The natural, or "clean," beauty industry is booming, and there are plenty of natural skin-care and cosmetic brands popping up every day to support that. However, one sector of the beauty industry that often tends to be overlooked by natural beauty enthusiasts is fragrance.
Unfortunately, many of the perfumes we know and love contain some pretty nasty additives—from potentially toxic phthalates and parabens to ethanol-derived ingredients, which take a toll on the environment. And let’s not forget the use of pesticides on non-organic crops, which aren’t necessarily something we want to spritz directly onto our skin.
But what goes into clean fragrance? Natural ingredients, of course, play an important role, but, despite what many may assume, natural is not always the answer—or, at least, the full answer.
There is a definite taboo against the use of synthetics in fragrances, but the argument of natural vs. synthetic is not as black and white as it may seem. Not all synthetics are necessarily bad; they can often be less irritating and allergenic than naturally derived ingredients and, in more recent years, there have been many innovations in clean, safe synthetics. We should also keep in mind that it's more than just what goes into the bottle. It’s how and where these ingredients are sourced, product transparency, and all-around sustainability.
Thankfully, there are plenty of clean fragrance brands out there shaking up the world of perfume as we know it. Below, we chatted with 10 that you should get to know, all doing their part in changing the industry for the better. Oh, and we got their expert spring fragrance recommendations, too.
Smoke Perfume was founded by massage therapist and aromatherapist Kathleen Currie, whose love for essential oils led her to start her own perfume business.
Not only does Smoke Perfume pride itself in its all-natural products, but also in its practices of sustainability and transparency in business. Sourcing high-quality ingredients, a commitment to buying fair trade (and organic when possible), and working directly with small artisan producers are just a few of the ways the brand incorporates these values.
“In general, the aim of green beauty is to minimize the toxic chemicals we are subjecting our bodies to, and perfume definitely should be included in this practice. Not to mention, the natural ingredients are so interesting and morph and change to suit our unique chemistry, making them smell unique to each wearer, something conventional perfumes don’ t do. We think this is part of the magic!”
Currie’s recommendation for spring? Wellspring. “It’s a deep green floral musk with notes of amber, cacao, ylang ylang, and violet leaf. Notes of green spice give way to a soft dry down. Floral, green, wet earth and honey evoke a feeling of spring that is much welcome after a long winter,” she says.