The 9 Best Natural Perfumes of 2021

Our pick of sensual scents that gently uplift and safely soothe.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
St. Rose has created an explosion of blooms in a bottle that meet rigorous standards of safety, sustainability, and transparency.
The entire company is vegan, and perfumes come at a price point that’s hard to beat, even compared to conventional fragrances.
Best Nourishing Ingredients:
Lavanilla Fragrance at Lavanila.com
At the heart of Lavanila’s botanical fragrances are flush with vitamins, antioxidants, and natural oils.
Each perfume is made in small batches using hydro-distilled essences from wild and organic plants.
Best for Sensitive Skin:
Qet Botanicals at Qetbotanicals.com
Handcrafted formulas are made from fresh, non-toxic cruelty-free ingredients that work wonderfully on sensitive skins
Just The Goods makes simple, affordable, and effective beauty products using plant and mineral-based ingredients.
Earth Tu Face’s invigorating pure botanical balms that come in cherished sea shell compacts.
Best Packaging:
Henry Rose at Henryrose.com
Henry Rose's elixirs come in 90% recycled glass bottles with lids made from sustainably sourced soy, in FSC-certified boxes.
Provocative natural perfume company Heretic makes non-toxic ungendered scents that are also available in layerable discovery sets.

Perfumes (in Latin per fumus, meaning through smoke) have wafted through history much like their name, cloaked in mystery.

According to non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, most modern perfumes are concoctions made from a stash of around 3,100 stock chemicals. The stinky truth is that a perfume’s ingredients are pretty much a secret, as regulations don’t require disclosure on the labels. As a result, many commercial perfumes may toxins such as ethanol, acetone, benzaldehyde, formaldehyde, camphor, and other no-no’s, which can be carcinogenic, allergenic and much more.   

An alternative is to switch to perfumes that are conscious of the ingredients used and how they’re sourced. While there is no set definition of what a natural perfume is, our selection of scents considers transparent and cruelty-free formulations made with exacting standards, using a majority of natural raw materials.

So, surrender your senses to the all-season, natural aromatics of the best natural perfumes.

Best Overall: St. Rose Fragrances

St. Rose Desert Nomad

An ode to the patron saint of gardeners, NY-based perfumery ST. ROSE has created an explosion of blooms in a bottle that meet rigorous standards of safety, sustainability and transparency. The artisanal scent house boasts opulent gender-neutral fragrances with whimsical names such as Desert Nomad and Grand Larceny.

The perfumes are masterful blends of organic sugarcane alcohol with ethically-sourced natural ingredients (such as rugged Australian sandalwood), naturally-derived aromatics, and skin-safe synthetics (a small proportion such as vegan musk). The clean formulations are sans toxins such as phenoxyethanol, parabens, phthalates, and artificial colorants.

Leaping-Bunny certified cruelty-free, the collection is composed, bottled, and sent off in FSC-certified boxes. ST. ROSE encourages you to mail them empty bottles in exchange for $25 credit. If that’s not enough, it gives back to causes through One Tree Planted, 1% For The Planet, and WildArk.

Best Budget: Pacifica Fragrance

Pacifica Perfume

Pacifica’s perfume blends are made with natural and essential oils, and no phthalates, parabens, propylene glycol, or polycyclic musks. The entire company is vegan and cruelty-free, and its perfumes come at a price point that’s hard to beat, even compared to conventional fragrances. However, it does not disclose the exact ingredient list for its fragrance blends.

Pacifica offers a range of scent profiles, although many trend towards the more sweet and fruity side. It also offers several different formats, include body mists, solid perfumes, and spray perfume. The spray perfume comes in glass bottles and a FSC-certified cardboard box, and the company offers a recycling and rewards program for all its products. 

Best Nourishing Ingredients: Lavanilla Fragrance

Lavanilla Pure Vanilla

Just one wispy whiff of Lavanila’s perfumes and you’re whisked off to a French patisserie. At the heart of Lavanila’s botanical fragrances (named after Madagascar vanilla) is the yummy Vanilla planifolia, with worthy companions such as aromatic coconut or lavender.

The non-toxic perfumes (a heady blend of essential oils, nature-identical oils, and botanical aromas) have a base of organic sugar cane that’s antiseptic and skin-softening. The scents are flush with vitamins, antioxidants, and natural oils. Hypoallergenic, Lavanila has nixed dirty ingredients such as sulfates, parabens phthalates, mineral oils, and synthetic fragrances.

Committed to the environment, the cruelty-free company has partnered with the non-profit Nature Conservancy to plant a tree with each order placed online.

Best Luxury: Strange Invisible Perfumes

Strange Invisible Gemini

We’re dazzled by the nuanced aromas oozing from the wildcrafted essences of cult perfume house, Strange Invisible. Founded by botanical perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis, Strange Invisible embraces natural botanical-based perfumery, steering clear of synthetic ingredients.

Inspired in equal measures by Shakespeare and the fine art of winemaking, each perfume is made in small batches using hydro-distilled essences from wild and organic plants. They’re further hand-blended, and then set in a base of distilled Cognac sourced from a 12th generation master distiller in California, making a decoction blending grapes from Napa and Sonoma Valley.

Aged like fine wine for at least six months, the unfiltered perfume is decanted and bottled, resulting in luxuriously redolent potent potions. Whether you pick from the Zodiac, Signature, or Reserve collection, it’s a priceless whiff of nature in a bottle.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Qet Botanicals

Qet Botanicals Botanical Nectar Suite Sample Kit

If you’re sensitive to allergies triggered by synthetic perfumes, turn to Qēt (keet) Botanicals that formulates 100% natural, alcohol-free nectars from lush, pure organic oils. The handcrafted triple scent suite of Lavender, Jasmine, and Rosewood nectars are made from fresh, non-toxic cruelty-free ingredients that work wonderfully on sensitive skins.

