Is it time to switch to natty perfume?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? We investigate.

Words Hannah Cole

This isn’t our first rodeo. We have already explored the somewhat blurred world of natural beauty (catch up here if you need), but how does this translate to fragrances? With a growing market and a flood of local labels releasing chemical-free fragrances, it seems timely to investigate the appeal of natural perfumes, too.

The concept is relatively simple. Natural perfumes are generally plant-based and synthetic-free, promising to deliver a pure solution for our fragrance needs. Unknowingly we’ve been spritzing and spraying our wrists, decolletage and hair with solutions laden in chemical concoctions. So, is it time to make the switch? I enlisted the assistance of two local brands at the forefront of the movement to find out.

natural perfume
natural perfume
natural perfume
natural perfume

Bye-bye chemicals

Nedahl Stelio, the founder of Recreation Bondi Beach, notes that “there are over 3,000 chemicals which can be classified as “parfum” on the label.” Shockingly, the perfume industry is self-regulated, resulting in a lack of rules — there is no requirement to list these ingredients on the label. Chemicals like phthalates and polycyclic musks (which are known endocrine disruptors, as pointed out by Stelio), sneak their way into our fragrances — whether luxury or chemist purchased. 

The modern narrative has us concerned about the food we ingest (go organic, where possible) and the products we use to nourish our skin, but the perfume world has gotten away with it scot-free so far. 

Researchers have linked everyday fragrances to common sicknesses, like migraines and inflammation, with the primary culprits being household cleaners, deodorants and *drum roll* perfume. It’s not a revelation but is a concern that has been swept under the rug and dismissed, only garnering attention within toxin-free groups. While going natural doesn’t promise to alleviate all these issues, it is a step in the right direction. 

Stelio’s personal journey to natural perfume began after experiencing difficulty in falling pregnant. She ditched chemicals in her beauty routine and household products to help reboot and live toxin-free. While she cites the change was not the only miracle solution that led to her eventual pregnancy, it did kickstart her passion and drive for holistic health. 

Similarly, Emily Ings of KYND Scent (co-founded with Rachel Finch), mentions that she stopped wearing conventional perfumes when she fell pregnant. After discovering the aforementioned long list of hidden ingredients, she never looked back. It’s seemingly a no-brainer move towards the body cleanse so many of us seek.

One goal, two offerings

We all look for something different in the scents we choose to wear each day. Some of us lust after luxury labels and the bottle allure, while others want to dab a little here and there for a little mood lift or sense of put-togetherness. While Recreation Bondi Beach and KYND Scent have the same purpose and a similar conception story,  at the core, the two labels prove there is something for everyone.

KYND Scent desires to “offer women beautiful, natural perfumes, so they can still enjoy wearing a favourite scent every day.” With a completely natural and premium product, Ings admiringly mentions the “love, care and effort that has gone into creating each scent.” Housed in delicate vials, KYND Scents use a roll-on method, making reapplication throughout the day easy (pop one in every purse). 

Typically, natural perfumes have an issue with scent longevity, as it is the use of chemicals that add a lingering quality. KYND Scent packs an astonishing punch though — the one you are likely seeking after decades of conventional perfume spritzing. Expect to smell like a bouquet straight from the garden all day long (I’ve put it to the test). 

Meanwhile, Recreation Bondi Beach set out to perfectly merge luxury with natural, the melding of two often very separate worlds. As Stelio tells me, “We’ve also worked really hard on the packaging as that really bothered me about making the switch to natural products. Why should we have to compromise on luxury because we are choosing healthier products?”

The result is a soft fragrance housed in a precious glass bottle, slotting easily alongside any other aesthetically pleasing packaging. It’s a simple strategy that delivers an immediate sense of lushness and indulgence. The classic spritz and run can be achieved with natural; it’s not all hippies over here. 

The power of scent

Scents transport us, evoke memories, and can potentially change one’s mood — from sour to spirited, anxious to calm. As natural scents are real botanical extracts (conventional perfumes contain the synthetic alternative primarily), they also host aromatherapy benefits. Consider the purpose of your scent wearing and let this lead your nose. 

For relaxation, KYND Scents offer Cool Earth with notes of geranium or go with a mood booster like Botanical Beauty. Meanwhile, over at Recreation, Sun-Kissed will wake up the mind with a hit of citrus, and Call Me Venus aids in a little romantic feeling via fresh rose.

Whether the intention is health-based or a general interest in promoting a more natural way of living, there’s no doubt that the change can be refreshing, even invigorating. The world of natural perfume is expanding. As a general rule of thumb, ask questions, and stick to the purest options. And remember these wise words from Stelio, “Never assume a perfume is clean just because it looks organic.” As they say, you can’t judge a fragrance by its bottle.


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