Here at JMC, we like to be as natural as can be—even when it comes to the fragrances we use. We prefer natural fragrance not only because it's better for our bodies and the planet, but also because we adore the delicate and wholesome experience that natural aromas provide. We reached out to fragrance-enthusiast and beauty blogger Carrie Meredith of Eyeliner on a Cat to give us her take on the beauty of going au naturel with fragrance.
When Perfume is Not Just a Smell: Exploring Naturals
Natural perfume is one of the most beautiful, simple and necessary pleasures in my life. It is intimate by nature; I only wear it for me. It’s not showy, it doesn’t speak out of turn or too loudly, and it will never give you a migraine or bother anyone around you. When it’s made with the highest quality essences from across the globe, it is the true (and new) definition of modern artisan luxury. It has the power to quell anxieties and to turn negatives into positives. Little bursts of random positive energy happen all the time, and for some, fragrance is where it all begins. At least that’s where it begins for me; close to the skin and close to the heart.
The next time you feel stressed or sad, try a natural perfume made from jasmine and blood orange essences (such as Aftelier Candide). It’s the closest thing to nirvana I have discovered in the physical world. Find the grouchiest person you know and spritz or dab them with a bit of jasmine and blood orange. Watch the unfortunate but all too common emotional side effects of city living dissipate. Anxiety, grief, depression, manic behavior and their physical manifestations can often be abated or at least somewhat altered by scent. While jasmine and blood orange take me swiftly to my happy place (it also works for just about everybody I know), it might be something totally different for you. Play, sniff, and follow your instincts.
Artisan luxury perfumer and author Mandy Aftel’s popular book Essence and Alchemy is widely regarded as mandatory reading for fragrance enthusiasts, covering many aspects of natural perfume, including how to smell it. You might be wondering if there’s something to smelling perfume that’s beyond the obvious, and AfteI would say yes, definitely: “Natural perfumes are best experienced on your skin, rather than in the bottle or on a perfume blotter. They have an idiosyncratic relationship with your body chemistry, blossoming on your skin.” Perfumes with synthesized components wear very differently on skin and have a stronger scent trail and longer lasting power. Natural perfumes are more fleeting, which makes them all the more special.
Writing about natural fragrances has become a multi-sensory experience for me. I visualize images, feel textures, fabrics. I see swathes of vibrant colors, patchworks of different styles of visual art. As all my senses are exercised, so too, are my emotions. Reviewing natural perfumes is an engaging and challenging experience for me, a sort of self-guided therapy with an ode to mother nature.
Ayala Sender, natural perfumer and owner of Ayala Moriel Perfumes in Vancouver, BC, describes the magic of scent: “Natural essences tell the story of where they come from. Perfume is always greater than the sum of its parts, and to me, that makes it nothing short of magic.” I wholeheartedly agree. The best natural perfumes are imbued with the soul of the perfumer; each essence painstakingly selected and sourced, hand-blended and bottled to order. Try it once, and you’ll understand why this kind of indulgence could only be natural.