Perfume vs. Aromatherapy

Elspeth’s Airs offers both natural perfumes and aromatherapy products. While the plant materials we work with for each type can offer support for our health, here are some of the key differences, drawn primarily from the very concise text in Ayala Moriel’s book, “Foundations of Natural Perfumery”:

  • Perfumes are created primarily for their aromatic properties and the sensual enjoyment of the blend. The therapeutic benefits of the oils are still effective, but a natural perfume is not prepared foremost as a remedy for an ailment. Aromatherapy blends are prepared specifically for therapeutic purposes. They may smell nice, but that’s not their main goal.
  • Perfumes are more complex, usually composed of 6-20 different essences. Aromatherapy blends usually have 2-5 different essential oils chosen to enhance each other therapeutically and are much simpler.
  • Perfumes balance top, middle/heart, and base notes, and create a new scent that is greater than the sum of its parts. Perfumes are also designed to evolve over time.
  • Natural perfumers have over 300 aromatics to work with, and may use essential oils, absolutes, concretes, resins, CO2 extractions, tinctures, and enfleurage extractions. Aromatherapists work with about 50 essential oils chosen for their therapeutic properties.
  • Perfumes are more concentrated, usually at a dilution of 10-30% in a base of alcohol or a stable oil. Elspeth’s Airs works with pure grain alcohol or jojoba oil. These bases provide greater fixative properties to make the scent last longer. Aromatherapeutic blends are usually prepared at a concentration of 1-5% in a variety of oil or water-soluble carriers chosen for additional therapeutic properties.
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