Archive for April 14th, 2009

lavender-fragrance-pic6A few years ago, when I started my personal care company, BeeCeuticals Organics, I contacted several manufacturers to produce products according to my specs. I was interested in using only natural and organic ingredients. Our discussions about the ingredients were going well until the subject of scent came up. Scents play an important role in skin care products by working together with the other ingredients. As I learned later on, scents can be harmful too; it all depends on the source.

When one of these manufacturers began to explain what he did to enhance the aroma of his products I almost jumped out of my organic skin! Let’s call him Dirty Larry. I wanted the aroma of Lavender in one of my facial creams. Dirty Larry was happy, he said that Lavender, which he called Lavender Type Fragrance, was readily available and cheap to use in manufacturing. But, wait a second, I said to myself: what did he mean by Lavender Type Fragrance?

He described to me how the practice of using Fragrances is accepted in the cosmetic industry.  And then he specifically defined what he meant by Lavender Type Fragrance by showing me the list of chemicals that, when mixed together smell like Lavender. Following you can read it for yourself:

Ingredients: 4-(40Hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone, 3-hodroxy-2-methyl-4-pyrone, 4-hydroxy-3-methylbenzaldehyde, a-Ionone, Methyl Sulfide, 2,5-Dimethyl-N(2-pyrazinyl)pyrrole


I was stunned!! What happened to using the essence of Lavender flowers? For two decades I owned Natural Food stores and was aware of Essential Oils being used for their scents and therapeutic qualities.  As it turns out, Essential Oils are a lot more costly than cheap Fragrances and not the scent of choice for most personal care companies. Of course I did not do business with Dirty Larry, but I did learn a lot about how most cosmetic companies operate. Here are some of the facts I learned about the stench of Fragrance:

Many companies including so-called “natural” companies use synthetic Fragrances, especially some of the biggest names and widely used brands. Many even put “natural Fragrance ” in their ingredient list. THER IS NO SUCH THING as a “natural Fragrance “! This is a lie. A natural scent is imparted to a product only by essential oils and would read on the label as “essential oil of…” If you see the word “Fragrance”, you know that product contains nasty chemicals as shown in the above example of Lavender.

Fragrance oils and perfumes are blends of synthetic chemicals that give a distinct aroma to a product. These chemicals do not have to be accounted for in the ingredients list individually. A perfume can consist of a hundred different synthetic chemicals and be listed as “Fragrance” even on a so-called “natural” product. This is so deceptive. One little “F” word can actually represent a hundred different synthetic chemicals!

A few things you should know about “Fragrance”:

·        A fragrance can contain upwards of 150 undisclosed chemicals and yet only be labeled as “fragrance” in the ingredient listing. Companies are allowed to keep the ingredients in a fragrance a secret and claim it is proprietary information.

·        Recent studies have found nearly 100 Volatile Organic Compounds(VOC’s) at high levels in products containing fragrance. Some of those VOC’s include acetaldehyde, chloromethane, and 1,4 dioxane which has been linked to cancer!

·        One of the most alarming and most common chemicals found were phthalates, which have been scientifically linked to a number of degenerative diseases

·        Fragrances are unregulated

·        According to the American Academy of Dermatologists most allergic reactions from skin care products are due to synthetic fragrances. I remember customers coming to my stores with masks on their face or calling in orders that they would pick up outside the store so they did not come in contact with people wearing perfume.


In a laboratory analysis, one popular perfume was found to contain more than forty chemicals classified as hazardous to the liver, and yet the FDA still does not require perfume manufacturers to warn consumers about the toxic chemicals found in these products.

Epp-BEE-Log: This is such a stinky subject. Remember when you see the word FRAGRANCE on a label it can be hiding many unlisted synthetic and toxic chemicals. We must all say NO to personal care products that say FRAGRANCE.




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