Love is (not always) in the air…

So many chemicals, so little time. How in the world can one remember the laundry list of names to avoid? Which are okay? Unless you’re a chemistry major you’re basically screwed when it comes to deciphering product labels.

But before you go crying your way down the aisles of Target, don’t fret…I am here to make your life just a little bit easier. As you pick up a product and run down the list of sometimes tested, often toxic, hard-to-pronounce chemicals, keep your eyes peeled for this simple word: FRAGRANCE. When you see it, toss that bottle and run your ass outta there as fast as you can. Okay, not really. But seriously, fragrance is something to avoid.

From air freshners to candles, parfumes to cleaning sprays, scent branding in stores and lotions and potions – we are constantly being bombarded with smells everywhere we go. We are sharing what’s called “secondhand fragrance” and whether we wear it or not, we are affected by the chemicals in the air around us. Some places are already catching on and creating fragrance free zones and policies for workplaces and schools. Places like Harvard University teaching hospital have a fragrance-free policy. Even the Missouri Green Cleaning Guidelines and Specifications for Schools discourage the use of air freshners and other synthetic odors.

And why should we care? Here’s the 3o second history lesson. Back in 1973 there was an Act passed that requires cosmetic companies to list ingredients on labels. In the loophole of all loopholes, fragrance was made exempt.  What has ensued is nothing short of insanity. Thousands of chemicals are allowed in fragrance and most have never been tested for safety. Companies would like us to believe that they are merely just hiding their pretty little scents that they don’t want to have copied, but testing shows that they are hiding much more.

And guess who is regulating the fragrance industry? The fragrance industry. Guess how great a job they are doing? Piss poor.

Removing synthetic fragrances from our house wasn’t terribly difficult. But finding a replacement perfume has proved challenging. It’s like the vegan cheese that tastes nothing like cheese. Natural fragrances just smell… well, natural. And I don’t want to smell like patchouli.

In an effort to share something BETTER – because surely there must be at least ONE decent natural perfume in the world… I have been searching and sampling and sniffing my way through the better perfumes of the world. I have finally curated my list of acceptable alternatives.

Before you get too excited, note that my must-have list only runs two deep. On the bright side, fragrance isn’t like handbags… you only need one good one.

My all-star pick: 

Hiram Green 

Now there’s another kind of green worth traveling to the Netherlands for. Hiram Green’s scents are worth the distance. These scents are so good I didn’t think it was possible for them to be natural. After many conversations and assurances, I am convinced they are. Hiram’s education in traditional perfumery/chemistry (he used to own a traditional perfume store in London, England) give him a background he has found very important when crafting his signature scents. They really are exceptional and rival any traditional scent.

Together by Pour le Monde

I could tell you what it smells like but scent descriptions read like wine lists to me. I don’t really get it until I taste it. Suffice it to say this one smells lovely. The people at Credo Beauty can hook you up with more details on this and other natural brands they carry if you wish.

Honorable mention goes to:

Essential Alchemy

Not for the smell but the fact that Amanda, the owner, “composes music for your nose” and can create a signature scent for each customer.

Juara Candlenut Perfume Oil

I feel like I should be on the beach sipping a Pina colada when I wear this. But it’s fresh and pretty.

Pacifica Island Vanilla

A far cry from complex, but still a light pretty scent. Would be perfect for a teenage daughter. And it’s reasonably priced and easy to find.

 Surely some new scents will come on the scene in the coming years. As they do, I will be sure to share what I love!