We’ve done a lot of complaining about the lack of good—nay, great—natural perfumes out there. But truth be told, there are a few on this list from Well+Good that we haven’t tried yet! Which of these have you tested out? And what’s your absolute favorite I’ll-never-stop-wearing-it perfume, natural or otherwise?
Perfume should be a pleasurable experience both for the wearer and those around her, not a toxic one. Which is why we’ve rounded up the best new natural ones.
Our perfume picks are mostly handcrafted in small batches with plant extracts, distilled flower essences, and essential oils. So giving or getting one feels luxurious and special. Here are our 9 favorites of the season…
1. A Perfume Organic Mejica
Perfumer Amanda Walker’s small batch, botanical blends are super desirable, and “Mejica,” might be the sexiest of her five USDA certified-organic scents. It’s a delicious blend of three vanillas, rare resins, and spices. The petite bottle is actually a roll-on and, extra charming, the flower seed-embedded box can be planted.
2. Red Flower Ambrette Roll-On Oil
Aside from making exquisite natural candles, Red Flower creates masterful fragrances, like “Ambrette.” It’s the name of a seed used in Indian culture to perfume the hair and burned as an offering. When blended here with patchouli, orange, and black pepper (all certified USDA organic), it’s both alluring and restoring. Wear it to yoga to lift stress-related fatigue or anoint your pulse points with it as an aphrodisiac.
3. Strange Invisible Perfumes Black Rosette
Perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis is all about luxury craftsmanship. Her forte is creating scents with certified organic, wildcrafted, and biodynamic ingredients that focus on “aroma profile, evocative narratives, and the beauty of scent.” Black Rosette eau de parfum, for example, tells a subtle story of seduction with roses, black tea, and spearmint with a hint of bad-boy leather.
4. Lurk RSW005 Fragrance
This carefully crafted new fragrance line oozes cool factor. Lurk is the brainchild of New Yorkers Anne Sanford and Kristi Head, who met at Red Flower and created packaging and beauty products for Anthropologie and other top brands before collaborating on a fragrance collection of their own. We’re smitten with RSW005, an androgynous essential-oil-based scent with warm sandalwood, earthy rose, and a crisp citrus finish. And since the line launched just last year, you won’t be wearing (or gifting) a scent that everyone else has. Yet.
5. Tsi La Fiori D’Arancio Organic Eau de Parfum
Tsi La is a little obsessed with fun, organic freshness—and natural decadence. The collection is crafted in artisan-size batches using essential oils, active plant botanicals, and rich exotic butters. Best-selling Fiori d’Arancio is a USDA-certified mist that’s like bottled sunshine—on vacation in Italy. Its notes of orange, tangerine, and neroli flowers mixed with vanilla orchids and honey give it a playful, mischievous appeal.
6. Honoré Des Prés Nu Green Verrine Eau de Toilette
Olivia Giacobetti is a legendary perfumer, who designed fragrances for prestigious houses like Diptyque and Guerlain, before creating Honoré Des Prés. It’s the first luxury certified-organic French fragrance brand. Nu Green conjures up the feel of a fresh spring morning with green mint leaves, dewy grass, Indian botanical musk, tarragon and cedar wood. And if it’s got Giacobetti’s signature on it, you know it has to be good.
7. Tallulah Jane Aiyana Eau de Parfum
Aiyana is a feminine (okay, super girly, super heart-warming) fragrance that mixes pure Moroccan rose with vanilla and a hint of Italian lemon that gives it a boost of happy effervescence. Like all of Tallulah Jane’s perfumes, it’s made with organic and wildcrafted oils, and based on the centuries-old tradition of Bourbon perfumeries.
Meet Rachel and her eclectic routine that mixes DIY with off-the-shelf, and a lot of clean with a little dirty. She also blogs about clean beauty! Woot. (PS you guys, it’s supposed to be stars from the distant past, but these Canadian twins are pretty adorable so we’re letting it slide… :)
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Weather: Winter. It’s mostly been below zero, but we’ve had a few warmer days. Mother Nature can’t make up her mind!
Hair: Shoulder length, henna-ed, limp and fine
Skin: Mostly clear, thanks to an 8-month round of low-dose Accutane I did about a year and a half ago (I know, I know… I hope you can trust me when I say I had previously tried everything and nothing helped. It truly was a last resort). After Accutane, my dermatologist put me on a prescription anti-acne topical cream to keep things clear. I stopped using it a few weeks ago, and I recently switched from the pill to a copper IUD, so I do have a few blemishes right now. Nothing serious. I do have some scarring and general sensitivity, and I blush easily (oh, the joys of being a fair-skinned redhead).
