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Your Guide to Clean & Non-Toxic Perfumes

Environmental and air pollution is on the rise but did you know that your choice of perfume, cologne, or fragrance could be a contributor to that pollution? Fragrance manufacturers are not required to reveal the ingredients of their products under FDA regulations. As a result, they can choose to keep secret a number of potentially harmful chemicals and put them under the blanket label of 'fragrance'. These ‘fragrances’ could be a composite of hundreds of substances, many of which are hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and other harmful toxins that are dangerous to human well-being.

Non-toxic & eco-friendly perfumes are better for your body and the planet—they don't contain any of the harsh and often petroleum-derived chemicals found in conventional fragrances that can cause harmful effects such as lung injury or skin irritation.

The best practice for choosing a non-toxic perfume would be to purchase your desired scent from a brand that does disclose all its ingredients for your own safety. The Environmental Working Group website is a great resource to check out if you need help understanding the complexities of ingredients, as they might have scientific names that are hard to decode. They provide trustworthy information on many chemicals used in a variety of products, although additional research may be needed on many chemicals.

A list of chemicals to avoid when fragrance shopping

Research studies suggest that the combination or individual consumption of these ingredients could cause severe health problems, such as damage to many of our bodily systems, potentially leading to nervous system toxicity, respiratory impairment, kidney damage, ataxia, intestinal inflammation, and other miscellaneous symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness. Considering that many of us use perfumes and fragrances on a daily basis, consistent exposure to these chemicals should be limited and or avoided whenever possible.

  • Parabens

  • Phthalates

  • Acetone

  • Benzaldehyde

  • Benzyl acetate

  • Camphor

  • Ethanol

  • Ethyl acetate

  • Stearates

  • Linalool

  • Methylene chloride

  • Limonene

Choosing the right Eco-friendly perfume & fragrance

If you're looking for a perfume, it's best to go with one that uses natural ingredients like essential oils and plant-based alcohol bases. Many conventional perfumes are made using ethanol; ethanol production causes air, water, and land pollution among many other environmental issues.

Choose perfumes that are packaged in sustainable materials such as glass, metal, and bamboo. Avoid plastic packaging due to its harmful and pollutive effects on our environment and bodies.

Seek companies that demonstrate a desire for climate-safe practices and use sustainably-sourced natural and synthetic chemicals in the composition of their products.

Here are some safe & eco-friendly perfumes to consider

Moodeux [$32 - $96]

- Black-owned, award-winning company (2022 Melanin Awards)

  • Scent: a cruelty-free formula that's free of harsh chemicals. They use a mix of botanical and plant-based ingredients to infuse their products.

  • Sustainability: they ship in biodegradable mailers and allow customers to return their empty travel spray pens.

Henry Rose [$35 - $120]

- EWG & Cradle to Cradle certified (stringent health & environmental standard)

  • Scent: a variety of floral, earthy, and intoxicating scents which are dermatologist tested & cruelty-free.

  • Sustainability: products are shipped in recycled glass, with caps that are composed of sustainably-sourced, biodegradable soy.

  • Get 3% cashback on your order.

Sana Jardin Paris [$30 - $145]

- trains women to upcycle waste by-products of perfume production & become micro-entrepreneurs

  • Scent: they use distilled flowers discarded by the beauty industry to formulate their essential oils in a variety of fragrances

  • Sustainability: products come with compostable caps and packaging is made from upcycled coffee cups.

  • Get 3% cashback on your order.

Vyrao [$105 - $220]

- sourced from Herkimer diamond crystal for raising & purifying energy

  • Scent: 6 fragrances formulated from primarily natural & certified organic ingredients.

  • Sustainability: their products are packaged in recyclable glass bottles and are shipped in recycled paper packaging.

  • Get 5% cashback on your order.

Abbott [$27 - $78]

- donates a portion of all proceeds to US organizations that support conservation

  • Scent: 8 unisex scents inspired by nature and ecological areas such as the desert, forest, beach, or mountains.

  • Sustainability: products are packaged in recyclable glass bottles and boxes.

Rahua [$32]

- unisex perfumes derived from undisturbed areas in the Amazon rainforest

  • Scent: scents formulated with organic and plant-derived ingredients which are grown & harvested by local and indigenous people in the Amazon.

  • Sustainability: their perfume bottle is packaged with a roller ball, eliminating the need for a plastic spray tube.

Leahlani [$24 - $54]

- strict low-waste policy with 100% solar-powered headquarters

  • Scent: a Hawaii-based company that offers light & tropical perfumes for everyday use.

  • Sustainability: all products are shipped in recyclable packaging, and seeks to limit wasteful practices.

Skylar [$30 - $180]

- donates a portion of its proceeds to social & environmental organizations

  • Scent: nature-inspired scents made with an organic sugar cane alcohol base. Their formulas are hypoallergenic, vegan, and cruelty-free.

  • Sustainability: their products are shipped in 100% recyclable bottles and caps.

  • Get 2% cashback on your order.

Dedcool [$30-$100]

- water-free perfumes with anti-inflammatory properties

  • Scent: twelve scents formulated from organic plant extracts and biodegradable ingredients

  • Sustainability: they utilize carbon-neutral manufacturing practices and are a member of 1% For The Planet

  • Get 3% cashback on your order.

By Rosie Jane [$28 - $70]

- handmade in Los Angeles with responsibly sourced ingredients

  • Scent: a variety of scents ranging from floral and fruity fragrances that are vegan and Leaping Bunny certified.

  • Sustainability: products are shipped in recyclable packaging and vegetable-based inks.

  • Get 2% cashback on your order.

In conclusion:

As with most things, finding sustainable and non-toxic perfumes isn't as easy as choosing among the more abundant harmful alternatives. However, as shown above, there are options that will suit many people. Choosing non-toxic and sustainable beauty and wellness products helps you stay safe, while also reducing the massive amounts of pollution that the fragrance industry inflicts on the planet every day.

Remember, the goal is not perfection, just little changes that will later snowball into big changes. Do the very best that you can, whenever you can, and encourage others to do the same; that's how we make positive changes for our bodies and for our planet.

Please leave a comment below if you have any other tips or questions and don't forget to subscribe for more posts on sustainability, travel, and plant-based cooking!


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