Kamila Aubre, a natural perfumer from Belgium contacted me on Instagram and asked if I wanted to pose some questions to her about natural perfumery, and of course I said yes. I think a lot of people are curious about natural perfumes, but the market is so saturated by regular fragrances that it’s hard to even imagine jumping the boat and trying something new.
To kick things off I ordered some little sample vials of her three Floraison Collection perfumes, all inspired by classic floral scents. The samples come in little vials of 1/4ml which sounds tiny but these are parfums, so they are very potent indeed. This is a great way to try any perfume especially when buying online and Kamila talks more about this in our interview below. This blog post was not sponsored, I just thought it was a great opportunity to ask some questions in the hope that it will educate and inform Fluke readers.
What inspired you to become a formulator of natural perfume?
My life changed five years ago when I had my baby girl and that is when I started switching to natural skin care. I have been formulating and selling soap, skin care, aromatherapy and now perfumes. I specialise in Political and Social Sciences but I left my job a few years ago to study organic skin care. Perfumes have been attractive to me from the beginning, not because they are a luxury product but because I can use such a big variety of ingredients in formulations which are exotic, rare, precious and sacred. It is alchemy, art and aromatherapy in one.
Do you source your ingredients in Belgium or from other parts of the world?
From the beginning I sourced special ingredients as parfum extraits which are formulated with more precious oils. Perfumers source ingredients from all over the world and this makes natural perfumery so special. I also take into account sustainability of raw materials.
What is unique about the ingredients that you use?
I am a minimalist, vegetarian and I’m doing my best to be vegan. This approach is reflected in the ingredients I use. There are no animal products, I choose the best and most well-established suppliers and my perfumes contain mostly organic and wild ingredients.
What is the difference between botanical perfume and traditional perfume?
That is a good question and one that people often ask when they see the term for the first time. In short, natural perfumes differ in their ingredients, longevity, sillage, use and philosophy. Botanical perfumes contain only natural plant ingredients and are based on alcohol or oils such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil. While most traditional perfumes contain synthetically made ingredients and one molecule which is used to construct a scent, botanical perfumes have a more intimate sillage.
Natural perfumes are made to be enjoyed by the wearer and they are often compared with a bouquet of fresh flowers which lasts just a few days but brings more joy and pleasure than artificial plants.
Is it true that natural perfumes do not last as long on the skin as traditional ones? Why is that and what can we do to prolong their wear?
There are so many different factors which influence the longevity because every person’s skin is different and every formula is different. In general, a well formulated botanical perfume must last for about five hours but some people have a special body chemistry and perfumes last shorter on their skin which is absolutely normal. I recommend wearing perfumes on hair, clothes and scarves (but avoid placing it on delicate fabrics). Skin is warmer and makes oils evaporate faster but it helps perfumes open up in a beautiful bouquet of accords. You can also apply some unscented balm before using perfume because moisturised skin will hold perfumes better than dry skin.
How do natural perfumes that you create react with skin chemistry?
Natural perfumes closely interact with skin chemistry and create unique nuances for each person, woman or man. That is why your mood, physical condition and other factors can highly influence the scent you wear. Most botanical perfumes are unisex because jasmine worn by a woman is more feminine and worn by a man is more masculine since it gets blended with our own skin scent, unique and inherent only to us. Other factors such as weather will also slightly change the aroma.
How did you decide on the notes for the first three perfumes in your range? What inspired you to create each scent?
Perfume connoisseurs and especially women have an eternal romance with Rose, Jasmine, Violet and Iris. They are timeless, they are classic. When you do not know what to wear, go for exquisite florals and you will not be mistaken. That is why I decided to start with classics.
What is the best way to select a scent that suits you?
The best way is to try a perfume on your skin. For example, I do my best to give an in-depth description for each perfume but botanical perfumes are so evasive since they create different nuances for different people. Many people may fall in love with something they have never liked before. Natural perfumes should certainly be tried in samples and you must give them a few hours, perhaps a whole day to understand their character and how they will develop with time.
When looking for a natural perfume, which ingredients should you avoid?
That is a hard question. Even a perfumer can get a batch of adulterated essential oil. It is all about the responsibility and high standards put in place by a perfumer when creating blends. I would say that consumers must look for transparency. Natural perfumes must contain alcohol/oil and natural essences such as essential oils, absolutes, concretes and extracts. No other synthetic fixatives, fillers or preservatives are necessary. If in doubt, contact the perfumer and ask about their ingredients.
What’s next for your brand?
I think I have more ideas than time. I have always had it in my mind to create small collections, organised and versatile so that it would be easier for a beginner to choose. I live in Belgium and it would be a shame not to create something related to chocolate but also more sophisticated for perfume gourmands. I also like to blend perfumery with other forms of art, such as poetry and literature.
Kamila Aubre has kindly offered a 25% discount code to Fluke readers who would like to try one of her 15ml perfumes. Just use the code SDK03 at checkout to apply the discount. This code is valid for three months for the first three customers.
I hope that you enjoyed this insight into the world of natural perfumes and I’d like to say a big thank you to Kamila for sharing her knowledge with us. The thought and complexity that goes into the creation of a botanical perfume is fascinating. Fragrance is something so personal to everyone and what inspires me to try natural perfumes is the intricacy of the scent and reaction to skin chemistry. Have you tried natural perfumes? Let me know by leaving a comment below, or you can email me and connect with me on Instagram and Facebook.
Next week: Jordan Samuel Skincare cleansers