My love affair with perfume began when I was 15 years old and my big sister purchased ‘Sunflowers’ from the chemist. Remember that one ladies?
In my twenties it wasn’t unusual to own at least five perfume bottles at any one time; Jadore, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Versace Pour Femme, Chloe, Coco Mademoiselle all graced my bathroom shelves during this time as a result of duty free airport shopping.
When my thirties came I had narrowed my signature scent down to just one.
Although I still had the other perfumes, it was Narcisco Rodriguez ‘For Her’ that had my heart. A perfume I discovered in Hong Kong airport whilst travelling for work.
The comments i would receive every time I wore this were endless.
Then the day came in 2010 when my life pivoted (yes, it was that sudden. Because once you know something, you can’t un-know it) and my clean lifestyle began.
That was the moment I sat on my bathroom floor, phone in one hand with google open, product in the other hand, and label by label I researched what the ingredient was and how it affected my body.
This was the day I binned an entire garbage bag of make up, skin care, hair care… in fact pretty much everything I owned. Except the basics, those items that I needed until I could research alternatives to replace them.
Well almost everything… I left my perfumes.
Perhaps it was the expense.
At $100 per bottle of my hard earned money, it’s not logical to bin almost full perfumes right?!
Or maybe it was the memories of international travel destinations and exotic holidays.
It took me another three years to throw out my beloved (and expensive) perfumes… even though I stopped using them from that moment on.
So what made me instantly cease my love affair with perfume?
(and no, spraying on your clothes isn’t an ideal alternative… I know you thought this, because I did too. You are still breathing in toxic chemicals throughout your day and therefore these are going into your bloodstream).
Let’s first talk about what is actually in perfume and why spraying this directly onto your thyroid every day can be so harmful to your endocrine system and overall health as a woman.
The problem with Fragrance
Fragrances or “parfum” in products today are not regulated by the government.
Whether it’s your ‘actual’ perfume or inside your everyday products such as make up, hair care, skin care and household cleaning it’s an ingredient that you may want to now completely AVOID.
Did you know 3,163 chemicals are considered ‘fragrance’? Yep. That ONE word has 3000+ chemicals.
According to the EWG, “When you see ‘fragrance’ on a personal care product’s label, read it as ‘hidden chemicals.’ A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name ‘fragrance’ without actually listing the chemical.”
Isn’t it crazy to think that companies can sneak ingredients and chemicals into our products without telling us what they actually are.
Most fragrances contain phthalates which are known hormone disruptors, and can lead to reduced sperm counts and reproductive malformations. They have also been linked to liver and breast cancers, and fetus exposure has been linked to neurological disorders including autism and ADHD. (source)
History of Fragrance
Essential oils as ‘perfume’ was where scent began. Yet in ancient times this was reserved for deities and royalty, because of the expense involved in creating these early plant decoctions.
As chemistry and science advanced in the 1900s, the perfume world was revolutionised. The discovery of methods to make substances like synthetic vanillin allowed for the creation of cheaper fragrances for the mass market. It meant perfumers were able to mimic the aromas of natural materials that had previously been impossible to extract from their sources.
With the research now being released around the hidden dangers of synthetic chemicals, we are now returning to where fragrance began, in nature (essential oils).
What’s in Perfumes and Fragrances? (Source)
Unfortunately, modern perfume is increasingly full of chemicals.
Because of a loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 (which requires companies label the ingredients in their products, except for fragrance) companies can pour unsafe or untested chemicals into products and consumers have no way of knowing about it.
Companies can lump any number of chemicals into “fragrance” (whether or not they are really present for fragrance purposes) because fragrance is considered a trade secret and doesn’t need to be disclosed.
When the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested the chemicals in some popular perfumes they found that on average there were 14 unlisted chemicals in each perfume, some of which are known hormone disruptors and allergens. Others are completely untested for safety in personal care products by the USDA, International Fragrance Association, or any other organization.
A report by the National Academy of Sciences found that 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic petrochemicals (derived from petroleum).
Three of those chemicals are:
This chemical is linked to autism, ADHD, and neurological disorders and is banned in EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and China. Studies also link phthalates to cancer, endocrine disruption, and developmental and reproductive toxicity. Other studies link phthalates to sperm damage and altered genital development in boys.
This synthetic fragrance ingredient builds up in fatty tissue and breast milk. It’s also suspected to cause cancer and is toxic to the environment.
Formaldehyde is often found in plug-in fragrance warmers and air fresheners amongst other products. The CDC admits that formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen (cancer causing) and the more we are exposed to it the bigger the chances of cancer. Unfortunately formaldehyde is not only found in our perfumes and fragrances but also in many kinds of conventional furniture and building materials.
Symptoms of Fragrance Sensitivity
While many people complain of sensitivity to perfumes, laundry detergents, and other fragranced products, a 2017 study in Australia found that the concern is based on data as well. The study found that many residents could not be around fragrance without health effects.
Fragrance can cause symptoms such as:
reduced lung function, respiratory irritation, increased asthma
….and the list goes on!
It was after discovering all of this information almost ten years ago that changed the way I viewed not only my perfumes, but all personal care and cleaning products.
For years I didn’t wear a perfume because I wasn’t aware of any non-toxic alternatives.
That was until I discovered essential oils two years ago. The original scent.
Fast forward to today and my perfume not only smells incredibly divine (how good do spring flowers smell, yes that good!), I also receive just as many comments, if not more, wearing essential oils as I did with my all-time favourite musky perfume, Narcisco Rodriguez. Plus I soak in the added health benefits of nature on my body. So clearly the switch is a win/win.
What am I using instead?
My daily perfume right now is Neroli. This floral scent takes me instantly to an Italian summers day, flowing dress and cobblestone streets lined with blooming summer flowers.
At times I also combine this with Jasmine.
My scent for more special occasions is a musky blend ‘Whisper’ which reminds me of Narsciso Rodriguez.
This divine scent is my most commented on. Not only does it smell incredible it is also an aphrodisiac, hormone balancing and smells different on every woman combining with your natural pheromones uniquely.
With this in your handbag who needs a 3000+ chemical cocktail #naturehasitperfect
Interested in returning to the original perfume scent of essential oils?
I have brought together my go to scents and blends for easy reference, so you can give them a try as well!
This includes Jasmine, Neroli, Magnolia and Whisper.
If you’re anything like me and you want to pick and choose which scent you desire to wear depending on your mood, the weather or the occasion, you might want to try the Natural Perfume Box.
(PS: I have also re-created my old favourite designer perfumes using various essential oils. After all, this is what many use as a base, before the chemicals are added)
If you want to learn more about using floral essential oils as perfume (which is on trend right now with the clean beauty movement), send me an email…
AUSTRALIAN BRANDS I USE + LOVE!