I don’t know about you but I can’t even stand walking by Bath & Body Works!
Or how about Lush?
Ugh! The smells from these stores can linger in the air from miles away. I always know when I’m closely approaching a Lush store. Their smells are intensely strong and unfortunately, as much as they claim to be “natural,” they are far from!
I do like that over half of Lush’s products are fresh and handmade products, which are in solid form to avoid packaging, reduce water consumption, and eliminate preservatives. They also use 100% recyclable or compostable materials when its products do require packaging.
They source ingredients ethically, campaign against animal testing and participate in social and environmental activism.
However, many of their products contain not-so-natural ingredients and are potentially toxic.
Actually, funny story…
Years ago I remember walking through the mall while doing Christmas shopping and got an intensely strong headache. I went into the Lush store as I heard they had a peppermint headache balm.
So, considering I wanted to continue shopping and do something that I thought was natural for my body, I purchased the peppermint balm, rubbed some of it on my temples as I was told to do so and BOOM! My headache went from a 5 to a full blown 10!! In fact, I ran to the bathroom, threw up from a full blown migraine and made my way home.
It wasn’t pretty.
Then, my research began.
Many of their products contained parfum and fragrance, coloured dyes and sodium laurel sarcosinate, which is a synthetic skin conditioning agent.
You might think parfum and fragrance are natural, but unfortunately, they aren’t.
Fragrance and parfum, (including Geraniol, Citral and Limonene) found in cosmetics are all synthetic. The term alone can indicate the presence of up to one thousand substances, many toxic or carcinogenic.
Phthalates (a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible) are used to stabilize fragrances. Pthalates are hormone disruptors (which can cause a wide range of hormonal issues) and are linked to allergies in children, and may also alter pre-natal genital development.
According to the FDA, synthetic fragrances may cause headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting and skin irritation.
Clinical observation shows fragrances can affect the endocrine and central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity and irritability.
Bottom line, the word fragrance or parfum isn’t just ONE ingredient. It’s a blend of thousands and through some crazy loophole in federal law, these thousands of chemicals DO NOT need to be listed on a bottle or label.
When I was 16 I worked as the Fragrance girl in the mall. You know, the annoying spritz girl you probably walk by now and do all that you can to avoid (which I totally do by the way!).
Back then, working for Armani, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, YSL and many other brand name fragrance companies was pretty sweet. I got paid way above minimum wage and got free perfume.
But looking back, I had brutal PMS, constant headaches, suffered with migraines and started to develop some intense food intolerances and sensitivities.
Now, it’s not to say that fragrances were the cause of all of this, but I also used a ton of drug store brand make up, body care, dental products, hair products and pretty much anything that could go on your skin or hair.
My liver was completely overburdened and my hormones were in need of some serious TLC.
In my early twenties, when I started to dive deep into nutrition and holistic health, I ditched all my chemical fragrances and products and started to take care of my hormones and health with food and gentle detoxification protocols.
Even to this day, I still can’t handle strong fragrances and scents.
The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) conducted an investigation into fragrances, perfumes and colognes and found several areas of concern, including that “16% of products reviewed contained cancer-causing ingredients” and “76% contained ingredients that are considered allergens.”
Air fresheners alone often contain hazardous ingredients like dichlorobenzene, a lung irritant and a central nervous system depressant, and benzyl alcohol, a known cause of headaches and lung irritation.
My advice, avoid them.
And I’m not just talking about your perfume or cologne. I’m talking about candles, air fresheners, laundry detergents, body care products and make up.
Start to pay closer attention to the ingredients that you’re putting on your skin and smelling!
The sooner you can start to eliminate these products and ingredients from your day-to-day, the sooner you can start to heal hormonal imbalances, protect your body against cancer and disease and support your overall health.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to smell nice and still want to wear fragrance, try my simple DIY solid perfume recipe. You can easily tweak this recipe to include your favourite essential oils and tailor it to your own unique scents.
- 1 Tbsp sweet almond oil (or jojoba oil or coconut oil)
- 1 Tbsp beeswax pellets or solid beeswax
- Essential Oils
- 2 x 15ml tins
- Over a double boiler heat almond oil.
- Once heated, add in beeswax pellets and stir to combine. Warm through until pellets are completely melted.
- Remove from the heat and add in your essential oils. The amount you use is dependent on how strong you want your scent. I would suggest at least 10-15 drops total. Example, 5 drops lemon essential oil and 5 drops tangerine for a citrusy scent. 5 drops lavender and 5 drops wild orange. Or 10-15 drops vanilla for a more sweeter scent.
- This amount makes roughly 2 tablespoons of solid perfume, which filled 2-15ml tins. If you are looking to make more, just double or triple the recipe.
- Once you've added in your oils, carefully pour the mixture into two tins and let it sit. It will solidify pretty quickly.
- Rub onto your neck, wrists and anywhere else you desire.
- *The more beeswax you use, the more solid your perfume will be.
- *Alternatively, you can use this as a natural lip balm. More almond oil will make the blend a little softer.