Scent of a Woman: Natural Perfume

You’ve got your mineral makeup and organic face scrub, but your perfume is still laced with man-made oils and chemicals.


We’re not suggesting you pitch your Chanel No. 5 or Dior J’adore, but if you’re in the market for a new scent, check out fragrances made from natural oils and materials for a different olfactory experience.

“Essential oils work with the chemistry of your skin, so the same scent smells a little different on everyone, for a truly unique, signature scent,” says Ricky Albrecht of Lush Cosmetics.

Tedd Neenan, owner of Aroma Workshop Chicago, creates aromatherapy oil blends that do more than just make you smell good: His tinctures can positively affect your mood, ease muscle tension and relieve stress. He even produces a blend that wards off mosquitos. “It’s fragrance with a purpose,” he says.

Essential oils tend to evaporate more quickly than synthetic perfumes, but there are tricks to help that aroma linger. Oils cling to the lipids and fats in lotions, Neenan says, so applying cream before you dab or spray on your perfume will help it last. Alternately, add a few drops to your lotion before you apply it.

Oils that are obtained from roots and resins, and which generally have a woodier smell, also evaporate more slowly. When you’re buying blends, look for combinations with ylang ylang, vetiver, oak moss or atlas cedar, which will help florals like rose cling to your skin.

Create your own scent from this shop’s collection of essential oils, or choose from one of the premade blends. “Uplifting,” a clean and cheerful blend made from lavender, ylang ylang, jasmine and sweet orange, among other oils, is a popular choice that’s intended to elevate your mood.

Aromatherapy blends, prices start at $11 for ¼ oz., Aroma Workshop Chicago

Lush’s Gorilla perfumes are made from all natural ingredients and come in both solid and liquid forms. Their ultrabalm, a concoction of jojoba oil, rose wax and Candelilla wax, serves as the base for the solid and helps the scent last longer. “Karma,” Lush’s signature scent, is always a favorite; for something spicy for Valentine’s Day, spritz on a bit of “Lust.”

Gorilla Perfume, prices vary, Lush Cosmetics

For a striking floral that’s not overpoweringly sweet, try this popular peony perfume from L’Occitane, which uses only natural oils and alcohols in its products. For the man in your life, check out the L’Occitane Eau de Toilette Pour Homme, a clean, fresh scent with hints of woodiness.

Peony Eau de Toilette, $40, L’Occitane

Sage scents use all natural and essential oils for clean, rich flavors that don’t overwhelm. The small, roll-on dispenser fits easily into a purse for quick touch-ups when necessary.

Sage roll-on oil, $45, Art Effect or Sage Jewelry for more scents

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