It is not so much that we believe that natural perfumes are better for you but rather that they are better for your nose. Commercial perfumes often exaggerate single molecules to the point that they overpower the senses. By contrast, natural perfume does not mask your personal scent but blends with it to form an individual fragrance.
How do you use scent to create a self-care ritual at home? My favourite scent ritual is clearing my space with incense on coals or by burning botanicals. It's an ancient practice and the origin of perfume – 'par fume' – from smoke. Depending on the intention, I burn frankincense, myrrh and mphepo. It clears both my mind and my senses.
What are three of your favourite ingredients to use in fragrances and why?
- Namibian myrrh for its dry-as-a-bone powdery sharpness.
- Aged vetiver for its earthy, woody depth and subtle smoky notes.
- I've recently received a beautiful cumin essential oil from a Tunisian artisanal distiller and its animalic, slightly floral, and yet mysterious, quality has fast become a necessity in my blends.
What is the best way to store natural perfumes to preserve them? Dark, cool spaces that are out of direct sunlight are best for keeping natural perfumes.
Aoun’s key fragrance ingredients to look out for to enhance your emotions:
- Elevating your mood: the tart sweetness of kapokbos.
- Re-energising a space or creativity: the aromatic and woody depth of zaatar.
- Feeling seductive: I could douse myself with styrax but, unfortunately, my husband finds it all too animalic, so it's a bit of a one-sided affair.
- Serenity and calmness: the quintessential woody note of cedar.
- For a first date: tonka absolute for subtle intoxication.