If you’ve done even a little bit of research on non-toxic products (whether it’s personal care, cleaning products, or something else), you’ve likely come across the problem with the word “fragrance” and how it’s used in personal care and cleaning products.

You can read this article for a deeper dive, but the short of it is that there is a legal loophole which allows companies to include about 4,000 different ingredients under the label “fragrance” or “parfum” without actually disclosing what those ingredients are. Because of this law, conventional perfume, cologne, and other fragrance and beauty products are often filled with things like phthalates, carcinogens, and other toxins—and you essentially have no way of knowing about it.

But don’t worry: there are plenty of non-toxic and natural perfume brands that are prioritizing safe and transparent ingredients, and we’ve rounded them up for you in this article.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. We only make recommendations that are genuine and meet our ingredient safety standards.

What Is Perfume Made Of?

That’s the million-dollar question! As mentioned above, the laws surrounding “fragrance” transparency and labeling are incredibly lax. The fragrance industry is not required to tell you what’s actually in their products because fragrance ingredients are considered “trade secrets.”

The laws in the United States governing cosmetics ingredients allow for a huge, vague range of toxicity through using the term “fragrance.” The word can include anything from a list of nearly 4,000 stock chemicals. Many ingredients on that list are perfectly safe, while others are known hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and allergens.

As for the other ingredients in perfume (outside of the “fragrance”), the list can vary widely. In general, most perfumes contain some sort of extracted plant or animal material, water, alcohol and/or a carrier oil, and dye for color.

Most people won’t have a problem with the alcohol used in perfumes, but it may be too drying or irritating for some people. If that’s the case for you, try going with a roll-on perfume oil instead of an alcohol-based spray.

Is Wearing Perfume Bad For You?

Do perfumes contain toxic chemicals? The short answer is: yes, most of them do. One 2016 study shows that 35% of those studied suffered some sort of negative consequence—from migraines to respiratory issues—when exposed to fragrance.

Many people, however, won’t notice any immediate effects of spraying or dabbing themself with perfume each day. But the hidden chemicals that exist in almost all conventional perfumes add to one’s overall toxic burden (the total amount of environmental toxins you’re exposed to and absorbing on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis). This toxic burden can cause problems over a long period of time, even in an otherwise healthy person.

Take phthalates, for example. These chemicals are commonly used in fragrances to make the scent last longer on your skin and clothes. But phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, which means they can interfere with healthy hormone functioning and lead to all kinds of negative health concerns down the road, including infertility and cancer.

A few other potential adverse health effects of common perfume chemicals are:

Then consider the rising number of people who struggle with allergies, chronic illness, auto-immune disease, multiple chemical sensitivity, autism, and other conditions which may make them even more sensitive to certain ingredients. Pregnant people and infants may also be more susceptible to the negative effects of these fragrance chemicals. If you or a loved one fits into one of these categories, it’s all the more important to use non-toxic perfume.

Eau de Toilette vs. Eau de Parfum vs. Perfume

As you shop for perfume, it might be helpful for you to understand the difference between a few different terms. These different types of fragrances generally refer to the concentration of scent and how long the smell will likely last.

  • Perfume: This tends to have the highest concentration of scent (usually 20-30%). Perfume usually has the strongest smell and lasts the longest.
  • Eau de Parfum (or just Parfum): This is the middle of the road when it comes to scent concentration (usually 15-20%).
  • Eau de Toilette: This has the most subtle scent concentration (5-15%).
  • Cologne: In North America, we usually think of “cologne” as men’s fragrance. In other parts of the world, cologne is actually a term used to indicate an even lighter fragrance option, with about 2-4% concentration.

Most of the time, these options are available in spray form, of course, but you’ll also find solid perfume and roll-on oils.

Those who are extra sensitive to chemicals may want to go for one of the lesser concentrated options.

Synthetic Fragrances vs. Natural Essential Oils

The last thing you may be wondering about as you shop is the difference between synthetic and natural perfumes and ingredients.

