If you’re like a lot of the women in my office, you spritz on some perfume before leaving the house in the morning.
A captivating scent makes a woman feel confident… beautiful… sexy…
But today’s perfumes aren’t made the way your grandmother’s perfume was. Perfumes used to be made from natural things like flowers and herbs.
That changed when the fragrance industry realized it was a lot cheaper to mix fake chemicals together that smelled like the real thing.
But perfume manufacturers don’t want their competition — or you — to know what’s in their products. So they came up with a clever way to keep their ingredients a secret…
You see, the FDA requires most industries to clearly list their ingredients on their product labels. But the perfume industry petitioned the FDA to let them keep theirs hidden from consumers by saying they were “trade secrets.”
And some of these “trade secrets” can hurt you. In fact, you can find one of perfume’s key ingredients on a shelf at Home Depot!
I’m talking about acetone. It’s the same toxic component that’s in paint thinner… something you’d never put on your skin!
The reality is there are more than 3,000 chemical ingredients1 in perfumes that can potentially make you sick. In 2010, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested some of the top-selling perfumes. The study found each fragrance had an average of 14 secret chemicals not listed on its label. 2
Here are five of the worst offenders:
- Benzaldehyde causes ear and throat irritation, shortness of breath, dizziness and genetic mutations.
- Benzyl acetate causes eye, throat and respiratory irritation. It’s also been linked to pancreatic cancer.
- Methylene Chloride is a known carcinogen. Severe exposure can cause unconsciousness and death.
- Parabens are endocrine disruptors. They’ve been linked to breast cancer and depression
- Musk ambrette has been connected to central nervous system damage, weight loss and muscle weakness.
Now, I know how much women love perfume. And I don’t expect you to give it up entirely. But you can limit your exposure by spritzing your clothing instead of your skin and by saving your favorite scents for special occasions.
But what about all those other times you want to smell great? You can!
Just look to Mother Nature instead of the department store. You can make your own sweet-smelling signature scent with essential oils. They’re natural and safe to wear… and they smell amazing.
One of my very favorite scents is ylang-ylang — or “flower of flowers.” Coco Chanel was so captivated with the flower’s intoxicating scent that she made it the key ingredient in one of the world’s most famous perfumes — Chanel No. 5.
Ylang-ylang can be worn alone. But it’s intense. It smells terrific when you combine it with sweet orange, bergamot, rose, patchouli or sandalwood and a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil.
Here’s a great recipe for a solid perfume I think you’ll love…
- In a small container, mix approximately 20 drops of sweet orange essential oil, 15 drops of ylang-ylang and 10 drops of sandalwood.
- In a double boiler, melt 2 tsp. grated beeswax. Add 2 tsp. jojoba oil and mix.
- Remove from heat, quickly add essential oil mix and pour into clean container (an empty lip balm tin works well).
It will turn solid quickly and keep you smelling fantastic for a long time.
You can find high-quality essential oils at Aromatics International (www.aromatics.com) and Pompeii Organics (www.pompeiiorganics.com). Or, if you’d rather buy in person, you can find essential oils at many health food stores.
Just make sure to choose a business you trust. Look at the labels for words like “organic,” “unsprayed” or “wild-crafted.” Brands that are certified by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) are also a safe bet.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Fragranced Products Information Network. Fragrance Materials and Composition. p.41.
2. Sarantis H, et al. Not So Sexy. The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Accessed November 9, 2016.