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.
Confession: Sometimes I sort of miss phthalates.
Ugh, OK, I don’t really mean that. But you know that feeling when you smell something so amazing—a flower, a candle, your boyfriend’s deodorant—and then all you want to do is smell that thing all the time? Well, phthalates can help with that. They can also help bend your gender, though, so we avoid products that contain them—which means almost anything with synthetic fragrance.
As such, I’ve been on the hunt for a perfume I could love as much as my old favorites. A signature scent, if you will. My criteria has obviously changed over the years: I don’t want a perfume to last all day—I find that weird; but I’d like it to be portable so that I can reapply it before I go out at night; I’d also like it to be 100% organic, or as close to that as possible; and I want it to elicit as many or more “You smell greats” as my Chanel and Hanae Mori used to.
Tough! But not impossible.
In the last three years, I have tried many, and loved few. Alexandra and I have both experimented with using essential oil treatments as perfume. She loves Hope Gillerman‘s, and we both still adore Tata Harper’s Irritability Treatment; I love Honore des Pres for its luxurious and playful packaging and nuanced scents (Vamp à NY and Love Coconut are my favorites). There have been others. And now…there’s a new favorite in town.
Lotus Wei has started making perfume! And at $45, it’s affordable! And portable! And organic! And…transformative? Ben oui!
Like all Lotus Wei’s products, these perfumes contain aromatherapy and flower essences, meaning they’re double-teaming you for best results. I have already professed my love for the Infinite Love Energy Mist, and I dose my friends with the Elixirs all the time. Now, thanks to the unbelievably delicious smelling perfume, I can wear it all day long, too.
So Infinite Love is the one I’ve been wearing. It has rose, and mandarin and honey, starting out as a mix of really bright—not heavy or musty—rose with citrus, and it quickly warms into a sexy, caramelly smell as it blends with my own skin. It’s garnered a lot of questions, comments and, yup, compliments, and because it’s got the flower essences in there, I feel like it’s working on a subtler level as well. Mmmmm!
So let’s toss this topic back to you guys. Have you found YOUR signature scent?
(And guys, get excited, because we’ve started calling in some aftershave and colognes as well. Expect some reviews from our boy testers soon!)
Sooooo. Routine. I’m kinda terrible at it! For those of you familiar with ayurveda, I have pretty typical vata tendencies (and just by the by, I’m meeting with an ayurvedic doc next week and planning to pick up some tips to share). What this means is that I don’t wake up or go to bed at the same time every day; I can go from being ravenous one week to skipping meals the next; sometimes I’m strong like an ox and full of energy, while others times I feel frail and sensitive. Needless to say when it comes to my beauty rituals I change my products with great, and erratic, frequency. This isn’t exactly the worst thing when your job is to try new stuff, but it’s not the best when you’re also trying to assess results. Just another reason me and the blondie make such a good team!
So here’s a current snapshot…
Age: Old enough to actually forget that I’m 32
Current weather: Dry, sunny, 80ish
Hair: Thick, coarse, curly, with lightened tips (that I still love!)
Skin: A little congested right now but pretty consistent these days, more dry than oily (was once the opposite)
In the shower…
I probably only shower about three times a week if I’m being honest. I also don’t wash my face most days—which is something I’ll get more into in another post. But generally, my transition to clean has ended up with me being, well, dirty. I love water but I don’t think that the stuff coming out of my shower head is necessarily doing me that many favors. I live in a super arid climate and as we’ve discussed in the past, some folks think water in and of itself can exacerbate dryness. I usually take off my makeup with some kind of oil or oil cleanser like this Spieza Organics one. And because I don’t wash my hair, every day is not a new battle to “reset” my curls as it once was—but enough excuses!
Outside the shower…
Hydration is my big move in the morning. Sometimes I spray myself with one of the wonderful hydrosols from Kahina or Tammy Fender and then I reach for the richest cream or oil I have on-hand. I’m out of Tammy Fender Repair Balm, which is nothing short of tragic. I also just finished this incredible eye cream from Odacite that I was using as an all-over face moisturizer—upon the founder’s recommendation—and LOVING (full review on this delicious line to come!). So this morning I opted for a sample of neroli oil from Hope Gillerman. Have you ever used neroli? It’s a new one to me, but it felt nice.
The finishing touches…
Probably the thing I do with the most consistency if I’m leaving the house is my makeup routine. Right now my skin is a little tanned so I’ve been trying to pull off a summery bronzed look. I am completely mad about the RMS Beauty lip shines, especially the “moment” one which I use as a cheek shine. I’ve run out of my beloved Jane Iredale concealer but I’m loving this new one I have (which I’ll tell you guys more about in another post) and use it under my eyes, around my nose and for any other discoloration. If I wear any I’m still partial to my Laura Mercier waterproof full-of-chems mascara. But my most exciting summer makeup discovery has been this Ilia lipstick called Bang Bang. On my lips it reads as a bright, almost electric pink—a color I never thought I could wear—and it’s a total revelation. It goes on all creamy but somehow the color actually holds, even after its wiped off a bit.
As far as my hair goes, you guys know the drill I think. Water and conditioner if I shower, and lately a little bit of this curl cream.
Finally, crucial for a girl who doesn’t wash that often is perfume! As of last week I’m using Honore Des Pres’s Chaman’s Party, which is this woodsy, earthy, spicy scent (with notes of clove and basil) that I simply can’t get enough of. And it’s Soapwalla all day for my pits.
There you have it. Keep sharing your routines in the comments—and by golly I hope to hear from my fellow non-washers!
Welcome to a new occasional series where we’ll share with you what products real people are using in their real lives at a given moment in time. (Routines are subject to change without notice! Heh.)