Favorite star: Tegan and Sara (sorry, I had to pick both, they’re kind of a package deal…)
In the shower…
I start out with a DIY sugar/argan oil/honey scrub and I tackle my face, pits, knees and elbows. I shampoo and condition with Acure (the mint version for fine/limp hair). While the conditioner works its magic, I exfoliate the rest of my body with a Shoba exfoliating cloth. I only use bar soap on my pits, feet, and nethers (right now it’s Shea Moisture Frankincense and Myrrh but I switch soaps after each bar). For shaving my pits, there’s usually enough oil leftover from the scrub for a smooth shave. Everywhere else, I just use soap.
I usually only shower every other day. On my off-days, I cleanse my pits and nethers with a hot washcloth, rinse my face with warm water, and use Acure dry shampoo in my hair. I really can’t get away with washing my hair less than every other day. It’s just too fine and it starts to look pretty greasy, especially in the bang area.
Outside the shower…
I moisturize my entire body with whatever carrier oil I’m in the mood for (I tend to rotate between grapeseed, apricot kernel, and just this week I started using coconut oil, which I LOVE). I make sure to moisturize my pits, either with coconut oil or a DIY cream I whipped up (made of shea butter, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and essential oils). Using one of these each morning seems to boost the effectiveness of deodorant. I use Soapwalla cream deodorant most days, and on shaving days I use one of those salt crystals you wet down. On my face, I use Pangea Organics Rose/White tea eye cream and 3 drops of argan oil all over my face. I do need to start incorporating sunscreen into my daily routine; I’m not getting any younger, and besides, I burn pretty easily. That will be my next project!
This is where my routine takes a turn for the dirty. I can’t seem to give up perfume or make-up. I enjoy them too much! I have switched some of my make-up products to slightly cleaner brands, but I know I can probably do better.
I use Tarte for most of my make-up products (undereye concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, eyelid primer, eyeshadow, and mascara). For eyeliner, I tend to alternate between Physician’s Formula, Urban Decay (both pencil), and Eyeko (liquid). To fill in my brows I use Alima Pure loose eyeshadow. I use S.W. Basics of Brooklyn (formerly Sprout) lip balm like it’s going out of style — it is hands-down the best lip balm I’ve ever used.
I don’t put any other product in my hair, I just blow it dry and go. On days/nights when I plan on going out or looking fancier, I use a bit of hairspray and gentle teasing to try and boost volume at the roots.
At night I remove my make-up with S.W. Basics make-up remover and a cotton ball and I wash with local raw organic honey. I just started mixing coconut oil with the honey before applying it to my face (it smells so good!) and I find that is a very nice touch for winter. Then I use eye cream and argan oil and I call it a night.
There you have it!
I’m so excited about this brand I hardly know where to start. I’ve got lip issues, and wrote about my travails and subsequent salvation here. I still love those brands, but the combination of performance, balmy texture, gorgeous colors, smash-bang website, and super deals has me hooked on Red Apple. They hit all my important points, in terms of product performance as well as being vegan and gluten free. The Red Apple website outdoes most cosmetics companies. It gives detailed, accurate verbal descriptions of the colors, mentions which skin tones can wear a shade best, includes customer reviews, and – my favorite thing – has pics of women of different ethnicities/skin tones wearing the various shades.
The prices are quite reasonable to begin with, and there are some amazing deals to be had, like 20% off your first purchase for “joining” (essentially just signing up to receive e-mails). Every month you’ll receive another 20% off code, plus everyday deals like buy 2 get the 3rd half off, etc. And if you are looking to dump your dirty cosmetics, check out their Trade In program.
Never before has a single lipstick brand given me both the perfect red and the perfect nude. You know how you try on a new lipstick shade, look up close in the mirror, back up a little, look away from your reflection and look back, hold up different clothes to see how it looks and then go, okay, that could work. But other times you put on a color and just immediately know, yes – that’s my shade! I’ve found a few of those from Red Apple.
Here are my favorites:
Strawberry Lips: Now I know why I’ve had so much trouble finding red lipstick. Apparently I need a brown-based red for my pale olive skin, and the fantastic info on the Red Apple site helped me figure this out. I would not have imagined I’d want a shade called “strawberry,” but it’s perfect. Just. Perfect.
