Is Perfume As Bad As Traffic Fumes?
Yesterday afternoon my 12-year-old daughter, who was snooping through my closet as usual, came across a bag of swag I’d brought home from the Pure Beauty Awards a few months ago. I had already cherry-picked through it, so all that was left were some products I never intended to use but also couldn’t bare to throw-away. So instead, I diligently hid the swag bag at the back of my closet, behind my wedding dress.
Sophie came running out of my bedroom with eyes as big as saucers and a sort of amazed look on her face. Like she couldn’t believe this giant bag of gold was in my closet… just sitting there. She riffled through it and brought out a small bottle of shampoo. It was bright red and sparkly, and in a pretty designer bottle. She had just read about this exact shampoo in a magazine a few days earlier.
I have to admit, the product did look interesting. And it was my son’s birthday so, right or wrong, I was feeling a little guilty that Sophie didn’t have any presents. I let her have it – hesitantly; warning not to get it all over the bathroom, and make sure it was all rinsed out.
I went about the day, getting the cake ready, cleaning up, etc. I realised I forgot to buy candles, so I nipped to the shop, and when I came back I couldn’t believe it. I could smell really strong perfume from outside the front door of my house! It took me a minute to figure out that it was the shampoo Sophie had eagerly used while I was gone.
I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. I figured the ingredients weren’t great, but I knew this was a “once-and-a-while” product and it was a rinse-off. I had not really considered how many volatile compounds were hiding in the product’s fragrance.
Later that week, a very interesting article landed in my inbox. It read:
Spray deodorant, shampoo, cleaning products and perfume could be contributing to harmful air pollution as much as traffic fumes, a new study claims.
It’s been believed for many years that the main contributors to air pollution are cars, industry, and public transport.
But a team of scientists from the University of Colorado and University of California Berkeley say as transportation becomes ‘greener’, air pollution is increasingly caused by our cosmetics, cleaning, health and beauty products.” – Cambridge News
While we routinely consider how our cosmetic creams and potions will affect our health and the environment, we don’t often consider the role fragrance plays.
Is conventional perfume the new Second-hand Smoke?"
I have never been able to wear synthetic fragrance. It gives me a terrible headache. I also can’t stand being around it on other people. I know I’m not alone. So, I’ve been working on natural, vegan perfume alternatives to synthetic fragrance for nearly one year.
The formulas I’ve been developing are completely natural perfumes, made exclusively with wild-crafted resin, herbs and essential oils. They are 100% plant-based. It has not been easy, as working with naturals presents a lot of challenges. Naturals are less predictable, have less staying power, and are very expensive compared to their lab-made counterparts. But I will tell you something pretty alarming that I have learned throughout my journey into the perfumers world…
In the EU, there are 26 allergens which must be named on any cosmetic product (from soap to perfume). For example, if a product contains a certain percentage of lavender essential oil, then Limonene, Geraniol and Linalool must be listed on the ingredient list. These chemical constituents are naturally occurring in lavender essential oil, but they can cause sensitisation or allergic reactions for some people.
As a formulator, I don’t want people having allergic reactions to my products! Listing potential allergens or carcinogens (we don’t use those), is a no-brainer. If you know you are allergic to Linalool, you’d want to avoid that in your cosmetics, right? Of course you would. You’d avoid it in anything you were buying.
But what would you say if I told you that of those 26 allergens, there are another 3,973 chemicals (including the hormone disruptors in the image above) that are currently used in synthetic fragrance, which are not required to be reported on an ingredients list? You read that right. Three THOUSAND, nine-hundred and seventy three. That’s just not right, is it? I don’t think it is.
It’s important to note that some of the chemicals on the list are naturally occurring (like linalool), but many are created in a lab. However, this is a totally unmanageable amount on what is (ironically) called the “Transparency List.”
‘Eau De Carfume’, anyone?
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