Natural vs Synthetic Fragrances

Natural vs Synthetic Fragrances

What’s that smell….?
We’re diving nose-first into the world of fragrances, exploring the debate: Natural vs. Synthetic Fragrances. So, grab a cuppa of your favourite herbal tea and join me as we sniff out the truth behind these aromatic adversaries.

Natural Fragrances: Straight from Mother Nature's Pantry

Transport yourself to a sun-drenched field of lavender swaying gently in the breeze, filling the air with its intoxicating aroma. Natural fragrances are derived from botanical sources like flowers, fruits, leaves, and resins. They're essentially nature's own perfume and are used by plants for functions including attracting pollinators and protecting themselves from pests. There’s something inherently comforting about knowing your fragrance comes straight from the earth, untouched by human hands (well, mostly).

The compounds that the plants produce to benefit themselves also can benefit us. Many natural fragrances contain essential oils with therapeutic properties, offering a holistic approach to wellbeing and health benefits. Lavender for stress relief? Yes, please!

In a world increasingly conscious of sustainability, natural fragrances often come with a smaller environmental footprint. Plus, they can benefit local economies, who doesn’t love supporting local farmers and growers? Unfortunately, natural fragrances tend to degrade more quickly than their synthetic counterparts, meaning your favourite scent might lose its potency faster than you can say “eau de toilette.”

The Scent of Innovation: Synthetic Fragrances

Enter the lab-coated world of the fragrance industry, armed with beakers, pipettes, and a penchant for molecular manipulation, scent engineers create synthetic fragrances through a blend of art and chemistry, using a combination of synthetic compounds to mimic natural scents or create entirely new ones, vanilla cherry anyone?

Synthetic fragrances offer a world of possibilities. With precise control over ingredients and formulations, perfumers can create consistent scents year-round. Plus, synthetic fragrances are often more affordable than their natural counterparts as they are made with petrochemical derivatives and cheaper mass-produced compounds.

Synthetic fragrances unlike their natural counterparts, offer a level of consistency that negates the effects of soil, weather and growing conditions. So variations in scent due to weather conditions or crop yield become a thing of the past—each bottle is guaranteed to smell exactly the same, every single time. Synthetic fragrances have stamina, they are less likely to spoil and their fragrance can linger for longer. 

Infinite Possibilities: With a chemical palette at their disposal, fragrance chemists can dream up scents that defy nature’s limitations. From the ethereal to the downright bizarre, synthetic fragrances push the boundaries of what we thought possible in the scent world. 

However, there is another side to manmade scents—synthetic fragrances often contain a laundry list of chemicals, some of which can cause irritation or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Not exactly the stuff of perfumed dreams.

While synthetic fragrances may boast a longer shelf life, they come with a heavier environmental cost. From petrochemicals to manufacturing waste, the production of synthetic fragrances isn’t always a bouquet of roses.

More than just a scent?

Natural Essential oils, those concentrated extracts of plants, wield a potent influence on our olfactory system—the part of our brain responsible for processing smells. When we inhale the aroma of essential oils, the molecules drift up our nasal passages, where they stimulate specialised olfactory receptors. These receptors send signals to the olfactory bulb, a structure located at the base of the brain, which then relays information to other areas, including the limbic system, known as the brain's emotional centre. It's here that the magic happens; certain essential oils have been shown to evoke specific emotional responses, such as relaxation, alertness, or even euphoria, thanks to their ability to directly influence our mood and emotions through scent.

The effects of essential oils extend beyond just a nice smell. Research suggests that certain essential oils possess antimicrobial properties, capable of combating harmful bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. When inhaled, these oils not only tantalize our senses but also work as natural air purifiers, helping to create a healthier environment. Furthermore, the aromatic compounds in essential oils may enhance cognitive function, improving focus, memory, and mental clarity—a welcome bonus in our fast-paced world. So, next time you catch a whiff of lavender or peppermint drifting through the air, remember: it's not just a pleasant scent; it's a symphony for your senses and a boost for your well-being.

If it ain't broke…

Synthetic scents may have the advantage of having a cheaper manufacturing cost and consistency of the end product however, we believe that nature got this one right first and essential oils provide not only the most glorious scents but give added health benefits to us without a huge environmental impact.