When it comes to fragrance, just one whiff makes it clear why choosing a natural one is a no-brainer: Wouldn’t you rather people think of you when they smell a blooming flower than associate you with a chemical cocktail?
To help find one that speaks to you, here are the best natural perfumes of the moment. Most are handcrafted in small batches with plant extracts, distilled flower essences, and essential oils. Consider this your cheat sheet to finding the perfect aroma that feels both luxurious and unique.
Scroll down for 18 amazing all-natural perfumes.
Originally posted February 6, 2013, updated on June 29, 2016.
Aside from making exquisite natural candles, Red Flower creates masterful fragrances, like Guaiac. It’s named for the resin that comes from the guaiacum tree, also known as the tree of life, which has been recognized for centuries in South America for its healing powers. In this fragrance, it’s blended with frankincense, rose, and pink grapefruit (all certified USDA organic), and helps reduce stress and tension. As if that wasn’t enough to essentially qualify it as having superpowers, it also helps promote restful sleep. Wear it to yoga to seriously calm your mind, or anoint your pulse points with it before bed (it also happens to be an aphrodisiac).
Perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis is all about luxury craftsmanship. Her forte is creating scents with certified organic, wild-crafted, and biodynamic ingredients that focus on “aroma profile, evocative narratives, and the beauty of scent.” This super-cool Perfumes of the Zodiac collection plays off each sign’s dominant traits with scents meant to enhance or temper them. For example, airy Aquarius blends uplifting neroli and rosemary, and grounding lavender, white sage, and frankincense. These tailor-made perfumes make a thoughtful, personal gift too.
Florescent was founded by Susannah Compton, who used to mix botanicals for therapeutic purposes. The Pretty Bird fragrance from her line is both earthy and sexy. The sandalwood and frankincense notes give it a little more weight than a typical summer fragrance, while the Damask rose and clove add a mix of sweet and smokey. While the scent might be a little dark for some to use as an every day fragrance, its allure makes it a perfect date-night pick.
This carefully crafted fragrance line oozes cool factor. Lurk is the brainchild of New Yorker Anne Sanford, who created packaging and beauty products for Anthropologie and other top brands before creating a super-clean fragrance collection of her own. The BB11 fragrance is an androgynous essential-oil-based scent with a complex mixture of warm black balsam, ambrette seed, and fresh floral. Just like all of Lurk’s scents, it’s distinctive and has a sophisticated, sensual feel.
Lake & Skye’s 11 11, $48
The high-vibe roll-on fragrance oils from newly launched Lake & Skye are less about tapping specific notes—say, rose or gardenia—and more about evoking feelings. Think summers spent at a lake house in the Catskills, or, in the case of 11 11, that buzzing energy that pulses through your veins at the end of a particularly uplifting Kundalini yoga class. (In case you’re not quite sure what that smells like, besides sweat: it’s clean, a bit sweet, and super elegant.) No surprise, considering that the brand’s founder, Courtney Somer, is a yoga teacher and holistic nutritionist.
This solid perfume from the herbalist-led California brand (which uses with food-grade ingredients) is way more than just a beauty product: It’s more like a purse-sized treasure. First of all, the fragrance-packed balm comes in a real seashell, meaning that no two look alike. Also, did you know it takes 8,000 handpicked blossoms to get just one millimeter of jasmine oil—and they can only be picked at a certain time of day? This factoid makes the enticing smell of pure jasmine even more magical than the fact that you’ll feel like Ariel from The Little Mermaid when you put it on.
Vered Signature Scent, $118
Founder Vered Back experienced the healing power of nature firsthand after being hit with a sudden, life-altering, undiagnosed health condition. After finding her way back to health through herbal remedies, she created a line under her own name of organic botanical blends and oils, of which the signature scent stands out as a star perfume. Crafted from notes of vanilla, patchouli, and orange blossom—among a few others—it truly feels like a signature scent that’s addictive to sniff and works beautifully for everyday.
MCMC Love, $45
You could say that MCMC is a labor of love—the brand is run by two sisters who craft a line of fragrances in small batches by hand in Brooklyn. So no surprise that one of the standout scents is the invigorating, citrusy Love, an invigorating citrusy smell with notes of basil and templewood. The fruity smell (that would be yuzu, with notes of basil, magnolia, and templewood) is perfect for summer, giving off earthy, yet tropical vibes. The founders say this particular scent “lasts forever, just like true love”—and with a smell like this (which is a bit like Clinique’s Happy), the long linger is a good thing.