It’s worth bearing in mind that just because an ingredient is synthetic does not automatically mean it’s “bad,” and just because an ingredient is natural or plant-based does not automatically mean it’s “good.” Some natural fragrances can be allergenic for people, some synthetic fragrances are actually more sustainable when made in a lab, etc.

At the end of the day, it comes down to preference. Some just prefer natural scents while, while others like a more unique smell that can really only be created via synthetic blends. Some may prefer to only buy fragrances with ingredients they can actually recognize – and I get that, too.

We’ve included all kinds of options below so you can choose what’s best for you!

The Best Natural & Non-Toxic Perfume Brands (With Feminine, Masculine, & Gender-Neutral Scents)

Without further ado, here are our picks for the best clean perfume brands that use non-toxic ingredients. Some of them use a mix of safe synthetics combined with natural oils, while others are 100% natural. You’ll also find a mix of eau de parfum sprays, roll-on perfume oils, serums, solid perfumes, powders, and more.

We’ve also looked for brands that use sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices when it comes to sourcing their raw materials and managing their supply chain.

Henry Rose

Price Range: $35 (travel spray) – $150 (50mL bottle)

Henry Rose’s unisex fragrances can truly replace the ones you might be used to from conventional department store brands.

Henry Rose has no tolerance for the “fragrance” loopholes in the industry and is committed to telling consumers everything. They are “removing the last black box in the beauty industry, and revealing our mystery.”

Their standards are very strict. Free from a list of thousands of potentially problematic ingredients, Henry Rose was the first fine fragrance to be both EWG Verified™ and Cradle to Cradle Certified™. Plus, their bottles are made from 90% recycled glass and their caps are made from sustainably-sourced and compostable soy. They give back a portion of profits to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, too.

If it’s your first time buying or you don’t know what kind of fragrance you’re looking for, grab one of their Sample Sets! You’ll get mini bottles of all of their fragrances so you can try them out for yourself at home, and then get $20 off a full-sized bottle whenever you make your choice.

Shop Henry Rose

by Rosie Jane

Price Range: $28 (travel spray) – $70 (50 mL bottle)

Hand mixed in Los Angeles, California, by Rosie Jane’s vegan and cruelty-free eau de parfum sprays and perfume oils are free from phthalates, parabens, and other endocrine disruptors. Committed to transparency, all ingredients are easily found on each product page. Any allergens (including natural ones linalool) are clearly listed on the product page as well.

By Rosie Jane also uses organic ingredients whenever possible, along with 100% recyclable packaging, vegetable based inks, and sustainable paper. They also have a take back program, so you can send them your empties for them to recycle and get credit toward new fragrances.

In addition to the full-sized bottles, by Rosie Jane also offers roll-on oils, travel sprays, and a Discovery Set so you can try out the different scents before committing to a big bottle.

Shop by Rosie Jane

Cultus Artem

Price Range: $95 (sample flight) – $580 (50 mL bottle of top-tier fragrance)

Cultus Artem is unhurried; they produce their fragrances in-house to eschew the mass production and disposable possessions that proliferate our culture today. Their name comes from the latin root words for culture + art-making.

In addition to taking steps to decrease waste throughout the entire production process, the team at Cultus Artem adheres to the European Union standards for ingredient regulations (which are much more strict than they are here in the U.S.) and works with a toxicologist to make sure that nothing potentially harmful makes its way into their bottles. They’re completely free of parabens, organosulfates, phthalates, color additives, synthetic dyes, ETA/MEA, DEA, TEA, and toluene.

Shop Cultus Artem


Price Range: $45 (roll-on oil) – $165 (50mL bottle)

These fragrances are for your more “provocative” side. But although they offer fun and sensual scents like “Dirty Lavender,” “Florgasm,” and “Flower Porn,” their ingredients are far from dirty. These vegan and cruelty-free fragrances are free from phthalates, parabens, synthetic dyes, formaldehyde, and other toxins—all blended together with organic sugarcane alcohol. You can find the full fragrance ingredient list on each product page.

