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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Smelling "Good" Can Be Bad!

I receive emails from Care2 that include natural living articles (they do get a little new-agey & seem to like pets more than kids sometimes, so I pick & choose what I read from them), & this week I read this article about the Top 10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid. One of them is fragrance/parfum. Fragrance/parfum is what you will see on a label, & basically it means “synthetic, chemical-based smell.” That one word – fragrance or parfum - can include hundreds of ingredients that are so bad for you. Fragrance is found in almost every home & body product, including the following:

-Laundry detergent/fabric softener
-Shampoo, body wash, deodorant, & other toiletries
-Air freshener
-Dish soap
-Lotion & moisturizer
-Cleaning products
-Baby products: shampoo, wash, diaper creams, lotion

What’s wrong with fragrance? It is one of the top known allergens. It causes headaches, asthma, & can contain carcinogens. One of the top concerning types of chemicals in fragrance are phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors, which affect hormones & can cause birth defects. When we breathe these chemicals in, or put them on our skin, they are absorbed into our body very quickly. Not only must we consider what we put in our mouths, we have to be aware of what other toxins we allow ourselves to be exposed to.

It really is best for our health to cut out as many fragrances & parfums as possible. We first started doing this when Josh kept itching from the fabric softeners I would buy. I finally ended up with fragrance-free detergent & now use wool dryer balls instead of fabric softener. I look at the labels of our body products & search for options that have natural fragrance – which means the oils, or whatever causes the product’s smell – will be listed out specifically. If the word “fragrance” or “parfum” is involved, it’s not natural - don’t be deceived by any type of misleading wording. Companies are getting smart these days & throwing words like “all natural” & “organic” on anything & everything. You have to look at the ingredient list. Also remember to check your products at the Cosmetics Database. Buy or make your own beeswax candles – not only are they nontoxic, but they actually clean the air so they are beneficial for your home. Make your own lotions & soaps from natural ingredients. Use essential oils in a diffuser to make your home smell nice.

There are ways to remove these toxins from your home. Start small. I have noticed that I get fewer headaches now that we have removed synthetic fragrance from our home (& will start to get a headache if I’m suddenly exposed to it). I also have realized that my nose is more sensitive to smell now, in a good way. I can appreciate smells more now, & they are more magnified, like the smells of food, fresh cut grass, the woods, etc. Synthetic fragrance messes you up in lots of ways. Try cutting it out & see what you think!



  1. This is great Courtney! I was just wondering about this! Do you know of any products or brands that are a good choice? Or do you mostly always check labels? Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Hi Molly! I always always check labels. It's really best if you can recognize the ingredients as actual THINGS instead of chemicals. We do hope to eventually cover a lot of the products we use; in the meantime, if you have any specific recommendations you'd like, feel free to email!