It’s happening again. You found your new signature scent after a recommendation from a friend and after a few hours of wearing it, you start to get a headache and your skin starts to itch. “I don’t understand,” you think, “I bought one of the most expensive brands out there.” Here’s the thing, it’s not what’s in your wallet that is the problem, it’s what is in the bottle. You developed a skin sensitivity, or maybe you already had one, such as eczema or psoriasis.
But have no fear. A sensitivity, or even an allergy to perfume does not mean you have to relinquish your fragrance fantasies. In addition to spraying your clothes instead of your skin, there are solutions to make all of your sweet, floral, musk, and woody dreams come true.
How To Know If You Have A Fragrance Sensitivity
Do you get nauseous when you smell certain scents? That’s your body telling you that it does not agree with the chemical compounds. Healthline further explains the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity, but with either, you are bound to have the following symptoms:
- Swelling of skin, mouth, or tongue
- Sudden headaches and nausea
- Sneezing and coughing
- Congestion and postnasal drip
If you start to experience these symptoms, remove yourself from the perfume or cologne (even if it’s on another person), wash the affected area, apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer, and if the reaction is severe, take an allergy medicine. Also, speak up. Make people aware of your allergy to avoid irritants. Take note of the ingredients that may act as an irritant, commonly:
- Limonene, which is often found in both fragrances and cleaning products
- petroleum based synthetic chemicals
- phthalate compunds
If you have a strong sensitivity, you might want to avoid alcohol based perfumes. Perfume oils and non-toxic perfumes are formidable alternatives.
Perfume Oils for Fragrance Sensitivities
Perfume oils use essential oils as a base. Not only does this mean that the aromas are alcohol-free, but the scent usually lasts longer. Ever had to reapply your fragrance frequently? It most likely had a high alcohol content, and alcohol tends to evaporate pretty quickly. Oils last at least six hours and have a longer shelf life. Here are a few options for finding your non-toxic formula.
(MALIN + GOETZ ) Dark Rum Perfume Oil, $52
If you ever stayed at a Le Meridien Hotel and some Marriott owned hotels, you probably fell in love with this brand. Maybe it was having a lotion that doesn’t make you ashy or a shampoo that doesn’t strip moisture from your coils, but I’m sure you requested more toiletries right before your departure. You will be happy to discover that their perfume oil does not disappoint. The woodsy smells of leather and rum with just a hint lingers without drying out your skin. Layer it with the spray or roll a dab everywhere you would normally spray perfume.
TOM FORD Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil, $100
Jojoba oil and olive oil are two of the main ingredients in Tom Ford’s body oil making the formula light and penetrating. Like the name suggests, it smells like summer. Notes of bergamot, ylang ylang, and pistachio will transport you and anyone in your personal space to your own private island. As an added bonus, there is a slight shimmer to the oil, enough to give you a glimmer, but not enough to detract from an outfit.
MADE BY YOKE FLOW BALANCING PERFUME OIL, $46
Safflower seed oil and coconut oil blend with an assortment of scented oils in this soon to be must-have. Crushed rose petals placed in the bottle give the oil a sweet yet powerful scent and the formula is non-greasy. This oil is from the Ayurveda Apothecary line, which centers wellbeing and balance into each product. Much like rose-quartz, the Flow rose should help bring forth manifestations of love, both romantic and of the self.
Christian Louboutin Trouble in Heaven Perfume Oil, $320
Louboutin is synonymous with sexy and this find is no exception. From the name to the purple and gold twisted bottle, it’s obvious Mr. Louboutin was very intentional with the type of trouble you could get into wearing this. The woodsy scent is heavy on the amber with strong notes of patchouli and iris. Even the way you put on the oil is sensual: a glass dabber is included in the bottle for application.
For the record, you can be allergic to organic compounds, too, but there is a belief that the cleaner the formula, the less sensitivity you will have. The Environmental Working Group is a good source for the cross-referencing of ingredients. Another way to avoid allergens is saying “no” to a common chemical found in not only perfumes but in packaging, nail polish, and vinyl: phthalates.
Pacifica, Hardcore Happy Perfume, $22
Here’s a little secret: Pacific used to be a drugstore brand, notoriously known for non-toxic perfumes at non-bank breaking prices. No longer in drugstores, the brand is found at Ulta and has become a fave for those with fragrance allergies. Hardcore happy is a good choice, as it’s neutral enough not to be offensive and layered enough to have you smelling like warm vanilla for the whole day.
Kai Eau De Parfum, $78
How do you make a perfume oil better? Create a matching spray that is cruelty free, vegan, and you guessed it, phthalates. The brand’s signature floral scent of gardenias is intoxicating, and the more it melts into your skin, the stringer the scent lasts.