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My father asked me to get him a cologne recently. Personally, my husband and I do not use any fragrances such as perfume or cologne because we know that they can contain harsh toxic chemicals. We actually get a headache and feel nauseous when we smell strong scents from fragrances. We do not use any perfume or cologne of any kind. Therefore, when my father asked me to recommend him a brand, I didn’t have any brands or colognes in mind so I decided to research further. I wanted to get a cologne that is made with organic or natural ingredients. While researching, I came across some organic or natural fragrance brands. However, I realized that some organic or natural fragrances can still contain harmful chemicals just like many other products out there. In this post, I share with you how a cologne or perfume can be toxic and what non toxic, organic, natural perfume or cologne options are available.
How A Cologne Or A Perfume Can Be Toxic
An Ingredient Called Fragrance
You can find an ingredient called fragrance in many cosmetic and household products that have scents such as makeup, shampoo, lotion, cleaning supplies and many more. Fragrance is an ingredient that makes a product smell good including a perfume and a cologne. Fragrance is labeled as an single ingredient in the product but it is actually made up of tons of chemicals mixed all together. Fragrance ingredients are considered a trade secret or proprietary information. Therefore, manufacturers do not have to disclose all the chemicals that go into making a fragrance. It can be listed under one name ‘fragrance.’ It is typically listed as fragrance, perfume, or parfum.
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) lists more than 4,000 chemicals that are used in the fragrance industry. Up to 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and coal tar. According to the Women’s Voices For The Earth, one-third of all fragrance chemicals are either known to be toxic or considered potentially toxic by scientists around the world. They are also linked to environmental harm. Here are some example chemicals in fragrances. One of the harmful chemicals that fragrances often contain are phthalates. Phthalates can cause endocrine disruption and cancer. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is an endocrine disruptor and carcinogen. Styrene is also an endocrine disruptor and reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Synthetic musks (Tonalide , Musk Xylene, Musk Ketone, Galaxolide) may be an endocrine disruptors and development, reproductive and organ system toxicants. Presence of harmful fragrance chemicals can cause allergies, respiratory toxicity, hormone disruption, reproductive harm and cancer. Fragrance is not only in perfume or cologne but also in many household and personal care products. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) tested 140 popular U.S personal care and cleaning products. They found that hundreds of toxic chemicals were in these products and majority of them were from an ingredient, fragrance in the product. Three out of four of the toxic chemicals were from fragrance chemicals. However, these toxic chemicals were not listed ingredients on the product label.
Not So Natural
Some Essential Oils
Then there are some natural fragrances that are made of natural or even organic ingredients and do not contain fragrances as their ingredients. The scent for natural fragrances come from natural ingredients including essential oils or isolates instead of petroleum-derived chemicals. Each essential oil mixture contains different constituents. Single constituents that are separated from essential oils are called isolates. For example, a constituent, limonene come from orange peel essential oil, another constituent, benzyl benzoate come from ylang-ylang essential oil. A perfume or a cologne may use different combinations of isolates or essential oils for its natural fragrance.
Essential oils or isolates are natural. However, some essential oils can cause allergies. According to an article in the Environmental Working Group, citrus oil extracts such as citrus bergamia and citrus limonum can cause an allergic reaction or cause someone to develop an allergy. Allergic symptoms from some essential oils include hives, contact dermatitis, nasal irritation, eye irritation and phototoxic reactions. Actually a single constituent in essential oils are a culprit of causing allergic reactions. Linalool (in neroli, spike lavender, bergamot mint, rosalina, thyme, coriander and basil), limonene (in citrus fruit such as lemon, orange, grapefruit peels), coumarin (in cinnamon leaf oil, cassia leaf oil or cinnamon bark oil) and hydroxycitronellal (in lime, lemon, sweet orange, petitgrain, sandalwood, tangerine and ylang ylang oils) are some constituents that are more prone to cause allergic reactions. Some people may be allergic to certain essential oils or isolates. Allergic reactions can especially occur when some essential oils are overused or not diluted enough in a carrier oil.
Trillium Organics Original Love Roll-On Perfume – Organic Perfume
Trillium Organics Original Love Roll-On Perfume is made of 100% USDA certified organic ingredients. It is made with only pure organic essential oils in an organic jojoba oil base. There are no synthetic fragrances, no mystery ingredients.
Jojoba oil, patchouli oil, ylang ylang oil, sandalwood oil, clove oil, cinnamon oil, rosemary oil
John Masters Organics Citrus Roll-On Fragrance – Organic Perfume
John Masters Organics are made of 100% USDA certified organic ingredients. It is not tested on animals.
Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, litsea cubeba fruit oil*, citrus aurantium amara (neroli) flower oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, citrus aurantium (petitgrain) leaf/bud oil *, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) flower / leaf oil*, cymbopogon martini (palmarosa) oil*, eugenia caryophyllata (clove) bud oil*, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) leaf oil*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*
Non Toxic Colognes
Theo & Amelia All Natural Woodsy Cologne – Natural Cologne
Theo & Amelia All Natural Woodsy Cologne is made with all natural ingredients. It is alcohol-Free, and also free of harmful synthetic chemicals.
Ingredients: Almond oil, Jojoba oil, Bergamot (Bergaptene free), Petitgrain, Lavender, Neroli, Vanilla (co2 extracted) and Texas cedarwood.
Perfumes and colognes can contain harmful chemicals even if they are marketed as organic or natural fragrances. They can also say they are free of certain toxic chemicals but that doesn’t mean ingredients in them are all safe. Even some natural fragrances using essential oils or isolates can cause allergic reactions if you are allergic to certain essential oils or isolates. Therefore, check out ingredients to see if you feel comfortable using them. I wanted to find an organic, natural cologne. However, there were not that many options available after looking at all the ingredients. The only one I found was Theo & Amelia All Natural Woodsy Cologne that I thought was okay. There is also a fragrance brand called Henry Rose. Their ingredients are made with synthetic chemicals. However, they are safe synthetics and some botanical ingredients which are verified by EWG. 100% of ingredients are disclosed for their products. I am planning to get a Theo & Amelia All Natural Woodsy Cologne for my father to try. I think my father is only planning to use a cologne occasionally. I hope the fragrance industry become more transparent in the near future so that consumers can be aware of all ingredients that they put on or spray on themselves.
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