Now that you found your new favorite scent, it’s time to dig deeper and see if they match up to your “better for the planet” goals. It’s one thing to have clean formulations, ethical business practices and vegan, organic or cruelty free certifications, how does your new water-based perfume brand think about sustainability?
With buzz words like green, clean and sustainable what’s really going on with products, packaging and formulations? So, if you are like me and are interested in the processes that allow our perfumes to get to market and not only in the products let’s take a look behind the scenes:
What is in the bottle? Are the ingredients natural or chemical? Are they healthy or benign? Will they pass the clean beauty lists every large retailer seems to have published of late? Would you put this product on your baby? Your pet? Your clothes?
We know you are not a scientist, a chemist or a doctor so we get how hard it is to know. Find the clean beauty lists and spend some time noticing the ingredients. With perfume there are mainly four categories to watch out for: Alcohol, synthetic fragrance, chemicals used for preserving and extending the formulas, and dies used to make perfumes colorful.
Look for new fragrance formulations like water-based perfumes and essential oil perfumes that only use natural plant-based materials. Skip the pinks and purples. Ditch the alcohol and can’t you feel yourself breathing deeper?
Kinder environmental impact with packaging
We often purchase a perfume because we love the packaging. As soon as we get it home, we throw the box and the bag away. What is the impact of that? Are all boxes equal?
If the box is cardboard, it will go into the garbage or be recycled. If it was made with recycled paper that’s a plus. If the packaging is plastic-free even better. What about the bottle? Is it recyclable, or refillable? What about glass? Where do we fit into this cycle of consumption?
These questions make purchasing even the best natural organic perfume more challenging. The truth is it's complicated. So, check out the brand’s website and notice what they say and do about the packaging choices they make and why.
Supply Chain Decisions
The beauty industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging a year and the shipping industry, contributes more than 1 billion tons of CO2 a year. So how you get your beauty on is another part of this conversation. Online is easy and products ship right to your door, but there are packaging decisions made along the way for that too. With perfume, which is likely to be a glass bottle, you need extra cushioning and packing materials.
If you thought a box was wasteful, then remember, without that box, bubble wrap, peanuts and other plastics might be needed to get it to you in one piece. Alcohol-based perfume, by the way, is flammable, so that introduces a whole other set of logistics issues, as the raw materials are shipped, the fragrance blends are shipped, and then the final product is shipped. So many twirls and whirls around the world add up and impact the environment.
The best sustainable natural organic perfume will most likely be made by a smaller company. Why? It’s more expensive to use organic ingredients and sustainable packaging. It’s difficult to produce large quantities, so the ingredient cost and material and logistics costs need to be in line to make the product more affordable to more people. And let’s not forget the considerable marketing costs spent to convince you to buy something you might not really need.
Creating sustainable products that are good for you, and the planet should not come at the expense of offering products everyone can afford. So, it will be your job to find these indie, niche artisan brands. When you finally find the best natural organic perfume from the best sustainable brand, you might want to keep it to yourself so they stay focused on what matters most: you!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF
@nelleremlap - stylist
@lolasalon - salon partner
@bmcmuseum - history partner
@embellishasheville - jewelry partner
@adoratherapy - scent partner
@lakeedenevets - location partner
@jessekittphotography - photo partners
@ladyboss.international - inspire