MEET OUR MAKERS | ONE SEED PERFUME
Smell amazing. Be well. Do good. That’s a motto we can get behind and it’s the ethos behind organic perfume label ONE SEED. Natural perfumes are a niche business and up until recently it was an an area still trying to find its feet in the clean beauty movement. Making the swap to natural perfume is often the final frontier of our beauty kit. Scent is personal, and finding ‘your’ fragrance can take time! This week we got chatting to ONE SEED founder, Liz, about running her perfume label, the dangers of synthetic fragrances and her ‘a-ha’ moment when she made the swap to natural. Liz is a wealth of knowledge when it comes essential oils and our wellbeing, starting her own custom-blend skincare label before launching into natural perfumes. We’re glad she did!
What inspired you to start an organic perfume label?
The journey probably started in my early teens really; I became enthralled in the world of health and wellbeing at around 13 years of age - but in terms of scent, that journey began when I started making natural skincare for myself and my friends. I loved working with essential oils and gathered a large collection of ingredients that I experimented with as often as I could. Then at 25 years of age I launched my first business in the natural beauty space - a store in Adelaide called Out of Eden. As part of our offering we would custom-blend skincare for our clients using a natural base product with essential oils added to suit their skin concern or fragrance preference. That was really the start of my true understanding of essential oils and blending. When I sold that business in 2007 I had already started experimenting with perfumes, and 18 months later ONE SEED was born.
Was there a pivotal moment when you made the swap to clean beauty?
No, I don't think a moment, but more like an area. I had difficulty with my skin in my late teens - lots of hormonal breakouts - and I started to notice that my skin would react to the different products I tried and didn't feel clean most of the time. When I started making my own products and using the bare minimum of ingredients I noticed my skin calmed down and felt clear and clean, not congested. The was probably my ‘a-ha’ moment. But I don't think I became a purist until I opened that first store and really started to read labels of the brands I was looking at stocking. I realised that most things (especially back in 2001) called for a compromise and I decided I wasn't prepared compromise any more.
Why is it important to choose a natural perfume rather than a commercial fragrance?
There are a few key reasons but the biggest one is the health impact. Almost all commercial scents are at least 99% synthetic and contain many ingredients that negatively impact health - the biggest offenders are synthetic musks and phthalates. You can read more about the health impact of synthetic musks in this post we wrote recently, but in summary, these chemicals have an enormous impact on our medium and long-term health (and sometimes immediately eg. asthma, migraines headaches etc), such as difficulty conceiving and infertility, some times cancer, birth defects, general inflammation, liver toxicity and even obesity to name a few.
Also, environmentally, synthetic fragrance contains many POP (persistent organic pollutants) that contaminate waterways and don't break down, causing destruction to marine life, plants and even back to us again through our drinking water.
Natural perfumes are made using 100% natural ingredients, usually plants (check the label), and don't have a negative impact on your health or the environment. They are biologically recognisable so our body doesn't treat them like toxins (unless there is an underlying allergy), they aren't stored in the fat like synthetics, and they don't persist in the environment. However, like all fragrance ingredients natural scent can still cause a skin reaction in some individual so it’s always important to patch test.
Lastly, the lack of transparency of synthetic scents should really make us question whether we should use them at all. Labelling is minimal, and does not actually show the ingredients that make up the fragrance itself, nor any other ingredients deemed to be ‘trade secret’ so we really don't know what we are getting in that pretty little bottle. Amazingly, research has shown that up to 50% of what’s in the bottle is not listed on the label. Imagine trying to get away with that in food manufacturing or even skincare!
When not running One Seed, how do you self-nourish?
My daily wind-down is a bath. I don't make enough time for self-care as I should at the moment, but I feel like everything comes together when I’m in the bath. And tea - I go through several pots of tea (herbal and black and green varieties that I blend myself) every day.
Name one clean beauty product you couldn't live without...
For skincare its a multipurpose oil - either our Multipurpose Elixir, or a simple hazelnut oil. It's all I use as moisturiser, day or night. For makeup it’s concealer. I love Inika Perfection Concealer.
What does living consciously mean to you?
Being aware of your choices and not doing anything ‘just because’. It’s about knowing where your products are made and where they end up, and how everything you put in and on your body ultimately becomes part of you one way or another. Importantly I think living consciously is not just about choosing the best for yourself, your family and the environment, but also looking at how our choices impact other across the globe. That can be confronting.
words | Sophie Parslow