Organic perfumes vs Synthetic Fragrances

Posted by Liz Cook on

The term 'organic' is a little ambiguous these days. We see the word used on food and beauty products everywhere it seems, and the greenwashing is extensive.

It is common to see the word organic used as an integral part of branding and marketing, when, in fact, there is almost nothing organic or even natural in the product! It’s a constant source of frustration for those companies who value the word and the concept of organic, and seek to create products that are truly organic, in name and content.

What is generally accepted though is that organic products are better for you.

In the world of fragrance, this is certainly true. Organic perfumes are a breath of fresh air when you consider how compromised the language of fragrance has become.

In an era where the perfume industry is worth around US$40.1 billion annually, there is industry and consumer demand  for large-scale mass production of perfumes with consistent supply, quality and affordable prices. Chemical intervention seems to be almost necessary to achieve this, which is why we now have a fragrance industry that is close to 100% synthetic.

Why is this such a bad thing?

So much of what we use in our day-to-day lives are concoctions of chemical compounds. Advances in chemistry have had enormous benefits for the way we perform daily tasks. But this has lead to a place where chemicals in common products are so common, we really now just accept them. 'I don’t know what’s in it, and quite frankly I don’t care' has become a fairly common thought process for many.

But maybe we should reconsider. Especially when it comes to what we put in and on our bodies.

As you know, the skin is the largest organ in the human body and is susceptible to an array of assaults, not in the least of which is what you put on your skin. Over 60% of this gets absorbed into your bloodstream, so it’s smart to want to make sure what you’re applying isn’t causing your body harm.

The aromatic formula of fragrances is a carefully guarded secret by large perfume companies, so often is it hard to know exactly what is in your fragrance. But unless they are labelled as 100% organic or 100% natural, you can assume that harmful chemicals lie within that bottle - usually a concoction of petroleum-based synthetics and harmful additives such as parabens and phthalates, each with its own long list of harmful effects.

What are organic perfumes made from?

Organic perfumes are made from 100% naturally-sourced ingredients, usually plant- based, and extracted without chemical intervention. To be classed as organic, a natural fragrance should also include at least 80% certified organic ingredients.

Because organic perfumes are produced on a much smaller scale than mainstream fragrances, their processes are far more meticulous. In addition, the price of natural ingredients is exponentially higher than synthetics, commonly being anywhere from double to twenty times the price of a synthetic ingredient of a similar odour profile.

The finished product is one that has a depth, individuality and complexity that cannot be replicated by chemical ingredients.

There are three main components in organic fragrances: natural plant oils (including essential oils), distilled water and natural alcohol (derived from wheat, corn, grapes or sugar cane) - not dissimilar from how perfumers created their products in centuries past.

What are the benefits of essential oils?

The use of essential oils in natural products has many benefits for the earth and for your body. These oils are derived from an array of botanical sources - everything from leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, fruit, sap, roots, bark – extracted mainly using steam distillation or cold pressing.

These essential oils have many known health benefits when absorbed or inhaled - commonly know as aromatherapy. Many have potent soothing or grounding effects, such as sandalwood or chamomile; others are known to elevate the mood, such as citrus oils or rose, and some are associated with focus and clarity, such as basil, lemon and cinnamon.

The use of these essential oils and natural extracts in organic perfumery also supports organic farming and ethical production of material, and does not practice animal testing.

Organic perfumes are simply a better choice for your health and for the environment. They enable you to enjoy the beauty of an enticing scent without suffering the negative effects of perfumes made from synthetic ingredients.

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