Your Guide to Navigating the World of Fragrance
Perfumes and scented products can be made using a variety of ingredients, some natural and others synthetic. Here is a Toxin-Free Primer to help you navigate the world of fragrance.
Essential Oils are oils that have been distilled from the flowers, leaves, stems or berries of plants and retain the therapeutic benefit of the mother plant. They are completely natural and un-meddled with by man. Most essential oils are delicate and have a limited shelf life (especially if left in the sun), and they also evaporate within 6 hours of application to the skin.
Fragrance Oils can also be known as aromatic oils or flavour oils. These are usually a blend of synthetically scented oils and essential oils, but they can also be 100% synthesized in a lab. They are usually diluted with a carrier or a solvent such as propylene glycol or mineral oil, both of which are on our Red List of ingredients we will never use.
Companies use the word 'Fragrance', 'Parfum' or 'Perfume' as a 'catch-all' term to protect a proprietary blend. Perfume companies invest a lot in developing their scent blends and the government has given them the right to keep the ingredients of their fragrance blends a secret. The problem is that without full-disclosure, you can't be sure that their blends don't contain phthalates or other undesirable ingredients commonly found in artificial scents.
You can steer clear of the uncertainty by choosing perfumes and scented products that use 100% natural ingredients and essential oils.