Cruelty-Free and Nontoxic Perfume Reviews
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The fragrance industry is insane. Insane in a good way, but also a bad way. Don't worry...I'll explain. The beauty industry as a whole is GINORMOUS and the fragrance department makes up a huge chunk. According to Statista, the fragrance business alone (includes deodorants and perfumes) will only increase over the years. It's predicted to jump to a 92 billion dollar industry by 2024. Like WOW. Clearly I am in the wrong industry. Or am I?
One of the reasons that fragrance has grown is because it's an inexpensive way to make people feel luxurious. You may not be able to afford the Chloe handbag, but you can afford the perfume! (For more on this, read one of my favorite books Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster) Also, it's an easy thing to market when you have a celeb face or even a celebrity licensed perfume!
Here's the problem - fragrance isn't good for you. My friend Jourdan from Beauty & Her taught me to basically always see a red flag when I read the super vague word "fragrance" on an ingredient list. That usually is code for a bunch of synthetic stuff that you don't need. For example, I was really excited about the new R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo mist, because it isn't in an aerosol can. I ran to look at the ingredients and there it was..."fragrance" was listed, so I was like okay, nope. They put fragrance in of course perfume, but in a ton of hair and even skincare products. WHY DO YOU NEED A SCENT FOR YOUR FACE?! I digress.
Anyway, I was putting this clean perfume transition off as last, because I knew it was going to be the hardest. Hard for me to give up, but also hard to find. Because perfume is such a big chunk of the industry, brands more often than not sell to Mainland China, which means ANIMAL TESTING. So, yeah. At my last facial, my esthetician (I go to Amanda at Eleven Wellness) asked if I had found a nontoxic and cruelty-free fragrance yet, as she had purchased one. I said no, because I wanted to finish my Jo Malone up (not cruelty-free or nontoxic :( ); however, shortly after that, I began my search. I found 3 options and then ordered sample kits. I'm going to go through each one and share my thoughts, but first let's talk about my scent preference.
Some of the most memorable scents that I remember while growing up were Lucky You and Clinique Happy and Happy Heart, but I never wore those. I grew up on Bath and Body Works sprays - I got their Cinderella perfume whenever they did Disney Princesses, in addition to their Leo perfume, when they did zodiac signs! My first "big girl" perfume was Aura by American Eagle. I was obsessssssed with it. Next I moved on to Burberry Brit and also sprinkled in a couple Victoria’s Secret scents- Body by Victoria in both a eau de toilette + mist, in addition to Sexy Little Thing in mist. For the past 2 years I have been wearing Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt. You can kind of see that I like a more woodsy scent. Sweet and candy-like scents give me a headache. Sooo yeah. That's what my nose prefers. Read on to learn about the fragrances I tried!
This was one I found while researching. Shortly after I found it, I received The Detox Market mini magazine in the mail and noticed it was listed in there, so immediately felt at ease when ordering the samples. They give off a luxurious vibe and their names even do as well (as they aren't really "names"), so I was excited to get them in.
Pricepoint: $58-$72 Perfume Oil, $185-$225 Eau de Toilette
Where to buy samples: Petal & Post was the only place I could find that had them in sample size
Scents: They have a ton of fragrances, so I didn't receive all of them, but here are the ones I did receive:
RSW005 This was my favorite one. It had aromas of sandalwood, rose, citrus, slight vanilla, and wasn't too sweet, which is what I prefer.
BS003 This was my second favorite. It was orangey -think citrus and bergamot.
V3 This was my third favorite. It was floraly, but not too sweet. I thought it was cool moroccan tansy, aka blue tansy!
TRNV4 This one was okay. I got tobacco and tea aromas.
PRJVI I feel like this was designed for a sophisticated older lady, because it smells like jasmine and gardenia.
OMO11 I liked the idea of this one, but the jasmine was overpowering. I wish there was more of a presence of the sandalwood.
- oil scents make for longer wear
- really strong scents
- the names don't help you identify with them or figure out the scent
Overall thoughts: I liked these perfumes, but they just weren't me. I felt like they were all really loud and too out there for me. I loved the way the brand made me feel, and while I could wear one of their scents and be okay, I just thought that they were a lot stronger and louder than what I was used to.
I found this one while researching as well. When translated to English, Pour Le Monde means "for the world". It touts itself on being the only 100% natural perfume in the world. I think it is legit but remember, "natural" is not a regulated word, so be careful what you believe.
Where to buy samples: Pour Le Monde
Empower: I smelled "green" and lemon the most -they describe it as energizing, which I would agree with. It smelled "clean".
