingly lasting and smells great on textiles.
Notes : bergamot, pepper / pine / cedarwood, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla.
All three fragrances turn out to be great pillow-buddies. They all create particularly relaxing feelings in you.