Synthetic ingredients in perfume.

What's in your fragrance?

Did you know that a fragrance may contain some natural ingredients in combination with synthetics or could be 100% synthetic? And that some perfume ingredients start off natural but then get their chemical structure modified and it is now rendered non-natural? The majority of commercial perfumes on the market are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and natural gas known as ‘petrochemicals.’ Yup, we’re spritzing on and sniffling in, yikes, oil.  

60% of what you put on your skin, your body’s largest organ gets absorbed into your blood stream. Crazy, right? And unlike your kidneys and liver that act as your body’s filter, the skin is all on its own.  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 can accumulate in your body organs. They can trigger allergic reactions, migraines, asthma attacks, nausea, eczema, and a whole host of other sensitivities. No fun. Now there are recommendations for pregnant women to refrain from wearing artificial scents just like our founder was told.

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 other questionable chemicals  such as:

  • Synthetic Musks- Ever wonder why you wake up in the morning and still smell yesterday’s fragrance like you just sprayed it on? Hello, synthetic musk. Found in the majority of commercial perfumes, it helps the scent last longer. 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. Not good for you or the environment. We love the smell of musk but Pour le Monde will not use it in our scents. One of the biggest compliments we’ve gotten however, is that our Envision eau de parfum has a wonderful hint of musk. See what you can do with nature?
  • Phthalates- This popular fragrance preservative is usually highly concentrated in most commercial perfumes. A known carcinogen Pour le Monde does not use phthalates, period.
  • Octinoxate- Want to spritz on sunscreen in addition to your perfume? Guess what, you are probably already doing it. Many fragrance companies use it to keep their artificially dyed perfumes that pretty pink, or blue or green. Octinoxate has been shown to be another hormone disrupter so no thanks. Our perfumes are colored by nature!

Are there more naughty ingredient offenders? You bet. We just highlighted a few. So why synthetics?   Many artificial perfumes can contain a small percentage of natural, essential oils. While naturals are very expensive and rare vs. synthetics, there are certain notes that you just can’t extract from nature. Additionally, naturals need to be harvested responsibly and are imported from around the world adding to the costs. 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.

What you can create in a lab is cheaper and gives the synthetic library an abundance of notes, giving perfume companies more options to create products. Now you know why the market is saturated with so many different types of perfume!


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 so Pour le Monde does NOT use absolutes. 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.

What makes Pour le Monde natural eau de parfums so different from other natural fragrance brands is that they are  eau de parfums, do not contain absolutes 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!!"