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Aromatic Alchemy; Natural Perfume Oils

Aromatic Alchemy;

What is Natural Perfume Oil?



Why We Wear Perfume

Our sense of smell is the most important of all our senses.  Our ability to smell serves as a warning signal and enhances our life experiences. An aroma can emit a response in us creating a mood or conjuring up a memory as does music or a painting.  A person will choose whatever aroma attracts them. It is said that we choose by our emotional type, or our seasonal type or seeking a desired effect.  Regardless humans enjoy indulging in scent as emotional therapy, or to decorate and attract, all of which sends a message.

When we wear natural perfume our spirit instantly connects deeply with the essence of nature. As we experience the life force of the elements of our plant world, emotions can be stimulated such as joy, happiness, romance, sensuality, desire.  We can become uplifted, feel safe, grounded and balanced, eager to move forward.  All from an experience with nature’s elements blended into an aromatic potion.

A perfume is like a subtle aura that surrounds us. Today it is not as acceptable to wear perfumes with a strong trail of scent, known as silage, extending beyond our personal boundaries, as in the case of most synthetic perfumes. A Natural Perfume’s silage is closer to the skin; it is more subtle. It is there to enjoy for those whom we will allow into our personal space and for those with whom we want to share who we uniquely are.

Early Perfumery

Throughout the ages products have been used to enhance the feel of the skin and the smell of the body, much as we do today. Early civilizations, starting with the Egyptians, used perfumes and incense for religious purposes to please the gods.  They would adorn themselves by rubbing aromatic balms into the skin.  Spice traders who knew the antimicrobial properties of the various spices also used the essential oils of spices to rub on their bodies to protect their health when they robbed the graves of plague infested bodies.  Their purpose was medicinal; it was protective. The effect was also aromatic.

In the nineteenth century the city of Grasse, in Provence France became the center for growing flowers and herbs for the perfume industry. This was also the beginning of the synthetic perfume industry, as laboratory synthesized fragrance was less expensive than growing and sourcing rare and exotic plant ingredients.

By the twentieth century perfumes were being mass-produced. Over time, even less expensive synthetic ingredients have been developed and people have noticed increasingly more adverse reactions to the synthetic renditions of scent.  Skin, eyes and lung irritations, respiratory ailments, neuro toxicity and organ system toxicity are commonly experienced as a result of the synthetic toxins and potentially carcinogenic ingredients that are being created in modern day perfume laboratories.

However, today, once again we can be delighted with ‘all natural perfumes’ of pure plant aromas offering full, well rounded and deep aromatic delights that are most lovely and most importantly safe for our health.

How does Natural Perfume differ from Commercial Perfume and Fragrance oils?

Natural Perfumes – are aromatic essences that are made from pure whole form ingredients such as steam distilled essential oils and absolutes of plants – herbs, flowers, seeds, stems, barks, woody resins and spices. These are true Natural Perfume ingredients. The aromas are full-bodied, deep and a delightfully balanced orchestra of varied levels of aroma. When first applied the aroma is clearly evident.  With time the aromas noticeably change, as they are complex blends and the top, middle and base notes components transition.  As the aromas ebb and flow, they also evaporate in stages. This aspect of aromatic alchemy a friend referred to as ‘undulating essences.’ As the aroma seems to fade you can begin to focus on the energies of the perfume oils within your body and psyche. I call this the ‘scentsations’ of the blend. This is the unique benefit of Natural Perfume Oils.

Most importantly Natural Perfume Oils do not contain carcinogens and other toxins found in commercial perfumes and fragrance oils.  Many people who cannot wear synthetic fragrances or don’t care for chemical aromas welcome the purity and balance of a good Natural Perfume.  The only way to scent naturally is with pure essential oils.

Commercial Perfumes – are made with synthetic chemical compounds (e.g. petrochemicals phthalates) labelled as fragrance. As noted above they can cause irritations of the skin, nasal passages, headaches, asthma, allergies, bronchitis, neurotoxicity and even cancer. What are Phthalates? -  Solvents used to make rigid plastic pliable. This begs the question, why is there rigid plastic in perfumes and cosmetic products? Today, commercial perfumes contain very little if any natural plant ingredient.  Thus the full aroma and full benefit of nature will not be experienced.

