WIT & WEST FAQ
WHAT DOES 100% NATURAL MEAN?
Our perfumes are made with 100% natural botanicals and naturally derived ingredients (as defined by ISO9235 - Natural Aromatic Raw Materials Vocabulary). These ingredients include wildcrafted and organic essential oils, CO2 extracts, absolutes, natural isolates as well as custom handmade tinctures carefully selected and sourced from raw materials including those from our very own garden. In short, our perfumes do not contain synthetic ingredients or ingredients based on aromas that don’t exist in nature or may be created to be nature-identical using aroma chemicals. In addition, our perfumes are vegan, cruelty-free and do not contain phthalates or parabens.
WHAT IS A NATURAL ISOLATE?
Natural isolates are single odor molecules that are extracted from natural raw materials using distillation techniques. These materials exceed the ISO 9235 standard for Natural Aromatic Raw Materials.
ARE ALL WIT & WEST PERFUMES CRUELTY-FREE?
Yes, all Wit & West products are cruelty-free (we are proud to be Leaping Bunny certified). At Wit & West, we test our products on ourselves, not our furry friends.
ARE ALL WIT & WEST PERFUMES VEGAN?
Yes, all Wit & West products are vegan. Please refer to the individual product description for additional ingredient details.
ARE WIT & WEST PERFUMES ALLERGEN-FREE?
As with any beauty product or perfume, you should always test a product via a patch-test to determine if you will have an undesirable reaction. Natural perfumes contain ingredients such as citrus essential oils, floral absolutes, etc. that some individuals may find irritating to their skin. We strongly recommend purchasing samples first before committing to a full-size bottle (not only so that you can determine which scent you like best, but also so you can conduct an allergy or patch-test prior to use). We are cruelty-free and we never test our perfumes on animals. However, we do thoroughly test them on ourselves before releasing new perfumes.
WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS REGARDING INGREDIENTS?
Just ask! We are always happy to help answer any questions you may have regarding ingredients or our process. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHY DOESN’T WIT & WEST USE SYNTHETIC INGREDIENTS?
By connecting the sensory experience of perfume to its historical roots in the natural world, we are committed to creating authentic, handcrafted perfumes developed with 100% natural whole botanicals and naturally derived ingredients that are unique and never boring. We choose not to work with synthetic materials because we believe they fall short of our standard of drawing upon the richness and beauty that exists in the natural world. If compared to other prized sensory experiences such as wine, artisanal coffee or chocolate – using synthetics is considered non-negotiable. We take this same artistic approach in our perfumes (e.g., natural perfumery as a genre or style of perfumery). To learn more, check out our blog post: What is Natural Perfume?
IS NATURAL BETTER THAN SYNTHETIC?
No, not necessarily. We choose to use natural ingredients as an artistic choice and appreciation for the medium, not because we think one is better than the other. The art of perfumery – just like any other artform – has different genres or styles. Just as in music or the visual arts, different tastes point people toward an affinity for different genres and the same is true in perfumery.
ARE NATURAL INGREDIENTS SAFER THAN SYNTHETIC INGREDIENTS?
No, not necessarily. For example, some (not all) ingredients that are natural include allergens (e.g., general allergies to certain plants for some individuals). The same can be said for some (not all) synthetic ingredients that include petroleum derived ingredients which are known to be harmful or irritating to certain individuals.
ARE NATURAL AND SUSTAINABLE THE SAME THING?
Natural ingredients, while beautifully layered and complex, can raise sourcing concerns from an ethical and sustainability standpoint (e.g., Bois de Rose, commonly known as rosewood, animal ingredients, some types of sandalwood and agarwood “oud”, etc.). We choose not to use animal ingredients in any of our products for ethical and sustainability reasons. For other non-animal natural ingredients where sustainability is a factor, we work with our suppliers to ensure there is origin traceability and information regarding the farming and cultivation process of the raw materials (e.g., the patchouli oil we use is harvested through a collaborative project to teach farmers in Indonesia how to cultivate patchouli seedlings in a more sustainable way), or, if the raw material is regulated that it is CITES compliant where applicable (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna), and documents are on hand (e.g., our vanilla CO2 and agarwood oil are both CITES compliant), or, in the case of threatened or vulnerable species/raw materials, we look for alternative sources from other supplier(s) and/or we use similar alternative natural/naturally derived ingredients (e.g., benzoin, a gum oleoresin that is extracted from the resinous tree in the Styracaceae family, is a natural ingredient that has similarities in aromatic profile to vanilla. Our rosewood leaf oil is distilled from the leaves and stems of the tree rather than the heartwood. This avoids sacrificing the whole tree, and renders a comparable and sustainable rosewood leaf oil available for generations to come). If a raw material is in question from a sustainability standpoint and it cannot be verified or traced back to its origin, producer, grower, farming and cultivation process, we don’t use it at all.
