When I was a tween, one of my favorite beauty products was perfume. It just seemed so grown up and so glamorous—a spritz of scent on your pulse points. I scoured magazines for the perfect, lush-smelling sample. I haunted the fragrance counters at the mall. If there was a school dance coming up, I spent a lot of time testing to find the perfect scent to wear. My fragrance obsession is one beauty habit that lasted through the years. I still marked special days with special scents—I even bought a perfume on my honeymoon that smelled like my wedding bouquet.
Fast-forward to three or four years ago. After I made the switch to natural and organic beauty, I noticed that I’d become much, much more sensitive to synthetic ingredients—particularly fragrances. If I get into an elevator with a perfumed person (or even just get too close to a perfumed friend or coworker), inevitably I’ll develop a coughing or sneezing fit. Sometimes I even feel like my throat is going to close up. It’s not fun, and at times it can be downright scary. (I am also now officially the annoying person who avoids entire sections of the mall if there are certain smelly stores in that direction. I’m sure you can guess the biggest offenders.)
The other sad result of my new sensitivity is that I don’t use perfume much anymore—only on special occasions, and then only the truly organic fragrances. But I’m drawn to fragrance like a moth to a flame, and I’m always on the hunt for a new one that 1) doesn’t leave me breathless or winded, 2) smells lovely on me, and 3) gets compliments when I wear it.
Read on for details on the newest additions to my fragrance stash, from organic line Forager Botanicals*.
What I tried: All four scents from Forager Botanicals, $120 each
First impressions: I am a sucker for beautiful packaging (who isn’t?!), and I adore that these perfumes, which are made in small batches in Brooklyn, come in glass bottles with handmade wooden birch tops. Casey, also a graphic designer and art director, created the watercolor illustrations for each bottle.
Surprises: I like the simplicity of these fragrances, which creator Casey Coyle says are made from a base of organic cane alcohol and mixed with essential oils. (No synthetics, no parabens, no color additives, no sulfates.) They aren’t heavy, thick, or overly musky (even the Island Lei fragrance, which has notes of sandalwood). But my favorites are Bloom, which smells of flowers and earthiness, and Nectar, which smells of honey and slightly cinnamon-y.
One note: These perfumes aren’t heavy, but they’re so pure that a little bit goes a long way. Even natural fragrances can make you sneeze if you overdo it, so spritz sparingly!
Bonus: Selecting a fragrance is such a personal decision—a scent can smell completely different from person to person. Want to test out the Forager perfumes before committing to one? Snap up Casey’s fragrance sampler, which offers generous samples of each fragrance for $25.