Natural Perfume vs. Synthetic Perfume


Did you know that over 60% of what you put on your skin, the largest organ on your body, gets absorbed into your blood stream? And unlike your kidneys and liver that act as your body’s filter, the skin is all on its own. 95% of the chemicals in most commercial fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and natural gas, known as petrochemicals. On average, 80% of fragrance formulations are comprised of these chemicals and in some cases, 100% of a formula can be synthetic.

Skin absorbs these man-made chemicals in a few ways: by direct application, by contact with fragranced items, and by exposure to air containing fragrances and that can accumulate in your body organs. They can trigger allergic reactions, migraines, asthma attacks, nausea, eczema, and a whole host of other sensitivities. There are recommendations for pregnant women to refrain from wearing artificial scents.

To protect trade secrets, companies are permitted by the FDA to withhold fragrance ingredients, so consumers can’t rely on labels to know what hazards may lurk inside their bottle of perfume. That gives companies the freedom to load some fragrances with secret chemicals, sensitizers, potential hormone disruptors and chemicals not assessed for safety. Some of the most talked about ingredients of concern in fragrances are:

•  Parabens- a commonly used synthetic preservatives in many fragrances, they can interfere with the production and release of hormones. Pour le Monde does not use parabens in any of our fragrances.

•  Phthalates- this popular fragrance preservative is usually highly concentrated in most commercial perfumes. A known carcinogen, health effects may include damage to liver/kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in girls and boys. Pour le Monde does not use phthalates, period.

•  Synthetic Musks- studies have shown that several types of synthetic musks not only may disrupt hormones, but traces have been found in: fat tissue, breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood, both fresh and marine water samples, air, wastewater and sludge. Pour le Monde does not use any synthetics or synthetic musk in their fragrances.

So why synthetics? Many artificial perfumes do contain natural, essential oils but typically it is a small percentage. While naturals are very expensive and rare vs. synthetics, there are certain notes that you just can’t extract from nature. This means that the fragrance synthetic library is huge and less limited than the naturals giving perfume companies more options to create products. Man-made fragrances also have stronger staying power than naturals due to the chemical preservatives, which can overpower many.


Consumers are becoming more educated and suspicious of chemicals in our personal care products and are seeking safer alternatives. Naturals in general are much healthier and provide the scents for green living. 

Natural fragrances are essential oils and isolates derived from botanical ingredients that are harvested from the earth such as: flowers, fruits, sap, seeds or skin of the plant, as well as the bark, leaves, roots, resins or wood of certain trees and not from a lab (synthetic). The oils Pour le Monde uses are derived from natural raw materials by either steam or water distillation, a technique that has been around for centuries. Some 'naturals' are created from absolutes, a process that uses either hexane or petroleum ether. While the oils that come from this rich process are washed, they still contain trace amounts of petrochemicals and are not recognized by the Natural Products Association. Naturals, because they are limited, need to be harvested responsibly and have to be imported from around the world, creating greater expense. It is much more cost effective to try to replicate nature in a lab.

What we love about our natural eau de parfums is that they are created in layers; changing gradually with the chemistry of your skin. Working with your chemistry, they also gently evolve into your own singular scent, so you smell like you and not like everyone else. Each individual’s skin is different so the longevity and the spirit of the notes smell and last differently. Natural perfumes are not overpowering and will stay within a few feet of your body. Basically, when you leave the room, so will your fragrance.

Without harsh chemicals, natural fragrances are also more eco-friendly than our synthetic counterparts whose chemicals can be an environmental problem. You are getting nature’s gifts in its purest form. People with chemical sensitivities and asthma won’t be as bothered like they are with synthetics and the color of the fragrance is provided by the color of nature.

What makes Pour le Monde natural eau de parfums so different from other natural fragrance brands is that they are an eau de parfum and smell as beautiful (if not better!) than artificial fragrances. In fact, we hear all the time, "I can't believe these fragrances are all natural!!"