When I first transitioned to vegan and natural cosmetics, I set out with the intention to find a perfect signature perfume, one that enchanted my soul and beautifully transitioned from day to night and from season to season.
Fast forward to today, and I have a whole shelf of perfumes—a scent wardrobe, if you will. As it turns out, I’m not very good at minimalism when it comes to fragrance. Perhaps I’m indecisive. Perhaps I contain multitudes. Either way, I’ve made peace with the fact that my nose needs variety, so instead of limiting myself to that elusive signature scent, I’ve embraced several.
What are perfume oils?
Among my favorites are perfume oils. These differ from eau de parfum sprays since they contain no alcohol, often have a less overwhelming scent, and are usually packaged in smaller containers, making them excellent for travel and beauty on-the-go. In my experience, perfume oils are easier to layer than alcohol-based perfumes as they can be combined with other perfume oils and oil-based body lotions.
Because of their (usually) more subtle scent, you may find that you have to reapply your perfume oil throughout the day, but this allows for more control over your fragrance. If you want to extend the life of your fragrance, avoid applying it directly to dry skin. Dry skin will quickly absorb the oil and diffuse the scent; applying fragrance oil to moisturised skin will allow for a slower diffusion time. As with any perfume, apply fragrance oil to your pulse point for maximum impact (wrists, neck, inside elbows, back of knees, breastbone). Finally, dab rather than rub perfume on your skin. Rubbing breaks down the fragrance molecules, lessening the scent.
Whether you’re looking for The One or a special addition to your fragrance family, we’ve got a collection of charming vegan perfume oils created with natural carrier oils and essential oils.
Notes: tropical and exotic white flowers—plumeria, pikake, gardenia, and jasmine
The mood: Classic and fresh, this ultra feminine bouquet has a touch of 5th-Avenue luxury (no wonder the scent is beloved by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Charlize Theron).
The brand: Developed by former boutique owner Gaye Straza, Kai’s original fragrance is inspired by trips to the tropics. Straza created the line after realizing that conventional, chemical-laden fragrances simply weren’t for her. Kai’s signature fragrance blend was developed in a small boutique fragrance house.
Notes: amber, musk—and you
The mood: This unisex fragrance is designed to compliment your natural body chemistry (the company describes it as a “pheromone scent”). It will smell a little different on everyone. Directly from the bottle, this bewitching blend smells subtly seductive and truly modern.
The brand: Inspired by constantly raising their own bar for excellence and quality, Riddle believes in the “sacred art of allowing”—“You have learned the importance to desire betterment, to listen, adopt clarity and love yourself. It is time you understand the necessity of allowing your desires to come into your life.” Their perfume creations are vegan, cruelty-free, and natural. Riddle also offers a helpful article explaining scent fatigue.
Notes: jasmine, ylang-ylang, neroli, and dusky rose with earth, wood, and spice
The mood: I sampled each of the perfumes oil from Grasse Roots and adored all of them. I still pine for Geisha, a lush and complex, a little bit floral, a little bit oriental. It’s definitely worthy of your most chic LBD.
The brand: Founded in 2012 by Certified Natural Perfumer Claire Lautier, Grasse Roots crafts small-batch fragrances with the finest raw materials. Through her perfumes, Claire celebrates her southern French heritage and the town of Grasse, considered the birthplace of perfume.
Notes: fig, amber, and gardenia
The mood: Earthy and romantic, this spicy blend recalls summer picnics and twilight enchanters.
The brand: Celebrity makeup artist Rosie Jane Johnson creates long-lasting, natural fragrances free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and phosphates and packaged in recycled and recyclable packaging.
Notes: dry woods, citrus, bergamot
The mood: Inspired by the Hamptons, this androgynous fragrance conjures both crisp woodlands and serene, sunlit beaches with just the right amount of warmth.
The brand: The eye-catching, minimalist glass bottles along with their mysterious fragrance names render Lurk perfumes a cult favorite. Based in New York City, this perfume line uses pure essential oils to create enticing blends suited to all ages and genders.
Notes: Tunisian orange flower, elderflower blossoms, Indian tuberose, and jasmine petals.
The mood: This brightly spirited, joyful bouquet transports you to a Parisian market on a spring morning. It’s petals floating on the breeze, bottled.
The brand: Annie Morton and Natalie Szapowalo founded Tsi-La with the aim to offer aromatherapeutic perfumes that combine vitamins, antioxidants, active plant botanicals, organic fruits, and herbs. Tsi-La’s line is easily customiseable thanks to the brand’s helpful scent layering guide.
Photos: Mary Luttrell, Rosie Jane, Lurk Beauty, Tsi-La Organics