I’m going to go first ’cause I’m a trooper, but there will be more! And bear in mind, I think of cosmetics sort of like an outfit: I wear underwear (almost) every day, but on top on that, sometimes I feel like wearing a sundress, and other days I feel like wearing jeans and a T. I treat skincare the same way. There are a few everyday items, and then there are some I swap in and out depending on my mood or the mood of my skin.
Now, without further ado… Here’s my morning skin and haircare routine.
Age: How dare you! (32)
Current weather: Really hot, muggy, humid, northeast, generally gross
Hair: Mostly not dyed anymore, thick, wavy, long, occasionally frizzy
Skin: Pale, sensitive, Irish, burns easily, irritated easily
In the shower…
I don’t wash my face in the morning. I figure it can’t get that dirty between washing it right before bed and waking, and my skin seems to best tolerate a light hand, so I keep it simple. Instead of wash, I use a muslin cloth I got from Pai to wipe down my face. It’s gentle but still slightly scrubby, which feels great. In the tub, I use bar soap from Leap Organics, C Tonics Tantra shampoo, and C Tonics Milk conditioner. The soap is simple, and it’s from a brand I really love to support, but the hair stuff needs some ‘splaining: This shampoo smells super intense, which Spirit Demerson warned me about, but it’s a treatment for “stressed scalps,” which mine certainly is right now, mainly because I got a trim the other week and with it, a really sweet rash. The rash comes and goes with stress, but there is no more extravagant a trigger than SLS/SLES-based shampoo. The conditioner, meanwhile, is the best-smelling conditioner I’ve tried in eons. It smells amazing! And it leaves my hair soft and shiny and not frizzy, even in August in New York.
Outside the shower…
I am using and loving Soapwalla’s body oil some days of the week (too lazy to moisturize daily) and depending on how many bruises I have, I also use Chocolate Sun self-tanner in light on my legs, and maybe my arms. I apply the fake-sunner before the oil, obviously. Then I apply Soapwalla deodorant.
For face, I spray Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist all over, then on the lower part of my face only—which is where I’m prone to spots—I use Organic Apoteke Active Face Gel, which I live and die by. [Now here's a problem: My bottle is half-empty and the line seems to be on hiatus or out of business. HELP!!!! I am freaking out on the inside about this. I have used this for three years, and I'm terrified about what is going to happen when I run out, so suggestions welcome.]
On the rest of my face, I use Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm. I’m not really repairing anything, but I freaking love this cream. A tiny amount goes such a long way, and it gives my skin a nice glow. If my skin feels really hydrated already, I use the much lighter Pai Chamomile and Rosehip Lotion. Then I roll on a Bella Figura eye treatment, which I am still experimenting with but will review soon, and finally, my 100% Pure Argan Oil Sunscreen follows.
I do not use leave-ins on my hair. I dry it with a sweet blowdryer if I have time, or let it go naturally wavy.
I still love Laura Mercier’s loose minerals and use it, applied with a clean finger, on places where I need it. I managed to find a color that matches my skin perfectly, so I can use it like a spot cover for the places that are a little uneven (nostrils, sometimes my undereyes, any spots I might have). Then I curl my lashes and apply some 100% Pure mascara in navy or black, really just depending on which one is closer to the top of my makeup bag. That’s basically it. If I’m feeling fancy, I might sweep on some NVey Eco or Josie Maran eyeliner on the corner of my eyes, and sometimes some lip color, too—usually Vapour or RMS these days, in pinky colors. And finally, a spritz of Honore des Pres perfume in Vamp, which I will also review soon.
And that’s it! We’ll do night routines too, but separately, since those are usually different from mornings.
So we ask you:
What on earth should I do when Organic Apoteke runs out? And second, whose routine (other than Alexandra’s, who I will strongarm into doing this, too) do you want to know about? We can’t promise anything, but we can try! If you’re a reader and you have a routine you want to share, please let us know in the comments.
You knew this day would come, didn’t you? Or at least you hoped? Yeah, we know. Well, we have some very, very exciting news for you this week for this extra-special Friday Deal.
We have teamed up with Spirit Beauty Lounge, a go-to for so many of our favorite brands, to curate a special pop-up boutique on her site! We have chosen a few of our favorite things—and by a few we mean more than 25 natural-beauty all stars—for you to shop from, at a generous discount. These are the products we swear by, go back to time and again, have vetted and loved, and want to share with you.
What products, you ask? Oh you know, just the greatest ones from Chocolate Sun (self tanner), Soapwalla (deodorant), Lotus Wei (spray and elixir), Kahina Giving Beauty (argan oil and toning mist), C-Tonics (shampoo and conditioner), Scotch Naturals (nail polish), Honore Des Pres (luxe perfume), Vapour (makeup and lip/cheek), RMS Beauty (makeup and luminizer), Sheswai (nail polish), Tata Harper (cleanser and oils), Intelligent Nutrients (hair stuff), Pai (face lotion), Baggu (reusable chic bags), NVey Eco (makeup), Lulu Organics (dry shampoo), Vive Sana (sunscreen), Christy Coleman (makeup bag), our book (book!) and MORE.
Pick any and all from the No More Dirty Looks pop-up shop (doesn’t apply to other things from the site) and get 20% off your order! Enter NMDL code at checkout and you’ll get the discount reflected in your shopping cart. The deal will last until ***midnight on Monday night*** but if you shop today, Friday August 5, you’ll also get FREE SHIPPING on orders in the U.S. over $50.
As always, Spirit does ship to Canada! We think this is a pretty sick time to stock up on the best of the best….
Happy shopping, folks. Let us know in the comments what you picked!
Oh, and we love you guys. Just in case you were wondering.