The 11 Best Natural Perfumes of 2023 That’ll Make You Feel Good & Smell Gorgeous

These natural perfumes are not only free of harsh chemicals, but they also smell just downright delicious

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The Best Natural Perfumes

InStyle / Alli Waataja

If you’ve been paying attention to the beauty industry as of late, you’ll know that many brands are launching (or rebranding) as “clean,” with a select few referring to themselves as “natural.” The difference between the two can be hard to distinguish — and when you apply those terms to a category like fragrance, things can become even more confusing. 

However, hunting down natural perfumes and cleaner formulas overall is a worthy endeavor. With our skin being our body’s largest organ and our first line of defense against external damage, it’s important to consider exactly what we’re applying to our bodies — and what hazardous ingredients our skin could be absorbing in the process.

You might associate natural perfume or clean fragrance with a “crunchy granola” vibe, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our favorite go-to beauty retailers are offering plenty of natural perfumes and clean scent options for you to choose from — not just rollerballs filled with earthy essential oils — so you can breathe easy (pun intended) when picking out a new, good-for-you signature fragrance. 

Best Overall

Abel Golden Neroli

Abel Golden Neroli


What We Love: Fresh and delicate, this natural and highly wearable scent smells like a warm shower on a sunny morning.

What We Don’t Love: Unfortunately, the scent doesn’t have a particularly long wear time — you’ll only get a few hours out of one spritz. 

While all of Abel’s well-curated fragrances are worth a sniff, Golden Neroli is the most versatile, and also happens to be our favorite. Dainty green tea and neroli melt into a heart of jasmine and ylang ylang for a scent that can be worn by anyone, anytime. It’s simple, sophisticated, and simply put, stunning. 

If you’re prone to occasional headaches when spritzing on scent (we’re in the same boat), this is the thing to try: It’s warm — but not too warm — and fresh without being sharp due to the fact that it’s natural (meaning totally derived from plants), making it unobtrusive and a comfortable wear. 

However, it’s the natural perfume’s same lightness that makes it wear off faster than clean fragrances — those plant extracts don’t have lab-made chemicals reinforcing their longevity. We’re unbothered by this, especially as we can get a travel size to take on the go through the brand’s sample service, which allows you to buy three testers of your choice, then use the credit from your purchase towards a full-size bottle.

Price at time of publish: $165

Size: 1.7 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Neroli, jasmine, sandalwood

Best Budget

Being Frenshe Glow On Citrus Amber

Being Frenshe Glow On Citrus Amber


What We Love: We love that this scent comes in multiple formats. 

What We Don’t Love: The rollerball can get stuck and inhibit the bottle from dispensing enough fragrance.

Actress Ashley Tisdale’s clean and accessible wellness line, Being Frenshe, offers five unique scents to suit different moods and a delightful opportunity to go stock up during your next visit to Target. 

We especially love Citrus Amber (designed to motivate and uplift), which smells fresh, juicy, and vibrant. Try slicking it on before work on Monday AMs to keep you focused and upbeat, even if you spent a tough night being haunted by Sunday scaries. 

Plus, if you love adding scent to every step of your routine, you can snag Citrus Amber in multiple formats, including a hair mask, body wash, candle, and our favorite, a surprising scalp and body scrub hybrid made with sugar and coconut oil.

There’s not much about this fragrance that we don’t love — besides the rollerball design, which is a bit finicky and can get jammed. 

Price at time of publish: $14

Size: 0.84 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Clementine, orange blossom, amber

Best Splurge

Ourside Nostalgia Eau de Parfum

Ourside Nostalgia


What We Love: It’s not just the juice of this fragrance that’s unexpectedly punchy — the gorgeous bottle with the neon lime sticker also has some edge.

What We Don’t Love: This is an online-only scent, so be prepared to blind buy.

We’ve never tried a patchouli fragrance quite like this one: A lot of perfumes use the note to create darker, earthier vibes, or in some cases, mimic the aroma of chocolate. That’s not the case in this scent from Ourside, though — Nostalgia uses patchouli almost like a springboard to amplify the zesty grapefruit, fresh mint, and heady jasmine notes for an unusual, elegant, and addictive scent. 

We also love how the bold packaging stands out on a vanity — the lime green label practically pops off the black glass bottle. Unfortunately, though, Ourside is currently only available on the brand’s website, so you’ll have to blind buy to try it out. The good news is that Ourside sells a discovery set with sample sizes of all three of the company’s distinctive fragrances so you can check them out before making a bigger purchase.

Price at time of publish: $196

Size: 1.7 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Grapefruit, jasmine, patchouli

Best Floral

Heretic Florgasm Eau de Parfum

Heretic Florgasm

Credo Beauty

What We Love: This luxe scent is derived solely from plant-based materials (no lab-created ingredients here), making it a must-try for those who want to live their lives as cleanly as possible.