As a small-batch indie natural perfumery and as co-owners of Wit & West Perfumes, West and I are always looking at our business operations and practices including ways to improve upon them. This includes in areas such as sustainability through our raw materials sourcing (as mentioned in the previous paragraph), small-batch production and bottling/packaging. In addition, by purchasing our raw materials and packaging in small quantities as well as producing our finished perfumes in small-batches, we ensure we only produce what will be enjoyed - with as minimal waste as possible.
WHY ARE NATURAL PERFUMES MORE EXPENSIVE THAN SYNTHETIC PERFUMES?
Natural perfumes can contain difficult to extract raw materials that are often costly due to their low yields and the labor required to grow, harvest and extract them. For example, 60 roses are required to produce ONE drop of rose oil! The cost of one ounce of rose oil can be more than $500, while other rarities can be upwards of $1,000 or more per ounce.
WHAT DOES “CLEAN” PERFUME MEAN? IS WIT & WEST CONSIDERED “CLEAN”?
“Clean beauty” is a marketing term with no independent organization governing the standards that define “clean”. In addition, “clean” simply means that a company has decided to self-regulate their products by excluding some ingredients considered by the company to be harmful, but it does not mean that the ingredients they choose to include are natural. In fact, most “clean” products are comprised of synthetic materials with little to no natural ingredients. The enthusiasm for “clean” is leveraged by some companies through marketing messaging as a way to create the perception of being more eco-friendly, safe or natural - even when they are not. We choose not to use the term "clean" as it is not a standard that is regulated or defined by an independent organization or government entity. However, just as "clean" doesn't necessarily equate to natural nor safer, natural doesn't necessarily equate to safer and synthetic doesn't equate to more harmful. The short answer is that there is no short answer. Some individuals may find that certain ingredients (natural and/or synthetic) are irritating to their skin, while others may not. If you are concerned about the safety of ingredients in a perfume the best thing to do is conduct an allergy test to see if the perfume causes you an adverse reaction as different ingredients can impact individuals differently.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW DID YOU LEARN PERFUMERY?
Before starting Wit & West Perfumes, I spent 2+ years studying on my own and under some of the world’s most well-known and highly regarded natural perfumers including Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes, Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co., and Anya McCoy of the Natural Perfumery Institute and Anya’s Garden Perfumes. As an avid believer that an artist can never stop learning and growing, I approach perfumery with a mindset that is open to new techniques, styles, and ideas through ongoing mentorship and training with other natural perfumers as well as via courses and through organizations such as the Grasse Institute of Perfumery (GIP).
WHICH GENDERS ARE WIT & WEST PERFUMES FOR?
Perfume and assignment to gender is cultural and rooted in marketing towards a specific gender by the big perfume houses. To us, perfume is gender neutral. Natural botanical perfume by its very nature is more gender neutral and lends itself to greater flexibility. It's up to you which perfume suits your mood or tastes.
HOW LONG DO WIT & WEST PERFUMES LAST?
Because we only use 100% natural whole botanicals and naturally derived ingredients including essential oils, absolutes, etc., the scent may not last as long as typical synthetic fragrances do. Synthetic fragrances often contain fillers and other aroma chemicals specifically developed to increase the longevity of the fragrance (these aroma chemicals often include phthalates or hormone disruptors). While we don’t use these fragrance enhancers, we believe that perfume is not meant to last 24 hours as that is simply not natural! Instead, natural perfumes tend to last between 2-6 hours depending on the perfume as well as the person wearing the perfume. We recommend applying our perfumes liberally on your pulse-points and for added longevity, try spritzing in your hair.
HOW LONG AFTER PURCHASING DO WIT & WEST PERFUMES LAST?
Because our perfumes are diluted in a base of three-stage filtered USDA organic grape alcohol (acting as a natural preservative) they should last for several years if the perfume bottle if stored away from direct sunlight and kept in a cool, dry environment. After using the perfume for a few years you may notice a reduction in sillage, but because our perfumes use alcohol as the base, they will not go bad.
WHY ARE WIT & WEST PERFUMES COLORED?
Natural perfumes take on the color of their botanical ingredients – don’t worry, our perfumes are not artificially colored! Some raw materials such as jasmine sambac are a darker reddish-brown color, other ingredients such as osmanthus are slightly greenish-brown in color. Synthetic perfumes are often transparent so look out for perfume brands that claim to be natural when their products are transparent in color – chances are that they are not 100% natural.
MY PERFUME APPEARS TO HAVE SEDIMENT IN THE BOTTLE. IS THIS NORMAL?
We systematically filter each perfume prior to bottling so you shouldn’t see much sediment, but if you do it is because natural perfumes contain ingredients such as resins, essential oils, wood, leaves, etc. that may leave small traces behind in the perfume.
DO YOU HAVE ROLLERBALL FRAGRANCES?
No, all Wit & West perfumes and colognes come in a spray bottle format and are meant to be spritzed. The base used in our fragrances is an organic alcohol base which lends itself to a better application and overall experience in a spray/atomizer bottle format whereas oil-based fragrances are meant to be applied directly to the skin and rollerball bottles are better suited for their application. We have 3 sizes of bottles to choose from; 1.5ml sample spray bottles, 15ml spray bottles (great for travel or spritzing on the go) and our 50ml spray bottles.
