What’s the big deal about natural vs. synthetic fragrance in beauty care products?
Scent is the only one of our five senses that goes straight to your limbic system in your brain. That means it is more likely to be linked with emotions that you felt at the time you processed that scent. There are several scientific studies underway that say scent can be linked directly to mood and memory. With scent being so important in our daily lives, we want to take a deeper dive into fragrances in beauty care products.
Here are the top 3 things you need to know about fragrance:
- Natural fragrance and synthetic fragrance are not the same. Natural fragrances contain ingredients only from a natural origin – typically a mixture of essential oils and botanical extracts – while synthetic fragrances are lab created. Synthetic fragrances are not necessarily bad, but there has been some bad publicity in recent years given to parabens and phthalates, which can be found in synthetic fragrances. Natural fragrances are pure plant extracts and should also be used with care due to their potency. Even brands that claim to use essential oils or natural scent often contain synthetic fragrance. The only way to know for sure is to look for the word “fragrance” on the ingredient list as that indicates that synthetic fragrance was used.
- The word “fragrance” on packaging can be used to hide up 3,000 chemicals in beauty products. The FDA regulates that all beauty and personal care products list their ingredients on the back of the package. While this is a good step to ensure you know what you are putting on your body, sometimes those ingredient labels can be confusing and not completely transparent. The word “fragrance” has been protected in the industry for many years as a “trade secret,” meaning that companies do not have to disclose all of the raw materials that make up a fragrance (you can read more about that regulation here). They can instead list just “fragrance” or “parfum” as a catch all term. The International Fragrance Association, the global representative body for the fragrance industry, has published a list of over 3000+ ingredients that could be used to make up “fragrance”, which means that any of these ingredients could be used in your products and not disclosed. Within the past year, large corporations have announced that they will disclose fragrance ingredients over 0.01% in their products on Smart Label websites. While this is a big step toward transparency, it can still leave many unanswered questions about what exactly is in your product and what purpose they serve, particularly when you consider the complex list of hundreds of perfume raw materials that go into making up a single fragrance.
- The Environmental Working Group ranks “fragrance” as red for health and hazard risk. The Environmental Working Group scans products and their ingredients against regulatory and toxicity databases and scientific literature, and assigns a score based on allergen concern, developmental concern, and cancer concern.They score fragrance as red because of the lack of raw material transparency and because of the potential concern of parabens and phthalates.
When we were developing Each & Every, it was really important to us to use only 100% natural oils for fragrance that are harvested with no synthetics. We disclose every single ingredient on the back of the package and not on an external website that is hard to find. We believe in this transparency so much that we personally go and visit our essential oil providers to ensure the highest quality natural harvest and to ensure they are not processed using synthetic materials.
If you have any questions or would like more information on our essential oils, please let us know. We love hearing from you!