Each is a careful blend of pure oils, balanced with cold-pressed soothing sunflower oil. The generous shelf life of the preservative-free, EWG-verified perfume is thanks to the oxygen-free Italian stainless-steel vats the oils are stored in and the temperature-controlled area the ingredients are preserved in. We can’t get enough of these authentic brews that glide on your skin like a dream, mingling with your natural pheromones.

Best Oils: Just the Goods Vegan Perfume + Aromatherapeutic Oils

Just the Goods Vegan Perfume + Aromatherapeutic Oils

Natural skincare brand Just The Goods goes down to the brass tacks by making simple, affordable, and effective beauty products using plant and mineral-based ingredients. The result is a minimal yet alluring selection of EWG Verified unisex perfume and aromatherapeutic range handcrafted from essential oils, absolutes, and even traditional attars (a type of essential oil).

These pleasing preservative and chemical-free blends come in tiny vials. Reapply frequently, and finish within six months. The indie brand’s products are Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free and it’s also a member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Whether you pick the floral Steamy Dreamy or the herbaceous Eucalyptus Twist, you know you’re smearing on goodness.

Best Solid Perfume: Earth Tu Face Perfume Solids

Geranium + Vetiver Perfume

We’re terribly in love with Earth Tu Face’s invigorating botanical pure balms that come in cherished sea shell compacts. The California-based apothecary works with herbalists to create Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free conscious skincare. The company grows its own roses and lavender flowers, and also sources ingredients from responsible farmers and producers.

The solid perfumes are available in three scrumptious scents: The magnetic Leaves + Wood, the seductive, Jasmine and a luscious Geranium + Vetiver. The nourishing base is a combination of beeswax, safflower oil, and Vitamin E from sunflowers. Individually poured into the cases, just a barely-there rub is exhilarating enough. However, vegans may wish to avoid beeswax.

Best Packaging: Henry Rose

Henry Rose Jake's House

Actor Michelle Pfeiffer’s perfumed elixirs come in a gorgeously curved 90% recycled glass bottles with contrasting lids made from sustainably sourced soy, in FSC-certified boxes.

Once you get past the elegant imagery, pamper yourself in these delicious scents made from carefully chosen ingredients that have met the company's scrutiny. The perfumes are EWG Verified and Cradle-to-Cradle Certified, upholding strict transparency, health, good manufacturing practices and sustainability standards.

Henry Rose is committed to research and advocacy regarding chemicals in personal care products, contributing to the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. So, whether you want to enjoy musky Jake’s House or bask in the Patchouli scented wonderland of Last Light, know that you’re drenching yourself in aromas that are uplifting and safe.

Best Sets: Heretic Parfum

Heretic Parfum Discovery Set

Masterful in olfactory storytelling, the provocative natural perfume company Heretic makes non-toxic un-gendered scents that are also available in beautiful layerable discovery sets. The irreverently named fragrances (Think Florgasm, Scandalwood, and Dirty Mango) are available in miniature sets of 12 or four, and even customizable options.

The fragrances are made by hand in Los Angeles studio by blending highly concentrated natural ingredients such as essential oils and resins extract, mixed in a base of organic non-GMO sugarcane alcohol. The vegan-friendly scents are cruelty-free and contain no phthalates, formaldehyde, synthetic dyes, and paraben. Whether you want to be soothed by CBD or stimulated by a splash of citrus, the sets are an excellent choice to cover every mood.

Final Verdict

On the scent trail, our pick of best natural perfumes is St. Rose's scrumptious Leaping Bunny certified and 100% vegan perfumes, blending responsibly sourced-ingredients with a base of organic sugarcane alcohol (view at St. Rose). Cheerful and non-compromising, we also love Lavanila’s botanical fragrances that explode with aromas of vanilla (view at Lavanilla).

FAQs

Wait, what’s in my perfume?

Have you ever sneezed up a storm or had a thumping migraine after you spritzed on a conventional scent? That’s because a clandestine cocktail of chemicals goes into the making of most perfume. For decades, there has been little regulation of the fragrance industry in the United States. In fact, the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 exempts fragrances from listing ingredients on the label, considered a trade secret.

Change is afoot to weed out nasties from cosmetics and perfumes. In 2020, California passed the California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act banning 24 ingredients including formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde and methylene glycol from personal care and beauty products at the state-level.

What should I look for in a natural perfume?

As a consumer, there are several ways to navigate the confusing universe of green cosmetics.

A good place to start is by checking if the perfumes have been ranked favorably in the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which means products have met stringent health standards and chemical-free benchmarks.

Some of the certifications you can look for that bolster a company’s green credentials include B Corp, 1% for the Planet, Cradle-to-Cradle, Made Safe, Leaping Bunny, FSC, and USDA Organic.

Why Trust Treehugger?

At Treehugger we want you to use scents that scream you and are safe for your skin, kind to the environment and gentle to animals.

We’ve sniffed through perfume houses which strike the right notes, sticking to natural formulations as much as possible. Top of the list are perfumeries which use natural, responsibly-sourced ingredients, such as essential oils and botanical extracts. However, some do use skin safe synthetics, such as vegan musk. We’ve looked for cruelty-free formulations that are gentle on the environment.

Author Neeti Mehra is a luxury-industry veteran who’s also committed to sustainable, slow, and mindful living. She is partial to attars or essential oils distilled from flowers, herbs, and spices, blended together by traditional perfume houses.