Is wearing essential oils the same as wearing natural perfume?

Posted by Liz Cook on

We hear this statement a lot: "I don't need natural perfume - I just wear essential oils." In fact, in a recent survey we conducted, almost 15% of respondents told us that they though wearing natural perfume was the same as wearing essential oils.

So let's talk about it.


Yes. And no. Natural perfume is made from plant extracts, some which are essential oils (such as ylang ylang, lemon and rose), but may also include other derived materials such as tinctures (made from soaking plants in alcohol), attars (hydro-distilled plants co-extracted with sandalwood), resins, distillates, natural isolates (smaller components derived from essential oils) and plant waxes.


Well, actually, it isn't. Essential oils are the highly concentrated communication signals from plants, and there is a lot of power in just a single drop. (Think: a bucket of rose petals for one drop of rose oil).

When you apply a drop of neat essential oils to your skin, all of that plant power is communicating with your cells all at once. This signalling can trigger physiological and cellular reactions within your body, which may cause an over-stimulation of some functions and organs, for example kidneys or endocrine system. This can be really beneficial when used in a specific way recommended by a qualified naturopath or aromatherapist, but without that expertise you could be playing with fire.

Everybody is different so what works to benefit one person, may trigger an unwanted reaction in another. Best to play it safe and only ever use essential oils diluted at no more than 20% (which could be in a carrier oil, or in a natural perfume).


Something pretty amazing happens when you combine natural plant essences - they become more than just the sum of their parts. ONE SEED perfumes can contain up to twenty-five different essential oils and extracts, all chosen for the way they fit and lock together, and the story they tell as a whole. When these extracts are combined together, added to alcohol, and left to age, magic happens. Well, science actually. The individual plant extracts starts to connect to eachother - molecules gradually vibrate closer and closer together, moving and connecting, becoming a marriage of molecules, and even producing new molecules in the process. This is what makes the wearing of natural perfume so different from wearing essential oils.


Because of its construction and the materials used, natural perfume lasts longer on the skin than essential oils, and the breakdown of notes is less pronounced.

Have you ever noticed that after ten minutes, that beautiful cedarwood oil you applied to your pulse points is now papery and flat? That's because natural extracts break down quickly in contact with air and skin. The lighter molecular components of the cedarwood have oxidised and disappeared, and what you are left with is the heavier components of the oil, which are much less interesting. By adding cedarwood to alcohol and other plant extracts with which it pairs well, you not only enhance the scent, but it now lasts longer (we call that the dry-down) as it is carried along slowly by the chemistry of supporting extracts.

So now you know - wearing essential oils is not the same as wearing a natural perfume. Now for the fun part - working out which fragrance is for you!

You can explore the ONE SEED natural perfume collection here.

Did you know you can also design your own bespoke scent in our Scent Bar? It's so much fun!

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