HOW DOES THE BESPOKE CUSTOM PERFUME PROCESS WORK?
For more information about Wit & West Bespoke visit our Bespoke Perfume Experience page (includes information regarding process, timing and pricing).
DO YOU SELL PERFUME SAMPLES?
Yes! Purchase one (or several) 1.5ml perfume samples so you can spritz before you commit to a larger bottle. Want to try everything? Purchase the Signature & Cologne Collection Sample Set and get all 13 of our perfumes and colognes, plus, get a $20 digital gift card to use toward the purchase of a full-size bottle.
I AM AN INFLUENCER, DO YOU OFFER FREE SAMPLES AS A TRADE FOR MARKETING ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Given that we are small business, please note that we cannot offer free samples. You can get a discount on your order if you sign-up for email or if you take our Scent Quiz. We offer a variety of options for samples including individual samples as well as part of one of our sample sets.
DO WIT & WEST GIFT CARDS EXPIRE?
No, Wit & West Gift Cards never expire.
CAN A GIFT CARD BE PURCHASED IN ANY AMOUNT?
No, gift cards can only be purchased in specific amounts starting at $25 and up to $600.
CAN A GIFT CARD BE USED MORE THAN ONCE?
Yes, if a gift card still has an available balance left on it you can use it until it is depleted.
CAN MORE THAN ONE GIFT CARD BE USED TOWARDS A PURCHASE?
Yes, you can use more than one gift card to make a purchase.
HOW DO I PURCHASE A GIFT CARD FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
If you would like a gift card to be sent directly to the gift recipient please indicate the recipient's email address during the check-out process.
WHAT IF I NEVER RECEIVED OR MISPLACED MY GIFT CARD?
Click the link in the original order confirmation email to "resend" the gift card.
DO YOU HAVE PAY OVER TIME / BUY NOW, PAY LATER PAYMENT OPTIONS?
Yes! Wit & West offers Shop Pay Installments through Shopify (in partnership with Affirm). Shop Pay allows you to pay for products as well as the Bespoke Perfume Experience over time. Minimum of $50 per order required to pay over time. Simply select Shop Pay Installments as your payment type when you checkout. Learn more about payments with Shop Pay.
IS SHIPPING INCLUDED IN THE RETAIL PRICE?
No, shipping is not included in the retail price of our products. Shipping costs will be applied during the check-out process. All packages are shipped via USPS standard ground. Shipping is free for orders of $50 and above.
DO YOU ACCEPT RETURNS?
All sales are final, and we do not accept returns or exchanges as perfumes (like most beauty and personal care products) cannot be reused or resold once opened. Wit & West Perfumes is a small artisanal perfumery owned by myself (Wit) and my husband (West) and all of our perfumes and colognes are made in small batches by us (we don’t outsource any of our process – all of our products are made by West and I, in-house in our studio in Littleton, CO) from 100% all-natural ingredients and while we feel they are very beautiful and unique, they are very different from mainstream fragrances that are made from primarily synthetic aroma chemicals. As such, we understand that the olfactory experience of wearing our perfumes and colognes might not be something that many people are familiar with, so we recommend against "blind buying" and instead, first purchasing samples to determine which scents appeal to you before committing to a full-size bottle. Samples are available as part of one of our sample sets or you can purchase samples individually (given we are small business, please note that we do not offer free samples. You can get a discount on your order if you sign-up for email or if you take our Scent Quiz). To view and purchase samples, please visit our Samples page. If you received an incorrect order or your perfume was received damaged, please contact us at email@example.com assistance (include your first/last name, order number and any detail regarding the damage to the perfume).
DO YOU SHIP OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES?
At this time, we do not ship outside the United States (US contiguous 48). If you live outside of the United States and are interested in purchasing perfume please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT IS SHOPIFY PLANET AND HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM ENSURE THAT WIT & WEST SHIPMENTS ARE CARBON NEUTRAL?
We've partnered with Planet by Shopify, a program that is part of the Shopify Sustainability Fund, to use a portion of all Wit & West profits to offset 100% of carbon emissions for shipped orders. Funds generated through the Shopify Sustainability Fund go toward supporting organizations and innovative companies committed to fighting climate change (learn more about Shopify Sustainability Partners). Interested in learning more about carbon emissions from Wit & West order are calculated to ensure each shipment is carbon neutral? Visit the blog feature on Making Your Shipment Carbon Neutral with Shopify Planet.
DOES WIT & WEST OFFER WHOLESALE OPTIONS FOR RETAILERS?
Yes! If you are an online or brick-and-mortar retailer who is interested in selling Wit & West Perfumes in your store we have several options for purchasing our products wholesale including through Abound, Faire, Handshake as well as direct. Visit our Wholesale page to learn more.