What We Don’t Love: Like other natural fragrances on this list, Florgasm doesn’t have serious staying power, so you’ll have to re-spritz every few hours.

Remember that candle that smelled like Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina (supposedly)? This scent is from the same fragrance house and also boasts a subversive name. Inspired by the concept of a flower having an orgasm, the perfume blends sparkling bergamot with creamy jasmine and tuberose, somehow beautifully balancing sensuality with innocence for a clean white floral. 

While the name implies somewhat of an intense scent, natural scents are typically lighter and brighter, making this one equally suit a morning at the office and an evening out.

Price at time of publish: $165

Size: 1.7 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Bergamot, jasmine, tuberose

Best Vanilla

The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods Eau de Parfum

The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods


What We Love: The unexpected blend of caramel and pear notes in this natural and hypoallergenic perfume creates a refreshing take on a classic vanilla scent.

What We Don’t Love: The juice in the bottle can shift from clear to amber-colored over time, which may irk the perfectionists among us.

Caramelized pear notes plus organic Madagascar vanilla transform this scent into a delectable gourmand, while rose, amber, and benzoin prevent it from being overly foody, lending it a warm and sensual quality. The sugarcane alcohol-based formula is extremely long-lasting, and smells great when layered with other fragrances (try it with a citrus!). 

If you’re highly focused on aesthetics, keep in mind that natural fragrances like this have a tendency to transform in the bottle faster than scents with lab-created ingredients, which is why lovers of this perfume have noticed that it changes color in the bottle after a few months. Yet, that doesn’t mean the perfume has gone bad — it’s simply the result of how the natural ingredients interact with each other over time.

Price at time of publish: $88

Size: 1.7 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Pear, rose, vanilla

Best Aquatic

The Nue Co Water Therapy

The Nue Co Water Therapy

The Nue Co

What We Love: This clean scent genuinely harnesses the relaxing sensation of being by the water. 

What We Don’t Love: Water Therapy is a bit masculine — but the aroma of the ocean admittedly isn’t particularly feminine.

This “functional fragrance” uses sustainably-sourced notes, including sandalwood, vetiver, seaweed, and salt, for a transportive scent inspired by blue medicine, or the concept of improving your mental health by spending time near bodies of water. 

With just a few spritzes, we’re reminded of summers spent on the saltmarshes of the Connecticut shoreline — and true to its studies, it makes us feel calmer and less stressed 30 minutes after misting, so we keep it on our desks for midday pick-me-ups.

Price at time of publish: $95

Size: 1.7 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Seaweed, salt, vetiver

Best Fruity

5 Sens Life of the Party

5 Sens Life of the Party

5 Sens

What We Love: This clean perfume also uses recycled wood and glass in its packaging, making the entire product sustainable. 

What We Don’t Love: This scent can only be found online right now, so you’ll have to order it to try it — no in-person sampling first.

5 Sens is all about using scent to convey different vibes, and while we enjoy every fragrance from the brand (each one has its place!), this is the one we find ourselves reaching for the most. 

Notes of juicy black currant and lightly floral peach blossom are total crowd pleasers, while sultry jasmine and soft saffron function as a comfy and familiar base. Now, for the secret sauce: Ambrox, a compound found in now-illegal ambergris that lends a velvety yet mineral quality that amplifies your own natural scent. Some would call it pheromone-like, but we just call it addictive. 

You won’t be able to find this sustainably-packaged fragrance in stores as of yet, so be prepared to shop without sniffing, but the brand does offer returns if you end up not loving the scent. That said, some proceeds from your purchase will go to two non-profit organizations that give back to the community and to the earth, respectively, so your money will be well spent.

Price at time of publish: $65

Size: 30 mL|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Black currant, peach blossom, jasmine

Best Perfume Oil

Kai Perfume Oil

Kai Perfume Oil


What We Love: While the perfume oil is our preferred format of the iconic fragrance, Kai comes in tons of iterations, including haircare, body care, home fragrance, and even a deodorant.

What We Don’t Love: Because a little of this perfume oil goes such a long way, it can be hard to use up a whole bottle before the oil spoils. 

This is one of the most celeb-beloved fragrances we’ve ever encountered — and once you check it out for yourself, you’ll understand the hype. Lily Collins, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Usher, and many more stars love the tropics-inspired fragrance, which can be worn anywhere, anytime to infuse a sophisticated dose of gardenia into your day. On mornings when we’re not quite sure which scent to pull from our fragrance wardrobe, we reach for Kai, and have done so for over 15 years. 

However, we do find that because the perfume oil is so concentrated, it can be hard to use up an entire bottle of it (even though it’s petite!) before the scent starts to change in quality.

