When you start looking around you realise fake fragrance is everywhere, perfume, deodorant, body wash, moisturiser, fabric softener, scented candles, air fresheners, the list goes on. Fake fragrance often contains phthalates which are plasticiser’s used in soft squishy toys like rubber ducks as well as rain coats and vinyl flooring. It’s used in fake fragrance as it makes the scent stick to surfaces, and if you’re wearing perfume that means its coating your skin, yikes! They’re also used in nail polish and hairspray to hold but still be flexible.
The Centers for Disease Control states “some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates“. I’d prefer if I wasn’t a research case so I choose to steer clear of them. Also having suffered terribly from endometriosis I really don’t want more damage done to my reproductive system.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published an article stating that infants exposed to infant care products, specifically baby shampoos, baby lotions, and baby powder, showed increased levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine. I find that so worrying because these poor kids may suffer with reproductive issues when they grow up and have no idea why. This is absolutely not the time to feel guilty if your children have been exposed to these things, we don’t know what we don’t know and now we know better we can do better.
Phthalates wont be listed on the ingredients as companies aren’t required to list everything that makes up an ingredient, for example with food you may see a label which states choc chips as an ingredient but then lists out what those choc chips are made of but that’s not the case with fragrance. You’ll notice on a lot of cleaning product labels there are no ingredients listed and this is because companies argue it’s a proprietary blend which they don’t want to share with their competitors. I think that’s kind of rubbish and we deserve to know what’s in the things we buy. If you have a particular product you love and you’re wondering about its safety, check the EWG online database. It rates more than 64,000 personal-care products for chemical hazards, including fragrance.
So on labels look out for fragrance or parfum, unless the word fragrance is followed with an asterisk and states ‘from natural essential oil’ then it’s most likely fake and contains phthalates. I personally am very sensitive to fragrances and get a headache immediately if someone around me is wearing a lot of perfume or hairspray, or if I go into a toilet and they use the air freshener that are on timers and spray every half an hour or so.
Luckily there are some lovely natural options, some of my favourites include
- Vanessa Megan Winter Grey perfume containing bergamot, lavender and ylang ylang it’s a sweet but earthy scent and is really lovely
- Black Chicken Transcendence 1, Sandalwood, Geranium Bourbon, Patchouli, Lavender, Carrot, Ylang Ylang, and Nutmeg, this is a favourite of mine and I always get complements when I wear it. It’s elastic which means it reacts with your own skin and smells a little bit different on everyone, super cool!
- Weleda Rose Perfume, if you like floral scents you’ll be a fan on this one, it’s not like a traditional ‘Nana’ smelling rose perfume
- Van der Faun Organic Eau de Parfum – River, containing Bergamot, Patchouli, Cedarwood and Clove bud essential oils with the freshness of Geranium, Neroli and Sweet Orange. My sister wears this one and gets asked all the time what she’s wearing, she’s probably responsible for half the sales!
- As a gift idea I love this Vanessa Megan sample pack, its minis of 5 different fragrances so you can trial different scents and choose your favourite.
If you want to avoid phthalates all together I’d recommend you also avoid vinyl flooring, soft plastic toys and those flexible floor tiles used kids playrooms. I’m sure there are lots of other items containing phthalates so do your research and ask lots of questions.
If you have a favourite natural perfume which I haven’t mentioned feel free to leave it in the comments.