how to shop for natural perfume online twinkle apothecary

How to Shop for Natural Perfume Online

So you're interested in wearing natural fragrances but aren't sure where to start?

Great news, you're in the right place! 

I've been selling my handcrafted perfume here at for seven years now, and I was recently interviewed by a local magazine about the benefits of challenges of selling fragrances online. This got me thinking about all of the times I've heard "can'ts" and "don'ts" and "have tos" when it comes to fragrance shopping over the years. Such as: "Well, I HAVE TO smell a perfume in person before I buy," or, "You CAN'T actually sell much perfume online, right?"

Yes. Yes, I can. 

And I'm going to give you my top tips for online fragrance shopping today! 

First, let's make sure you're in the right place. 

Here at Twinkle Apothecary, I sell 100% botanical-based perfumes that I hand-blend and bottle myself. This means that my fragrances are true artisanal products, comprised of very rare and precious earth materials.

Natural, artisanal fragrances like mine aren't status symbols or fashion accessories, and they aren't something to douse yourself in to "get the stink off."

These perfumes are wearable, organic art.

While the advice I'm going to share with you will likely work for any type of fragrance, first, consider why you're shopping for a natural fragrance in the first place. If you're just looking for a clean, non-toxic fragrance to make you not stink, or if you're looking for a healthier sub for your favorite designer perfume, there are other places to shop that might have something better suited to your needs.

However, if you're looking for a scent that will add more meaning to your life by connecting you to the divine beauty of nature, then welcome, please... explore.  

Here are my top tips for making the most of your experience.

Tip #1: Take your time

Searching for a beautiful fragrance to wear should be a slow, contemplative process. Let this journey be a creative pursuit. A process of self-discovery, if you will! 

Personally, I don't believe in having just one signature fragrance to wear every single day. There are too many beautiful natural fragrances to explore, and I love the daily creative exercise of matching my scents to my outfits, moods, the weather, etc. But, I know that many of you reading this are probably on a quest for "the one." So I'll put aside the fact that the whole idea of having a "signature scent" is mostly just a marketing ploy used by fashion conglomerates to get you to buy into their brands at an entry-level price point for a moment.

Let me ask you this: 

If you were shopping for fine art to adorn your home, would you rush the process of finding the perfect piece? 

If you just downloaded Hinge, would you expect to be married in a month or two? 

Natural perfume is like art for your body. And it's a heck of a lot more romantic than anything you'll find on a dating app. So the very first thing to do is to understand that this isn't a necessity to hurriedly cross off of your shopping list. It's a luxury item. Slow down. Relax. Get cozy. Pour yourself a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and get ready to enjoy the journey of reading the descriptions, watching videos, and adding samples to your cart. 

Tip #2: Keep an open mind 

You're looking for something that speaks to your soul. This isn't an intellectual process - it's a feeling process. Forget what you think you know about notes and what kinds of smells you like. And don't worry if you don't know anything about notes or what kind of smells you like. You'll figure that out as you go!

Instead, what's the feeling you're searching for in a scent? Something cozy? Uplifting? Dark? Moody? Mysterious? Bubbly? Bright? Soft? Sensual?

As you read through product descriptions, try to notice when something piques your emotional interest. Don't write it off just because it has an ingredient you always thought you didn't like. If you're new to natural fragrances, you'll soon find that the actual, real plant often smells much different than the synthetic version of it that you didn't like in the mass-market perfumes you've tried. Consider this an opportunity to expand your palate and add that sample to your cart! 

   Tip #3: Surprise yourself

Say you've added a few samples that you think might be perfect for you to your cart.

Now, I want you to do something crazy and add one or two that you wouldn't normally go for. 

Yes, really! 


Because you won't know what you're looking for until you smell it. 

Until you wear it. 

Natural perfumes are dynamic. What you smell when you first hold a sample up to your nose (mostly just the top notes!) is not going to be what you smell when you apply it to your skin and wear it throughout the day. You have to put it on to truly know.

Technically, this all goes back to my previous tip about keeping an open mind, but I think it's an important exercise that just might bring some unexpected joy to your life, so I'm making it a separate tip, OK? Please try it. Try something you wouldn't ordinarily try. Put it on your body. You might fall in love with something new!

Tip #4: Sharing is caring 

If the thought of investing in samples that may be, or may not be, or, in the case of tip #3, are probably definitely not for you feels overwhelming, I suggest partnering up with a buddy. Go in on your sample buying spree with a friend! You can get together and talk about what you each like, and don't like, and compare how they smell on each of you... 

Maybe you'll like the same things, or maybe you won't. Fragrance preferences are highly subjective and personal, so even if you're on the same wavelength as your best friend, you might find that you have completely different tastes when it comes to, um, smells. 

If your fragrance journey is more of a solo pursuit, consider sharing the samples you didn't love with your friends and family. It's important to understand that just because you don't love it, doesn't mean it's bad. Any independent perfumer would love to have their "reject" work shared with someone who ordinarily wouldn't have discovered it on their own. 

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Tip #5: Pay it forward 

Once you've spent some time smelling and wearing your samples, consider writing a review to share your thoughts. Even if you didn't find "the one." 

How would you describe the scent in your own words? How does it make you feel? What do you love about it? What about it felt off to you? How did it wear over time? Was it what you were searing for, or does your search continue? These are all valid topics for discussion in your review.

There are no right or wrong answers here. The more opinions, the better. Someone else out there may be looking for just the thing that you didn't like about the scent.

Side note: I sometimes get the impression that people are worried I'll be offended if they post a less-than-glowing review. Not at all. I mean, it's very sweet of you to care about my feelings, but really, I'm fine. (I was an actor before I started making perfume, by the way. Rejection is my middle name!)

Honesty is helpful! We all want to know what you really think. Don't you look for honest reviews when you're shopping online? (I know I do!) So why not be a pal and help the next natural perfume explorer out?


What are you waiting for?

Dive in!

- Stefanie -

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