Heretic offers roll-on perfume oils as well as eau de parfum sprays in small and large bottles.

Shop Heretic


Price Range: $55 (hair/body mist) – $140 (10 mL luxury blend)

For some unconventional luxury scent options, Annmarie carries a Palo Santo Hair & Body Mist (infused with crystals!) along with a Luxury Essential Oil Blend Roll-On. Made using sustainably sourced essential oils and other plant-based ingredients, these formulations really are luscious.

Annmarie is one of our favorite brands for non-toxic and mindfully made skincare products. They’re MADE SAFE certified, which is one of the strictest third-party certifications when it comes to ingredient safety.

Not only that, but everything is vegan and cruelty-free, made in the USA, and non-GMO.

Shop Annmarie

Summer Solace

Price Range: $37 – $40

This simple, handmade, water-based perfume spray is made with just a few ingredients: pH balanced purified water and organic plant oils. These make for a great everyday perfume spray that won’t be too strong, even for many individuals who are chemically sensitive.

Established by an organic chef and gardener, Summer Solace Tallow is a small, family-owned business dedicated to the production of slow-made, deeply nourishing, organic tallow-based skincare and home goods. They’re also one of our favorite brands for tallow candles!

Shop Summer Solace

Los Feliz Botanicals

Price Range: $50

Inspired by the scenes of California, this perfume brand is made with 100% natural ingredients, which means zero synthetics fragrances, preservatives, or fillers. Everything is made in small batches in Los Angeles out of using ethically sourced ingredients. And of course, zero animal testing.

They offer both roll-on perfume oil as well as sprays.

Shop Los Feliz Botanicals


Price Range: $39 (perfume oil with dropper) – $45 (Aura mist)

As a non-conventional alternative to typical perfumes and colognes, LOTUSWEI’s Anointing Oils and Aura Mists are made out of all natural, plant-based oils. They’re completely free of artificial fragrances, phthalates, or other synthetic ingredients.

They offer roll-on options, oils with droppers, and sprays.



Price Range:

Committed to high-quality and safe formulations, PHLUR uses both natural and synthetic ingredients, all of which are easily accessible online. They’re also vegan, Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, gluten-free, and hypoallergenic.

These perfumes are completely free of BHT, phenoxyethanol, parabens, phthalates, and polycylic and alicyclic musks. Not only that, but the PHLUR team sources their ingredients as responsibly as possible and uses as many recyclable, reusable, renewable, and low-impact materials as they can throughout the entire production process.

They offer full-sized fine fragrances, travel-sized bottles, and a Discovery Set to help you figure out which scent is your favorite.


{blade + bloom}

Price Range: $18 (roll-on fragrance oil)

{blade + bloom} is a small batch apothecary that creates 100% natural, plant-based products. Their blends are inspired by familiar scent memories (since scent is the strongest memory trigger). Each story is told on the product labels “to read and share.”

{blade + bloom} products range from body scrubs, serums, lotions, to candles, and more. The product that would most serve a “perfume” purpose is their rich fragrance oil, which is made of fractionated coconut oil and essential oils. This product uses body heat to activate the fragrance and its benefits!

All products are handmade in Chicago using high-quality ingredients, packaged in recyclable materials, and feature a minimal design.

Shop {blade + bloom}


Price Range: $5 (single sample) – $240 (complete sample collection)

Lvnea is a luxury fragrance house that employs an experience-based, nature-focused, and art-forward ethos to create their hand-crafted, natural, botanical, unisex products.

Their 100% natural perfumes come in multiple formats: oil, eau de parfum, eau de cologne, perfume creme, and perfume sets, amongst other apothecary products. Each scent tells a story and lists the ingredients made from authentic, raw botanical essences.

Shop Lvnea


Price Range: $5.50 (5mL bottle) – $82 (9g natural solid perfume)

Gather emphasizes the enhanced experience of perfumes vs. body oils with historical and all-hand-made notions that honor sensuality, ritual, botanicals, healing, imagination, art, and harmony. Their perfume ingredients, processes, and philosophical identity all are synergistic.

