What's the difference between Natural perfume and Synthetic perfume?

  • Natural perfume contains aromatics derived from whole sources in the natural world such as roots, flowers, moss, seashells, and tree resins. An aromatic will correspond to it's namesake and nothing more ("Rose" natural fragrance will have come from an actual Rose).
  • Synthetic perfume contains aromatics derived from petrochemicals or GMOs (often bacteria), and has no connection to it's namesake ("Rose" synthetic fragrance will not have come from an actual Rose). These aroma chemicals are designed in a lab to mimic the qualities of natural aromas. Chemists evaluate the structure of a natural aroma and catalogue it's scent molecules, then seek to isolate certain "desirable" molecules and reproduce them in a controlled environment. Synthetic aroma chemicals tend to have a very long degradation period, which means not only will they remain on your skin for 24+ hours, they will also persist in the environment without breaking down for much longer than natural aromas.

The FDA doesn't regulate the term "natural". How do I tell if a perfume house is truly 100% natural?

  • There are three main ways you can tell whether a perfume is natural:
    • Price
      • Natural aromatics are very expensive to obtain so the cost of a bottle should be rather high. For example, 1 oz (30ml) of Tuberose extract will cost upwards of $600. If you come across a bargain, it may not be 100% natural.
    • Color
      • Natural perfumes will generally be pigmented unless formulated with Essential Oils exclusively. 
    • Ingredients
      • If a perfume house lists certain aromatics that aren't available naturally, it may not be 100% natural. Most fruits other than Citrus (Raspberries, Melons) and certain florals (Freesia, Lily of the Valley), will not yield their scent through traditional extraction methods and so they will not be available to a natural perfumer. Some perfumers may tincture aromatics themselves to achieve these notes or create accords to mimic these elusive aromas, but generally these aromatics will signal that synthetic ingredients are being added. Whenever you see notes such as these listed in our perfume, rest assured that we are either tincturing them ourselves or using accords to mimic their aromatic qualities.

Why are your perfumes pigmented? Do you use dye or food coloring?

  • Our perfumes contain only natural pigment from the aromatics themselves. We do not add or remove any pigment.

Why are Natural perfumes so expensive?

  • Natural perfumes contain rare and costly raw materials that require meticulous cultivation and preparation. Often, a very large amount of raw materials will yield just a few drops of aromatics. Additionally, blending a perfume may take years of daily labor and hundreds of attempts at mixing to perfection. Thorn & Bloom Perfume can be considered a microperfumery; we blend, bottle and box every perfume by hand with only two employees. This allows us to have complete control over the quality of our perfume, which we painstakingly inspect to bring you the very best product.

I'm usually allergic to most perfumes. Is there a good chance that I will have the same reaction to yours?

  • Regardless of whether a perfume is Natural or Synthetic, it may still cause allergies in certain people depending on their sensitivities. We recommend buying samples and doing a patch test. Most citrus oils are phototoxic (reactive in sunlight), which can cause a slight rash. Some sensitivities to Synthetic perfumes stem from the type of alcohol they use (Synthetic or denatured alcohol). Our perfumes contain only USDA organic grape alcohol. We test on humans and so far have not seen any adverse reactions.

Why aren't your perfumes Certified Organic?

  • It is very difficult to produce 100% Certified Organic perfume. Many of the most prized aromatics for fine perfumery, such as Jasmine, Tuberose and Vanilla generally will not yield their aromas through distillation and so are not available as Essential Oils. Instead, they are solvent extracted (as an Absolute) or CO2/SCO2 extracted. During solvent extraction, a chemical solvent (such as Hexane) is used to extract the aroma. Although most of the Hexane is washed away with alcohol at the end of the process, there still exists a small percentage in the final product (parts per million). This minuscule amount renders the aromatic non-Organic even if the growing methods were Organic. So, you will rarely find a 100% Organic perfume house, especially if they are using classic perfumery aromatics in Absolute form such as Jasmine, Tuberose and Vanilla.
  • All of our perfumes contain at least 90% USDA certified organic ingredients.