How to choose a natural perfume

Is the mere thought of the stench of your department store’s perfumery enough to bring tears to your eyes? Are you keen to try to a more natural fragrance, one which reflects your unique  personality and embraces a more natural lifestyle? If either or both apply,  it’s time to explore natural perfume. “But where do I start?” I hear you ask. Luckily, the lovely Amanda of Esscentual Alchemy is on hand with her top tips on how to choose the right fragrance for you.

When choosing a natural perfume, there are many ways one can go about doing so.  I’d like to touch on my top ways to choose natural botanical fragrances.  A natural perfumer can take your likes and pick out the perfect botanical fragrance for you. Here are my questions and tips to help get you started…

1 – What types of smells do you enjoy most?

This one I find to be the most effective when choosing a natural perfume, as your natural perfumer will be able to match up your tastes with a natural botanical fragrance in their line.  Something that I find interesting is when people say “No florals!” or “I hate patchouli, so please none of that!”  And then I let them smell a botanical perfume with said essential oil in it.  A majority of the time, they are enchanted with the thing that they thought they despised!  Chances are they’ve never smelled real essential oil of rose, patchouli, or whatever it was they thought they didn’t like.  And there is an art to blending oils.  To be able to combine oils so that there are no rough edges, or seams sticking out, takes time to learn, skill, and some innate talent.  All this can make the difference to someone who has a preference in the types of smells they like.

2 – What colours or seasons do you enjoy most?

When evaluating essential oils, sometimes I “smell” colours.  If there are certain colours you like more than others, it is helpful for a natural perfumer to know, to select the perfect botanical fragrance for you.  Sometimes the perfumes we wear are dependent on the seasons and the weather – how hot or cold it is.    If the weather is cold people tend to turn to woody, spicy fragrances – things that are warming.  When the weather is warmer the trend is more for citruses, florals of all types and some herbal and/or green perfumes –  smells that are cooling.

3 – Adjectives that describe how you want to feel while wearing your natural perfume.

Adjectives are really helpful for assisting a natural perfumer to select an appropriate scent for you.  If you know how you want to feel while wearing a natural perfume, your natural perfumer can then look at the line and pick out the botanical fragrances that have essential oils which will enhance that feeling.

4 – Types of occasions you will want to wear the natural botanical fragrance on.

Sometimes the fragrance we choose depends on where we are going, and whom we are going to be seeing.  A natural perfumer can help you choose a natural botanical fragrance for any occasion that you need, from the casual coffee date with a friend to a formal party!

5 – Mainstream fragrances you’ve worn.

This tends to be the easiest way to choose a natural botanical perfume.  Usually a natural perfumer will have something similar to a mainstream fragrance, note wise, that will be familiar to your nose.  This can make the transition from synthetic fragrance to natural perfume easier for you to adjust to.  It will also help you appreciate the differences between synthetic and natural perfumes.  Try wearing your synthetic based fragrance on one wrist and a natural on the other.  Consciously sniff them both and write down your thoughts – notice how they differ.  The biggest difference in my mind is the complexity and the way that a natural perfume will change on your skin.  I don’t notice that synthetic perfumes change on my skin.  It smells the same the whole time to my nose.

6 – Be adventurous!

This one is my favourite!  There’s nothing more fun than fitting a person with a natural perfume, who says, “Surprise me!” or “Challenge my nose!”  Trying something new and unusual to you can hold treasures of olfactory enjoyment that you didn’t realize existed!  For example:  I used to really dislike the smell of galbanum, a resin from the Middle East.  It always smelled of dead, squished bugs to me.  As I have worked with it more, I have come to really appreciate its sharp and green nature.  There’s something wonderful about the way it enhances a blend and adds just the right touch of intrigue to a perfumer’s palate.

I hope these tips help you find a beautiful natural botanical perfume that is perfect for you!

To find out more about Amanda’s work, please visit her website.

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