For me the obsession started early.....from my first spray of Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers, to that first dab of Body Shop White Musk.....I was hooked! Even as a teen I loved a signature scent. I love the way it makes me feel, I love how it can transport me back to a certain time, and I love how just a few sprays can complete a whole look. But something I do not love is spraying toxins onto my body!
Most commercial fragrances, both high end & budget buys contain synthetic, chemically made aromas. Nope, that is not the beautiful extract of a rose petal you are smelling in your fave perfume, its a chemical compound made in a test tube to smell like a rose. Yes, they do smell amazing but with our skin being the largest organ in our body, we are absorbing a very large portion of anything we put onto it directly into our bloodstream. Knowing this, at maison saine we have started to really look at everything we put onto...and into our body and perfume is no exception.
So lets look at natural vs synthetic perfume so you too can make an informed decision next time you reach for your favourite scent.
Synthetic perfumes can include 15-50 different fragrant materials to make up an aroma, plus the base ingredient and any other additives that might be included. Some of these ingredients are:
Synthetic Fragrance: These can be produced to mimic natural aroma’s or original aromas that do not exist in nature. Synthetic aromas are known to have many side effects on health such as common allergies like asthma, hives, dermatitis and wheezing, to hormone disruption, metabolic disease and thyroid problems, birth defects and the potential for triggering cancer cells to develop.
Synthetic Musks: Originally this was a natural aroma extracted from musk deer or sperm whales. Thankfully, this is no longer an accepted practice but the synthetic musk is created using aroma-chemicals. Not always listed on perfume labels, but sadly are among the most toxic of the synthetic fragrance extracts. Side effects can include endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, reproductive toxicity and generally allergic reactions. Synthetic musks accumulate in human fat tissue and breast milk so can readily be passed on to breastfeeding babies.
Phthalates: Are usually included to act as a preservative and to extend the fragrance so it lasts longer on the skin. Phthalates have been implicated in a number of wide-ranging health issues including certain cancers, asthma, breast cancer, obesity, male fertility issues and birth defects.
Parabens: This is the most common preservative used not only in perfume but in many beauty products today. Parabens very effectively stop bacteria growth inside the bottle, which sounds great but the impact of this nasty little ingredient on the human body is now well-documented. Parabens interfere with hormone function, especially that oestrogen, and may promote breast cancer development, and have an impact on sperm development in males. In addition, parabens are a common skin sensitiser and may cause other allergic reactions.
And just to make things just a little bit trickier, legal labelling loopholes that exist within the fragrance industry mean that many commercial perfumes will only list about 50% of the actual ingredients. Crazy right!!!
Now lets look at natural perfumes. A true natural fragrance will contain far fewer ingredients than our synthetic friends. Most will contain essential oils or natural extracts of a scent, a natural alcohol with reference to the plant the alcohol comes from, and perhaps a natural preservative or glycerine.
True natural perfumes containing essential oils offer a therapuetic benefit- lavender essential oil will help to calm, ylang ylang can help to balance hormones, vetiver can assist with sleep. A synthetic fragrance while smells great just cannot provide the benefits to our mind & body that essential oils or natural fragrance offers.
Get to know what is available in a scent. With the exception of citrus, we cannot derive a fragrance from fruit....so if it claims to be a melon or berry scent....synthetic! Also learn to read you labels. Its common practice to read food labels so why not learn to read our cosmetics too. Just like food labeling, if it contains a heap of numbers & scientific sounding words, generally it will not be natural! Also be weary of marketing words like organic, natural & even paraben free. While this may be true for a very small portion of the ingredients, it does not mean you are purchasing a completely natural product.
Finally, the most important thing to take note of is how your fragrance makes you feel. If one too many sprays gives you a headache, or makes you sneeze maybe back away from the bottle. Personally I try to wear a natural perfume daily.....BUT....everything in moderation. I can never say goodbye to Le Labo Rose 31, it was my wedding perfume and every time I spray those lethal toxins onto my neck Im taken back to a really beautiful memory.....Its reserved for special occasions only!
To keep you tox free but still smelling divine, we have developed three maison saine Pure-Fumes, each one having a therapeutic benefit. Chill Out will help you find your zen, Happy Heart will calm the monthy crazy & Hey Fella will leave you or your man smelling ah-mazing while keeping your grounded & calm.
Click here to read all about our Pure-Fumes and get a full run down of all ingredients included....no funny business or hidden nasties here!!
Great post !