Price at time of publish: $52

Size: 0.125 oz|Type: Perfume oil|Notes: Green notes, gardenia

Best for Everyday

Eauso Vert Joga

Eauso Vert Joga

Eauso Vert

What We Love: This beautiful scent lies close to the skin for a fragrance you can wear all year round — even in warmer weather — without overwhelming yourself or others.

What We Don’t Love: Lighter in weight, you may need extra sprtizes of this fragrance to get a solid dose of it.

Clean, delicate, and comforting, Eauso Vert is like drinking a cup of green tea on a slow Saturday morning. Sparkling bergamot, honeyed petitgrain, soft magnolia, and a touch of jasmine rest on a base of white amber, making this a gorgeous fragrance to spritz on immediately after a shower — think of it as a cozy first layer, like a silky slip. It also pairs really beautifully with other scents, if that’s your thing.

Remember, like many natural and clean perfumes, it may not last as long as other fragrances that you’re used to, so if you want to keep a mini tucked into your purse for touch ups, you can do so through a purchase of Eauso’s discovery set (which allows you to check out the brand’s other options, too).

Price at time of publish: $165

Size: 2.4 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Saffron, jasmine, cedar

Best Gourmand

Ellis Brooklyn Bee Eau de Parfum

Ellis Brooklyn Bee


What We Love: Sweet and comforting, this clean perfume uses a unique bran note that gives it a hearty and cozy quality. Plus, the frosted bottle is pretty charming.

What We Don’t Love: This is a heavier fragrance, so you may want to save it for wearing to evening events or in cooler weather. 

Consider this scent a delectable indulgence for your fragrance wardrobe. Spicy cinnamon, boozy rum, and tea-like davana leaf wear down into syrupy honey, savory bran, sweet vanilla, and rich cocoa. Though this blend may sound a bit too saccharine, never fear — sandalwood and beeswax temper any excess sweetness, making it a bakery-like skin scent. 

It is heavier than some of the other scents on this list, which is not necessarily a bad thing as it makes Bee a good option for spritzing on in the fall and winter months, but you may want to try one of the brand’s lighter offerings in warmer seasons — and that just means you get to collect more of the beautiful frosted bottles that this fragrance is packaged in. (They are all different colors, making them look quite pretty on a vanity when organized together.)

Price at time of publish: $108

Size: 1.7 oz|Type: Eau de parfum|Notes: Rum, honey, cacao

Best Fresh

Ralph Lauren Polo Earth Eau de Toilette Spray

Ralph Lauren Polo Earth


What We Love: It’s rare to find a sustainable scent from a huge fragrance house — we’re very impressed by this clean offering from Ralph Lauren.

What We Don’t Love: While this scent is marketed as a unisex fragrance, the vetiver and cedar notes can lean a bit more masculine for our tastes.

Herbaceous notes of mint and sage plus zesty citron, bergamot, and mandarin make this fragrance perfect for spritzing on in warm weather. The bottle is made of post-consumer recycled glass, while the cap and label are all certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, meaning the materials came from a healthy and resilient forest. But what we love most about this scent is that it’s refillable — the brand offers a 6.8 ounce jumbo size that you can decant. Consider that a big (pun intended) benefit of purchasing a clean scent from a fragrance house as big as Ralph Lauren. 

We do recommend seeking this one out for a sniff before investing, though. It’s a perfectly unisex scent, but it is a bit more masculine than most, so you’ll want to make sure it’s your style before committing to a big bottle.

Price at time of publish: $106

Size: 3.4 oz|Type: Eau de toilette|Notes: Bergamot, lavender, vetiver

What to Keep in Mind

Clean vs. Natural

“There is sometimes confusion as to what clean and natural mean, and if they are the same thing — they are not necessarily the same!” says Keta Burke-Williams, founder of Ourside. “The industry is still aligning on the definition of clean and natural fragrances, but there is growing consensus on what the highest clean standards are and on what natural perfume means.” 

When referring to a fragrance as “clean,” most brands are alluding to safety, first and foremost. While many clean brands follow the European Union’s Annex II (a list of thousands of ingredients banned from formulation in beauty products), others go further. “We're a globally compliant brand that does not test on animals,” explains Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn. “That means we're looking not just at the EU, but also all global markets and their regulations on scent ingredients.” 

“Clean” can also mean transparency as it pertains to business ethics. “The concept of clean has evolved over the years from having transparency of ingredients for only safety reasons to now having transparency on environmental and social impact,” says Michal Benmayor, Vice President of Global Perfumery Sustainability at international fragrance and flavoring firm Firmenich. For example, using a natural ingredient could actually have a harmful effect on the environment (more on this shortly).

Natural is different in that the scents are purely derived from natural ingredients rather than those created in a lab, which means there is nothing artificial in the bottle — just fragrance extracted from pure plant derivatives, like essential oils. For those who are looking for truly unadulterated perfume, a natural one may be the best choice. 