Fragrance Oils – are synthetic scent chemicals that contain solvents to assist blending and increase fragrance longevity. Dilutants are also used to ‘cut’ fragrance oils to lower cost.                                                                               Be aware, often these are labelled as essential oils and aromatherapy. Not to confuse, these are not true natural essential oils.

Another category of fragrance oils is ‘Natural’ Fragrance Oils -  which are Fractionated Isolates of plants. They are only part of the whole plant. The aromas are often too sweet, flat and uninspiring. More so, the ingredients in Fragrance and fragrance oils are ‘protected’ and do not have to be revealed. There are no regulatory standards that differentiate natural perfumes, isolates or fragrance oils.

The only way to ensure your health is to be aware of the ethics and integrity of your Perfume manufacturer/supplier.

Properties of some essential oils of plants

Here is a brief guide to the properties and characteristics of some essential oils of plants that are used in natural perfumery. You can use this handy reference when searcing  for a new scent for your skin, your mood, or your home.

Citrus – Fresh, Uplifting, Refreshing, Emotionally Clearing

Bergamot – anti-depressant, relieves anxiety, refreshing, uplifting

Orange- anti-depressant, mildly sedative, uplifting, increases tolerance and compassion, counters moodiness

Lemon- revitalizing, cleansing, eases confusion, clears intellect

Lime – stimulating, cleansing, mental and emotional clearing, moves one into action

Floral (light) – Optimism, Playful, Inspiratio

Orange Blossom – sensual, playful, uplifting, hypnotic and euphoric

Neroli – relaxing, calming, uplifting, relieves social anxiety, promotes emotional harmony, encourages hope, relives depression

Bergamot - anti-depressant, relieves anxiety, balances the spirit, combats fatigue due to stress and anxiety

Floral (deep) – Sensual, Warm

Jasmine – sensual, reawakens passion, aphrodisiac, restores creativity, elegant, exotic, ‘love potion’

Clary Sage – relaxing, restores emotional balance, relieves stress, euphoric, aphrodisiac

Rose – calming, supportive, dispels grief and heartache, transforms sexual love to spiritual connection, sensual, subdues envy and jealousy

Woody resins, barks, roots – Meditative, Tranquil, Serene, Deep Inner Calm

Sandalwood – meditative, soothing, supports spiritual growth, uplifts the psyche, aphrodisiac, eases obsessive worry

Cedar wood – relaxing, grounding, assists meditation, aphrodisiac, calms anxiety, diffuses fear, builds confidence, enhances spirituality

Vetiver – grounding, relaxing, reconnects to inner self, balancing to hyperactive mind, mildly sedative, restorative

Spice – Warm, Sweet, Reminiscent of Holidays

Cinnamon – dispels confusion, indecision, panic and sense of overwhelm

Coriander- refreshing, mood elevating, increases intuition, contentment

Ginger – fresh, sharp, warm, promotes confidence, vitality and initiative

Nutmeg – sweet, musky, spicy, boosts optimism, helps to overcome confusion and fatigue

By using only pure whole distillations and extracts of plants to unleash the depth and wholeness of nature we can safely enjoy the full benefits of nature’s aromatic essences to adorn and inspire.


Related Reading:

What is Hidden in Fragrance?

Natural Perfume




Natural Perfumes, Mindy Green, Interweave Press Inc. Loveland CO1999

Essence and Alchemy, Mandy Aftel, Gibbs Smith, Layton UT 2008

www.ewg.org/skindeep/  Environmental Working Group Safe Cosmetics database




Author Eve Stahl, is a Health Consultant, Herbalist and Skin Care expert. She specializes in using nature’s plants to enhance the health of people and to protect the health of the planet.  To achieve this purpose she has created Garden of Eve Skin Care products for sensitive skin and all skin types. You can visit her company at www.gardenofeveskincare.com       

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