Fragrance – and why it is not always a good ingredient

By Therese Forton-Barnes, Head Guru

According to the dictionary it is ‘a pleasant sweet smell’. But when it is in a product you put on your skin, hair, or body it is possibly very toxic to your and your children’s health. One of the worst component of most things labeled ‘Fragrance’ is phthalates. It is used as a kind of preservative and enhancer in order to make the smell last longer.

It is a known link to cancer, reproductive issues, developmental disabilities , endocrine disruption & respiratory Illnesses. Manufacturers are not required in the US to list these ingredients even though it is proven that they pass from the skin into the bloodstream. They are only required to list the term ‘Fragrance’ which is a general term meaning up to 100 very toxic components can be contained in that one word. 

This has happened because the ‘fragrance’ industry regulates itself. Also, the term “Natural Fragrance” can be equally deceptive & usually is a toxic blend of synthetic smells and preservatives. 

Essential oils is the term to look for but not “with essential oils added” which is another way to trick the consumer. Look for only essential oils used for scent or no synthetic fragrance and only essential oils  are used in this product.

When you start looking in laundry soaps, bath & beauty products, fabric softeners, cosmetics, candles, and air fresheners, you will be dismayed at how many products list fragrance . Unscented is one way to go and the other is to shop sites like health food stores or businesses where the products have been hand picked for their lack of toxicity already.

Even then, practicing reading labels for added ‘Fragrance’ is a good practice. The industry is a slippery slope and can be quite inventive in their word usage.

Also, as you wean off these scents, you may find that your nose becomes much more sensitive and tuned into a chemical scent vs a natural one. We share the same air with others so being sensitive to what’s in perfumes and scented products also can protect those who are neurologically vulnerable and also children who are always more at risk as their systems are still developing . 


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