Have you heard of natural perfumes?
Fragrance has been used for thousands of years by humans for many different applications but most involve using scent to stimulate emotions whether that be desire, calming, hypnosis or spirituality. Today scents are all around us as candles, room sprays, car freshener, reed diffusers and of course perfumes and eau de toilettes. In recent years the popularity of natural ingredients in perfumes has been increasing year on year with many boutique and independent brands opting for the use of amazing essential oils and absolutes. But what is the difference between natural perfumes and synthetics and why should anyone care?
Natural perfumes and fragrances use ingredients sourced from nature such as essential oils and absolutes. Many of these would be well known to the general public such as lavender essential oil which many people would have in their bathroom cabinet but many would also be less well known such as rose otto or jasmine absolute. Many of these fragrance oils are rare and expensive. It can take over 10,000 roses to make one 5 ml bottle of rose otto essential oil and jasmine flowers must be picked at night and processed immediately taking up to 40,000 tiny fresh flowers to make one 5 ml bottle.
Most natural perfumes are made with a blend of these oils and absolutes with a combination including top, middle and base notes.
Head or top notes
Top notes are the most volatile of oils which means that they will evaporate the quickest from the skin. These are usually citrus oils such as orange, lemon or grapefruit.
Heart or middle notes
Heart or middle notes are the body or main personality of a fragrance blend. Usually floral oils such as rose, geranium or jasmine but also spicy or herbal notes such as clary sage or sweet marjoram.
Base notes are the least volatile of all of the oils in a perfumer's blend. Usually woody, smokey or sometimes sweet these scents will last longest on skin and are the ones which linger long after the top and middle notes have gone. Classic base notes include musk, sandalwood and patchouli.
What is the difference between natural and synthetic perfumes?
Synthetic perfumes use fragrances which have been made in a lab. Sometimes these fragrances are manufactured to mimic natural oils which have been mentioned above and sometimes these fragrances are manufactured to mimic fragrances not found in nature or not capable of being extracted from natural items. Think of your candy floss or baby powder scented candle or perfumes with a scent of fresh cut grass or mango. The majority of commercial perfumes and scented products will use no natural oils. The reasons for this are
Cost: Natural oils are much more expensive to produce than synthetics. Even if the unit cost is reduced by €1 this amount times millions of units sold worldwide is a significant cost saving.
Consistency: Natural oils can differ from year to year, harvest to harvest. If you buy a commercial perfume one year that manufacturer wants that product to smell the same year on year. Natural oils don't offer the same consistency. However, this is something which niche, smaller perfume makers embrace.
Creative options: Some smells are impossible to recreate from natural oils. A mango and coconut body spray would be almost impossible to recreate using naturals. Also some scents such as musk which traditionally would have been extracted from musk deer are no longer allowed for obvious reasons. Any musk in perfume is more than likely from a synthetic source and rightly so.
Which is better natural or synthetic?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It all comes down to personal choice and trying out different options to find the best one which suits you. Some people report adverse reactions to some synthetics such as headaches or nausea. I know that there are some commercial perfumes which irritate my sinus and some which my husband can't stand as they irritate his throat. It was for this reason that Keegan & Co. began to formulate natural eau de toilettes. So why choose natural?
Sensitivity: If you are one of those who runs the gauntlet in the perfume section of your department store with sneezing, headaches or sinus irritation perhaps natural perfumes are for you.
Complexity of natural fragrances: Certain natural fragrances are very difficult to reproduce in a lab. The smell of real neroli or rose essential oil or absolute compared to a synthetic version is amazing. When you try a natural fragrance you will notice this subtle but significant difference.
Ethically Sourced: We use ethically sourced oils which don't harm the environment and which are manufactured where farmers receive a fair price for their products.
Launching very soon Keegan & Co's rage of 3 eau de toilettes inspired by travel and exotic world locations made using natural essential oils. Keep watch on our website and subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive discounts.
Scents of the World
|Rose Poudré||Spiced Carvi Poivre||Sweet Gingembre|