The scent of Africa

Posted by Shaheena Links on

De La Fontaine Naturals is a natural plant-based perfumery and biodegradable personal care product manufacturer nestled in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. They believe in sourcing and producing their perfumes and products sustainably, by improving their carbon footprint and promoting health and well-being to all.

We chatted to owner Deonette to find out how the range came about. She says she recalls the fragrance of crushed herbs and blooming flowers when she went out horse riding early in the mornings when she was a little girl. It is no surprise that out of all our senses, our sense of smell is the one closest linked to memory. Smells have the ability to evoke particular memories. For Deonette, the scent of herbs, flowers, water, air, wind, and sunshine conjured up recollections of those early morning rides and led her to follow her calling and creating beautiful fragrances to share with the world. 

At De La Fontaine they don't use any synthetic preservatives in their formulas. They only source from suppliers that are certified or small sustainable farms that Deonette visits herself. The actual quality of the extracts is tested in their perfumery, and the proof lies in the formulas, aging process, and end product. Every batch of oil that they purchase is tested. They believe our skin is an organ that should be treated with love and care, after all; it absorbs everything that is applied onto it.

Their ethical perfumery includes using sustainable, biodegradable, and cruelty-free ingredients, supporting local communities (and the even offer perfume making workshops), and opting for eco-friendly packaging.

What many people don't know is that synthetic fragrances are widely tested for toxicity, and it has been found that about 95% of chemicals used to create synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene (carcinogen) derivatives, toluene (which can cause headaches, and nausea) and many other carcinogenic compounds. This is why De La Fontaine only uses 100% natural plant extracts. Natural perfumes are never overwhelming, will not make you nauseous, and will not give you headache or sinus problems.

The farmers and wild harvesters that distil the essential oils and absolutes that Deonette uses in her perfumery, nurtures the plants from seeds, waters them, feeds them and take care of them until they are harvested and distilled. The goodness and healing benefits of the living plants are preserved in the oils that she uses in her perfumes. The various natural and organic certification bodies inspect the farming methods used, and they only certify farmers that qualify.

Deonette believes in the importance of transparency and clearly state on the ingredients label what their scents contain. It is important to read the ingredients list, as some people may be allergic to natural plant materials; such as strawberries, lemons, etc.

Deonette doesn't consider herself a chemist, but rather an artist. She believes one should understand the life cycle of the plants used in perfumery, the climate they grow in, the cultivation process, the harvesting, the distilling etc., as a starting point. By having understanding of nature’s most wonderful garden (and apothecary), one can start experimenting with various fragrances.

Every perfume is a complex formula that consists of base notes, heart notes and top notes. Most of DLF perfumes contain 24-36 different ingredients, and they were created over years of trial and error!

DLF Naturals has a diverse range of natural perfumes. Something for all differing tastes. Deonette loves flowers and enjoy floral fragrances. But she does cater for most tastes, as they have a zesty woody and citrus perfume, a delectable, mouth-watering vanilla with a hint of rose, fresh, green, crisp flowery seductive waterlily, and African violet leaf (Deonette's favourite), feminine, sweet lily and fragrant rose.

We are now stocking De La Fontaine Naturals' full range here.