Eliminating Artificial Fragrance

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today I'd like to discuss something we started talking about yesterday--artificial fragrances. I mentioned how I've been eliminating the use of anything with artificial fragrances and told you how that means I will not be buying candles, tarts, perfumes, or anything else scented with synthetics because of the health risks involved.

I received some emails asking me to talk more about alternatives and I am happy to do so today.

To recap, fragrance oils simply are unhealthy and may cause health issues down the road and also can contribute to health conditions you may have now, such as asthma and allergies.

  •  95% of artificial fragrances are petroleum based chemicals. (According to a report from the National Academy of Sciences in 1986; report not refuted)
  • Many artificial fragrances contain Phthalates, which disrupt the endocrine system and are known carcinogens. Phthalates are banned in the EU. They can damage the reproductive system and  are also harmful to the environment. (Source: Cosmetics Datsbase)
  •  Artificial fragrance is a leading cause of asthma and allergies. (Source: Toxic Beauty by Samuel Epstein) 

Did you know that your typical "fragrance oil" may contain over 100 different chemical compounds such as amines, ethers, ketones, lactones, terpenes and thiones. Many also contain phthalates, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and other toxins shown to cause cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, neurological disorders, and allergic reactions. These compounds also get into the air and can have grave effects on the ecosystem. When you use a laundry detergent with artificial fragrance, it not only can affect your allergies, but harm the earth.

Did you know that waste eater facilities actually do not remove the chemicals found in artificial fragrance? They are left to linger in the environment.

Aren't fragrance oils natural? If I am buying a rose perfume, doesn't it always come right from rose petals? No. Fragrance oils are synthetic and have been created to mimic the aroma of scents found in nature, in foods, etc. Trade secret laws have made it so the companies do not have to disclose all of the chemical compounds found in the fragrance, so you will see "fragrance", "parfum", "fragrance oil", etc. on the labels.

One huge transition for me was to recently eliminate one of my most favorite skin care lines from my collection--Burt's Bees. It was hard. I love Burt's Bees--from the eye cream to the shampoos to the baby lotions. Unfortunately, nearly every single product from this line of beautiful products (and they are) had added artificial fragrance. This saddens me because there is NO NEED for the fragrance to be in them. Their line of products would be just as lovely without the fragrance.

Some changes are harder than others to make, but I really believe I will be healthier without these ingredients. I believe I am keeping my children safer as well.





I get it, though. We all want to smell nice. Maybe you want to smell like chocolate or lilies or lemons. What can you do short of not wearing scented lotions or perfumes? There are many alternatives out there and I truly believe that if companies hear our voices, they will start formulating their products without synthetic fragrance oil.


These natural beeswax candles are from Etsy's Honey Run Farm.



Candles & Tarts


This one is tough. I have a tart company I love and my home smells great when I burn them. The boys and I suffer from allergies, though. Last year, I had a hard time catching my breath while coughing and the problem continued. I later found out asthma was the culprit. I just shouldn't be burning anything with artificial fragrance.


The best alternative is to burn a beeswax tart or candle. Beeswax is healthier than other "healthy" options such as soy or palm, too. Palm wax isn't good because the palm trade causes deforestation and is contributing to the senseless deaths of orangutans. Soy is more complex. To be called a "soy" candle or tart, there legally only needs to be 20% or greater soy. You may think you're buying soy wax products and are actually getting something that is 75% paraffin to 25% soy, yet it is still called soy.

100% soy wax is what you want to look for. Soy comes from soybeans and is very green--it is renewable and non-toxic. It also burns clean and produces less soot than paraffin.


Soy wax also has its issues, though. As great as soy is, you need to make sure you're getting a certified  non-GMO soybean product. Otherwise you will most likely be getting a soy wax--and soy wax is esentially partially hydrogenated soybean oil--that has been treated with toxic pesticides. If this is the case (and most soy wax suppliers aren't selling high quality, chemical free wax), you might be breathing in pesticides. Plus, contrary to pupular belief, there really is no such thing as an all-natural soy wax, as it is chemically produced from soybeans.

In many cases, the soy wax products we buy aren't any better for your health than those with paraffin.

Honestly, plain beeswax candles and tarts are the best option for scenting the home.

Why I love beeswax: It is all-natural, renewable, and is ideal for those with allergies. If you have severe allergies, you most likely will be able to burn beeswax candles and tarts (without added fragrance) and enjoy the warm candlight and soft honey aroma. Beeswax also emits something called negative ions. These actually attract and collect dust and other allergens. Beeswax also burns evenly and for a longer period of time. They also have a lovely, soft, comforting natural aroma. There is no need to add any type of fragrance, even from natural essential oils.


You can make your own natural beeswax tarts easily. Here is a simple DIY project that I posted a couple years ago right here on the blog.

If you insist on having other scents, essential oil-scented wax products are the next best option. That is not to say that this is a good option. It is crucial, however, to buy from someone who is not only well-versed in making the products, but someone with a great deal of experience in aromatherapy and essential oils. 

#1, if you have a cat, do not burn tarts or candles with essential oils around them, as they are toxic to cats.

The main problem with using essential oils to scent wax, though, is what happens to them after they are burned. You know I love essential oils. Aromatherapy is an important part of my life, so much so that I took a certification course years ago and have continued my studies on the subject. Do not get me wrong. Essential oils are wonderful. The problem is that when you burn them, they are altered. Essential oils are not meant to be burned (this is not true aromatherapy). When you melt the wax, the oil vapors may have changed to something much more harmful than helpful.

Some places to buy all-natural beeswax candles and tarts right on Etsy: Pepper Glenn, Sand Stone Coast, Your Beeswax, and Honey Run Farm.



Perfumes and Lotions

This is easier than home fragrance when it comes to finding alternatives. 100% Pure uses only fruits, absolutes, and essential oils to scent all of their products. Desert Essence Organics also sells a nice vanilla body lotion without artificial fragrance. Avalon Organics is another with naturally scented products. Shea Terra Organics also makes some beautiful body products free of synthetic fragrance.


One day soon, I will devote a DIY Thursday to creating some beautiful perfumes using essential oils. I used to sell them and you really can have a gorgeous fragrance to wear without artificial ingredients. I'll share some of my recipes with you -- CLICK HERE FOR SOME OF MY BLENDS


Starring...Fragrances! offers a small variety of 100% natural perfumes.  Organic Beauty Now offers an assortment of brands which use only natural fragrances as well.


Eliminating synthetic fragrance is one of the hardest things I have done when it comes to healthy skin care and beauty. I have worn so many beautiful perfumes and burned so many yummy smelling tarts and candles all made with artificial fragrance. It's not been a simple change, but it is something I am happy to be doing because I know that it is better.









Powered by Blogger.