A surprising thing happened when I asked Vered Back, founder of the eponymous Vered Organic Botanicals, to explain her natural scents. She immediately corrected me and said to use the word “organic” instead. What gives? Natural is good, right? Insert TV game show buzzer. It’s not good enough.
‘Natural’ means that there is a small percentage of organic material, but the rest is synthetic.” ~ Vered Back
As any purveyor of clean goods will explain, the word “natural” isn’t regulated, and a product that peddles that term may still contain up to 30 percent or more synthetic ingredients.
Why is organic fragrance a big deal? Here’s the shocking revelation. Thousands of unregulated ingredients could be hidden behind the words fragrance or parfum, and many of them are potentially hazardous to our health, triggering conditions like asthma, headaches, allergies, brain fog, hormone disruption, or other reactions.
That’s crazy talk, right? I can’t help shaking my head in disbelief that something this big could slip through the system. But it does. Chemicals that we need to know about can be omitted due to a loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which mandates companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels—all but for fragrance.
According to this article in Scientific American quoting actual tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average fragrance product contains 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals with hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.
Diethyl phthalate, for example, is a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans that’s linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies. Musk ketone concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk and is an ingredient that the founder of Pour le Monde Natural Perfume discussed in a previous post.
Eliminating “fragrance” or “parfum” and other common ingredients from personal care products in favor of healthier options results in reduced chemical levels in the system—even as soon as three days later, as this Berkeley study proves.
What Vered Organic Botanicals brings to the table
That said, it’s a relief to find a company like Vered Organic Botanicals that’s created and handcrafted by an experienced herbalist, aromatherapist, and esthetician. Vered leverages her 28+ years of hands-on experience to formulate her products with holistic wisdom and that includes her fragrance collection. They’re tested on people, but never on animals. She’s a purist, so she always chooses high quality organic and wild-crafted ingredients before cost. But the litmus test lies in the way a person feels after experiencing her scents.
Her organic perfumes are captivating and intoxicating. I feel like I could get drunk on the heady aromas, and I’m not alone. Famed yoga instructor Elena Brower instantly sensed the depth and energy in the line and is now a huge advocate.
“Vered’s scents are sublime. From sweet to sultry to sexy and back, I love wearing anything Vered creates.” ~ Elena Brower, yoga teacher and author
There are unexpected layers that you wouldn’t imagine possible in a natural scent.
The floral, balancing, and earthy tones of blue violet combined with jasmine sambac and Japanese yuzu meld together in Blue Violet Perfume*, $98, to transport the wearer to floral fields dipped in citrus delights, making this light but evocative scent my absolute favorite from the line.
Vanilla, rose absolute, jasmine, orange blossom, blended with hints of patchouli and geranium bourbon comprise Vered’s “secret potion” and the one her facial clients begged her to create for her Signature scent*, $118.
Vetiver, clary sage, and a hint of jasmine mix together in Deep Citron Perfume*, $89, eliciting the comparison to “sipping cognac wrapped in a cashmere blanket in front of a fire” on the Vered Botanicals site.
Vered answered a few questions about organic perfumery that give us insights into the remarkable world of natural vs. synthetic perfumery.
Q: Why does a flower produce essential oil at all?
Our bodies are biologically programmed to react to EO constituents that interact with our receptor sites, neurochemicals, and enzymes giving them therapeutic activity.” ~ Vered Back
Also important to remember that not every flower produces essential oil. Some produce very little. That is why it’s so expensive. But if you see flowers like magnolia, lilac, peonies, I’d be skeptical about it being real EO.
Q: Why aren’t the big companies using organic ingredients?
A: Unfortunately we’ve been indoctrinated by the conventional companies and all the big celebrity-endorsed companies that what they are selling is the best for you. To produce in big quantities like they do is impossible—and I’ll say impossible—to use the real source. It’s not profitable.
If I will sell my perfumes in conventional sizes of a 100 ml or even 50 ml bottle, I will have to charge over $1,000 a bottle to make any profit on it. But very fast they realize that they can make synthetic fragrances for almost no money. Actually the bottle in most cases will cost them much more than the content itself.
So you end up buying a big bottle with cheap alcohol, water, a lot of harmful chemicals, and a fragrance that has no energy or life to it and a very low vibration.
Q: What are the immediate and cumulative effects of using synthetic fragrances?
Q: Is there a process of getting used to organic scents?
A: It takes our senses, our body, and minds between two to four weeks for it to recognize real organic scent after using conventional for years. So give it some time. Use the organic perfume of your choice for two weeks, then try to wear your conventional one again see what happens. Migraine and nausea are going to happened. It’s your body telling you: I do not recognize this or want this on my body. It is trying to protect you. It’s a good sign that you got your senses back.
Q: Why don’t organic scents last long?
A: Some people tell me: “I love your scents so much, but they don’t hold that long.” And my answer to them is: “Good!”
If it holds more than two or three hours be aware that there are harmful chemicals and metals preserving them to keep the scent lasting longer. It could also be a mix of synthetics oils with real ones, and the harmful ones are what’s left on your skin. Real EO fades naturally after a couple of hours and becomes one with the universe.