September 23, 2013


life in blush perfume no. 12

A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting – Christian Dior

So true, non? A scent can make a person seem flirty and fun loving, or head strong and mysterious, but either way it can give a woman confidence in herself. I didn’t realize just how much perfumes play a role in society until one day, during my summer travels, a man from France was completely taken aback that not only was I not wearing perfume, but that I had chosen not to wear it. It was as if I just announced I secretly dreamed of eating pigeons.

So, why don’t I wear perfume?

Well, the not so sexy aspect about perfumes are the secret chemicals hidden within it. Perpetuated by a giant legal loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetic ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance, fragrance companies have been able to get away with not assessing 66% of those secret chemicals for safety (source: EWG). Many of these chemicals can accumulate in the body and cause a host of health and reproductive issues. It can even affect your unborn child – a recent study found galaxolide and tonalide, two synthetic musks, in the cord blood of newborn babies (source: EWG 2009).

That’s why.

I’ve tried several natural perfumes, but it turns out I’m the bloody goldilocks of perfumes – it can’t be too sweet or spicey, or smell too much like flowers – and haven’t found one to my liking. Julie, of Province Apothecary, custom blends perfumes so when I made this discovery I couldn’t wait to give it a try!

Let me tell you it’s quite a process – so many base, middle and top notes to shift through, but Julie would patiently tweak my recipe as I’d say “hmm not quite” or “it’s got potential, but it needs more sweetness” or “I think I like it” (Julie: but last time you said no! Me: oh right! yes, no I don’t like it).

Julie in the process of making my perfumeA little bit of this and a little bit of that…. my perfume is almost ready!

testing perfume samples

Two hours later and blend #4 was the winner!

So what’s in no.12 you ask? Neroli, mandarin, frankincense, rose, jasmine, lavender, ylang ylang, and black pepper. Perfection!

Live in Toronto and want to have your own perfume created? Contact Julie here.

Province Apothecary

  • chau

    I did a custom perfume session with Julie too! It’s just perfect for me! i got the roll on bottle and it lasts for a long time. I’ve tried other natural perfumes with the type of fragrance i like, but it’s still not as perfect as the one julie and i made together hehehe. Find the perfect perfume for yourself is truly a goldilock situation hahaha

    • haha it truly is! what notes did julie put in your perfume? 🙂

  • Jordon

    How large was the size of perfume you received for the $80 initial session? I find sometimes that natural perfumes are small and I need to buy them multiple times a year.

    • Hi Jordan – the bottle was 10ml. I only use one spritz each time I wear it so I expect it should last me awhile, but I imagine I’ll have to replenish it early in the new year. I don’t mind however since it’s my own, custom blended scent and I know exactly what’s in it. Plus refills are only $40. What natural perfumes have you tried/like?

      thanks so much for reading and saying hello!

    • Hi Jordan – please note I made an error in pricing. The initial session costs $120. Considering you get a one-of-a-kind blend, and refills are $40, I think it’s a pretty sweet deal 🙂

  • Maria

    I love Province Apothecary. I recently ditched all my department store perfumes and started using her No. 7 scent. I’m hooked for life!

    what is the price point of a custom blend?

    • Maria! It’s so good to hear from you again 🙂 A custom blend costs $120 for the initial session (which includes your perfume) and then each one after that is $40. I’ll have to check out no. 7 next time I’m at her studio.

      • Maria

        Cool, good to know. The custom blend is a great gift option for the upcoming holiday season.

        • Yes! That would make the perfect gift for so many people I know 🙂

  • Margie

    So good you are talking about how commercial brands of perfumes get away with SO MUCH!
    And how wonderful to see there is someone who actually custom blends a perfume that doesn’t load your blood with synthetic chemicals!