WTF?! The F word that is causing you harm.

Updated: May 9, 2019

So maybe you’re not quite ready to jump on the clean beauty train just yet. Hey, I get it! It took me a while to get there, too. But might I suggest you consider zooming in on one area first?

Fragrance. The new ‘f’ word.

What’s that smell?

Under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, companies are required to list the ingredients of their products on the label so consumers can make informed choices. However, the term "fragrance" is legally considered a trade secret which means that companies are not required to list what components are used when creating scents for their products. This is called the fragrance loophole.

I’m not joking, this is a real thing. Under current law, businesses can hide the worst offending ingredients in the chemical makeup they call fragrance (formaldehyde, petroleum, parabens, to name a few) and still market their product as “organic” or “natural” leaving the consumer unaware. This means any product that has fragrance/parfum/perfume listed on its ingredient label may be exposing you to more harm than you know.

Well, that stinks.

Now, this may not seem like too big of an issue. After all, you don’t feel sick, right? The problem is that these nasty ingredients make their way into your body, mimic your hormones and disrupt your endocrine system. Your body knows how to fight and eradicate a virus but it does not know these disruptors are fake so the body adjust in unnatural ways. The good news is that when you stop using toxic products, your body can start to get rid of the toxins and avoid buildup.

By now, you may be thinking, “What, so I'm just going to smell now?” Eww, no, you have some options:

Take the easy road (my personal favorite).

Look for companies that do the work for you and are committed to making safer products from the get-go, like PHLUR. Whenever possible, I try to find a safer version of a product so I can make a straight swap rather than sacrificing it altogether and I really appreciated my experience with PHLUR and highly recommend trying some of their samples.

Dig a little deeper.

Check to see where the scent comes from. There are several options for safe scents (i.e. Essential oils, safe synthetics) that can be used to keep you smelling so fresh and so clean however, it may require you asking the company to provide more information. For example, a client of mine loved her product from Lush butwas concerned about the safety of the fragrance so I sent a quick email simple asking for the ingredient list.

Check out the response I received:

Make a small but intentional change.

So how do we do that? First, when in doubt, spray your scent on your clothes rather than directly on your skin. This will help minimize the amount of product that comes into direct contact with your skin and will reduce your overall exposure to toxins. It is just a small change, but it will make a difference without causing too much of an upset to your routine. Then, plan to purchase a safer option when you finish your current product.

If you find yourself overwhelmed (by more than someone’s cologne), remember that you can make changes over time. Consider this step a priority when you have the capacity to make a change and focus on where you have taken a positive step towards a healthier life!



© 2020 by Shea Smith