Naughty: While I don’t find it particularly naughty, it is a fabulous creamy nude. I didn’t really get the point of a nude lip until I tried this. It’s polished without in any way overdoing things.
Flirt With Me: This one is a neutral with a bit of gold sparkle. On me, it’s similar to Naughty but with some shimmer.
Drama: Another brown-based red, this time with shimmer. It’s got the drama for sure.
New York (a bit more pink than Naughty) deserves an honorable mention, and if you would prefer a gloss that says HEY LOOK AT MY LIPS, try Firestorm. I’m not much of a liner gal (maybe I just need more practice), but I’ve tried a couple of the retractable versions and I recommend them.
So, how many of you went to the Red Apple site before you even finished reading this post? Have you, or will you, try this brand??
Happy Monday! We have a meatless menu from Ania, a Polish gal living and loving in Germany. Loving that her boyfriend shares in the cooking, and also loving her new vegan life. Enjoy! We included her email below ’cause it made us smile. :)
[Dear Both, you asked and here it comes, that's actually a Sunday menu but I really can't remember what I ate last Monday, hope you don't mind streching it a bit. Let's say it's a Monday menu for those who can go for a walk in the forest instead of running a marathon down some office corridors... And it's also a pretty lazy menu as you will see since most of the stuff I ate was actually cooked by someone else but hey, why not? And I still love cooking, maybe even more so since I don't need to do it everyday.]
Home: Freiburg, Germany
Dietary leanings: freshly vegan (after being vegetarian all my life, I made a switch in May and… never looked back
My favourite vegetable: this season definitely belongs to brussels sprouts, I love them roasted with a little bit of olive oil
In the morning…
Almond milk latte brought to bed (the only way to wake me up…) and then a long, lazy breakfast. The day before I bought some amazing whole grain walnut bread and ate almost half of it with different vegan spreads, mostly based on sunflower seeds (hello Zwergenwiese!) but also some pesto-type things, vegan schmalz and sirop de Liege (concentrated fruit juices cooked to make a paste), nothing says weekend better than a full breakfast table!
After breakfast we went for a walk to the forest, it looks so beautiful now, with heaps of snow and blue skies. We stopped at a nice chalet up in the mountains that offers breakfast buffet and lunches. They didn’t have anything vegan on the menu but I asked for gnocchi with vegetables without gorgonzola sauce and was pleasantly surprised when a full plate of gnocchi appeared in front of me, with lots of fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted pine nuts. I find it sometimes difficult in restaurants where only vegan option on the menu is some boring salad or pasta with tomato sauce and then everyone keeps asking me if I’m fine or looking sadly at my plate, especially on business trips. It always makes me want to tell them that the stuff I normally eat is actually pretty amazing and there’s really no reason to feel sorry for me, and that you can be vegan and still love food! Well, one consequence of this is that at least a third of my work emails now end with some vegan recipe links..
I felt really hungry after all the walking so had some more of the walnut bread, this time with peanut butter.
My boyfriend made some roasted potatoes with kale, leek and onions, using veggies from our CSA, simple and delicious.
And I spent the rest of the evening reading various recipes published as part of Fabulous Fermentation Week, started by My New Roots & Earthsprout. Being Polish I love fermented foods but it was really great to see this whole fermented feast that the girls have inspired, with totally new tastes and combinations. Plans for next weekend: homemade kimchi!
Happy fermenting, Ania! Let us know how that goes.
Here’s the rub with natural face care lines: They can feel a bit samesame after a while. A non-foaming cleanser, an amazing oil, and maybe a lovely hydrosal toner or spray…
Don’t get me wrong, we love this formula—less is more, and it’s precisely this simple well-executed combination of pure ingredients that made us first fall for the likes of Kahina, Stark, and Evan Healy. But once you have your faves, it’s hard to justify trying 20 other brands that offer something similar. That’s why this May Lindstrom line jumped out at me on first use.
My intro to the line came from natch beauty glamour girl Spirit Beauty. “You have to try it,” she said in a Facebook message. And within a month of her sending it my way, I got an email from Evolue inviting me by for a facial with May. Hmm, a new line so quickly available at two of our favorite retailers? This was boding well.
