Our sense of smell is so intriguing - it is capable of arousing the strongest of emotions and triggering our (good and bad) memories. For example, the smell of sunscreen used to remind me of summer and beach holidays (well, that is not the case anymore as I now have kids and put sunscreen on them all the time!!) And does anyone remember their mum when they smell their mum's signature scent?
I guess that's why there is such a huge market for perfume. The trouble is, while some conventional perfumes contain natural essences, it is well documented that most of them also contain toxic chemicals which can cause allergic reactions and worse still, are hormone disruptors and downright carcinogenic. Cosmetic companies don't have to disclose the ingredients of their perfumes because they are protected as "trade secrets". Well, the reality is, we shouldn't be using any products when we don't know what they are made of!
Fortunately, there are now a number of companies who specialise in making perfume using only natural ingredients. One drawback that natural perfumes tend to have is that they don't tend to wear as well (ie. last as long) compared to their conventional counterparts. This is because conventional perfume is made of synthetic ingredients which are engineered to maintain their scent and adhere to the skin for longer (these ingredients are invariably toxic to us), whereas natural ingredients tend to naturally break down over time.
There are tricks to make your natural perfume last longer though. For example, you can layer on your perfume by using different products in the same scent family (eg. bath wash, body lotion and then perfume). Also, don't just put perfume on your pulse points, as they tend to be warmer and the heat helps to break down the fragrance faster.
Perfume is of course a very personal choice. I do have a penchant for floral fragrances, and here are the ones that I really love.
1. ONESELF ORGANICS HAWAIIAN FLOWER LEI PERFUME OIL
Top of my list is the Oneself Organics Hawaiian Flower Lei Perfume Oil. It comes in a little glass jar (10ml) with a roller ball.
This perfume is hand crafted by Hawaiian locals using Hawaiian gardenia, frangipani and tuberose in certified organic Hawaiian coconut oil. The result is a delicate and fresh floral fragrance - it smells absolutely divine! The amazing thing is that it lasts and lasts. In my case, it lasts for at least 6 to 7 hours!
In Australia, you can buy it here at Emporio Organics for AUD65. In fact, this product was recommended to me when I visited their shop in Sydney, and I have loved it since!
2. LAVANILA FRAGRANCE ROLLERBALL
I love the fact that Lavanila produces a range of body products which you can layer on. For example, they do deodorants, body butter, roll on and spray perfume within each scent family.
Lavanila's products are 100% natural. They use Madagascar vanilla as the base and then layer fruity essential oils to create their fragrances. Alcohol is used but extracted from organic sugar cane, then infused with Kakadu Plum and Goji Powder.
Here is a list of the ingredients used: Alcohol Denatured (from Organic sugar cane), Botanical Fragrance, Water (Aqua), Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Powder (Goji), Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract (Kakadu Plum), Epilobium Angustifolium (Canadian Willowherb) Extract (Canadian Willowherb), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract (Olive Leaf), Alteromonas Ferment (Abyssine 657) Extract, Chrysanthemum Indicum Extract (Chamomile), Oat Amino Acids, Glycerin (Vegetable), Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia)
My favourite is the Vanilla Grapefruit rollerball. The fragrance is a warm and uplifting floral fragrance - sweet in a good way. It also lasts the distance - around 4 hours in my case (remember that how long it lasts depends on each individual person).
I also like the fact that Lavanila products are very accessible. The rollerball perfume retails at around AUD35. You can get it at Sephora.
3. COAST SYDNEY BOTANICALS PERFUME
I do like supporting local businesses. Coast Sydney Botanicals is a young company founded in Sydney by a lady who is keen to formulate her own products using the purest ingredients. Definitely worth supporting!
Coast Sydney Botanicals have designed 7 scents (all in roller form), each to tell a story inspired by the beauty of nature and memories of places.
My personal favourite is Nice, with Tuberose and Ylang Ylang and a vanilla base. The full list of ingredients is here: essential oils - petitgrain, clematis, tuberose, rhubarb, ylang yang, Peru balsam, patchouli, vanilla, organic jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil and immortelle oil. As you can see, a very clean list of ingredients. The only drawback I find is that this fragrance is not quite as long lasting as the others.
A much longer lasting fragrance in their range is Bali, which contains notes of white magnolia, jasmine and nag champa. It is a lovely fragrance but I find it slightly too strong for me to start off with.
You can buy their range here at Coast Sydney Botanicals, at AUD48 for 10ml.