When I was pregnant for the first time, I decided to stop wearing perfume despite my all-out love of fragrance. Why? Because I learned that most perfumes contain chemicals called phthalates. The issue is that phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, proven in studies to cause an array of problems from infertility to genital birth defects. They are also possible carcinogens,
Pregnant or not, no thanks.
The problem is that phthalates are impossible to avoid completely because they are in hundreds of products from paint to nail polish. More frustrating is that it is not possible to know if they are in your perfume because they are rarely listed. Sometimes they can be referred to on a label just as “fragrance.” However, finding great-smelling, well-priced natural perfumes is not as easy as you would think. Walk into a department store or beauty chain and ask for phthalate-free perfume and you’re likely to get nowhere.
We spent the past week at the Yahoo Beauty offices testing out an array of perfumes made with plant extracts, essential oils, and botanical ingredients—no chemicals in sight. While there were more patchouli-esque scents than one would hope for, we did find seven amazing options. Whether you like classic, light, floral, or unisex fragrances, you’ll find one here:
LURK, RSW 005 ($55)
I love this handmade small-batch fragrance line, which uses only essential oils in a base of organic jojoba. Committed to purity, the line doesn’t use any chemical preservatives, stabilizers or additives. The unisex RSW 005 perfume oil combines sandlewood with rose, for a musky rich scent.
Photo: Organic Glam by The Organic Pharmacy
Organic Glam by The Organic Pharmacy, Jasmine ($249)
Of all the natural fragrance brands, the scents from Organic Glam by The Organic Pharmacy were my favorites. Jasmine is romantic and floral, with an intoxicating blend of Egyptian Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot and Sandalwood. The London-based company was founded by a pharmacist and homeopathist who is committed to certified organic products free of toxins, chemicals, and preservatives.
Photo: TSI-LA Organics
Tsi-La Organics, Fleur Savage ($44)
The Fleur Savage perfume oil pairs tuberose, Tunisian neroli, Italian bergamot, and Egyptian jasmine petals with blonde wood for a sweet scent that smells like an intriguing blend of floral and licorice. Packaged in a pretty roller bottle with a floral design, it would be a perfect on-the-go fragrance. Tsi-La offers six perfume oil options, but you can also design your own fragrance. Committed to health and the environment, the line is 100% flower and plant-based, animal cruelty-free, without any synthetic additives, preservatives, colorants or chemicals.
Vered, Blue Violet ($89)
The cult botanical perfumery based in NYC is the vision of esthetician and herbalist Vered Beck. Her essential-oil-based scents are designed to fuse intoxicating scents with the medicinal benefits of organic botanicals. Her earthy-meets-sexy Blue Violet fragrance pairs the calming floral essence of blue violet with jasmine—a purported aphrodisiac. The citrus notes of yuzu, known for its calming properties, completes the alluring blend.
Photo: Strange Invisible Perfumes
Strange Invisible Perfumes, Epic Gardenia & Fair Verona ($265)
If you’re a fan of classic—rather than earthy or fruity—scents, you’ll love the Venice Beach, California-based botanical perfumery’s sophisticated line-up. However, the certified organic, pesticide-free, limited-batch sophistication does come with a hefty price tag. Epic Gardenia is a sexy take on the flower in its name, while Fair Verona blends jasmine, sandalwood, mimosa, and pink grapefruit.
Photo: Red Flower
Red Flower, Guaiac ($186)
Very light and crisp, Guaiac has a citrusy scent that’s perfect for hot summer days. The fragrance from the New York-based aromatherapy spa is crafted from essential oils and certified organic plants including guaiac wood, pink grapefruit, and rose.