Natural vs. Synthetic

natural-vs-syntheticsFor Laurie, perfume is about experiencing the earth’s most luxurious treasures, and her creations reflect her profound sense of awe and wonder for the natural world. There are hundreds of molecular components that make up the lush, complex, particular scent of Jasmine Grandiflorum. Why isolate only the most active of those molecules and synthesize them as cheap substitutes when you can have the whole, rich complement of elements the flower was born with?

When you go natural, your perfume palette achieves an infinite quality – there are no limits to the ways you can combine the millions of flowers, plants, seeds and woods that exist on earth. The nuances between flowers of the same species adds to the limitless quality of a natural perfumer’s world – imagine the range of scent between Bulgarian rose and Turkish rose, and white lotus and blue lotus. Or between Tangerine, Clementine and Blood Orange… Beyond the simple conviction that natural ingredients produce a more subtle, complex perfume than synthetics can achieve, there are some very serious considerations that accompany the use of synthetic perfume ingredients. Ninety-five percent of chemicals used in fragrances today are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, including toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.[1] These chemicals aren’t good for our health, and they aren’t good for the environment when we wash them off our bodies.[2] Perfume has been crafted and worn for thousands of years, but only since the 20th century and the advent of synthetic fragrances has it become a potential trigger for asthma, migraines and a whole host of other chemical sensitivities. The cosmetics industry is self-regulated, which means that they alone are responsible for overseeing their own safety testing, without any input from the FDA or other regulating body, and that they don’t have to show the results of their testing, or lists of their ingredients, to anyone else. [3,4]  But independent testing of synthetic fragranced products, including perfume, has shown that they often contain chemicals that are already known to be very bad news. [5] Some of the best documented examples are synthetic musks and phthalates. Synthetic musks, which accumulate in high levels in the human body and in the environment, are suspected animal carcinogens and may stimulate human cancer tumors. [6] The particularly ugly family of industrial chemicals known as phthalates is found in high concentration in many commercial perfumes. Phthalates have been targeted for study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as independent scientists and researchers because they are easily absorbed through the skin, have been found to accumulate in body organs, and have been linked to birth defects and permanent harm of the male reproductive system in laboratory studies. [7,8] Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery uses only natural ingredients in the creation of all perfumes and other scented products. No isolates are used either. Many vanilla scents in body products are are woodchip based, but our vanilla tinctures and distillations start with a vanilla bean. Currently we not purchasing vanilla and are using our 20 year old stock of vanilla as it has been overharvested. The same with our supply of sandalwood, as it has been overharvested too. All perfumes are created in an organic base (standard perfumer’s alcohol often contains chemical residues, so Laurie uses biodynamic and organic grape and grain alcohols instead), and the essential oils themselves are organic, wildcrafted, or sustainably grown whenever possible. Not only does using natural components provide you, the wearer, with the most luxurious experience possible – wearing a delicious alchemy of the earth’s own gifts – but it is vitally important for all our health and the health of our planet. We hope you enjoy your beautiful gift of nature!  


Research sources:

1. EPA Fragrance Study. Organic Health and Beauty Article. Retrieved November 2017

2. National Geographics Article, Synthetic Fragrances Harmful to Marine Life. Retrieved November 2017

3. FDA Authority Over Cosmetics Retrieved November 2017


Chemical Exposures: The Ugly Side of Beauty Products. Environmental Health Perspectives. Retrieved November 2017.

4. Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetic Database: Myths on Cosmetic Safety Retrieved November 2017

5. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Retrieved Nov 2017.

6. Get A Whiff Of This: Perfumes (Fragrances) - The Invisible Chemical Poisins. (E-book by Connie Pitts). Retrieved November 2017 

7. Pthalates: Industrial Plasticizers in Cosmetics. Retrieved November 2017.