Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inhale Up... Exhale Fold... Inhale Phthalates....

I love smells. Especially perfume-y smells and for a few significant years I wore 'Satsuma' from the Body Shop. It was my 'smell'... mmm oranges. I had a whole collection depending on the day, vanilla, tangerine, chocolate... (are you catching a trend? I like smelling like food hah. Andrew wishes I had a 'bacon' perfume for sure).

Working in health care means a 'no scent' policy, which I like just fine actually. We've all experienced those people that simply reek of some sort of cologne or perfume smell. A pet peeve I have is if you walk by and I can smell you, it's too much. A friend while living in Montreal used to spray her M.A.C. perfume at least five times as she walked through the misty cloud she created. Swirly her ridiculously beautiful red hair and fluffing her boobs (yes... that is what she did). We loved her, but man did she SMELL.

Word to the wise: no one needs to smell the cloud of chemicals as you walk by; le cough.

Practicing yoga next to someone who smells, either icky or like lavender patchouli, also isn't fun. My ujaiji breath isn't meant to absorb 'essence of sandalwood'.

Beyond the incredibly rude, offensive aspect, typical perfume and cologne is like a sludgy cocktail of chemicals that we're dousing on ourselves continuously to inhale and absorb into our bloodstream.

On average there are 800 chemicals in a bottle of perfume; many asthma triggering VOC's, endocrine disrupting synthetic musks and hormone disrupting phthalates. Even though Canada and the US has banned phthalates from children's toys, you don't hear anything about how we're spritzing these plasticizers all over ourselves every day (sometimes several). (Ecoholic 2009).

Think it's just our own health these nasty sprays are affecting? In 2010 the California Air Resources Board announced that it was penalizing Unilever's Axe bodyspray 1.3 million in air pollution fines. Yep, each and every can of Axe bodyspray failed to meet California's clean air standards and was fined for selling 2.8 million units between 2006 and 2008 (ENS 2010).

So what's a perfume lovin' yogini to do?

Well... my transition to Aveda's version of 'natural' perfume was really a sad one. In 2007 both Aveda and Aubrey Organics were found to have phthalates in their perfumes (Ecoholic 2009). Some companies may have phthalate and scary synthetic chemical-free options, but oils and ingredients are sourced from long distances and may not be sustainably harvested or produced.

My favourite options? 
1. Five Seed's natural solid perfume or body massage oils. They smell delicious and are all hand crafted from organic, natural ingredients.

2.  Make your own with organic essential oils. Be sure essential oils are safe for you (depending if you're pregnant or have health conditions you should consult your family physician), choose a favourite scent, or mix and match, and a few dabs- presto! Yummy smell coming right up.

3. DIY au complĂȘt: A few ounces of vodka (look for local vodka or liqueurs- Lunenburg's Ironworks Distillery sells at the Seaport Market) and your essential oils. Let sit for a few days and sprinkle in some distilled water. Shake and let sit for another few days. Any small jam glass jar or cleaned out makeup jar would do just fine. :)

What are your favourite non-chemical ways to stay yummy smelling?

article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. I'm with you. Personally, I can't stand all any perfume/cologne that smells really strong. Generally speaking, all I can smell are the chemicals behind the supposedly delightful aroma.

    I'm the same with ciggarettes, too. Can't stand walking by someone who is smoking on the street, even!

    You'll probably tell me that the Body Shop essential oils are full of chemicals, but I've been wearing the same scent (on the rare occaision that I do wear it) for years - Sandalwood. It's delicious!

  2. ahh I LOVE the 'Gillian' by Five Seed - recently i wore the coconut vanilla balm on my skin and dabbed a little Gillian for a date and let's just say - it worked!

    i remember my history of perfume - Liz Claiborne triangle in junior high, then graduated to Obsession in high school, then moved on to Donna Karann Cashmere Mist for most of my 20's, a short time with Burberry for my now ex-husband, and a few years ago transitioned into natural body balms and solid perfumes and MAN are my olfactory nerves back - I can smell *everything*! I really believe those bad perfumes clog your nose because once I stopped I became SO much more sensitive to smells.

    PS - everyone should bike commute a few times in their life - once you do that, you realize how toxic car exhaust is!

  3. I love Tsi-la Organics. They have some really awesome, earthy, woodsy scents that are made from organic essential oils. Tsi-la is my favorite natural fragrances.

  4. I think an adequate shower and shampoo, regular laundry, and deodorant/anti-perspirant is more than enough to at least not smell like anything. I think I'll try your third option sometime, though.

  5. Echoing Jethero - just a shower, hairwash, regular laundry (unscented detergent), and a splash of deodorant. Unscented lotion as well.

    If I do use a scent, it's almond body oil, which actually fades fairly quickly so I can't smell it.

    Less is best IMO. :)

  6. I know I am odd as a woman who despises perfume, of any kind. People never seem to understand that point you made: if I can smell it, it's too much. If someone wants to wear it for their own pleasure, that's their business but I do not want to smell it. At all. It's not easy to find every body and skin care item in a truly unscented form but it's doable.

  7. I was once into Chanel No 19 and Calyx by Prescriptives.

    Today I wouldn't touch perfume!

    But if I smell like anything, it's hair product for my curly hair. Kevin Murphy, based in Australia, makes great (and great-smelling) stuff.

  8. I love the title of this post! Made me laugh!

    I remember all the years I loved buying perfume - but then I'd wear it and it would give me headaches or make me sick cuz it was so strong. Ick.

    Thanks to you and EcoGrrl for the shoutouts!

  9. You should check out Pixie Glassworks form Alberta. They have an amazing essential oil diffuser that you can wear as a necklace!! It showcases the oil beautifully and allows the scent to come out but not the oil. I have one and I wear it every day. You can change the oils to whatever scent (or mixture or scents) you want! I LOVE mine and I think it is the best perfume alternative because it actually lasts all day!! I like the solid perfumes and even the homemade perfumes but they never last very long and you constantly need to reapply...this definitely solves that problem!!!


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