Plants and their oils have been used their beautifying and mood-enhancing properties for centuries. We find it inspiring and wonderful that we still distil the scent of flowers, leaves, woods and roots into bottles to carry around for our olfactory pleasure. Once your nose and body is more in tune with nature, lab-made synthetic scents seem like poor imitations.
But how to choose?
Perfumes are split into aroma groups, which indicate the key scent profile or olfactory characteristics. Ready to pick your plants?
The sharp and tart notes of lemon, orange, lime and grapefruit will dominate. Citrus perfumes often dissipate quickly as the citrus notes sit as top notes. Just reapply as these top notes work wonders throughout the day as a wake-up call for the senses.
This is a large group that covers all flowers. They can be sweet, green or powdery and have good longevity as floral notes sit in the middle of a perfume composition as the heart notes.
Often referred to as the exotic perfumes, they will feature elements such as amber, vanilla, resins, night flowers and spices such as cinnamon. Historically these would have also contained musk as a base note and fixative, but as this is an animal-derived ingredient, botanical perfumers will blend plant ingredients (garden angelica or musk mallow seed oil) to replicate it instead. Oriental perfumes have very good longevity as many components are considered base notes.
These can be warm, either opulent (sandalwood) or brighter and sharper (vetiver and cedarwood). Wood perfumes can form both heart and base notes so wear well on the skin.
These are formulated from herbs and plants that have grass or green elements to them. Sage, rosemary and lemongrass give fresh breezy notes with good average longevity on the skin. These perfumes will often be unisex.
Adapted from The Nature of Beauty book by CONTENT founder Imelda Burke.