Ingredients are hand-gathered (hence the name), entirely hand-made in small batches of 100% natural botanical aromatics in a stable base of artisanal spirits and/or coconut oil, includes NO synthetics, phthalates, petrochemicals, or synthetic preservatives. Animal products are used in some products by way of beeswax, honey, and lanolin.

Shop Gather


Price Range: $5 (sample set) – $80 (30 mL bottle)

This semi-organic perfume brand offers signature natural perfumes that are meant to invite ceremonial moments.

These gender-neutral perfumes are made out of high-quality, ethically sourced, all-natural ingredients that are distilled straight from their natural source. Smoke uses organic oils or 100% organic perfumers alcohol as carriers and identifies each collection with a color and a feeling personal to founder and owner, Kathleen Currie. The products’ thorough profiles make online fragrance shopping a well-rounded and informed experience.

Shop Smoke

Alchemy Slow Living

Price Range: $25 – $62

Alchemy creates clean and sustainable perfume oils and sprays that support a slow-living lifestyle and self-care practices. Hand-poured and packaged in Ferndale, Michigan, these natural fragrances are made with plant-based and 100% synthetic-free ingredients, harvested from all parts of a plant, and created using traditional techniques.

With artist letter-pressed packaging and glowing reviews, Alchemy sets itself apart as quintessential.

Shop Alchemy Slow Living

The “PRETTY GOOD” Perfume Brands

These brands are definitely better than your conventional perfume brands, but they also have a few shortcomings, too.

DedCool: Made in L.A., this gender-neutral, vegan, and cruelty-free brand is made without any parabens, phthalates, carcinogens, EDTA, fillers, or animal by products. While it’s made with organic extracts, they also use a “propriety” fragrance blend, so not all of their ingredients are publicly available.

Maison Louis Marie: This fragrance brand (which is based on a family tradition that’s over 200 years old!) is free from a long list of toxic ingredients, however, they still don’t list the actual ingredients that are included in each of their scents. So while Maison Louis Marie is probable a safe bet, we can’t get behind it 100% at this time.

LINNIC: Uses all plant-based ingredients with phthalate-free fragrances (but doesn’t list what the actual fragrance ingredients are).

CLEAN Beauty Collective: This is one of the only safer brands available at department stores like Macy’s. While they have a great “No To List” and most of their ingredients are safe, they do use a couple of ethoxylated ingredients, and they lack transparency in some areas.

Pacifica: Available at big box stores like Target, this cruelty-free and vegan brand carries a wide range of scents. While they’re mostly non-toxic, they do use a couple of questionable ingredients like benzyl benzoate and they could use some more transparency, too (their “parfum” includes “our scent blend with natural and/or essential oils,” but they don’t actually list what those oils are).

Good Chemistry: This is another one that’s available at Target. While they’re cruelty-free and vegan fragrances are made without parabens, phthalates, or sulfates, they don’t list their actual ingredients.

  • Byredo
  • Calvin Klein
  • Clinique
  • Chanel
  • Dior
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Elizabeth Arden
  • Estée Lauder
  • Givenchy
  • Gucci
  • Hermés
  • Jo Malone London
  • Juice Couture
  • Lancome
  • LUSH
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Philosophy
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Raw Spirit
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Tom Ford
  • Versace
  • Yves Saint Laurent

An Even Deeper Dive into Perfume

What is Perfume?

It might seem like a silly question, but wearing perfume has not always been about just smelling good.

For centuries, wearable fragrances were used for spiritual practices, for communal rituals, and for their medicinal values. And it wasn’t just about the product and its purpose; the process of growing, extracting, and creating the “potions” was just as valued. Historically, fragrances were always derived from nature, and many of the non-toxic perfume brands we’ve shared in this article view perfumery as an art form conceived and inspired by nature. 

We can’t talk about perfume without talking about skin. It is our bodies’ largest organ that a) we apply perfume products to and b) is a protective barrier between the outside and inside of our bodies as part of our integumentary system.

