The Surprising Difference Between Natural and Artificial Fragrances

The Surprising Difference Between Natural and Artificial Fragrances

Murchison-Hume was created with three guiding brand pillars: practicality, sustainability, and style. Within those brand pillars live our commitment to always bring you good-looking and great-smelling products that work just as well as—if not better than—the big-box brands but without all the creepy chemicals. And while everything we make is formulated without harsh ingredients like ammonia, formaldehyde, parabens, and phthalates, we take pride in the mix of 100% cruelty-free fragrances we use, which include a mix of natural and synthetic fragrances. But what’s the difference, and is one truly better than the other?

In short, natural fragrances contain ingredients only from a natural origin, which is often a mix of essential oils and botanical extracts. On the other hand, synthetic fragrances are created in a lab. There are benefits and setbacks to each, but one thing is certain: Any fragrances in our products are formulated to keep your family happy, clean, and healthy. In fact, Murchison-Hume’s Room & Linen Spray was specifically formulated to eliminate odours—not just to trap them and suspend them in air like some traditional scent sprays.

Natural vs. Synthetic Fragrance

While natural fragrances are often touted as “better” or “non-toxic,” remember the slogan you learned in organic chemistry: The dose makes the poison. Even water, one of the most abundant naturally occurring chemicals, can kill you if you drink too much, the same way the natural vitamin D can burn your skin when it’s over-exposed—or an essential oil like tea tree can cause major skin irritation if applied in its undiluted form. While “fragrance” or “parfum” listed alone on a label doesn’t necessarily denote natural or synthetic, we only use natural scents that won’t harm anyone when used as intended. (That’s all to say, we know our fragrance concentrate’s Original Fig scent is addictive, but maybe don’t douse yourself in it.)

Unscented Isn’t Always Better, Either

Products that claim to be “unscented” or “fragrance-free” aren’t always safe: Even though they’re formulated to have no smell, these products can contain ingredients that have a smell that’s been neutralized by other components. For example, if a body lotion is made with an essential oil that has a smell, it could still be labelled as fragrance-free—but not unscented. You might still react to that ingredient without realizing it.

As always if any product, scented or unscented, seems to irritate your skin, it’s worth passing on to the next one. Just know that not every household cleaner needs to burn your eyes—or your skin—to be considered efficient. That’s our goal: products that really work with scents that you love. Ahead, learn more about some of our signature fragrances, and shop some of my personal favourite scented Murchison-Hume products!

Our Signature Fragrances


A highly prized Australian native, Buddha Wood oil is blended with essential oils of Cedarwood, Sweet Orange, Mandarin and Lavender for a calming and grounding fragrance.


Green and Sweet Rosewood Leaf and Neroli in a rich coconut & olive oil base lift the mind, body, and spirit so you can put your best foot forward. It’s the perfect start to your day or a subtly stimulating evening.


Organic, woodsy, and fresh. Earthy Australian sandalwood and calming vetiver are dressed up with spicy amber notes and a green floral finish. A classic, year-round scent that’s perfect for every room.


Our signature scent. Not a straightforward “citrus,” this is a lighter, more subtle citrus blossom fragrance. Imagine crushing a grapefruit flower between your fingers. Lovely. A classic scent that’s perfect for clearing household odors all year round.


A bright, botanical blend of just-cut greens and herbs is rounded out with juicy citrus. This is a fresh, clean fragrance that everybody loves. Fresh, herbal and clean with just a hint of citrus. Just like that wonderful bouquet of freshly cut herbs, but better.


This iconic bouquet recalls tranquil mornings in the tropics with a cup of tea in hand, notes of blossoms and greens gently mingling in the balmy air. Perfect for those who prefer more subtle florals with hints of nature, Shanghai Tang’s Ginger Flower is a refreshing fragrance that is charming yet not overpowering. The sparkling blend opens with soothing notes of leafy greens, trailing into a floral heart of lilac, rosewood, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and ginger flower, which effuses a natural citrusy scent. Calming wood and musk accords round up this delightful fragrance.


Smells like the Holidays! Top notes of citrus and berries are followed by a deep floral rose and an earthy, oak moss finish.


Sometimes the best fragrance is no fragrance at all. For all the purists out there (and for people with allergies or fragrance sensitivities) we offer our premium organic cleaning formulas without any perfumes, fragrant or essential oils. Just 100% natural, pure + clean.


Your new favorite fragrance. Delicious and inviting. Our Quince is a bright engaging scent with ripe red berries and citrus top notes over a fleshy guava and white floral base. A refreshing fruit fragrance that will brighten any space.


A freshly picked “green” fig. The deep sweetness of fig is refined and lifted with the zest of cranberry and bergamot. A great way to perk up the darkest days of winter and welcome in the spring.


Another favourite. Sandalwood can get too heavy and “oaky.” This one is balances warm, cinnamon, and nutmeg notes with a refreshing green vetiver. We’re obsessed.


Sweet and tart. A deliciously uplifting cross between apples and lychee with a hint of pomegranate and a crisp green finish. An instant classic year-round scent.

As promised, shop some of my favourite fragranced products here!

xx MLK