Make The Swap | Perfume

Make The Swap | Perfume main image

Our sense of smell is a powerful thing. Have you ever walked past something and been hit with a scent and instantly transported back to childhood?

Smells are highly evocative and closely linked with memory; even the faintest whiff can take us back to a specific moment in time that we might otherwise have forgotten. It might sound a little magical and woo-woo but there’s an actual science behind this phenomenon: the olfactory is the centre of the brain responsible for processing ‘smell memory’. So it goes without saying that smell is important!

The art of dabbing oneself with fragrant flowers, plants and oils is an ancient one and the mass-manufacturing of perfumes, a relatively recent evolution. Commercial perfumes can smell mind-blowingly good, don’t get us wrong. But if you’re making the switch to clean beauty, it makes sense to overhaul your perfume collection too.

Here’s why... While traditionally perfume manufacturing began with local, small-scale production, consumer demand for mass produced perfume exploded in the last half of the 20th century. To keep up with the demand and maintain a consistent quality and ‘shelf life’ for products, chemical intervention has become part and parcel of the process.

The current industry is now worth over 40 billion annually with the bi-product being that the commercial perfumes we buy are now almost 100% synthetic. As the largest organ in the body and part of our detoxification system, our skin naturally absorbs a proportion of whatever we rub into it. Or spray onto it in this case.

The rates of chemical penetration (from the epidermis to the deeper layers) and the rate of absorption (from the skin through to the bloodstream) varies depending on what the chemical is and also whether it is used in tandem with a chemical that speeds up absorption. Either way, absorption and penetration occur. This is what matters.

While some commercial perfumes contain small amounts of natural essences (and are often cheekily highlighted in the promotion of the perfume as a ‘natural’ option), the rest of the formula contains a host of synthetic chemicals and additives that we’ll likely never find out about. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that the majority of a perfume, cologne or body spray’s content is made up of potentially hazardous chemicals.

If you’re scratching your head wondering how, with a booming wellness industry and trends towards transparency, this is going unchecked? We’re all thinking it too.

The answer is in a perfectly concocted, if you will, industry loophole. Perfume companies are required to list the ingredients. However the ingredient listed as ‘fragrance’ is the secret container which holds any number of undisclosed ingredients. Up to 34 in some cases, as tested and found in commercial perfumes.

Perfume companies are allowed to withhold the ingredients of the ‘fragrance’ so as not to give away the trade secrets. If it all sounds very mysterious and secretive, it is, and it’s how the cosmetic industry keeps us in the dark. It is safe to assume that unless a perfume is labelled ‘organic’ or ‘100%’ natural, it contains a veritable cocktail of chemicals that you probably don’t want anywhere near your skin.

What are these chemicals and why should we avoid them? Some of the common ingredients that would grace the list (if they were truly transparent), are petrochemicals, parabens, phthalates and known hormone disruptors, all of which can accumulate in human tissue.

One common example, Diethyl Phthalate, is a chemical known to disrupt sperm production. Many of the chemicals are known to be harmful to our health but equally as many have not been studied or tested for potentially harmful effects.

But take heart, friend! It is a truly amazing time to be making the switch to natural skincare and beauty. Thanks to the clean beauty movement, we have options galore! There are natural perfume brands out there doing amazing things and we, as consumers, are spoiled for choice.

Some things to know when selecting a natural / organic perfume... 

For a perfume to be classified as ‘organic’, it must contain a minimum of 80% organic ingredients. Organic perfumes are produced on a smaller scale so the process is more refined and meticulous. Organic ingredients cost more, and can be anywhere from double to twenty times the price of synthetic ingredients, according to organic perfume manufacturer One Seed.

Organic perfumes typically contain a plant based oils (including essential oils), distilled water and natural alcohol. Essential oils can have amazing benefits for physical and mental health. They can elevate your mood or soothe and calm. They’re better for our health and the planet. One of the concerns we hear often for those thinking about making the switch, is about quality.

You’re ready to make the move over to natural skincare but don’t want to compromise on the quality of your favourite, for want of a better word, mainstream products. We understand! And we promise, there is zero compromise when it comes to the natural perfume brands on offer.

We’ve done the research for you and hand selected the best of the best brands out there on the Australian and New Zealand market. These artisan labels know their stuff and have perfected their craft. Many of them use traditional methods to produce original scents that have a depth that you just don’t find in mass produced perfume.

There’s something special about the process of selecting a perfume that will become your signature scent. And there’s something equally special about buying a perfume that is created in a traditional manner, in a small batch. It’s deliciously personal. Almost tailored just to you.

Van Der Faun Organic uses 100% certified organic ingredients and natural essential oils to formulate rich lavish scents with a timeless appeal. Made with love by an artisan family of a mother and two daughters.

One Seed Organic Perfumes are hand-crafted in Australia, each scent has its own unique story and inspiration. They’re 100% natural and 80% certified organic ingredients. One Seed perfumes have a depth and complexity of scent that unfolds naturally over time spent on each individual’s skin. In this way, you truly are getting a bespoke perfume.

IME natural perfume are inspired by the nine muses of Greek mythology - designed to ‘inspire and guide those who seek radiance’. Choose your muse and let the 100% natural botanical ingredients do the rest.

Petalhead fragrances are the perfect blend of apothecary, art and aura from our New Zealand neighbour; Petalhead perfumes are 100% natural and organic. Made with pure flower and plant essences their perfumes advocate a ‘nothing to hide’ approach and are of course cruelty-free.


one / Van Der Faun Trial Pack Duo, $24.95

two / One Seed 'Devotion' eau de Parfum, $85.00

three / IME Natural Perfume in 'Naughty', $66.00

four / Petalhead 'Daring Darling' Parfum Oil, $89.00


words | Sophie Parslow

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