I have super senstitive skin, however I really love wearing fragrance. How can I wear perfumes if I am extremely sensitive? I patch test my skin first, however I also look at the ingredients and different ways of wearing my scents. Read on for my tips on perfume for sensitive skin and discerning noses. I have included reviews of Byredo Kabuki Brush on Perfume, Diptyque Solid Perfume and IME Natural Fragrances!
We all know that fragrances (natural or synthetic) are irritating to all skin types; however a lot of skincare products contain them. Since this is the case, quite a lot of people don't really believe they are a problem. How can something which appears in a lot of ingredients lists be an issue? The theory behind this is that most fragrance ingredients impart scent is through a volatile reaction. This is a natural reaction and it almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin. What is most important here is that this is true for all skin types, not just those with sensitive or redness-prone skin.
Cosmetic companies add fragrances because most consumers like when their skincare and haircare products smell good. Fragrance affects consumer’s buying decisions and their experience of using the product at home.
Essential oils or natural fragrances can also be sensitizing culprits too. Many essential oils and fragrant plant extracts are good for the skin; however their volatility as they release their aroma is not good for skin.
So Can You Wear Perfume if You Have Sensitive Skin?
Because our physiologies are so complex it is impossible to say that any one perfume can be worn by people with sensitive or easily irritated skin. This is a complicated issue.
"Many people switch to natural perfume for sensitivity reasons. But this isn’t entirely reaction-proof as some naturally occurring ingredients can cause sensitivities too. In fact, of the 26 known allergens that a perfumer has to list on the label, 16 of them can occur naturally in essential oils,” explains Imelda Burke, founder of Content Beauty & Wellbeing.
What can you do if you love to wear fragrance? What if you have had reactions to formulas in the past? I have had reactions to some perfumes before and I just can't wear them. Even with an immunologist visit and a series of prick tests it was too hard to pinpoint everything I am sensitive to. I know I am allergic to plane trees and latex. Apparently I am not allergic to fluoride, even though I develop a rash after getting a fluroide treatment at the dentist. So I say that I am sensitive and I avoid it.
Find Out About Perfume Formulas
You can research the concentration of oils within fragrance on The Perfume Society's website. It's very hard to label a good quality fragrance ‘low allergen’ or ‘allergen-free’ because entirely synthetic fragrances are one dimensional.
Patch Test Perfumes
Head into a store and try some out. You can try patch testing eau de toilettes, eau de parfums, extrait de parfums, solids, oil-based rollerball scents and alcohol-free perfumes. The best way to patch test a scent is to spray it onto a tester card and then rub the tester card on the inside of your wrist.
Find Ways to Wear Perfume Differently
You can spray scent and walk through it like your grandma used to do. You can even spray perfume on your clothes and wait a bit to get dressed into them. However I am a big fan of finding other interesting perfume formats that work for me.
Put Your Favourite Perfume in an Empty Roll-On Container
I discovered this method because I love Tom Ford Private Blend scents however I don't love their price tags. I went onto Ebay and bought a few of my favourites in 12mL roll-on versions. I received the parcels and realised the sellers had just divided their full size Private Blend scents into roll-ons and sold them for a profit. Great business model right; however it saved me money so I don't mind. The perfumes seem to last a lot longer in a roll-on because you use less and you can apply the scent in a targeted manner. I apply my scent to parts of my body that are less sensitive. The skin on my forearm is a lot less sensitive than my neck that is close to my face for example. I now put other scents in empty roll-ons I buy on ebay because it means they are easy to carry around in my handbag!
A solid perfume is another way you can wear scent differently. My favourite solid perfume right now is Diptyque Philosykos Solid Perfume - which features notes of fig, coriander, pepper, blackcurrant, cedar and benzoin. It comes in a really weighty black oval case and when you open the lid of this the fragrance wafts out. This format is actually made for travel and touch ups on the go; after spraying the same scent at home, you can use the solid perfume during the day to make your scent last longer. Diptyque suggests that you rub the solid into key pulse points such as your wrists, neck and decolletage. Since the solid version of this perfume is alcohol free it is less drying than spraying the liquid version.
Ingredients: Isononyl isononanoate (emolient), aluminum starch octenylsuccinate (anti caking agent), ozokerite (viscosity increasing agent), fragrance, silica (anti caking agent), methylparaben (preservative).
The wax like formula goes on well and isn't sticky. True the perfume doesn't last as long as I would like, however I get headaches from extra strong fragrances so I am fine with this. I would need to touch up with this maybe another time during the day.
Byredo Kabuki Brush on Powder Perfume
I was really excited when I read about the Byredo Kabuki Perfume on Vogue.com.au. The fragrance is housed in a sleek black looking wand and you use an ultra-soft kabuki brush to brush the fine, almost invisible powder on. Again, because it is portable and compact, this format is meant for scent touch-ups whenever, wherever. I bought the Blanche scent (there are three Kabuki scents) which has notes of white rose, pink pepper, aldehyde, violet, neroli, peony, blonde woods, sandalwood and musk. The product is meant to last a long time because you don't use very much.
Apart from the exciting format I am a bit disappointed with this fragrance. The MECCA website suggests it is meant for touch ups, however the fragrance lasts all of 5 minutes and disperses. The Byredo website says you can wear this scent alone - so shouldn't it last longer? Also; to activate the kabuki and release the powder perfume, you are meant to push the button at least 20 times. My wrist hurts doing that. A plus is that my skin doesn't hate this fragrance. So far I can't find ingredients for this anywhere. It is free from alcohol, gluten, parabens and sulphates. The Kabuki brush is vegan and hypoallergenic - I'd like to confirm that with ingredients though...
IME 100% Natural Perfumes
IME is an Australian company which manufactures 100% Natural Perfumes that are cruelty free, toxin free, vegan friendly and Australian made. Each Eau de Parfum uses 100% natural ingredients from quality botanical sources. Which means each fragrance is naturally unique. There perfumes evolve with your skin, changing over time to bring out the subtle qualities of your own personal scent. The pure botanical essential oils, absolutes & balsams are sourced from around the world. They do contain alcohol however the pure alcohol (grain or cane) is locally produced from Australian sources and is gluten & GMO free. It is quite amazing that there are completely no synthetic ingredients in these perfumes, including no use of a synthetic solubiliser.
With all that in mind it was important for me to remember that the lasting ability of natural perfumes can vary from person to person. IME suggest they generally last approximately 4hrs.
IME is the the phonetic Greek word for eimai meaning I AM. The IME fragrances are built around the nine Muses of Greek Mythology who have been known throughout time to inspire and guide those who seek their radiance. Each IME perfume is uniquely blended and are designed to encompass the essence of each muse.
I ended up buying a collections pack so I could try all the scents and I patch tested every one before wearing them. The pack contains 9 x 2.5mL sample sizes.
1) Kalliope [driven] 2) Erato [naughty] 3) Euterpe [cool] 4) Thaleia [flirty] 5) Terpsichore [expressive] 6) Melpomene [beautiful] 7) Ourania [intuitive] 8) Polyhymnia [enlightened] and
9) Kleio [elegant]. (Refer to the photo for scent notes).
I find the scents very subtle and more lovely every time I wear them. Since each fragrance has its own muse I feel like I am a part of something bigger rather than just wearing a branded perfume. Especially since I am supporting Australian business. I have to say that my favourite so far is Polyhymnia - this scent is fresh, green and floral. However not too floral because I am not really a roses type of girl...