Once upon a time, I subjected myself to this harrowing 30-day beauty product fast, after which I discovered I was allergic to most of my beauty products — including my beloved Chanel perfumes. (Moment of silence, please.)
Reluctant to give up my beloved Mademoiselle, I remembered this New York Times article, which basically defended synthetic fragrances as misunderstood scapegoats. But the fact remained that every time I applied a synthetic fragrance (almost every big-name brand out there), I sneezed. And so — discussions about molecular structure aside — it was easier for me to believe I was allergic to all synthetic fragrances.
Fast forward several years to my meeting with Kristi Head, co-founder of Lurk — a solution for people like me. The N.Y.C.-based company recently launched their first line of natural fragrances, comprised of five perfume oils that almost anyone can wear without worrying about an allergic reaction.
Kristi and her business partner, Anne Sanford, combined their love of design and fragrance to create PRJ V1, AS01, BS003, RSW005 and TBP V1 — all light floral and/or herby scents named after their formulas. Each elegant 1/8-ounce bottle ($55) comes in a drawstring muslin bag printed with original art by Kristi, who attempted to capture the essence of each fragrance in an image.
The scents are sometimes feminine, sometimes androgynous, and last a few hours before you’ll need to reapply. Since they use no water or alcohol — only pure essential oils in base of organic jojoba oil — and no chemical preservatives, stabilizers or additives, each fragrance lasts about a year in the bottle when stored away from direct sunlight. (This pales in comparison to synthetics, which can last several years in the bottle when similarly stored.)
Three of the Lurk fragrances use rose, which makes them great gifts for rose fans. But being a jasmine fan, my favorite is PRJ V1, which combines jasmine and rose with fresh petitgrain. This spring, Kristi and Anne will release eau de toilette versions of RSW005, a smooth sandalwood/rose combo, and BS 003, a woodsy bergamot scent.
As for Chanel, I still keep a bottle around in the hopes that one day, I will magically be able to wear it without sneezing. But the future is looking more “natural” with each day. In fact, just yesterday, I found myself inhaling PRJ V1 on my wrist with delight. And for that brief moment — but only that brief moment — I forgot my beloved Chanel.