Our integumentary system also includes our hair, nails, glands, and nerves. Since this system can absorb so much of what we put on it, it’s good to be mindful of the ingredients used in the fragrances we spray, rub, and dab on ourselves.

In the same way our sense of taste craves nourishment through food, there is an instinctive reason our olfactory sense is attracted to so many healthful botanicals. Let this be a proposal to seek our wearable fragrances not for hiding our detoxing stink, but for helping our body function and battle the toxins around us.

But it’s not just about having skin that smells good. Fragrances also trigger mental associations, memories, and pheromones. This is where the mind, body, and spirit connection is really strong—when it comes to perfume, they’re all connected!

How Much Of The Perfume Is Absorbed Into My Body?

There is not actually a straightforward answer to the question of how much our skin absorbs. Your skin consists of several different layers, which vary in chemical composition. So the ingredients and compounds they let through to be absorbed into your body vary as well.

Not only that, but the cosmetics industry has found ways (like emulsification, for example) to make things easier for your skin to absorb. So how much of a product gets absorbed also depends on the formulation of the product.

All that being said, though, your skin is still an incredibly powerful barrier when it comes to toxins, and it has measures in place (like toxin-deactivating enzymes) that stop many potentially harmful chemicals from getting into your skin.

There are so many different variables that determine how much perfume is absorbed into your body: age, skin color, environment, type of chemical, allergen history, total toxic burden, and area of the body (for example, the skin on your face is thinner and more absorbent than the skin on the bottoms of your feet).

The point is that we probably absorb some but not all of what we put on our skin (or somewhere around 64% on average). But everyone is different, so that exact amount is going to be different for each person, and maybe even for each season!

What Ingredients Should You Watch Out For In Perfume?

The top toxic ingredients include, but are not limited to:

  • acetaldehyde
  • acetone
  • benzaldehyde
  • benzophenone
  • benzyl alcohol
  • camphor
  • ethanol
  • ethyl acetate
  • “fragrance”
  • methylene chloride
  • and many phthalates (like diethyl phthalate – see below), stearates, and parabens

Many of these ingredients will not be listed on the label because they’re a part of the “fragrance” loophole that doesn’t require brands to disclose them. This can make perfume shopping confusing and frustrating if you’re an ingredient-conscious consumer.

What Is Diethyl Phthalate?

Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is a type of phthalate that’s commonly used in fragrances and perfumes. (But again, you won’t see this listed on a perfume package because it will be hidden under the “fragrance” label.) Phthalates are endocrine disruptors.

What Do Endocrine Disruptors Do?

In short, endocrine disruptors can interfere with your natural hormone function. Although we typically think of the reproductive system when we think of hormones (and that is a big part of it), our hormones actually affect a lot more than that—from wake and sleep patterns to hunger and metabolic systems, and more. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to things like decreased sperm motility and fertility, genital abnormalities in baby boys, asthma, allergies, and more.

Why is Non-Toxic Perfume Important?

If you or a loved one has suffered from chronic health issues, then the importance of switching from conventional to non-toxic perfume may seem obvious to you.

As noted above, though, even those who are healthy would do well to consider using non-toxic perfume instead of the conventional stuff in order to reduce your environmental toxin burden over a long period of time. Doing so is not only beneficial for your long-term health, but also that of our home planet.

Not to mention, buying from the brands listed here is a great opportunity to support small, eco-conscious businesses and artisans!

A key nuance in shopping for non-toxic perfumes is to gauge transparency from the brand about their ingredients. Simply having nothing to hide usually indicates a degree of safety at the very least.

Also, pay attention to the brand’s mission, product ethos, purpose, and environmental impact. This will show you a more robust scope of the brand rather than just checking the product label for non-toxic perfume ingredients.

Natural, non-toxic perfumes are not impossible to find and your body will thank you in the long run! Are there any other specific perfume brands you’re wondering about? Let us know in the comments below!

