Toxic List: Fragrance

You have to wonder why we instinctually avoid, at all costs, the perfume girl passing out strips of fine paper soaked in “parfum o’ the day” at the department store entrance.  It definitely is a smart move.

Fragrances evoke emotions, memories, elegance and lures people to you.  Enlivening the senses with floral, musk, fruit, and wood notes, fragrance is beautifully powerful.  Beautiful when NATURAL.

I have been a card-carrying No. 5 girl all my fragrance spraying life.  In fact anything from the house that Coco built (some would argue Karl), I absolutely loved and doused myself in.  In the past year, I have limited my spritzes and opted for the endorphin inducing scents of my healthy body lotions.

This weekend I made a bold move.

As I opted for naturally derived fragrances this past year in an effort to limit my toxin intake, something shifted in my olfactory reception.  A simple spray of any of my coveted glass bottles has me rush out the bathroom gasping for fresh air.  My senses have heightened from my big name fragrance hiatus.  This weekend I decided enough is enough.  My shelf is now shiny and free, showcasing my life-giving essential oils.

Fragrances are protected by a trade secret law, which allows companies the right to not reveal the ingredients of their fragrances.  This holds true for added fragrance in other products such as moisturizers, where the vague ingredient “fragrance” is listed.  Of course, if the fragrance is naturally derived, the company will make that clear on the ingredient list (it is a badge of integrity).

So what are some toxic ingredients in major fragrances that have been discovered?

  • Diethyl phthalate – mimics hormones, linked to abnormal reproductive organs and sperm damage
  • BHT – toxic to immune, nervous, and respiratory systems, endocrine disruptor, possible carcinogen
  • Oxybenzone – potential photocarcinogen, endocrine disruptor, linked to lower birth weight
  • Octinoxate – endocrine disruptor, increases uterus weight
  • Limonene – can create formaldehyde as a byproduct when exposed to ozone

These synthetic chemicals are tweaking with mother nature and creating heart-breaking results that we should not be living with.  Detox your olfactory system and switch to natural fragrances, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE PREGNANT.  Purchase essential oils.  Add a few drops to a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or almond oil. Become a perfumer of essential oils; we all loved being a bathroom chemist when we were younger!

Right now this chemist rocks a blend of rose and lavender, dreamily.

Want to see how your fragrance rates in toxicity?  Check out the EWG’s fragrance report.