Not only are Pour Le Monde’s scents the only certified 100% natural fragrances on the market, but each of their perfumes donate proceeds to a different charity. Together (which benefits the Cancer Support Community) has an exotic blend of Argentina lemon, Italian bergundy, and mixed berries combined with a vanilla base (and a touch of patchouli) which make for a lovely, everyday scent that’s both sensual and light.
Tsi La is a little obsessed with fun, organic freshness—and natural decadence. The collection is crafted in artisan-size batches using essential oils, active plant botanicals, and rich exotic butters. This best seller is a USDA-certified mist that’s like bottled sunshine—on vacation in Italy. Its notes of orange, tangerine, and neroli flowers mixed with vanilla orchids and honey give it a playful, mischievous appeal.
As a child, Forager Botanical founder Casey Coyle used to make her own perfumes out of water and flower petals. After pregnancy turned her off to synthetic scents and chemicals, she decided to develop products to help women experience nature in the intimate way she used to. The line is handcrafted in Brooklyn, and offers a discount on bottle refills to stay eco-conscious. The flower water spray smells like a beautiful, lush garden, and has essential oils such as orange blossom, ginger, and ylang ylang which highlight its delicate scent.
Australian native and celebrity makeup artist Rosie Jane Johnston concocts her organic, vegan fragrances in a sunny Silver Lake, California studio, where her combination of natural fragrance oils, essential oils, and absolute scents are housed in recycled (and recyclable) packaging. With its scent, Tilly does that wonderful thing of transporting you (mentally) to a Hawaiian island, with light and fruity coconut, grapefruit, and pineapple paired with gardenia. Rolling it on is like adorning yourself with a lei.
Celebrated yogi Elena Brower originally created Give Scent for herself based on two inspirational years in Italy. Now, in collaboration with Alexandra Lyon Perelman, the rest of us can wear the dreamy scent—concocted with Sicilian almond oil, summery citrus, and a grounding drop of deep, heart-opening vanilla. Feel-good bonus: a portion of the proceeds benefit Every Mother Counts and Women for Women International.
This natural beauty brand is based in Chicago and has a globetrotting soul. La Bella Figura’s amazing skin-care oils and scents tap the Mediterranean for ingredients (read: pure, whole plant ingredients) and inspiration. Take Barcelona, a modern, super-nourishing perfume oil blend that evokes smoky cognac, crisp Sicilian lemon, and heady jasmine. The result is a scent that’s both sensuous and sparkling.
Created to address the specific skin-care needs that come along with city living (anyone else worried what all that pollution is doing to your skin?), all of Stark’s skin care is handmade in small batches in Montreal with 100 percent natural, vegan ingredients. The aromatherapy benefits of this new sweet and woody perfume oil address some of the the emotional stressors people in hectic cities crave: grounding, comforting, uplifting, and calming.
Los Angeles natural beauty entrepreneur and makeup artist Lina Hanson takes inspiration from ingredients used in beauty rituals around the world to create the products in her Global Beauty Line. After scoping out nature’s bounty in Asia, Hanson crafted this perfume oil with warm vanilla, sandalwood, Japanese yuzu (a citrus fruit), and ginger. You can feel even better wearing it knowing that the essential oils were sustainably sourced from women’s cooperatives and farmers.
Rich Hippie founder Nannette Pallrand crafted her perfume house to mirror (and bring back) traditional French perfumery techniques, focusing on small-batch perfumes made with organic, natural ingredients. One of the brand’s bestselling bohemian scents, Wild Thing, combines Indian jasmine, Albanian orris root (from the iris flower) and Egyptian rose to create a well-rounded—and super seductive—floral bouquet.
A Perfume Organic Mejica ($65)
Perfumer Amanda Walker’s small batch, botanical blends are super desirable, and Mejica, might be the sexiest of her five USDA certified-organic scents. It’s a delicious blend of three vanillas, rare resins, and spices. The petite bottle is actually a roll-on and, extra charming, the flower seed-embedded box can be planted.
Now that you’ve found your perfect scent, how do you find the right facial oil? Here are six expert tips. If you’re also on the market for some cosmetics, these are 14 natural beauty products you’ll find in celeb makeup bags.