We're heading into Spring. That amazing time of year when the flowers begin to unfurl, and the sun begins to warm the ground and air around us. It's a time of year that makes us open our eyes to nature and all that it has to offer, and also a time of year that makes me personally grateful for the way it has helped my business grow and nurture women with natural NON-TOXIC ingredients. Clean and green beauty, thankfully, has a healthy and growing following. Amazing and well wanted news! But there is STILL an inclusion of 'parfum' or 'fragrance' in many blends and formulations that would otherwise be considered 'green' or 'clean'.
I can't quite get my head around this. Why taint an otherwise 'green' product with a 'parfum' listing that is moderate to high on the overall hazard scale*, and moderate to high on the allergic and immunotoxicity scale*. The reason they're used? Most 'parfum' ingredients are cheap, and to replicate their scent using essential oils would cost the maker a lot more money.
As an aromatherapist who is passionate about using essential oils the thought of including an unnatural 'parfum' in a product, for me, is unthinkable. Over 3,000 possible ingredients hide behind the generic term 'parfum' or 'fragrance' - unbelievably the term is allowed to be included on ingredient listings without the actual composition of the 'parfum' being revealed. Of these 3,000+ possible compounds, a number are known to be serious toxins, notably compounds derived from phthalates, octoxynols and nonoxynols. Phthalates are potent hormone disruptors linked to reproductive system birth defects in baby boys, while Octoxynols and Nonoxynols break down into persistent hormone disruptors*
The other downside of using 'parfum' rather than essential oils, skips on the fact that most essential oils are WAY more than just a perfume note. They can offer a potent physiological as well as psychological 'therapy'. They work on the olfactory nerves to influence mood and energy levels and their complex compounds are often used by the plant they derived from to ward off infection and disease. They are 'natural medicines' in every sense, so it makes complete sense that 'green beauty' products that tune into the world we live in should make use of them, rather than incorporate toxic (both to the human body and, in their production, to the environment) synthetic alternatives.
My one tip for your Clean and Green Beauty purchasing this year - check your ingredients, and if you see a 'parfum' listing query it, ask why, ask what is the perfume, and until you get clear answers consider avoiding the product. Because no matter how 'green' the base of the product, if it has a synthetic 'parfum' added to it, consider it potentially tainted. If someone added a drop of bleach into your freshly blended smoothie, you'd be able to taste it, right?
*Source: The Skin Deep Cosmetics Database - analysis of extensive scientific research into the effects and hazards of Cosmetic ingredients.