It’s exciting when something has an air of mystery about it, but not when it comes to the ingredients inside of your favorite fragrance. Cute? Yes. Toxic? Probably. In fact, it’s more likely that your fragrance was created in a lab using a “secret” combination of any of the 2,500+ chemical ingredients at the fragrance industry’s disposal than it was from flowers, plants, or fruits.
So, what’s a person to do? Finding a scent you love can feel like a lifelong endeavor, but it’s worth finding one that doesn’t give you cause for concern every time you spritz, wash, or moisturize nor increases your toxic chemical load! Of the more than 144,000 man-made chemicals in existence, here are three you should avoid on your mission to finding an all-natural, good-for-you scented product:
Parabens are a group of chemicals commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals—their job is to keep fungus and bacteria at bay. And while they do an excellent job at that, they’re easily absorbed into the body and are known to interfere with hormone production. Essential oils, extracts, vitamins, and herbs are natural preservatives that ward off bacteria and are an ideal alternative for products that you will use relatively quickly.
Marketers have done a good job of having us believe that a big, bubbly lather equals being squeaky clean—but the foam created by sulfates (which are cleaning agents designed to remove dirt and oil), are equally being shown to cause eye and skin irritation. Saying bye-bye to bubbles won’t cost your cleanliness, it’ll likely protect your skin. Organic tea tree oil, coconut oil, and shea butter are natural alternatives, and while they might not foam like you’re used to, they nourish hair, moisturize, soothe the skin, and even prevent irritations.
Phthalates are known as endocrine disrupters and are often added to fragrance products as a stabilizing agent. The problem? It de-stabilizes the reproductive system and can lead to liver and kidney damage. Phthalates disrupt our hormones by either mimicking or blocking our bodies natural hormones, which leads to these kinds of disruption of the body’s normal functions.Avoiding chemical-laden fragrance products doesn’t mean you have to forgo beautiful scents. Fortunately, there is a growing market (and demand) for natural fragrances made from essential oils and botanical ingredients that you can get behind. And plus, the great part about becoming scent-savvy and choosing products that don’t contain harmful ingredients is that it benefits the people around you too. Have you ever felt dizzy or nauseous sitting next to someone doused in a fragrance cocktail? Exactly. Make Mother Nature proud when selecting your personal care products—add a botanical-based scent to your all-natural lineup and make yourself proud, too.