Why I Ditched Synthetic Fragrances (& Best Natural Perfumes to Use Instead)

Hi, my name is Becca and I am a recovering perfume addict 😮 No seriously, I used to have an ENTIRE drawer full of perfumes. I don’t even know how many Bath & Body Works body sprays and Victoria’s Secret perfumes I had, but you name the scent and it was probably in my drawer! I would spritz myself every single day. But then I started learning more about safer products and researching ingredients. And when I learned that “fragrance” is one of the most harmful ingredients out there, it was a huge wake-up call and a big fat ADIÓS to my stash!


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The Problem with “Fragrance”

Have you ever been around someone who wore way too much perfume, then you got a headache? Or nauseous? 🙋 That’s because perfumes are basically a chemical cocktail. The term “fragrance” is just an unregulated catch-all term and can be a combination of about 3,000 different chemicals that can be detrimental to our health.

I avoid fragrances like the plague because they are linked to:

  • Endocrine disruption – these chemicals can mimic hormones and therefore alter your hormone levels
  • Nervous system disorders like ADHD
  • Allergic reactions
  • Cancer, more specifically breast cancer because of the endocrine disruptors
  • Birth defects
  • Dizziness, brain fog, migraines, and nausea
  • Respiratory irritation

There are many downsides to using synthetic scents. Fragrances are especially harmful to pregnant women, infants, and children because of how badly they can impact developing bodies. But I believe that everybody should avoid them! Check out the Stink! documentary, it’s really eye-opening.

Other than fragrance, look out for these terms on ingredient labels:

  • Aroma
  • Cologne
  • Eau de parfum
  • Eau de toilette
  • Parfum
  • Perfume
  • Phthalates
  • Musk

Other than perfumes, synthetic fragrances are in about 95% of hair care products out there like shampoos, conditioners, styling sprays, and more. The majority of people are breathing these in and putting them on their bodies every single day because of how prominent they are. These chemicals absorb right into your bloodstream. If you see any of the above on an ingredient label, avoid it.

Green Beauty Ingredient Glossary

My Fave Non-Toxic Perfumes

Good Medicine Beauty Lab Botanical Perfumes

The good news is that you can still wear perfume! You just have to read the ingredients and buy ones that are naturally produced. I’ll help you out so you can skip the search 😉

Now that I’ve phased out synthetic perfumes, it’s crazy how sensitive I’ve become to fake smells! I just can’t stand them anymore and they are way too strong for me. Natural is the way to go!

My top recommendation is the Good Medicine Beauty Lab’s botanical perfumes. My personal favorite is the scent Moon Shadow which has attars of rose, sandalwood, cinnamon, and clove bud. It smells SO good! Love Letter is a runner-up fave with notes of magnolia, coconut, and vanilla.

I can totally stand behind this company and its perfumes because they:

  • Are a women-led, family-owned company
  • Never test on animals
  • Use locally sourced ingredients
  • Are handcrafted in small batches
  • Offer mini sizes so you can try before you buy a full-size
  • Use custom blended 100% pure essential oils and attars in artisan alcohol
  • Never use synthetics

Shop Good Medicine Perfumes Here

Good Medicine Beauty Lab Perfumes
Photo courtesy of Good Medicine Beauty Lab Perfumes

Other #BeccaApproved Natural Perfumes to Try:

Natural Organic Perfume Brands

  • Abbott NYC: A lot of these are unisex! Abbott uses safe synthetics but is vegan, cruelty-free, and phthalate-free. They have a great exploration set if you want to try some trial sizes. My fave is Montecito (grapefruit, jasmine, vetiver), and my husband likes Sequoia (incense, cedarwood, sandalwood).
  • Lina Hanson Perfume Oils: These have a rollerball applicator and a blend of natural and organic essential oils and CO2 extracts in a base of fractionated coconut oil. I use Vibe which is woodsy, sweet, and smoky with a feminine twist. Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on these at Aillea.
  • Nusa Holistick Perfumes: This brand uses 100% natural ingredients such as pure essential oils and absolutes. No phthalates, parabens, perfume oils, or synthetics! I cannot get enough of the Teratai scent (lotus, grapefruit, honeysuckle, and green tea). Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount.
  • Palermo Aromatherapy Oils: Light and delicate oils that aren’t too overpowering; I love Vitality which smells of jasmine, sandalwood, and cardamom.
  • Prim Botanicals Mademoiselle Swell Perfume Oil: This is a rollerball that smells feminine and delightful with notes of neroli, bergamot, and jasmine. It uses organic fractionated coconut oil and a blend of essential oils and plant-derived extracts. Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on this at Love Peace Organic.
  • Smoke Perfumes: Unisex scents made with organic perfumer’s alcohol, essential oils, and absolutes (all ethically sourced!). I have the Ritual scent which is infused with cinnamon, neroli, rose, and patchouli. They are quite strong! Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on these at Aillea.

Related post: “Unscented vs. Fragrance Free vs. Essential Oil Free Skincare: What’s the Difference?

Palermo Natural Perfumes


You definitely don’t need to go and throw out perfumes like I did, but it’s so important that you know what these ingredients really mean and how they affect your health. And now going forward you are more informed!

Also check out my blog post: 5 Essential Tips for Finding *Truly* Natural Perfumes

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these, and if you have, what’s your favorite scent?

Becca Signature

 

 

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Written by: Becca

Becca is a blogger, wife, and dog mom living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Having seen firsthand the benefits of switching to a natural lifestyle herself, she's passionate about helping women make the switch to clean beauty products, organic skincare, and a holistic way of life (without the stress of being perfect about it!).

10 comments on “Why I Ditched Synthetic Fragrances (& Best Natural Perfumes to Use Instead)”

  1. Love this. Finding 100% natural perfumes is so hard. There are a lot of brands out there that claim to be “natural” or “organic” but what they mean is they either include *some* real ingredients or they avoid the worst toxins like phthalates and parabens. Actually, in case this is helpful for anyone, this year I opened a store online dedicated to solving exactly this problem. We carry exclusively 100% natural perfumes from some of the finest natural perfumeries around the world (at potionnaturals.com). I started this so people like my mom with chronic illnesses could still enjoy beautiful, luxury perfumes without feeling sick. The feedback has been amazing so far, and it’s so exciting to see natural perfumery become more popular. Here’s to hoping more people learn about it and make the switch!

  2. You have mentioned the perfect problems with “fragrance”. And that too in a very simple language. And this line: ” These chemicals absorb right into your bloodstream.” I didn’t knew it. I thought it is only affecting respiratory system. Thanks for this new information.

    1. Hi! I think so – they use phthalate-free safer synthetics. So it’s not really natural but at least they disclose what each ingredient is.

  3. Hey Becca! This is great information. Oakcha says their fragrances have ditched many of the hormone disruptors. Do you know anything about them? They make a Baccarat 540 knock off that’s oil based. And it smells so good…whatcha think?

    1. I’m not too familiar with that brand. I would suggest you see if they disclose what’s exactly in the “fragrance” even though they say phthalate-free. I also see that they use benzyl benzoate which I would avoid if I can!

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