Oral Care and Health Daily

My Quest for Natural Perfume

How to be sweetly scented -- and safe.

Several years ago, I discovered that the fragrance found in most conventionally scented products -- air fresheners, household cleaners and perfume -- was developed from toxic chemicals. This was alarming but not surprising. I always found the heavy-handed aromas wafting from the average bathroom cleaner or perfume counter to be an olfactory assault. And I didn’t want my bathtub to smell like “morning dew,” or my pulse points to vibrate with “happiness” or “obsession.” Plus, morning dew doesn’t smell like that. I’ve sniffed my share of dew at dawn, and it’s fresh, damp … and subtle.

I was so offended by the arsenal of artificial aromas floating around restaurant bathrooms and emanating from the cheeks of subway-riding gentlemen doused in aftershave that I steered clear of any personal fragrance for years. The fact that these scents were concocted in laboratories from chemicals associated with asthma, headaches and contact dermatitis only encouraged my contentedness with my own bouquet. I lived scent-free for most of my adult life, resting comfortably in the knowledge that my own pheromones were enough.

Until they weren’t. Sometime after the birth of my son, I began to crave a personal fragrance; an olfactory calling card that loved ones would associate with me. The scent would be earthy and 100 percent natural, of course. I tried the pure essential oil route, but I found the single note experience of grapefruit or geranium to be aromatherapeutically beneficial but flat and uninspiring.

Enter the natural perfume community!

In the past few years, perfumes made from natural and organic ingredients are becoming increasingly available. And just in time. It’s no longer necessary to walk around in a cloud of pachouli or lemongrass. Natural perfumers like Tsi-La -- one of my favorites -- are concocting interesting, inspiring scents made from ingredients that I can feel really good about: essential oils, antioxidants and active plant extracts. And just like conventional perfume, which you can buy at a drugstore or at pricey retail counters, natural perfumes come in a variety of forms and price points.

I tend to favor perfume oil (it glides on easily and is less of a hit to the wallet), though my goal is to be the proud and divinely scented owner of Honore des Pres Love Coconut made from the pure extract of white coconut milk and coriander leaf. I’m convinced I’d be floating around like an exotic Mai Tai. Yum.

What’s your favorite scent? Do natural scents matter to you? Talk about it below or tweet me @Completely_You



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