Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought about swapping your signature perfume for an all-natural option, only to bin the idea faster than you can count the letters in ‘Coco Chanel.’
Don’t worry, we get it: change is uncomfortable. But at risk of sounding like your mum, it can also be a very good thing. Especially if you want to improve your health and reduce your impact on the planet (which, by the way, are just two of many reasons why you should say no to synthetic fragrances.)
There are, however, a few things to keep in mind before you click ‘add to cart.’ For one, did you know that it takes seven days for the olfactory system - the part of the brain where your senses are stored - to feel the full effects of using natural perfume?
Put simply, it’s totally normal if you’re not completely converted at first sniff.
Below, we’ve listed some common fragrance faux pas to clear up any confusion when you commit to making the switch.
Mistake #1: Expecting a like-for-like product.
The following may be a day-dampener, although it’s important to note: there’s no natural equivalent that will perfectly match your go-to scent. See, thanks to limitations forced on the industry by the EU Allergens List, most commercial fragrances are created using chemically-derived ingredients. (Yup, even the high-end brands you pay through the nose for.) This means they are virtually impossible to recreate using pure botanicals, particularly since we can’t yet extract a scent from many fruits (citrus being the exception to this rule.)
Mistake #2: Not giving yourself enough time to adjust.
It’s an old cliché but it’s totally true: good things come to those who wait. Natural perfumes are designed to evolve slowly throughout the day as the heat of your body activates the oils and fragrance notes. Take lemon, for example. As a top note, it has a low molecular weight meaning it dissipates in the atmosphere quickly (5-15 minutes tops.) Middle notes, like lavender, last for 2 to 4 hours, while base notes, such as sandalwood, unforld over 4-8 hours.
Our recommendation? Don’t dismiss a scent after a single spritz. Allow up to a week for your senses to adjust (and avoid wearing any strong-smelling moisturisers in the meantime!)
Mistake #3: Assuming naturals last just as long.
You know how biology insists all living things breakdown over time? The same goes for natural perfume, which makes sense considering they’re comprised entirely of plant essences (flowers, seeds, roots and woods.) On the other hand, man-made molecules (like the ones you’ll find in synthetic fragrances,) have been engineered to linger around for longer. Ever gone to put on your jacket and noticed it smelled like the night before? This is likely due to phthalates - chemicals that enhance the strength of an aroma and essentially act like a liquid plastic by sticking it to your skin.
So now you know, and it's not that scary to make a change! Time to find a natural fragrance you adore.