Your Guide to Clean Fragrances + Two Affordable Brands to Try

Over the years I have learned few beauty decisions are more personal than which fragrance or scent to wear. Smell, after all, is the sense most closely associated with memory, so the impression you make through your perfume can truly be a lasting one. Some people have a signature scent that truly becomes a part of their identity. While others rarely smell the same, but their perfumes typically fall into one of the main scent families–floral, fruity, woodsy, or spicy. Personally, I love experimenting with different floral and woodsy scents, and find my inspiration from the seasons. With spring and summer inspiring me to spritz on floral scents. While fall and winter leave me craving more masculine woodsy fragrances.

As mentioned in my recent post on clean facial sunscreens, clean beauty has become a real passion of mine. I love researching products, learning more about beauty ingredients and discovering new clean beauty brands. Most recently my attention has been drawn to fragrances and perfumes. Which can be a little tricky due to the fact that many fragrance manufacturers include a range of secret chemicals and ingredients in their products. In one study, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that “the average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label.” With that being said, there is simply no way to know each and every ingredient in a bottle of your perfume.

With this piece of information I have learned it is important to look for clean, naturally-derived products that are labeled hypoallergenic. This way you can rest assured that the ingredients have been adequately tested to minimize harsh allergic reactions.

After doing some research I have found and tested a few clean fragrances available and wanted to share with you. For research on clean beauty products I use the EWG’s website, the app ThinkDirty and lots of google searches! 

Guide to Clean Fragrances, lifestyle | Louella Reese

THREE CLEAN FRAGRANCES & PERFUMES TO TRY

1. dossier woody sage

EWG RATING: Not yet on EWG – will update once added.

Dossier’s perfumes are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben and phthalate-free, and colorant and UV-filter free – so you can smell amazing without compromising your wellness.

Aside from their clean standards when it comes to their ingredients, Dossier also desires to bring luxury quality and scents to everyone with affordable prices – skipping the extra markups of traditional fragrance manufacturers. Their scents are also inspired by iconic scents from brands like Tom Ford, Coco Chanel, Jo Malone, and Viktor & Rolf to name a few.

Their Woody Sage fragrance ($29) inspired by Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt (retail price: $100) has quickly become my signature scent. This scent opens with a lively cocktail of fig and grapefruit, pierced by the scent of the sea. Utilizing a mineral salty accord and calone, this combination perfectly mimics a fresh sea breeze. With notes of ambery driftwoods and sage. Natural, evocative, and lively, Woody Sage is a breath of fresh air while standing atop a seaside cliff.

2. dossier gourmand white flower

EWG RATING: Not yet on EWG – will update once added.

Another scent by dossier inspired by Viktor&Rolf’s Flowerbomb (retail price: $115) Gourmand White Flowers offers a sparkle of green tea, berries, caramel, and vanilla notes that play with orchid, jasmine, and rose. The fragrance trail is an intriguing woody orris accord that entwines with the floral heart.

Warm and feminine, Gourmand White Flowers succeeds at being both sweet and sexy, with a powdery veil that offers sophistication to the gourmand notes. The warmer seasons have inspired me to spritz on dossier’s gourmand white flower to start each day.

3. skylar vanilla sky

EWG RATING: 3

Skylar focuses on clean ingredients, clean formulas and hypoallergenic scents. Their products are comprised of a combination of naturally derived and safe synthetic ingredients. Skylar proudly blends botanical-based and lab-made ingredients to ensure their products are safe and hypoallergenic.

I recently tested their vanilla sky scent which adds elements of warmth and comfort. Vanilla Sky is a decadent gourmand fragrance with rich warm vanilla notes and hints of cappuccino. A perfect way to start your morning.

Guide to Clean Fragrances, lifestyle | Louella Reese

Three questions to ask when selecting clean fragrances…

  1. Is it paraben free?
    • why is that important?
    • Parabens are synthetic compounds that are lab-grown and act as a preservative. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), “parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.” We are only beginning to scratch the surface of learning the full extent of the negative side effects parabens has on our bodies.
  2. Is it phthalate free?
  3. Is it hypoallergenic?
    • Have you ever become dizzy after smelling something strong? If so, you may have a fragrance sensitivity. Symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include wheezing, rashes and other skin issues, migraines, eye irritation, asthma attacks, and more.
    • Unfortunately, fragrance manufacturers include a range of secret chemicals and ingredients in their products. In one study, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that “the average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label.” There’s simply no way to know each and every ingredient in a bottle of your perfume. That is why it is important to look for clean, naturally-derived products that are labeled hypoallergenic. This way you can rest assured that the ingredients have been adequately tested to minimize harsh allergic reactions.

Eight additional ingredients to look out for & stay away from…

  • Benzaldehyde
  • Benzyl Acetate
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Camphor
  • Ethanol
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • a-PINENE 
  • a-TERPINEOL

sources: (msds.com, Skylar.com)

shop clean fragrances & perfumes

Each month I will be sharing a specific beauty product and highlighting a few of the best clean versions available! Click through to view my most recent post on clean facial sunscreens.

photos by Jennifer Austin Photography

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12 Comments

  1. Lee wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I basically never wear perfume because of the chemicals, I hadn’t even thought to look for clean beauty options. I’ll check these out!

    Posted 6.2.21 Reply
    • of course – thank you for reading! hope you try and love these brands as much as I do!

      xo Laura Leigh

      Posted 6.3.21 Reply
  2. Lovely wrote:

    This was very informative! These fragrances sound wonderful! I would love to try Dossier Woody sage.
    xoxo

    Posted 6.3.21 Reply
    • so glad you found it to be informative! you will absolutely love dossier woody sage – it’s such an incredible scent!

      xo Laura Leigh

      Posted 6.3.21 Reply
  3. Maybe I’m late to the game, but I didn’t know there was such a thing as clean fragrances. As someone who is sensitive to scents, I’m intrigued! xoxo, Sarah

    Posted 6.3.21 Reply
    • you should definitely try Skylar – they focus on being hypoallergenic – which would be great for you!

      xo Laura Leigh

      Posted 6.3.21 Reply
  4. Stephanie wrote:

    I’m SO glad you wrote up this post. It’s something I’ve been wondering about for quite some time. I’ve never been a big perfume person and sometimes find myself just dabbing a little lemon essential oil on myself to freshen up – but I do love love sweet scents (think Viva La Juicy). I’ve been wanting to purchase something that’s clean, so the Skylar fragrance sounds PERFECT!

    Posted 6.3.21 Reply
    • I do agree the Skylar fragrance scent sounds perfect for you! you should definitely give it a try!

      xo Laura Leigh

      Posted 6.3.21 Reply
  5. Lizzie wrote:

    I’ve heard great things about Dossier! Will. have to check out these fragrances!

    Lizzie
    http://www.lizzieinlace.com

    Posted 6.3.21 Reply
  6. Rach wrote:

    The only brand I’ve heard of is Skylar. So I’ll have to check out the rest. Most of the products I use are clean!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    Posted 6.4.21 Reply
  7. Oh my gosh I need to grab the Dossier scent because Flowerbomb is by far my go-to scent to wear! I love this blog post idea. Can’t wait to learn more from you about clean beauty and fragrance!
    XO Amanda || Affordable by Amanda

    Posted 6.9.21 Reply