Fragrance Ingredients

When shopping for clean or natural perfumes, it’s important to consider the ingredients. Some people prefer naturally-derived ingredients — and there are plenty of natural perfume brands that solely formulate with them — but many occasionally incorporate synthetic fragrance notes because either the all-natural version is irritating on skin (like limonene) or it’s better for the environment.

“We're lovers of natural ingredients, but we're also big proponents of innovation, particularly if that means developments in the industry are to boost sustainability and lessen solvent use,” explains Shapiro. “For example, we often use a natural and synthetic blend of woods. Using this kind of blend also means that we won't be killing hundreds of trees to make perfume.”

Other reasons to ponder your stance on synthetic ingredients include what you want out of a fragrance: “Synthetics in fragrances offer ample opportunities to create olfactive experiences that you wouldn’t be able to find in nature, as well as offer blooming and long-lastingness,” explains Benmayor. 

For example, if you wanted a perfume with civet or ambergris notes — both of which are animal derived and now illegal for use in fragrance — you’d have to turn to a synthetic option. Similarly, if you want to spritz your scent once and get on with your day, you might prefer something made with synthetic ingredients as they’re more durable; the aromas of essential oils are often quite fleeting.

Ultimately, though, when it comes to making or wearing perfume with natural or synthetic ingredients, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong — it’s about your preferences.  


There are a few different types of scent strengths, with the most common being eau de parfum and eau de toilette. This refers to how much perfume oil is in the formula. Eau de toilette has more water than eau de parfum, meaning it’s more diluted. This means it will not last as long on the skin, so you’ll have to apply more frequently, but it’ll be lighter in weight. So, if you like an eau de parfum that’s only wearable in winter due to its weight, you could look for a lighter, fresher eau de toilette version for spring and summer wear.

Your Questions, Answered

What is a natural perfume?

What makes a fragrance natural or clean is largely related to ingredients. “Natural perfumes mean perfumes that are made with all-natural ingredients, like essential oils or naturally-derived ingredients, as the key ingredients making up the perfume notes and accords,” says Burke-Williams. “Natural perfumes do not necessarily mean ‘raw,’ since many naturally-derived ingredients must still go through a process to become perfume-ready.” 

Natural vs. raw is an important, but fuzzy distinction: “For example, the patchouli that is used today is harvested from plants — but then each fragrance house will refine and potentially pick out certain musty notes before using them in creations,” says Shapiro. “Is this still natural, as there have been changes made to the scent in the lab?” 

Brands may also refer to their formulas as cruelty-free, vegan, or made without certain additives. In some cases, that latter point can be greenwashing. “Many fragrance brands now lean into claims of paraben and phthalate free,” explains Douglas Little, perfume formulator and founder of natural fragrance brand Heretic. “What the customer does not know is that parabens are not used in perfume and phthalates have not been used in fragrance since the 1970s.” 

Is natural perfume better than other perfumes?

“Better” is subjective, but plenty of shoppers seem to think so. “The clean fragrance industry has rapidly evolved with the surge of consumers who are not solely thinking about the impact the fragrance has on them, but on the planet as well,” says Benmayor. “We’re seeing a movement where fragrance wearers are now focused on a ‘we’ approach, rather than ‘me’ — meaning they’re considerate of how their surroundings are impacted by their personal choices.”

Ultimately, though, they’re completely different things, says Little. “Natural perfumes are a bi-product of a plant and do not have the intensity and longevity that traditional perfumes typically exhibit,” he explains. “Natural perfumes are sheer, bright and transparent, easy to layer, and easy to wear as they are not intrusive.” 

While you don’t have to give up your regular perfumes, it’s worth considering how they can affect your health. “It’s totally okay to love traditional perfumes as long as you understand what using them can mean,” says Burke-Williams.

Remember, sourcing some naturally-derived ingredients can be harmful to the environment — for example, it’s said that it takes 10,000 roses to produce a tenth of an ounce of essential oil.

Why Shop With Us

Emily Orofino is a freelance writer, editor, and consultant with over a decade of experience in the beauty industry. She is an absolute fragrance nerd and often finds herself prowling the internet late at night in search of the perfect new scent that speaks to very specific concepts, whether it’s a perfume that smells like a saltmarsh at low tide or a pot of freshly-cooked jasmine rice (she’s found both). For this piece, she interviewed Keta Burke-Williams, founder of fragrance brand Ourside; Bee Shapiro, founder of fragrance brand Ellis Brooklyn; Douglas Little, perfume formulator and founder of natural fragrance brand Heretic; and Michal Benmayor, Vice President of Global Perfumery Sustainability at international fragrance and flavoring firm Firmenich to learn more about what makes natural perfumes natural.

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