Natural perfume isn’t what you think. These brands are redefining clean with forward-fragrant scents.
To this day, I still remember my first time falling in love with the art of perfume. I must have been 16 or 17 and wandered to the fragrance counter with my mom at our local department store. The aromas were wafting in the air, and at that moment I realized just as a woman chooses who she wanted to be each day through her dress, the perfume she chooses was also able to transport her to a place far, far away.
Opting for a light, floral scent allowed me to briefly feel as if I were running through the fields or picking a fragrant bouquet of sweet lavender. Crisp linen would transport me to the coast. I could, even if momentarily, be anywhere in the world I wish.
Little did I know that years later I would come to find that my favorite perfumes were causing more harm than good. Most were comprised of chemicals and petroleum that my skin was absorbing. Talk about a letdown, it’s like the day I realized how much of my closet was actually plastic.
So, I switched gears and set out to find fragrant scents that matched my ethics around clean beauty and the environment. Luckily, it wasn’t as hard as I thought. While I couldn’t walk up to the counter at the local department store I could find a plethora of options online and so my love affair with perfume could continue.
The Best Clean Perfume Brands
1. Narrative Lab
The trio behind Narrative Lab set out to create gorgeous scents that are good for humans and the planet. All of the products, which include perfume oils, solids, and rollers, are crafted from skin-loving ingredients made from plants, like coconut oil and safflower seed oil. This creates amazing products that nourish the skin while also creating a beautiful scent that lasts all day. The company is also very mindful of the impact of the packaging, so the solids and rollers are refillable and reusable.
This was one of the first ones I tried years and years ago. The brand uses a delicate combination of botanical and carefully selected synthetic ingredients that are kind to us, our skin, and the planet. It refrains from using parabens, phthalates, or sulfates to craft aroma-rich, modern fragrances. Phlur also coordinates with IUCN to ensure all ingredients are responsibly sourced so that the consumers can feel good about the way they smell.
Skylar enforces strict standards around its scents and chooses to exclude thousands of common ingredients that don’t meet those requirements. The company is dedicated to clean ingredients, clean formulas, and hypoallergenic scents. The formulas are also crafted with both botanic and synthetic ingredients that pass safety screening tests. Additionally, the fragrances come with dual-purpose packaging, renewable resources, and recyclable packing materials.
4. Maison Louis Marie
Maison Louis Marie’s story begins way back in 1792. Louis Marie Aubert du Petit Thouars was a pioneer in French botanical history after being exiled to Madagascar where he discovered a vast array of plants. Building off her rich botanical ancestry, Maison Louis Marie built a luxury perfume brand focused on illustrious scents with unique floral fragrances. Most of the fragrances are unisex and crafted with safflower oil without gluten, parabens, or phthalates.
5. Pour le Monde
The founder of Pour le Monde became an industry disruptor by accident. While pregnant, she learned about the questionable ingredients in her perfume of choice and wanted to find a safe, non-toxic option. Before clean beauty was big, her options were limited so she set out to create her own. It is now the only fragrance company certified by the Natural Products Association. All the products are made with 100% natural essential oils and with each purchase a portion is donated.
6. Henry Rose
Founded by actress Michelle Pfeiffer, Henry Rose boasts seven exquisite scents keeping in mind health, sustainability, transparency, and good manufacturing practices. Pfeiffer worked with the Environmental Working Group and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovations Institute to craft the good for you, good for the planet products. They are also cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, and don’t use parabens, phthalates, or formaldehyde.
7. By Rosie Jane
Founded by celebrity makeup artist Rose Jane Johnston, By Rose Jane is a company that puts sustainability at the forefront. All of the fragrances are hand-mixed in Los Angeles using botanical and safe synthetics. They use 100% recyclable packaging, vegetable-based inks, and no single-use plastics. They also refrain from using phthalates, parabens, or endocrine disruptors.
Founded in Amsterdam by master perfumer, Frances Shoemack, Abel crafts incredible natural and vegan fragrances. All of the scents are derived from plants and made with organic, food-grade alcohol. The products also use natural oils and are free of parabens, soy, and sulfates. Each item is packaged in recyclable material. The company believes in transparency and lists the full ingredients of each product. Abel believes in playing an active part of businesses and consumers that can turn the tide on the climate crisis.
9. St. Rose
Now based in New York, St Rose was born in Australia. The products are vegan and crafted using exceptional responsibly sourced ingredients. For the bases, St. Rose uses a unique sugar cane alcohol, which is an energy-efficient crop. Like all on this list, the company also refrain from using harmful additives, sulfates, phthalates, and parabens.