The products are really special, in many ways. First the packaging: Done in a beautiful black glass with gold lettering, it brings all kinds of glamour to this line, that could easily have felt a bit crunchy given its ingredients. Instead, really beautiful. May herself is also a vision. At the risk of sounding like some silly magazine article about a celebrity, I will anyways: This woman is gorgeous, with the kind of skin so impeccable and glowy that it’s almost hard to look at. Like the sun!
But looks can be deceiving. When May and I met she described the horror stories of her various environmental sensitivities and the problem skin she had. A country girl at heart—who’s been mixing her own products since childhood—when she first came to LA (to be a chef) the city wreaked a debilitating havoc on her skin from head to toe. Through diet and natural products (and fewer products), she eventually found her way, and ended up reticently becoming a model. It was on set one day that she had her a-ha moment to start her own brand.
“I’d very quickly mixed an oil one morning to bring to the shoot,” she told me. And lo, everyone there was trying it and begging her to make them some.
So the line. I’ve tried everything at this point other than the body oil, and there’s nothing I don’t like. Her Youth Dew serum is a beautiful oil blend that competes with faves and smells amazing—I’m a sucker for geranium I’ve come to learn. Here are the ingredients:
persea americana (avocado) oil*, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam seed) oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, olea europaea (olive) oil*, prunus spp (plum kernel) oil, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehip seed) oil*, punica granatum (pomegranate) oil*, calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil*, borago officinalis (borage seed) oil*, aleurites moluccans (kukui nut) oil, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium rose) essential oil*, citrus paradisi (grapefruit) essential oil*, citrus sinensis (sweet orange) essential oil*, citrus limon (lemon) essential oil*, rosa damascena (rose absolute) essential oil*, rosa damascena (bulgarian rose) essential oil*, citrus aurantium (neroli) essential oil*, daucus carota (carrot seed) essential oil***, ubiquinone (coenzyme q10).
But for me the standouts are The Clean Dirt “cleanser” and The Problem Solver mask.
The Clean Dirt: This cleansing clay comes dry, which I love because it never goes bad. You pour a little into the palm of your hand and add a few drops of water then begin mixing. You can also mix it with a brush, as May did when she gave me my facial. It’s hard to describe this stuff, it doesn’t actually foam but science happens and the mixture expands into an airy kind of paste. It’s consistency is definitely exfoliating by nature so you don’t need to scrub it too much. Just smooth it over your face, let it sit for a minute and then rinse. It feels great, and gives an instant glow. Here are the ingredients:
white halloysite clay, red moroccan rhassoul clay, red alaea sea salt, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), sodium bicarbonate, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root*,rosa centifolia (pink rose)*, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower*, cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon)*, myristica fragans (nutmeg)*, syzygium aromaticum (clove)*, curcuma longa (turmeric)*, zingiber officinale (ginger)*, vanilla planifolia bean*, theobroma cacao (raw cacao)**.
The Problem Solver: This product feels like the cleanser’s more intense cousin. The process is the same, but the idea is to leave on this jet-black clay mask for up to 45 minutes (I personally don’t go that long though, 15 is fine by me). Note: This product feels very active, and sting-tingles a little on the skin. But I’ve done it numerous times and the flush only lasts a few minutes for me, and it really feels like it’s jump-starting my circulation. I don’t use it that often, but when I do I feel like my skin has a new lease on life. I also use it to spot treat incoming pimples. Here are the ingredients:
fuller’s earth clay, red moroccan rhassoul clay, theobroma cacao (raw cacao)**, red alaea sea salt, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), sodium bicarbonate, bamboo carbon charcoal powder, vanilla planifolia bean*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower*, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root*, boswellia carteri (frankincense)***, centella asiatica (gotu kola)*, archangelica (angelica) root*, cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon)*, myristica fragans (nutmeg)*, syzygium aromaticum (clove)*, curcuma longa (turmeric)*, capsicum annuum (cayenne) pepper*.
One note that I failed to mention in the first draft of this post: These two products come in HUGE containers. The cleanser is nearly 7 oz. and the mask is over 8 oz., which is about 4x the size of comparable products. Just wanted to clear that up since there have been many comments around price. At $60, the cleanser is actually on the more reasonable side at that size.
May herself is a major product minimalist, so she says some people use the cleanser every day, while others only use it a few times a week. I’m in the second camp, and I have a feeling she might be too. That’s another thing I really love about these two products: While they’re not inexpensive, they will probably last me for close to a year. And if there’s any confusion about how to use, you can watch May’s videos on her site and on the sites that carry the line.
Have you tried this line? What do you think??