No one loved smelly candles and hand soap more than I did. I remember going to the states and Bath and Body Works was number one on my hit list. I loved all the seasonal smells, colors and products. But then something started happening to me.
Over the years, I found that more and more, I was becoming unable to tolerate these fragrances. When being exposed to them, I was starting to get headaches, and over time found I was sensitive to artificial fragrance in skin and hair care products, scented candles, 'air fresheners', and especially perfumes.
I had become scent sensitive. When I think back to my 20's, smoking was actually allowed in bars in Canada (which shows my age ). But no matter how many Gin and Tonic's I had, or what time I finally arrived home after the most amazing nights of tomfoolery with my BFF's, I always had to take a shower before going to bed. Nothing was as bad as waking up hungover, reeking of cigarette smoke, perfume, and hairspray. OMG just the thought of it is giving me a mini-migraine!
So cutting out scent was a natural decision for me. And when I started to investigate the ingredients in skin care products and make-up (which was one of the reasons that led me to create Juji Skin) I was horrified to learn that it can take over 1000 chemicals to formulate a fragrance. Yes you read that right. 1000 chemicals. So although the line on your product will just say 'Fragrance' or 'Parfum' or Scent', that one word is hiding potentially thousands of ingredients that legally don't need to be listed.
Now think about how many products you use a day (skin care, make up, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair care, deodorant - and this is all before you leave for work). And then multiply that by 1000. Would you still feel safe using these products? Putting them on your skin? Or inhaling them every time you took a breath? Would you still buy it? I bet the answer is a resounding 'NO!. But unfortunately that is what is happening if you are using anything in your house or on your body that includes any type of artificial fragrance.
So what is a girl to do ??? Don't worry, I have answers for you. Like everything in life, moderation is the key. So you don't have to get rid of everything with fragrance, but little changes over time make big differences. The following tips will make the adjustment easier, and the next thing you know you will be a fragrance nazi, just like me!
Essential Oils - The Answer To All Your Problems
The answer is Essential Oils. Essential Oils are extracted, generally by steam distillation, from plants. They are used for many things, including scenting quality skin care products, natural perfumes, and household cleaning items.
When shopping for essential oils, be sure to find a reputable company that sells them ( hint: don't order anything from Amazon) and research how the oil is extracted. Steam extraction is best, but there are also other extractions including chemical. I only use steam extracted essential oils in my skin care products and diffuser, and use as many organic essential oils as I can. Organic varieties are the ultimate as these plants have not been subject to fertilizers or pesticides.
So although you won't be able to find essential oils that smell like raspberry, or strawberry, or cherry (and any product that does is NOT a natural product) many citrus fruits can have essential oils extracted from their rinds, and they smell amazing. There are literally hundreds of essential oils available and I guarantee you will find something you like.
So What About Candles and Smelly Things?
I am obsessed with essential oil diffusers. They are all the rage right now, and with good reason. Diffusers allow you to add the essential oils you like to a water basin, and the water is transformed into a vapour that fills the room with clean, therapeutic, healthy smells.
I have also replaced my scented candles with the led-free, unscented variety. Traditional candles include tons of fragrance, and although you are not ingesting these chemicals, you and your family are inhaling them every time you take a breath (which is between 17,000 and 30,000 times a day). And it's not only candles, it is all wax-based, electric candle warmers as well. And air fresheners. And don't even get me started on Febreze (gag).
So with these two options, you can still safely (and very affordably) have your candles and your smells. Problem solved !
Force Change With Your Dollars
Because I am scent sensitive, I never wear perfume, use hair spray, or use any other skin care products but the ones I make in my line. It's not easy being green, but luckily my body tells me when it doesn't like something and so far it hasn't led me astray. My hair may not always look runway ready, but it is amazing what a little coconut oil can do to add texture and style.
Your body may not be as sensitive as mine, but it is still being subject to all the same chemicals in our environment. I don't need studies to understand that the amount of harmful toxins we are exposed to daily is very dangerous. Cancer has been on the rise for years, and although I don't believe it is due to one thing in particular, I do believe it is because of the excessive amount of toxic exposure that surrounds every minute of our day. Cancer causing chemicals are in our food, in our air, and in everything we put on our skin. But it doesn't have to be this way, and this is where smart and educated choices come in.
Please take some time to do the research for yourself. And know that there are amazing and healthy alternatives to fragrance all around you. Healthy skin care is minimal ingredient and never has parfum, fragrance, or scent listed on the ingredient list. Look for a small, reputable, independent business when searching for skin care products and start purchasing from them instead of from large conglomerates. Local skintrepreneurs who focus on all natural and organic skin care are making clean, custom products for customers because they are passionate about what they do and most (like me) have a story behind why they do what they do. They should also have the flexibility and knowledge to create custom products just for you and your individual skin needs.
Unfortunately money is the most powerful tool you have to change the world. And when you stop purchasing products that are unethical and harmful to humans, animals, and the planet, change will happen faster than you can blink. Large companies are already starting to suffer and are reevaluating their whole business strategies due to falling sales which is a direct result of increased consumer knowledge. And knowledge is power.
If you have any questions about fragrance, essential oils or all natural skin care, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and, as always, you can order the cleanest and freshest skin care products on the planet via Juji Skin, located in lovely London, Ontario, Canada.
So stay green my friends! And I hope this information helps you to move towards a more natural, healthy and empowering lifestyle.