About Jaclyn

Jaclyn Stephens is an artist, farmer, and writer. Her work generates associative play between environments, materials, meanings, and sensory perceptions. Utilizing a variety of mediums, her work suspends the buoyancy we experience between the known and unknown about nature. Cultivating a relationship with landscape is both a way of living and a way of making, but primarily what connects everything she is constantly doing.

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  1. I was wondering if Rebecca Minkoff’s new eau de parfum is bad. She seems to advertise as a more safe scent but, I’m not totally convinced. Help?
    Also a recommendation on a non-toxic floral, light, everyday scent ?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Marika,
      It looks like Rebecca Minkoff doesn’t list the ingredients for their Eau de Parfum so unfortunately we can’t recommend it. It says it’s “vegan, gluten-free, and phosphate-free,” but says nothing about phthalates, carcinogens, or allergens… You might want to try Henry Rose’s “Flora Carnivora.

  2. What about Chloe’s new natural line – three new perfumes and the ingredients are listed on the box. Violette and two others (in the green boxes).

    1. Hi Isabel,
      Hm.. I’m looking at the “Chloé eau de parfum Naturelle” and am not able to find the full ingredient lists online. It does say “formulated with 100% natural origin fragrance” which is a good sign, but I can’t say for sure without seeing the full ingredient list. I will try to check out a physical box at Sephora!
      – Abbie

    1. Hi Agnes,
      It looks like Guerlain (Aqua Allegoria’s brand) has a lot of bee-friendly sustainability initiatives (which is great!), but their ingredients aren’t great. They don’t even list the specific ingredients used in their “fragrance,” which is the first problem. On top of that, it looks like they also use a handful of “not great” ingredients like dyes/colorants, benzyl benzoate/salicylate, etc.

  3. I like Pacifica. A buddy at work wears it and I work two days a week. She knows I like wearing her perfume so she brings it with her to work on the days I’m scheduled. I’m actually looking beyond conventional brands because I’m worried about my skin sensitivity but I love wearing stuff that smells good. I still have conventional colognes and another friend of mine used to let me wear hers and it’s conventional. So far I haven’t had a problem

  4. Le Labo seems to be a brand that is everywhere and though they dont necessarily advertise as clean, they do specify using “natural” ingredients. What is your take Le Labo? Also your take on Kuumba perfume oils that are typically sold at Whole Foods and Sprouts?

    1. Hi Lanie,
      Le Labo lists a few of it’s “key” ingredients on the website, but that’s all I can find. As far as I can tell, they don’t provide their full ingredient lists anywhere, nor do they say anything specific about being free from EDCs like phthalates, etc. So I can’t necessarily recommend them at this time…
      Kuumba actually lists their ingredients right on the product pages on their website, and it looks like they just use essential oils and plant oils. So as long as you’re not allergic or sensitive to those specific oils, Kuumba looks like a better bet!

      1. I reached out to Le Labo this year (2023) and they confirmed for me that the 3 scents I was most interested in all contained BHT.

  5. I’m curious about Santa Maria Novella perfumes. One of the oldest perfumeries in the world.

    1. Hi Lane, it looks like Santa Maria Novella doesn’t list all of their ingredients nor say anything about phthalates or other potentially problematic ingredients, so we can’t recommend them.

  6. I have been searching high and low on info on Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire. Not surprisingly, haven’t found much info.

    Do you have any guidance on the toxicity and safety of this product?

    1. Hi Tertia,

      If you go to the product page (https://www.guerlain.com/us/en-us/p/la-petite-robe-noire-eau-de-parfum-P011469.html), scroll down to “Ingredients” and then click “Show all ingredients,” a window pops up with more info. Upon investigating, it looks like Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire is not a great perfume in terms of safety. 🙁 In addition to “Parfum (Fragrance)” being listed as an ingredient without any more info about what those fragrance ingredients actually are, this perfume also contains several other iffy ingredients such as COUMARIN, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, BHT, FARNESOL, BENZYL BENZOATE, synthetic dyes, and others. I’m sorry to say that unfortunately, I would put MOST of the ingredients in this perfume either in the “toxic” or “questionable” category…

      I hope that helps!
      – Abbie