Envision: This one reminded me of hemp and incense.
Together: This was my favorite out of the 3, but when I say favorite, I really mean that it was the one I could tolerate the most. This one smelled fresh, kind of "green", kind of floraly, maybe a slight orangey?
- probably the cleanest perfume you'll find
- not really in love with the scents
Overall thoughts: I was honestly the most disappointed with this one. I read the reviews and people raved about all 3 scents. Honestly they just smell like your hippie friend's home or an Earthbound Trading Co. store.
Skylar Body <--click here for 15% off your order!
This was the sample packet that Amanda ordered - she introduced it to me. I'll say that Skylar impressed me the most with their marketing and packaging. I did notice that they list "fragrance" as one of their ingredients, but I inquired and they were quick to respond. They said it's their own blend of parfum that they create as certain items cause allergic reactions, like lavender or grapefruit. This allows them to use the scent, sans the messy reactions that are often associated with them. Their scents are hypoallergenic, so they do contain some synthetic ingredients where necessary, but they DO NOT USE the following things, that are often associated with the ickiness of "fragrance":
Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs)
Nitro and Polycyclic Musks
Honestly, most brands ignore harder questions like these, so I was super encouraged by their answer and response time. Side note -Amanda had mentioned that one of the reasons she wanted to go "natural", is because synthetic fragrances give her a headache. Though Skylar contains some "synthetic fragrance" it doesn't give her a headache...my guess is because it is lacking ingredients from the list above.
Pricepoint: $78 (I actually just bought a perfume and candle set for $100 instead)
Where to buy Samples: Skylar Body (get 15% off by using this link!)
Arrow: This is my favoriteeee. I instantly loved it. I've used over half of the sample spray already! They describe it as spicy, but I don't think it's like overpowering - it's more like a warm, sandalwood-y kind of scent.
Coral: This was probably my second favorite. It's bright and fruity,
Isle: I would describe this as sophisticated and clean. Maybe a little bit of warm vanilla sugar as well, but straight up Bath and Body Works. Like a little sprinkle of that scent in there.
Meadow: This was my least favorite. I like floral scents, but this one just wasn't for me.
- Most user friendly
- Killer marketing
- Fun quiz to help you decide your scent (Mine told me meadow, which was my least fave lol)
- Sample pack is $20, but in turn, you get a $20 credit to use toward a full size bottle, so that's cool
- Layerable scents whether it's the same one throughout the day or two different ones for a unique combo
Light wearability, so you have to spray throughout the day or spray other things like hair or clothes
Custom made synthetic fragrance (You have to decide what is best for you, but they make it the cleanest way possible, as per above)
Overall thoughts: I think Skylar Body is a home run. I'm excited for my full size bottle to arrive! And even more excited to try out the candle! Their candles are clean as well, which is really cool. While I don't like that they have "synthetic fragrance" in their products, they did it for the right reasons...to be hypoallergenic. And even in doing it, they are still abiding by their clean beauty standard by not including all that crap that other perfumeries utilize. I couldn't be happier with them! To get 15% off of your order, click here.
Do you have any brands that I should try perfume wise? I found a couple that I wasn't sure about, so I didn't even try them. I have heard great things about Le Labo, but couldn't find their ingredients listed anywhere! I also ran across Ellis Brooklyn, which you would think would fit in the category I'm discussing, but it actually contains "fragrance". It's hard because they are a cruelty-free and vegan brand, but unfortunately, you can be both of those things and still not nontoxic... Nontoxic isn't actually regulated either. Whenever I was researching all of this, I found an article that listed the brand Drunk Elephant as a "nontoxic" brand but I knew it wasn't nontoxic. I was complaining to Jourdan and she was like yeah...people will say what they want, which is why you have to learn to read labels. For example, When you search Drunk Elephant on the "Think Dirty" app, their products consistently rate a 5/10. FIVE OUT OF TEN. That's like get a 50% on a test in school. Would you be happy with that? A 1-2 rating is considered the best, with 3 on the edge. As Jourdan usually says, you have to decide what is okay for you. I know people who love Drunk Elephant and swear by it! You do what is best for you. LEt's not forget that over 60% of what you put on your face is absorved into your bloodstream... For me I try to do 1s and 2s, but I'm okay with a 3 every once a while.
I hope you liked this post! My most favorite things to write about are learning experiences like this one. Please let me know if you have any requests for me to cover, especially in this somewhat confusing realm of beauty!
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