Why I Ditched Synthetic Fragrances (& Best Natural Perfumes to Use Instead)

Hi, my name is Becca, and I am a recovering perfume addict. No seriously, I used to have an ENTIRE drawer full of perfumes. I don’t even know how many Bath & Body Works body sprays and Victoria’s Secret perfumes I had, but you name the scent, and it was probably in my drawer! I would spritz myself every single day. But then I started learning more about safer products and researching ingredients. And when I learned that “fragrance” is one of the most harmful ingredients out there, it was a huge wake-up call and a big fat ADIÓS to my stash!

The Problem with “Fragrance”

Have you ever been around someone who wore way too much perfume, and then you got a headache? Or felt nauseous? That’s because perfumes are basically a chemical cocktail. The term “fragrance” is just an unregulated catch-all term and can be a combination of about 3,000 different chemicals that can be detrimental to our health.

I avoid fragrances like the plague because they are linked to:

  • Endocrine disruption – these chemicals can mimic hormones and alter your hormone levels
  • Nervous system disorders like ADHD
  • Allergic reactions
  • Cancer, specifically breast cancer because of the endocrine disruptors
  • Birth defects
  • Dizziness, brain fog, migraines, and nausea
  • Respiratory irritation

There are many downsides to using synthetic scents. Fragrances are especially harmful to pregnant women, infants, and children because of how badly they can impact developing bodies. But I believe that everybody should avoid them! Check out the Stink! documentary; it’s really eye-opening.

Other than fragrance, look out for these terms on ingredient labels:

  • Aroma
  • Cologne
  • Eau de parfum
  • Eau de toilette
  • Parfum
  • Perfume
  • Phthalates
  • Musk

Other than perfumes, synthetic fragrances are in about 95% of hair care products like shampoos, conditioners, and styling sprays. The majority of people are breathing these in and putting them on their bodies every single day because of how prominent they are. These chemicals absorb right into your bloodstream. If you see any of the above on an ingredient label, avoid it.

Green Beauty Ingredient Glossary

My Fave Non-Toxic Perfumes

The good news is that you can still wear perfume! You just have to read the ingredients and buy ones that are naturally produced. I’ll help you out so you can skip the search 😉

Now that I’ve phased out synthetic perfumes, it’s crazy how sensitive I’ve become to fake smells! I just can’t stand them anymore, and they are way too strong for me. Natural is the way to go!

My top recommendation is the Good Medicine Beauty Lab’s botanical perfumes. My personal favorite is the scent Moon Shadow, which has attars of rose, sandalwood, cinnamon, and clove bud. It smells SO good! Love Letter is a runner-up fave with notes of magnolia, coconut, and vanilla.

I can totally stand behind this company and its perfumes because they:

  • Are a women-led, family-owned company
  • Never test on animals
  • Use locally sourced ingredients
  • Are handcrafted in small batches
  • Offer mini sizes so you can try before you buy a full-size
  • Use custom blended 100% pure essential oils and attars in artisan alcohol
  • Never use synthetics

Shop Good Medicine Perfumes Here

Good Medicine Beauty Lab Perfumes
Photo courtesy of Good Medicine Beauty Lab Perfumes

Other #BeccaApproved Natural Perfumes to Try:

Natural Organic Perfume Brands

  • Abbott NYC: A lot of these perfumes are unisex! Abbott uses safe synthetics but is vegan, cruelty-free, and phthalate-free. They have a great exploration set if you want to try some trial sizes. My fave is Montecito (grapefruit, jasmine, vetiver), and my husband likes Sequoia (incense, cedarwood, sandalwood).
  • Lina Hanson Perfume Oils: These have a rollerball applicator and a blend of natural and organic essential oils and CO2 extracts in a base of fractionated coconut oil. I use Vibe, which is woodsy, sweet, and smoky with a feminine twist. Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on these at Aillea.
  • Nusa Holistick Perfumes: This brand uses 100% natural ingredients such as pure essential oils and absolutes. No phthalates, parabens, perfume oils, or synthetics! I cannot get enough of the Teratai scent (lotus, grapefruit, honeysuckle, and green tea). Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount.
  • Palermo Aromatherapy Oils: Light and delicate oils that aren’t too overpowering; I love Vitality, which smells of jasmine, sandalwood, and cardamom.
  • Prim Botanicals Mademoiselle Swell Perfume Oil: This is a rollerball that smells feminine and delightful with notes of neroli, bergamot, and jasmine. It uses organic fractionated coconut oil and a blend of essential oils and plant-derived extracts. Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on this at Love Peace Organic.
  • Smoke Perfumes: Unisex scents made with organic perfumer’s alcohol, essential oils, and absolutes (all ethically sourced!). I have the Ritual scent, which is infused with cinnamon, neroli, rose, and patchouli. They are quite strong! Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on these at Aillea.

Related post: “Unscented vs. Fragrance Free vs. Essential Oil Free Skincare: What’s the Difference?“

Palermo Natural Perfumes

You definitely don’t need to go and throw out perfumes like I did, but it’s so important that you know what these ingredients really mean and how they affect your health. And now going forward, you are more informed!

Also check out my blog post: 5 Essential Tips for Finding Truly Natural Perfumes

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these, and if you have, what’s your favorite scent?

Becca Signature

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Q: Are synthetic fragrances harmful?
Yes, synthetic fragrances can be harmful as they are linked to endocrine disruption, allergic reactions, nervous system disorders, and even cancer. It’s important to avoid these fragrances as much as possible.

Q: What are the alternatives to synthetic perfumes?
There are many natural perfumes available that are made using pure essential oils and natural ingredients. Some recommended brands include Good Medicine Beauty Lab, Abbott NYC, Lina Hanson, Nusa Holistick, Palermo Aromatherapy, Prim Botanicals, and Smoke Perfumes.


Switching to natural perfumes is a positive step towards a healthier lifestyle. By avoiding synthetic fragrances and opting for natural alternatives, you can protect yourself from potentially harmful chemicals while still enjoying beautiful scents. Take the time to research and find the perfect natural perfume for you, and enjoy the benefits of a safer and more enjoyable fragrance experience.