What’s in a fragrance? A lot more than you might think, according to clean perfume brand Sklyar. Here’s everything you need to know.
If there’s one thing Skylar wants you to know about all fragrances, is that they have the potential to change your life—in a good way. That’s because fragrances are transformative. They can take us back to decades-old memories in an instant. Credit the semi-complicated olfactory system (aka your nose), which gives your brain a direct hit of information within nanoseconds of your inhalation.
Scents trigger memories—good and bad—and that’s part of why we love them. Biologically, though, this is less about memories of running through your grandmother’s rose garden as a child. It is a survival mechanism—certain scents are associated with danger, allowing our instincts to kick in.
Of course, in the modern world, our fragrance obsession is less about survival and more about feeling good. Clean fragrance brand Skylar is keenly aware of this—it’s all about elevating our relationship with fragrance and bringing transparency to an otherwise secretive industry.
Skylar’s clean fragrances
Cat Chen, founder and CEO of Skylar, says she started the brand in 2017 when her newborn daughter developed reactions to Chen’s fragrance. She was wearing a conventional product loaded with triggers.
Perfume sensitivities aren’t technically allergies—they are caused by irritants, which can lead to reactions similar to immune responses: itchy, watery eyes, headache, and respiratory problems. It’s similar to the difference between reacting to pollen because you’re allergic, and reacting to pollen because someone rubbed it directly in your eyes. Both will cause watery eyes and sensitivity, but for different reasons.
That’s not a problem though for clean fragrance brands like Skylar. The company prioritizes non-toxic ingredients—it eschews synthetic fragrances that can cause any type of reaction. The company recently further refined its formulations to remove any possible sensitivity triggers. “Nothing is forced, ever,” according to the brand.
Its perfumes offer users a new way to experience fragrance—elevated coastal-inspired scents create new memories as much as they can conjure up good old childhood memories. And that’s entirely the point—to remind us of those natural experiences, but to also lead the way forward to new, sustainable fragrance experiences achieved without synthetic ingredients.
Skylar also tackled another issue: scent linger times. It says it has increased its fragrance concentrations to 17 to 20 percent, which imparts a longer-lasting scent experience so you can enjoy that uplifting experience for longer.
The company also prioritizes vegan formulations, testing its plant-based fragrances on humans, not animals. The fragrances come in 100 percent hand-blown recyclable glass bottles, with recyclable caps and cartons.
Chen wants Skylar to be a force for the greater good, too. Each month the company donates to a different charitable organization. It also operates with an all-female board to help its goal of promoting diversity and inclusion for a cleaner world that’s as empowered as it is fragrant.
Shop from the Skylar fragrance collections below.
Emerging from the ocean with a fresh frame of mind. It’s the smell of endless summers and breezy days, the ones that flood your senses with serenity any time you come within a mile of the ocean. Salt Air is the scent of a perfect seascape, with grounding driftwood and green seaweed mingling with the minerals of sea salt and warm sand, while light floral notes of water lily float on top. Bring the healing powers of the sea with you everywhere you go.
Top notes: Italian Bergamot, Sea Salt, Seaweed
Middle notes: Cotton Blossom, Water Lily, Cyclamen
Base notes: Driftwood, Vanilla, Musk
A peaceful walk in the forest, shaded from the sun. There is nothing like the smell of trees to remind you how to thrive. Restorative pine and fir balsam make up the heart notes of the wonderfully meditative Willow Woods, with a woody base and a hint of heliotrope flower on top. It’s a true outdoor scent that brings the serenity of nature with you wherever you are.
Top notes: Heliotrope, Willow
Middle notes: Pine, Fir Balsam
Base notes: Incense, Wood
Drop everything and head to the beach. Sometimes all you need is a day by the ocean. It’s that restorative feeling that inspired Isle Escape. Sandalwood and amber are the grounding notes here, lifted up by cardamom, peony, and ginger at the heart. Citrusy bergamot, quince, and orange mist add an effervescent zest at the top. Live the dream of a seaside vacation every time you put it on.
Top notes: Bergamot, Orange Mist, Fresh Quince
Middle notes: Cardamom, Peony Caress, Ginger Root
Base notes: Sandalwood, Subtle Musk, Golden Amber
The serenity of the last light of evening. On the West Coast, magic hour is legendary. The slow-setting sun, diffused by watercolor clouds, bathes the mountainous terrain in a wash of unexpected brilliance. Pink Canyon is a celebration of that awe-inspiring moment, with fresh pink grapefruit grounded in the scent of pink salt and calming cedar. Make the unforgettable feeling of a West Coast mountain sunset last all day long.
Top notes: Dewy Lemon, Grapefruit, Sage Leaves
Middle notes: Magnolia, Lily of the Valley, Tiare Petals
Base notes: Sheer Amber, Pink Salt, Cedar, Musk