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Hot Trend: Nantucket Natural Oils

By Katharina Bishop

What do Madonna, rock singer Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and actress Kate Bosworth all have in common? According to the press, they’ve all been raving about a company called Nantucket Natural Oils.

Specializing in natural perfume and cologne, Nantucket Natural Oils features hundreds of different designer and specialty fragrances. But there’s a twist. While Nantucket Natural Oils contain all of the good ingredients found in your favorite fragrances, they are made without the offensive alcohol. This means fewer problems for allergy sufferers and a longer-lasting essence for fragrance users. Gucci, D&G, Chanel … but without the bad stuff.

Intrigued, we caught up with John Harding, the man behind the concept, to find out more.

Natural Family Online: John, can you tell us a little bit about your company and the products you offer? How did you develop the idea?

John Harding: In 1983, I met a perfumer on Martha's Vineyard who was a “nose” and made a famous fragrance for Herb Alpert of the Tijuana Brass. She had a small perfume bar, customizing fragrances for people. She wanted to get back to her fun town of New York and noticed I was smelling oils better than the average Joe. And I have found out that I have this gift of having a one-in-a-million sniffer that allows me to smell all 25 or so oils that are in most perfumes on the commercial market.

I met so many people who thought they could not enjoy a perfume because it either made them sneeze, get a headache or have allergies. I easily saw that those problems were not caused by the mix of fragrances but by the crazy amount of alcohol they add to your commercial perfumes and colognes. So I have become the world's oldest natural perfumer, carrying the largest selection of new and discontinued men's and lady's famous-name perfumes and colognes.

NFO: What makes you different from other suppliers of natural beauty products?

JH: All the shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath and shower gels, lotions and moisturizers, massage and shaving products on my shelves have no scent. I “custom scent” anything you want — even your hair!

NFO: Do you think there is a trend emerging within the cosmetics industry towards a more health-conscious approach, with an emphasis on natural ingredients?

JH: One of my biggest groups of followers right now is nurses, who are told they are not allowed to wear perfume to work at the hospitals they work at because of allergy patients. I allow these nurses to break the rules and wear anything they want to work, as it becomes more of a nice soap that stays with them all day, as opposed to the strong perfume down the hallway.

NFO: What do you think has led to this development?

JH: Even unhealthy people are eating natural potato chips and ice cream. The media have gradually brought in the image of health to help out those of us who are trying to show the benefits and the poisons of the preservative/partially hydrogenated foods being mass-produced out there. You cannot appreciate until you are in my store how happy someone is who wears Chanel No. 5 and sees how much better it smells without the 80 to 94 percent alcohol. Even a bad nose can tell the difference!

NFO: You have been getting a lot of positive press lately. Celebrities such as Kate Bosworth and Madonna rave about your products. Can you tell us what your own favorite Nantucket Natural Oils products are?

JH: My number one seller in the store is Nantucket Rain, which is Muguet based with extra daffodil and honeysuckle oils. Others we are known for are Nantucket Rose, Nantucket Spring, Nantucket Summer and Nantucket Fall. I even made Nantucket Beaches with Regosa Rose and a sandy smell, which is hard to do. Boy, there are so many house blends I've created over the past 22 years … there is no room here to mention all of them. I have a new catalogue that describes a lot of them, and I just re-did my web site at My toll-free phone is (800) 223-8660. Smell ya later!

© Katharina Bishop

NFO Natural Beauty Editor Katharina Bishop is a freelance writer. She studied medicine for three years in Germany and is in the process of completing a degree in modern language studies in the United Kingdom. She is the owner of Wondrous Gems, a business specializing in crystal carvings and designer jewelry. She lives in southwest England with her husband and son.

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