By now, you've likely become an expert at decoding the BS on food labels, right? (Manufacturers have a bajillion different ways of saying "sugar.") And anything even close to the word "sulfate" won't make its way into your bathroom. But what about your perfume?
A few years ago, a study for the nonprofit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics discovered that a lot of popular perfumes contain ingredients not listed on their labels. Nasties like petrochemicals, phthalates and propylene glycol are often hidden under blanket terms like “parfum” or “fragrance” on ingredient lists.
Not only are these chemicals believed to be linked to harmful effects in the user--hormone disruption, allergic reactions, reproductive issues (fun!)--but they could potentially harm non-wearers via “secondhand scents.” What?!
Fortunately, many perfumers have cleaned up their formulas, using organic ingredients and avoiding harsh synthetics. Now, the availability of fragrances that aren’t just safe but actually healthful is higher than ever before.
Check these out.
PROVIDENCE PERFUME CO
Inspired by her rural roots, Charna Ehtier founded the company in 2009. All the perfumes are made by hand in small batches using plants, flowers, fruits and woods from around the world. Essential oils and absolutes (extracts) are combined with a pure alcohol spirit base.
Try this: Osmanthus Oolong Eau De Parfum, a warm blend of jasmine, black tea, apricot and osmanthus flower with a finish of sweet leather. (Plus it's fun to say "oolong.")
STRANGE INVISIBLE PERFUMES
Quality control is the priority at this 13-year-old company. “Botanical perfumer” Alexandra Balahoutis sources essences from select international distillers, as well as doing in-house distilling, to ensure that they’re organic or biodynamic. The essences are then blended with organic beverage-grade grape alcohol. But don't drink it.
Try this: L’Invisible Eau De Parfum, an exotic combination of Sicilian lemon, amber, moss, ylang ylang and Moroccan red rose.
Anne Sanford likes to keep things simple, using old-school methods to create small batches of highly concentrated fragrances. Since 2008, she's been making perfumes using pure essential oils in an organic jojoba base (which is similar to the skin’s natural oils), devoid of alcohol, water, chemical preservatives, additives or stabilizers.
Try this: PRJ V1, a summery, floral mixture of rose, jasmine sambac and petitgrain oil.
Founder Danielle Raynor has stringent standards, resulting in perfumes that are responsibly made, free of harsh chemicals, and packed with nutrients. Organic sugar-cane alcohol serves as the base for essential oils and botanicals. And, as the name implies, you’ll detect a bit of vanilla in every scent.
Try this: Fresh Vanilla Lemon, a combination of juicy lemon (duh), watery fruits, fresh bamboo and pure Madagascar vanilla (duh again).
Just keep in mind, many of the chemicals in typical perfumes are added to make the fragrance last longer. Thus, natural fragrances may need to be reapplied more often.
Have any favorite "healthy" perfumes? Or will you stick with your tried-and-true department store variety?